n0d3 b0x v1

n0d3 b0x <sup>v1</sup>

/!\ n0d3 b0x v1 is deprecated/retired, see n0d3 b0x v2
Michael Dziedzic©

Sunday 12 April 2020

  1. Hardware
    1. The motherboard : ClearFog-GT-8K
      1. Specifications
      2. SolidRun ClearFog GT-8K datasheet & simplified-schematics
      3. Technical highlights
      4. Lot’s of possibilities
    2. LTE PCIe card
    3. WLAN PCIe card
    4. RAM : 8Go SO-DIMM DDR4
    5. Storage : 240 Go mPCIe SSD
  2. Serial Connection
    1. Connecting a USB to UART adapter to board
    2. USB to UART adapter
    3. Serial Connection – Linux
    4. Serial Connection – MacOSX
  3. Setup MAC address
  4. Intall Linux Debian buster on SD Card
    1. Flashing an SD Card
    2. Linux Debian buster Releases for 8040 based boards
    3. Boot Source Selection
  5. Intall Linux Debian buster on eMMC 8040 ClearFog-GT-8K based boards
    1. You will need to following items
    2. Installation instructions follow
  6. Install somes required debian packages
  7. Tips
    1. Get CPU temperature on ARMv8 Marvell A8040
  8. Configure the Linux required security and more


The motherboard : ClearFog-GT-8K

ClearFog-GT-8K pairs the robust ARMADA A8040 quad-core 2Ghz ARM Cortex A72 processor with high level network capabilities and connectivity – providing the perfect solution for a range of networking needs.

ClearFog-GT-8K features an array of 4 1GbE copper LAN connections (with 2.5G uplink to SoC), a 1GbE WAN interface, and an SFP+ connector (up to 10GbE). Other features include USB 3.0 port, 3 mPCIe, up to 16GB DDR4 memory, eMMC (up to 64GB), optional M.2 support via adapter, microSD, GPIO header, and supports Linux Kernel 4.4x, and Google IoT Core (for easy connection to the Google Cloud Platform).

ClearFog-GT-layout top layout

ClearFog-GT-8K - top view

ClearFog-GT-layout back layout

ClearFog-GT-8K - buttom view

ClearFog-GT board assembly

ClearFog-GT-8K - board assembly


ProcessorMarvell ARMADA A8040 quad core Cortex Arm A72 (up to 2GHz)
Memory & StorageUp to 16GB DDR4 DIMM, 64bit
 M.2 (optional support via adapter)
 8GB eMMC (up to 64GB)
Connectivity4 x 1GbE switched LAN (RJ45)
 1 x 1GbE WAN (RJ45)
 3 x mPCIe (USB 2.0 + PCIe)
 1 x USB 3.0
 1 x SFP+ (up to 10GbE)
I/OGPIO header
 Indication LEDs
 User Push Buttons
 UART header for debug
OS SupportLinux Kernel 4.4x
 Google IoT Platform
Power12V input DC jack
EnvironmentAmbient temperature: 0°C to 70°C
 Ambient enclosed temperature: 0°C to 40°C
 CPU die temperature: 0°C to 105°C
 Humidity (non-condensing): 10% – 90%
DimensionsBoard: 177mm x 110mm

More details can be found at the ClearFog-GT-8K product page.

SolidRun ClearFog GT-8K datasheet & simplified-schematics

Technical highlights

  • passive cooling
  • Marvell ARMADA A8040 quad core Cortex Arm A72 up to 2GHz
  • Memory up to 16GB DDR4 DIMM
  • all Ethernet ports supporting up to 1GBit/s at least
  • the SFP Ethernet port supports up to 10GBit/s
  • 3 miniPCIe
  • M.2 optional support via miniPCIe adapter

Lot’s of possibilities

As you now know some of the technical details of the ClearFog-GT-8K, you can clearly imagine what could be possible with such a board. So, we’re listing here only a few possibilities to start the brain storming…

  • a high-speed WiFi router with a 802.11n or 802.11ac miniPCIe card
  • a NAS system with M.2/miniPCIe SSD disks
  • a personal router and firewall
  • a cloud server
  • a streaming server for audio and video tracks
  • or maybe all this above at once
  • a powerful Docker host with insane network performance

LTE PCIe card

Quectel LTE EC25 Mini PCIe is an LTE category 4 module adopting standard PCI Express® Mini Card form factor (Mini PCIe). It is optimized specially for M2M and IoT applications, and delivers maximum data rates up to 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink

Quectel LTE EC25 Mini PCIe

Quectel LTE EC25 Mini PCIe

WLAN PCIe card

The Mikrotik R11e-5HacD is a new 802.11ac card in miniPCI-express format, perfect for any RouterBOARD with miniPCIe slot. The card features built-in LED indicators for wireless mode, connection status (connected, searching, disabled), TX and RX activity and wireless signal strength.


  • Just one 8go SO-DIMM DDR4 single rank

Storage : 240 Go mPCIe SSD

Kingston SUV500MS mSATA 240 Go

Kingston SUV500MS mSATA 240 Go

Serial Connection

Connecting a USB to UART adapter to board

On the top side of the ClearFog-GT-8K, there is a header for connecting the adapter cable (J27). The cable should be connected as seen at the picture below:

Connecting a USB to UART adapter to board

UART Rx/Tx pinout

UART Rx/Tx pinout connection should be as follows:

  • Pin 1 (marked with symbol)
  • Pin 2: ARMADA 8040 Tx
  • Pin 3: ARMADA 8040 Rx

The pin that is closest to the mechanical hole should be connected to the ground cable (black), the middle pin should be connected to the Tx (green cable) and the 3’rd pin should be connected to the Rx (white).

USB to UART adapter

USB to UART adapter

USB to UART adapter

Serial Connection – Linux

This section will walk you through installing necessary serial connection software for Linux.

Minicom achieved serial communication with the board. Once your board is connected to your laptop via micro USB cable, we can run the minicom setup :

  sudo minicom -s

We will now be presented with the following menu:

  | Filenames and paths      |
  | File transfer protocols  |
  | Serial port setup        |
  | Modem and dialing        |
  | Screen and keyboard      |
  | Save setup as dfl        |
  | Save setup as..          |
  | Exit                     |
  | Exit from Minicom        |

through which you can navigate using up/down keys. For our case, we will only need to setup Serial port setup so select that submenu. You will get the following menu:

  | A -    Serial Device      : /dev/tty8                                 |
  | B - Lockfile Location     : /var/lock                                 |
  | C -   Callin Program      :                                           |
  | D -  Callout Program      :                                           |
  | E -    Bps/Par/Bits       : 115200 8N1                                |
  | F - Hardware Flow Control : Yes                                       |
  | G - Software Flow Control : No                                        |
  |                                                                       |
  |    Change which setting?                                              |

For option A – Serial Device we must first find out the correct USB to which our serial has connected to after we have plugged in the micro USB cable. We can do this using dmesg:

  [518568.122266] usb 1-6: new full-speed USB device number 4 using xhci_hcd
  [518568.257927] usb 1-6: New USB device found, idVendor=0403, idProduct=6015
  [518568.257935] usb 1-6: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
  [518568.257940] usb 1-6: Product: FT230X Basic UART
  [518568.257944] usb 1-6: Manufacturer: FTDI
  [518568.257947] usb 1-6: SerialNumber: DJ00HH67
  [518569.328196] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial
  [518569.328238] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbserial_generic
  [518569.328268] usbserial: USB Serial support registered for generic
  [518569.331071] usbcore: registered new interface driver ftdi_sio
  [518569.331080] usbserial: USB Serial support registered for FTDI USB Serial Device
  [518569.331096] ftdi_sio 1-6:1.0: FTDI USB Serial Device converter detected
  [518569.331115] usb 1-6: Detected FT-X
  [518569.331514] usb 1-6: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0

Here we can see that the serial converter connected to USB0 (ttyUSB0) USB number, so we change the A – Serial Device setting to /dev/ttyUSB0. There is no need to change any other settings (assuming your Bps/Par/Bits are set as 115200 8N1). Be wary of the fact that the USB number might change on each plug-in, so make sure to set it up accordingly. Now we can go back to the main menu by selecting Exit and pressing Enter. Optionally, you can save these settings as default for future use by selecting Save setup as dfl. When we exited the menu, the minicom terminal will open with our settings. Now when we power on the board we should see it booting:

  Welcome to minicom 2.7

  Compiled on Feb  29 2020, 13:37:27.
  Port /dev/ttyUSB0, 15:03:45

  Press CTRL-A Z for help on special keys

  BootROM - 2.03
  Starting CP-1 IOROM 1.07
  Booting from SPI NOR flash 1 (0x32)
  Found valid image at boot postion 0x000
  lNOTICE:  Starting binary extension
  NOTICE:  Gathering DRAM information
  mv_ddr: mv_ddr-armada-17.02.0-g42da6da (Mar 15 2017 - 13:30:32)
  mv_ddr: completed successfully
  Booting Trusted Firmware
  BL1: v1.2(release):armada-17.02.0:
  BL1: Built : 13:30:36, Mar 15 2017
  NOTICE:  BL1: Booting BL2

Serial Connection – MacOSX

  • Prerequisites

First, download and install the `FTDI VCP drivers

Note: The later version is FTDIUSBSerialDriver_v2_4_2.dmg

Now, once you connect the cable, the kernel should load the usbserial module. Look for the device.

  ls -l /dev/*usbserial*
  crw-rw-rw-  1 root  wheel   18,  57 Mar  6 07:47 /dev/cu.usbserial-AD0JM1R8
  crw-rw-rw-  1 root  wheel   18,  56 Mar  6 08:56 /dev/tty.usbserial-AD0JM1R8
  • Connection with screen tool

OS X ships with screen by default. Open a terminal and type

  screen /dev/tty.usbserial-AD0JM1R8 115200

Setup MAC address

The ClearFog GT-8K do not have any fixed or prefused MAC addresses. On each power-on a random MAC Address` is generated.

If you instead want to use specific MAC addresses, they can be set per interface using these U-Boot commands:

  setenv eth1addr 42:ad:af:12:e1:0a
  setenv eth2addr 42:ad:af:12:e1:0b
  setenv eth3addr 42:ad:af:12:e1:0c
  setenv eth4addr 42:ad:af:12:e1:0d

Note: U-Boot commands setenv eth1add does’t fixed the MAC address (I don’t know why !). And, so it must fixed with an other way :

  • Edit /etc/network/interfaces.d/eth1 and comment iface eth1 inet dhcp line
  • we need to create a systemd startup script eg. ux_startup.service and place it into /etc/systemd/system/ directory. You can find the example of such systemd startup script below:

    Description=Start at startup.
  • Next, we create our custom shell script to be executed during systemd startup. The location and script name is already defined by service unit as /opt/…/ux_startup.sh. The content of the script can be simple as:

    # Load ipset and iptable
    ipset restore -! < /etc/ipset.up.rules
    iptables-restore < /etc/iptables.up.rules
  • Before reboot our system we need to make our script executable:

      chmod 744 /opt/<path>/ux_startup.sh
  • Next, install systemd service unit and enable it so it will be executed at the boot time:

    chmod 664 /etc/systemd/system/ux_startup.service
    systemctl daemon-reload
    systemctl enable ux_startup.service

Intall Linux Debian buster on SD Card

Flashing an SD Card

All Linux distributions include all the program to extract and flash the image to an SD card.

Flashing an image will erase all files and partitions of the target device. Make sure you choose the SD card as the target device, or you can seriously damage your existing operating system.

Linux Debian buster Releases for 8040 based boards

On your favorite Linux desktop, just use dd command to write the images to your disk (SD Card)

  sudo dd if=image.raw of=/dev/<YOURSDCARD> bs=4M; sync

If the image is compressed, you need to uncompress it first!

  XZ-compressed image: xzcat image.raw.xz | sudo dd of=/dev/<YOURSDCARD> bs=4M; sync

Bootable images can be found here .

The default username of 8040 debian buster image is debian, and password is debian.

Boot Source Selection

ClearFog-GT-8K boot select

ClearFog-GT-8K boot select

On buttom board, the boot source is selected by setting SWx to the right mode. The following modes below are available:

Boot SourceSW1SW2SW3SW4SW5

The right mode is SPI ROM : SW1=OFF, SW2=OFF, SW3=ON, SW4=OFF & SW5=OFF

Intall Linux Debian buster on eMMC 8040 ClearFog-GT-8K based boards

Installing software on a ClearFog-GT-8K with eMMC is a little tricky.

This section describes a relatively painless procedure for installing the SolidRun provided Debian image on the eMMC.

You will need to following items

  • This section assumes that you already have Linux running on your device (with SD Card)
  • boot ClearFog-GT-8K board on SD Card

Installation instructions follow

  1. Copy the latest Debian image (.img.*z suffix)
      mkdir -p /opt/clearfog_installation
      cd /opt/clearfog_installation
      curl https://images.solid-build.xyz/8040/sr-8040-debian-buster-20200223.img.xz --output sr-8040-debian-buster-20200223.img.xz
  2. Copy clearfog eMMC utilities
      mkdir -p /opt/clearfog_installation
      cd /opt/clearfog_installation
      curl https://developer.solid-run.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/clearfog-emmc-v3.tar.gz --output clearfog-emmc-v3.tar.gz
      tar xfz clearfog-emmc-v3.tar.gz
  3. Install the bootloader on eMMC
      echo 0 > /sys/block/mmcblk0boot0/force_ro
      dd if=/opt/clearfog_installation/u-boot-clearfog-base-mmc.kwb of=/dev/mmcblk0boot0
  4. Install the Debian filesystem
      xzcat /opt/clearfog_installation/sr-8040-debian-buster-20200223.img.xz \
     | dd of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=1M conv=fsync
  5. Power off the ClearFog-GT-8K

  6. Remove sd card

  7. Power on the ClearFog-GT-8K

  8. Debian boot to the login: prompt

Install somes required debian packages

  • At first, update & upgrade packages
  sudo apt-get update ; sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Package net-tools : This package includes the important tools for controlling the network subsystem of the Linux kernel. This includes arp, ifconfig, netstat, rarp, nameif and route.
  sudo apt-get install net-tools
  • Package curl & wget :
    • curl is a command line tool for transferring data with URL syntax, supporting FILE, FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, IMAP, IMAPS, POP3, POP3S, RTMP, RTSP, SCP, SFTP, SMTPS, …
    • wget is a network utility to retrieve files from the web using HTTP(S) and FTP, the two most widely used internet protocols. It works non-interactively, so it will work in the background, after having logged off.
  sudo apt-get install curl wget
  • Package dosfstools : utilities for making and checking MS-DOS FAT filesystems
  sudo apt install dosfstools
  • Package unzip : De-archiver for .zip files. InfoZIP’s unzip program.
  sudo apt install unzip
  • Package for DHCP deamon et DNS serveur
    • dnsmasq : Small caching DNS proxy and DHCP/TFTP server. Dnsmasq is a lightweight, easy to configure, DNS forwarder and DHCP server. It is designed to provide DNS and optionally, DHCP, to a small network
    • dnsutils : This package delivers various client programs related to DNS that are derived from the BIND source tree.
    • traceroute : Traces the route taken by packets over an IPv4/IPv6 network. The traceroute utility displays the route used by IP packets on their way to a specified network (or Internet) host.
  sudo apt install dnsmasq dnsutils traceroute
  • Packages for samba :
    • samba : SMB/CIFS file, print, and login server for Unix. Samba is an implementation of the SMB/CIFS protocol for Unix systems.
    • cifs-utils : Common Internet File System utilities. The SMB/CIFS protocol provides support for cross-platform file sharing with Microsoft Windows, OS X, and other Unix systems.
    • samba-client : command-line SMB/CIFS clients for Unix
  sudo apt install samba cifs-utils samba-client
  • Packages for nging :
    • nging : small, powerful, scalable web/proxy server. Nginx is a high-performance web and reverse proxy server created by Igor Sysoev. It can be used both as a standalone web server and as a proxy.
  sudo apt install nginx
  • Package fail2ban : Fail2ban monitors log files (e.g. /var/log/auth.log, /var/log/apache/access.log) and temporarily or persistently bans failure-prone addresses by updating existing firewall rules. Fail2ban allows easy specification of different actions to be taken such as to ban an IP using iptables or hostsdeny rules, or simply to send a notification email.
  sudo apt install fail2ban
  • Packages for X11 :
    • xserver-xorg-video-dummy : X.Org X server – dummy display driver. This package provides a dummy display driver, which does not actually display anything.
    • xinit : X server initialisation tool. xinit and startx are programs which facilitate starting an X server, and loading a base X session.
    • x11vnc : x11vnc allows one to view remotely and interact with real X displays (i.e. a display corresponding to a physical monitor, keyboard, and mouse) with any VNC viewer.
    • slim : slim aims to be light, simple and independent from the various desktop environments.
    • jwm : very small lightweight pure X11 window manager with tray and menus. It uses a minimum of external libraries, thus very little memory, includes virtual screens, menubar and root-menu popup.
    sudo apt install xinit xserver-xorg-video-dummy x11vnc jwm slim
  • Packages for novnc :
    • novnc : HTML5 VNC client - daemon and programs. noVNC is a HTML5 VNC (WebSockets, Canvas) with encryption (wss://) support client that runs well in any modern browser.
  sudo apt install novnc
  • Packages for virtualization
    • libvirt-daemon-system : Libvirt is a C toolkit to interact with the virtualization capabilities of recent versions of Linux. The library aims at providing a long term stable C API for different virtualization mechanisms. It currently supports QEMU, KVM, XEN, OpenVZ, LXC, and VirtualBox.
    • libvirt-clients : Programs for the libvirt library.
    • virtinst : Programs to create and clone virtual machines.
    • libvirt-daemon : Virtualization daemon. This package contains the daemon libvirtd to manage the hypervisors.
    • qemu-system-common : QEMU full system emulation binaries (common files). QEMU is a fast processor emulator: currently the package supports ARM, CRIS, i386, M68k, MicroBlaze, MIPS, PowerPC, SH4, SPARC and x86-64 emulation.
    • qemu-efi-aarch64 : UEFI firmware for 64-bit ARM virtual machines. qemu-efi-aarch64 is a build of EDK II for 64-bit ARM virtual machines. It includes full support for UEFI, including Secure Boot.
    • qemu-system-data : This package provides architecture-neutral data files (such as keyboard definitions, icons) for system-mode QEMU emulation (qemu-system-*) packages.
    • qemu-system-arm : QEMU full system emulation binaries (arm). QEMU is a fast processor emulator: currently the package supports ARM emulation.
    • ipxe-qemu : PXE boot firmware - ROM images for qemu. iPXE is network boot firmware. It supports a variety of network cards, including some wireless cards, and variety of network protocols.
      sudo apt install qemu libvirt-clients libvirt-daemon-system bridge-utils virtinst libvirt-daemon qemu-system-common virt-manager

    Once above packages are installed successfully then libvirtd service will be started automatically, run the below systemctl command to verify the status

      sudo systemctl status libvirtd.service


Get CPU temperature on ARMv8 Marvell A8040

paste <(cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone*/type) <(cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone*/temp) | column -s $'\t' -t | sed 's/\(.\)..$/.\1°C/'
  ap-thermal-ic    31.9°C
  ap-thermal-cpu1  31.9°C
  ap-thermal-cpu2  31.9°C
  ap-thermal-cpu3  31.9°C
  ap-thermal-cpu4  31.9°C
  cp0-thermal-ic   34.1°C
  cp1-thermal-ic   34.6°C

Configure the Linux required security and more

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