Technology Thoughts UNIX

Working around the lack of an RTC battery on ALIX system boards…

The ALIX 2c3 system board the forms my traffic-shaper has one irksome weakness: it lacks an on-board CMOS/RTC battery to maintain the time when the system is shutdown.

This is a more significant problem than it sounds since, for starters, the fsck tools for the ext2 filesystem, by default, treat a timestamp in the future as a failure – and disk checks have to be performed almost immediately on system start, so there is no opportunity to raise networking and start an NTP dæmon.

Technology UNIX

ALIX USB support

I have a PC Engines alix2d3 single-board computer – a really nice compact system with an AMD Geode processor, 256MB RAM, compact flash storage and three 10/100MB network ports – acting as my traffic-shaper and network gateway. Since this machine is extremely reliable, always on, and has spare USB ports it seemed like a sensible place to plug in the USB cable from my new UPS. There have been several power-cuts recently (some due to external factors, and some due to a dodgy toaster!) and the time spent recovering filesystems from unexpected restarts was starting to become inconvenient…