Buffalo LinkStation LS-CHL EM mode : Buffalo Technology
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Buffalo LinkStation LS-CHL EM mode

I bought a NAS drive a year or two ago and I was trying to upgrade the firmware to the latest version, 1.60. Unfortunately along the way the firmware update managed to fail and I ended up with a bricked NAS. The result was a RED LED light blinking at me six times in a row upon reboot requiring. I tried quite a few combinations before I was able to restore anything. I’m writing them out here, step by step, just in case it helps someone.

Pre-requisites
I work on a mac, but the only software they provide to reset firmware effectively runs on windows. Fortunately I had a windows netbook still around that I could use to reset it.

Boot the machine using TFTP
This approach for booting the machine remotely is well-documented here, but unfortunately their linked software didn’t work for my case. A kirkwood one floating the internet and listed on this forum post seemed to work best for me.

The steps that worked for me included:

  1. Connect the NAS via ethernet directly to the windows laptop
  2. Set a fixed IP to 192.168.11.1, allowing the default gateway details to fill in (tabbing away works). Save this
  3. Start the TFTP Boot.exe program from the kirkwood zip
  4. Start the LS-CHL Linkstation Live in TFTP mode (hold the function key down for a while, turn on the power and wait for the blinking blue lights). The red flashing lights came on, and when I hit the function key again, it would eventually bootstrap
  5. You should see two console messages as described in the post saying “uImage.buffalo, xxx Blocks Served” and “initrd.buffalo, xxx Blocks Served”

Reset the firmware
At this point, I figured, the machine is rebooted, now you have to apply some firmware. I downloaded the latest, and then waited to see if the machine would come up for an update. At this point, you need to make sure you follow the Force Firmware Update post instructions.

One extra step that I ended up having to do was in response to a “Couldn’t connect” problems. At this point, another post pointed out that I needed to remove my static IP I had set earlier. I changed the windows box, fired up the NasNavi (to obtain a different IP and to establish a connection to the Linkstation) and then I could follow the firmware update.

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