Gizmo2 – Installing SSD and Ubuntu

Using a Live USB Stick, I failed to install Ubuntu (or Xubuntu, tried both) to the microSD card of the GIZMO 2. The installation would finish successfully, but afterwards it was impossible to boot from it. So I bought a 32GB mSATA SSD for testing …

Live USB Stick

Creating the Live USB stick was the easy part.

First, I downloaded the Ubuntu Desktop version *.iso from their website: Download Ubuntu Desktop
Then, I “burned” the *.iso file on a USB stick, as if it were a CD. These are the steps I performed:

1) list the available disks to ensure the correct one is used

2) unmount the disk to be used

3) write the *.iso file to the disk

Everything went well, and I now had a bootable Ubuntu USB stick.

mSATA SSD

Physical Installation

As mentioned in the introduction, I bought a 32GB for testing. No mounting screws were provided with the SSD or the Gizmo2, so I improvised a little.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

The SSD needs to be inserted at an angle and then pulled down to be mounted in parallel to the Gizmo2.

SSD Detection

By default, the Gizmo2 should boot from the SSD. Using “F12” at startup, you can then select another boot option.

But for some reason, mine booted directly off the USB stick. I didn’t realise it at that moment, so I proceeded with the Ubuntu installation wizard. Only briefly though, as it was stating there was not enough space to install. For some reason, the SSD was not detected. Why?

I started going through the user guide again, thinking I might have to do something to switch between miniPCIe or mSATA mode and found the following:

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 22.35.30

Should I conclude my SSD is non-compliant ?

Modification

In an attempt to get my SSD detected, I decided to go ahead and remove resistor “R1”. The resistor is clearly indicated on the board with a white arrow pointing to it.
The resistor is tiny! I’ve never worked with something so tiny before, so it was a bit scary to do. I heated up the soldering iron, put a little bit of extra solder to get everything hot, and the resistor came loose very easily. Pfiew!

Took some pictures to give you an idea of just how small the resistor is (the USB microscope I got for Christmas finally came in handy!):

photo 2 photo 1 Photo on 29-01-15 at 21.51

Software Installation

With the resistor removed, I booted the Gizmo2 keeping my fingers crossed while pressing “F12”. And there it was … the SSD was detected!

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

Using the installation wizard, Ubuntu was installed successfully on the SSD and I was able to boot from it (unlike the microSD card). Hooray!

Conclusion

A little bit trickier than expected, but I finally got my SSD detected and managed to install a different operating system on it.

I would suggest following improvements though:

  • to have a little jumper to enable/disable resistor “R1” instead of having to solder/desolder it
  • include some mounting screws for miniPCIe/mSATA devices

On to the next adventure with the Gizmo2!

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