Recover Cyclades AlterPath ACS

For some reason I tend to break everything I get my hands on. Don’t worry, nothing major of course and your devices are safe with me, but I do like to break stuff.

Because OOB management is mandatory in a good management environment, I got my hands on a Cyclades AlterPath ACS32 console server. It was running an ancient firmware (september 2003)  and I searched for a new one online, downloaded it, set-up an FTP server, uploaded the new firmware and perfomed a reboot, as exepect the thing broke down. I hooked up a normal console cable and saw it kernel panicking. Because I didn’t see the bootloader I took it apart, removed the compact flash card, put it in my PC and found some kind of proprietary filesystem, no luck there.

After searching and searching on the interwebs I discovered I need a special console cable. To all companies out there creating there own proprietary console cables, I don’t like you. So, to recover this device you need a cable with this pinout, thanks to the people from for providing the right information:

console cable pinout

Now you got the right cable It’s time to prepare your environment, you need the following things:

  • The console cable from above (serial settings: 9600 baud rate, N81).
  • A TFTP server (like tftpd32)
  • A FTP server (like Baby FTP server)
  • The firmware .bin file (get the one you like from here)

Connect the console server to your PC, power it up and you should see a line like:
Booting from Original Boot 2.0.1 (Jun/04/03) Cyclades Corporation
If you want you can cancel the memory test by pressing ESC, checking the disk may take a while, hit ESC once when you see this line:
Testing Ethernet ......................... OK

Follow the instructions like enabling the watchdog and select to boot from network. Input the IP for the device and put in the IP of the TFTP server. Fill in the image name, press enter a couple of times and the device should boot!
Now the important part, after the device is booted login with root and tslinux on the shell, run the wiz command to make it available on your network and login on the web interface with the same credentials. Go the administration page and perform a firmware upgrade using FTP. Go back to the shell run defconf, saveconf and reboot. It should now boot fine with the new firmware. You’ve succesfully recovered your Cyclades AlterPath ACS console server!