pfSense: Install pfSense on PC Engines APU.1C4

This information is outdated. I have done a fresh install on a new device with 2.2.3 and now you have to use the installer. Boot from a USB-stick, press “I” during bootup to invoke the installer and just walk through the installation process.

How to fail and recover:

I have had some troubles to install pfSense on the new PC Engines APU.1C4. I have tried to dd the image directly to the mSATA-disk and somehow managed to wreck the BSD-disklabel by doing this.

The pfSense installer was then throwing messages like the following, stopped and threw me back to a shell.

I’ve been able to fix that by low level formatting the mSATA disk with the HDD LLF Low Level Formatting Tool (needs Windows) which I have found here. It did not help to just delete the partitions with gparted or fdisk or to partition and format the mSATA-disk with Windows.

How to do it right:


  • USB-Stick
  • USB to serial converter
  • Null Modem Cable
  • mSATA Disk plugged into the mSATA-port of the PC Engines APU.1C4-board
  • pfSense-memstick-serial-2.1.4-RELEASE-amd64.img


First you have to unpack the image-file.

Then dd the image to the USB-stick

Plug the USB-stick into one of the USB-ports of the APU.1C4 and connect the null modem cable to the RS232-port. Then connect to the serial console with 115200 baud.

You will see the BIOS of the APU and at some point it will ask you to hit F12 to select a boot-device. Hit F12 in the appropriate moment and choose your USB-stick as boot-media.

Disconnect from the serial console and reconnect with 9600 baud because pfSense will use 9600 baud instead of 115200 baud.

Do not interrupt the boot-process, wait until pfSense has started up, do not invoke the installer during boot up.

After pfSense has booted invoke the installer and go with the quick install option. This will give you the opportunity to choose between serial- and VGA-console (you have to choose serial here of course). If you choose the advanced install routine you will not get the chance to choose serial-console – so don’t do it.


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