Turning an HP Neoware e140 into a pfSense firewall

I was in need of a small firewall and searched through e-Bay for a long time but without success. Sure, there are many firewalls out there but the good ones are too expensive. But suddenly I stumbled upon a thin client called HP Neoware e140. It’s cheap and more than capable of running pfSense.

Quick specs of it:

VIA 800 MHz CPU
512 MB DDR2 RAM
VGA/DVI, PS/2 keyboard and mouse
1×10/100 Ethernet
1xPCI expansion slot

After some more googling I did find that people have had success in converting a similar model, the e100 into a pfSense firewall. You can find more info about that here. I had to get myself a PCI riser board to be able to fit another network card into this puppy and get also get a bigger flash memory. I had a spare 10/100 network card lying around but I had to order the riser card from e-Bay, only costs a few dollars. I also had a PATA <-> Compact Flash adapter lying around so I figured I might use that as flash memory. Quickly did I notice that the internal flash memory (DOM*) had a 44-pin PATA connector but my adapter had only a 40-pin connector. Unable to quickly find an adapter cable I made my own by using the 44-pin connector from the DOM and desoldered a 40-pin male connector from an old motherboard. Connected the two connectors with a ribbon cable from a floppy drive and it works like a charm. Had to use an old external USB harddrive enclosure to write the pfSense disk image onto the Compact flash card.

 

 

 

It fits nicely into the corner of the server rack 🙂

* DOM = Disk on Module

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