2020 FreeNAS HBA setup

The process of setting up the hardware ran into a few snags.

FreeNAS crash

When inserting my first HDD into a front-panel slot on the SuperMicro box,  FreeNAS immediately started to crash on boot as shown.

FreeBSD GEOM disk boot fail

The key info is:

  • GEOM_RAID: SiI-070610140534: Force array start due to timeout.

FreeNAS forums document that drives previously used with Software RAID or mirrors may prevent booting , even after deleting their partitions.

I used a combination of the following commands to clear the error.  I don’t have the actual commands used:

  • camcontrol devlist
  • gpart destroy -F /dev/da2
  • Write zeros to start of disk with dd

EFI Shell

SAS utilties recommended booting into EFI Shell to run commands.
This boots a shell from the BIOS, and therefor your USB stick with the sas utilties does not need to be bootable.

To do this:

  • Enable EFI shell as a valid boot option under BIOS disks.
  • Select boot order to include EFI shell  -or-
  • Select F11 when booting to pick boot option EFI shell.

EFI shell is a like a DOS  shell.

A USB flash drive  may be recognized as ‘fd0’

Change default directory to USB by typing


DIR to list directory,  etc.

Run executables ending in  .efi.

sas3flash.efi <cr>         ( .efi optional )



When flashing the HBA, download utilities and Firmware to a normal DOS formatted Flash drive,   boot into EFI, shell and run the .efi utlities.

sas3flash -list ( defaults to controller 0 )

sas3flash -c 1 -list ( Controller 1 )


Some useful links for re-flashing are:


NVMe drives

After setting Bifurcation in the BIOS in the previous post , the 2 NVMe drives were recognized by FreeBSD with no further settings.


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