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1  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Which U-boot supports sata port multipliers on Sheevaplu? on: May 10, 2012, 11:47:31 AM

Returning to my old Sheevaplug system, which I wish to use on a new venture, I am a bit out of touch.

I want to use my DIY Sata Sheevaplug with an Addonics AD5SAPM port multiplier.

Since the u-boot and kernel were very old I  went to Martin's web site and followed his installing debian on Sheevaplug guide. The first thing he required was to update the u-boot, to the denx variant version U-Boot 2011.12 .

Now this new u-boot works with a single Sata drive connected to the Sheevaplug, u-boot "sees" the drive and reports it correctly,  but when I connect the port multiplier, and perform an ide reset command,  uboot times out after about 30sec  and cannot "see" the PM.  I KNOW the PM is functioning, cause it works well with my OpenRd Ultimate box

I believe there are several people who have this working, please can anyone tell me  what version of uboot will work!   Does it have to be a Marvell u-boot, and if so where can I D/l one from?



2  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: eSATA drive success anyone? on: September 02, 2011, 11:51:17 AM

I notice that the drives that appear slow are 1 TB  in size.

Might the problem be the dreaded 4K block size  and start sector alignment format problem?

I am not going to regurgitate the whole sorry saga here,  if you wish to learn more then Google it!


3  General Category / General Discussion / Technology moves on again! :-- the Samsung Origen dev board on: May 30, 2011, 06:05:25 AM


I know this does not have the old "plug" format, but it is a very powerful cheap dev board!


The Origen board partners a 45nm Samsung Exynos dual-core 1GHz processor - based on the Cortex-A9 design from British low-power chip specialist ARM - with 1GB of high-speed DDR3 RAM. The in-built graphics hardware is capable of accelerating both 2D and 3D performance, and is able to push 1080p video at 30 frames per second in a variety of codecs.


4  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Nice if the cost is true on: February 22, 2011, 02:46:57 AM
Look at the specs for the power supply !!!!

Approx 46 watts if I read it correctly

Not a 24/7 device



5  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: shematics for openrd client on: January 13, 2011, 03:29:00 AM

They are on the supplied Openrd DEV kit V1.0 CDrom.

You should have had  a cd supplied with your open rd 

If not, get one from your retailer.

By the way.... If you definitely have a client board, then the newer V2.0 Cdrom is no use. The schematics on it have been updated for the Ultimate.

If you cannot obtain the cd, pm me with an upload location and I will upload you the original schematic pdf, not the complete devkit



6  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Is the window closing on Plug Computing? on: January 09, 2011, 03:34:28 AM
@ radael

An excellent summary!

I have a sheevaplug AND an Open-RD Ultimate.   The Open-rd.org wiki, forum, git etc is in exactly the same state as you describe (apart from the spammers haven't found it yet).  The Open-rd site has not been updated for months. There is no activity from Globalscale, einfochips or Marvell.  The openrd is dead but it doesn't know it yet.

After I read your post I searched Google news for CES 2011, Kirkwood, Marvell, Sheeva, plug, plugcomputing  and so on.  There was almost ZERO hits. The only Marvell hits were with reference to a new  initiative  "mobile lifestyle"  computing using the Armada  series

Here is an article full of marketing speak:-


I am certain you are correct,  manufacturers have moved on.

I am not involved with it but if people are looking for a new platform,  then the Pandaboard, seems to have a lot going for it at a reasonable price!


It is touted as a "Mobile"  platform, as every manufacturer seems to be jumping on the  android tablet market, but looking at the hardware it should make a nice home whatever you need!.

as always YMMV



7  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: eSATA Sheeva Plug - US Supplier on: January 08, 2011, 04:17:41 AM
Hi Maxlee

Which US supplier is selling the ESATA version Sheevaplug?

A search of slashgear does NOT reveal that gem of information


8  General Category / General Discussion / Re: What is happening regarding the sale of Guruplug-ServerPLUS? on: January 03, 2011, 09:30:26 AM
Hi Marcus,

Thats good to know!

It is unfortunate then that Globalscale  phrased the fact they were out of stock in such a way as to imply that they had finished with retailing the Plus.

It would not have hurt them to add a sentence advising that the device would be back on sale by a given date!

thanks again


9  General Category / General Discussion / What is happening regarding the sale of Guruplug-ServerPLUS? on: January 03, 2011, 03:18:04 AM

Happy new year every one.

I just noticed the following quote on the GlobalScale on line shop page:-
GuruPlug-ServerPLUS is not available for on line purchase anymore as our inventory is 0-out.

Only GuruPlug-ServerPLUS (OEM Model) is available for orders above 100 pieces
..Please contact sales@globalscaletechnologies.com

Is this a temporary thing, or are Globscale backing away from any more sales / support responsibility of the Serverplus. They will still sell in 100 + lots to third parties, who will have to pick up the support  for the end customers.

your thoughts?


10  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: My modified Sheevaplug on: September 27, 2010, 09:48:44 AM

Sorry about the delay been on my hols, to Sunny (not) Corsica.

I have a number of Mains power bricks with 5V O/P but I think the one I used for the expansion was an Ebay purchase.

It is a Chinese "no name" 5V 3A o/p Switched reg brick that has a "kettle" type 230V ac mains lead socket on the side, (not a wall wart).

Reading some of the Complaining posts about the new Guruplug and the jet engine cooling noise, I am sure that it is time that the Guru plugs got the new packaging treatment.



11  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: My Modified SheevaPlug part II on: September 09, 2010, 08:48:10 AM
Hi Here are the parts I used:-

I purchased the bits from Radiospares 

Here is a copy of my order with the RS  stock numbers, you can look up the xxx-yyyy stock numbers on their website,  They have a pretty good manufacturers library you can check whether they are the correct parts fort you.

Your order (stocked products)
* RS Stock No. *     * Qty *     * Unit Price *     * Goods Value *     * Description *
279-9544     10     0.51     5.06     Socket to free end crimped lead,300mm L
279-9162     5     0.12     0.60     4 way receptacle housing,1.25mm pitch
279-9178     5     0.15     0.75     6 way receptacle housing,1.25mm pitch
670-6423     100     0.01     0.80     Crimp terminal,1.25mm, 26-28AWG,reel
Running Total     7.21      Delivery charge:     0.00      VAT     1.26      * Net Order total *     *8.47*   

The 10 pre manufactured sockets and leads were expensive, but the cost of a crimping tool for one job was even more frightening!


12  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Sheevaplug esata not working :( on: September 09, 2010, 08:45:08 AM

I had to think back a year to when I did this!

It looks like all uboot has found is the Kirkwood controller and not the drive itself.

If you are sure that the drive is connected to the Kirwood, (including the 4  capacitors in the serial data lines on the pcb by the sata connector pads) then you could try this:-

I found sometimes  I had to give the sheeva plug sata controller a jolt to get it to start "seeing" the drive

If you get everything connected and in the state where uboot outputs "Integrated Sata device found"

Power the sata drive off and on

do an reset ide  and hopefully you should see:=

Reset IDE:

Marvell Serial ATA Adapter

Integrated Sata device found

[0 1 0]: Enable DMA mode (6)

  Device 1 @ 0 1:

Model: SAMSUNG HM500JI                          Firm: 2AC101C4 Ser#: S1WFJ90S800911     

            Type: Hard Disk

            Supports 48-bit addressing

            Capacity: 476940.0 MB = 465.7 GB (976773168 x 512)

Marvell>> ide info

IDE device 1: Model: SAMSUNG HM500JI                          Firm: 2AC101C4 Ser#: S1WFJ90S800911     

            Type: Hard Disk

            Supports 48-bit addressing

            Capacity: 476940.0 MB = 465.7 GB (976773168 x 512)

Marvell>> ide part

Partition Map for IDE device 1  --   Partition Type: DOS

Partition     Start Sector     Num Sectors     Type

    1        63 97676800283

several people have had problems getting this mod working and every one has been due to either bad connections of the caps or MISSING caps or the ferrite.

best of luck

13  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Sheevaplug esata not working :( on: September 09, 2010, 06:30:18 AM

If you connect a Sata drive to your system, power it up.

Then reset the Sheevaplug and stop in Uboot on the console.

If you do an  ide reset what does Uboot output?


14  General Category / General Discussion / Should a dev kit be unreliable? on: August 30, 2010, 01:29:52 PM

I cannot stay out of this debate any longer. There are too many apologists on this forum for Marvell and Globalscale.  When people complain about the problems with the  Sheeva Plug, the apologists immediately start singing the refrain "Its only a dev kit, dev kits are not reliable" 

This is not the case in the Sheevaplug and the Guruplug.  These devices fail due to shortcomings in the design process.  I have been an electronic design engineer for nearly 50 years and I have seen (and committed)  lots of sins in that time.

When a product is mooted, the marketing people produce a set of goals, what we used to call "design for's" . This goals were prioritised. and would include time to market, production cost,  packaging, performance, environment (operating and non operating) and reliability. These goals were handed to the designers, who went away and scribbled on a fag packet,  they then returned their list to the product manager of what was really possible within the two normally non negotiable parameters which are cost and time to market. By a iteritive process the design, specification etc of the product would reach the design specification stage, to which the design engineer would toil. Bear in mind, if a feature was not in the design spec then the design would not blink an eye, He has enough to do with what is on the list.

When I examine my Sheevaplug (v1.3) it becomes very apparent that the design goals for this product were 1. packaging, 2.  performance  3. cost.  ( not necessarily in that order).

The packaging meets the design goal, A smart "wall wart", nice plastic moulding, clever interchangeability of mains plug types for various countries.

The main pcb is a very nice design and all the features work to specification. It is well engineered and has no ECO wires or apparent changes.

I think that when the designers had acheived the above items , they had either run out of budget or time to finish the job properly.

The first design problem with the Sheeva was the quality of the bought in mains power supply.  Just visually comparing the quality of the main pcb with the power supply pcb reveals the power supply is very cheaply designed and constructed. The pcb is cheap biscuit (FR2) not glass (FR4).  The components are also cheap. They are standard commercial "entertainment" grade devices with a nominal operating temp spec of 0 deg C to  85 deg C. The construction  (components and wires),  positioning and soldering is awful. None of the capacitors in the power supply are rated for use in a switching reg, i.e. they are cheap aluminium electrolytics and not low ESR types as they should have been. These capacitors will fail very quickly.
The problems of the power supply life is further compounded by the high operating temperature the devices operate in.  I have measured the temperature in the power supply at the surface of the filter cap when operating at over 70 deg C.  The life expectancy tables of  cheap aluminium caps at this temperature show around a 200 day life (on 24/7). That is not taking into account additional failures due to high ripple current  on an non "low ESR" capacitor.
It appears that this was the cheapest power supply that could be obtained. WHY? Was there no budget available for a better one or indifference on the part of the product manager?

It is also obvious that there were no proper environmental testing of the product in development, otherwise the designers would have realised that the device does not have enough cooling in the small form factor chosen by the marketeers.   To any designer with any experience, just looking at the devices would raise some doubts, a couple of hours with a thermocouple meter would have proved it.

Why was the product allowed to ship with these defects?  Time to market or "Its only a dev kit, if it burns out it doesn't  matter" philosophy?

In that case why is the main pcb design so very good?

What I am trying to question, is that if Globalscale had spent the same amount of effort on the power supply and on the environmental budget for the devices as they had on the design of the main pcb then the product would have been so much more reliable,  that there would have been no one complaining about Globalscale.

The Sheeva plug is very nearly a quality product, some bad decisions let it down,  but not I believe the fact that it is a dev kit has caused these design failures!

I have not had the opportunity to examine a Guruplug, but reading all the problem posts on this forum, would suggest the device has an extreme heat budget problem, due to the extra features.  The remarks regarding the Sheevaplug could equally apply to the Guruplug.



15  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / My Modified SheevaPlug part II on: August 27, 2010, 02:37:32 AM

I have been thinking for some time about the possibilities of using some of the other unadopted features of the Version 1.3 pcb Sheevaplug, in this case the unused pcb mounted plugs J6 and J7

J6 is a   6 pin plug,                J7 is a 4 pin plug

P1  Gnd                              P1 Gnd
P2  Uart0 RX data                P2 Uart0 RX data
P3  Uart0 TX data                P3 Uart0 TX data
P4  TW SDA                        P4 +3.3V
P6  +3.3V

I have obtained the mating 4 and 6 pin connectors and some precrimped sockets on flying leads from RS components.

I thought I would start with J7  4 way, and try for a serial terminal, albeit without hardware flow control.

Unfortunately the Sheevaplug only has the connections for Uart 0 brought out onto the pcb, Uart 0 is shared by the USB type A debug port so it is impossible to run two physical ttys  at once. Whatever the ttyUSB0 "sees" so will this terminal!

The output of the uart is 3.3V and is DIRECTLY connected to the uart logic in the Marvell SOC, so great care has to be taken not to over volt the SOC.

I purchased from Ebay a very cheap dual  ttl to RS232 level changer. This uses the MAX3232 IC which suports 3.3V logic levels. (A converter which uses MAX232 is NO use, that is 5V logic only)  (Image attached).

I connected the converter to J7 and the serial o/p to my pc's serial port connector.  I set up a putty session for ttyS0 of my pc.  I disconnected the normal ttyUSB, USB serial connection leaving the uboot env parameter set to the normal ttyS0,115,200 and powered up.

It worked, but not perfectly. There was a lot of incorrect characters present on the putty session, but the principle was demonstrated.

I do not know the max baud rate of the serial  port on my pc.   There is a lot of points to investigate, does the elcheapo  digital to RS232 converter run at 115200 baud, is there filter caps throttling the signal, can the Sheevaplu supply both the Uart to USB converter and my serial RS232 converter?  Some 'scoping is required. I will have to change the speed of ttyS0 in the set env to a lower baud rate to see if the error rate improves.

I am not  completely happy doing this work, as I really cannot see  an application for a second serial terminal, since the usb serial port works fine. 

If I had a peripheral that had a RS232 connection AND I could see a way to redirect the console output of the Sheevaplug away from ttyS0,  and direct the application software's I/o to ttyS0 then there may be a point.

What do other SheevaPlug users think? Is there any use for a RS232 serial connection on the Sheevplug?

I have not looked at the other connector (J6) yet. This is obviously designed for a TWI or I2C  bus connection, HOWEVER it still uses Uart0  Rx and Tx data, so the caveats I mentioned above still apply.

I need the advice of someone skilled in Linux to advise me whether on a running system it is possible to change the console output from ttyS0  to another tty, leaving the Uart0 free for the I2C communication with whatever device you need.

OR Is it possible to associate Uart0 with another /dev/tty  by software on a running system?

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