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46  Linux Stuff / General Linux questions / Re: Is there a good high speed hub for the sheevaplug ? on: March 14, 2010, 05:59:50 PM
I've used a D-Link 7-port USB 2.0 powered hub, DUB-H7, for the better part of a year with good results.  It has a 3 amp power supply and I am currently running two USB-powered external drives and a couple prologic serial-to-USB devices.  They all seem to work fine.  I cannot boot from a device on the hub, but I don't know of any hub that the Uboot is capable of booting through.  Once booted, though, Linux has no trouble recognizing the bub and utilizing the devices connected to it.

With all the talk about the wimpy power supplies on the Plugs, if mine dies, I might even try utilizing the D-Link's 5V power brick to power the Plug as well as its USB devices.  Good luck.
47  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Re: [IMPORTANT] Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala *WON'T* work on the sheevaplug on: March 09, 2010, 12:51:41 PM
Probably not, which is why most of the forward looking work is being done on the Debian side.
48  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Communicaton Verification With Sheeva on: March 08, 2010, 04:04:41 PM
Since you were in the process of trying to update the OS when your power failed, I suspect you do not have a good uImage (kernel) on your Plug.  It probably contains a partially loaded one.

Do you have a /dev/ttyUSB1 that appears and disappears along with the /dev/ttyUSB0 entry?  This is the console device.  If it is present, connect to it with Putty, and then hit the reset on your Plug.  (If you power cycle it, you'll have to quickly reconnect with Putty.)  See if you see any Uboot output on /dev/ttyUSB1.  If so, your Uboot is intact, but it is probably failing when it tries to load the uImage.  If not, that is hosed too.

If the Uboot is intact, you can probably reload your uImage either by booting from a thumb drive or by doing a net boot.  There are wiki articles that describe how to do this.

If the Uboot is not intact, or you just want to start from scratch, you can use one of the Sheeva Installers to get back to a known good load.  These use the JTAG hardware to reflash the NAND memory with a known-good Uboot, Uboot environment, uImage, and root file system.  The one I used last can be found here.  I think rooster also has one in beta testing, but I'm not sure if it has been released yet, so I'll let him comment if he wants to.  Personally, I would run one of the Installers and be done with it - unless you have some things you need to save, to me that would seem the easiest approach for bringing your Plug back to life.

Good luck and let us know how you fare.
49  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Communicaton Verification With Sheeva on: March 04, 2010, 10:27:30 AM
It's also unclear whether you are running PuTTY from a Unix environment or from Windows.  Further, it not clear what you are trying to use PuTTY for.    (PuTTY is normally used to talk to the Sheeva's console via a serial port reflected through the USB connection.  However, the JTAG interface is also reflected through this connection, and your comments about accepting commands and pinging sort of imply you are trying to access the latter, although I think PuTTY is inappropriate to this task.)

First, have you set up your USB configuration correctly on the host?  Have you reviewed the following:

After the Plug is booted, the console should present a Login prompt to PuTTY.  What device are you requesting PuTTY connect to?  What serial port parameters are you configuring PuTTY to use?  Note that the speed should be 115200 baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bits in PuTTY.

In short, we need more information to assist you.
50  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: new release on: February 25, 2010, 02:28:40 PM
I just created a password for another user on my Plug, which is running cbxbiker61's kernel, and I can su at will:
$ uname -a
Linux sheeva #1 PREEMPT Sat Jan 23 04:10:40 MST 2010 armv5tel GNU/Linux
$ su x10
$ id
uid=1099(x10) gid=1099(x10) groups=1099(x10)
$ ^D
$ id
uid=1100(res) gid=1100(res) groups=1100(res)
$ su
root@sheeva:/home/res# su x10
$ id
uid=1099(x10) gid=1099(x10) groups=1099(x10)
$ ^D
root@sheeva:/home/res# id
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)
root@sheeva:/home/res# exit
$ id
uid=1100(res) gid=1100(res) groups=1100(res)
FWIW, I'm using the root filesystem that came with the alpha-6 SheevaPlug installer.

51  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: GuruPlug versus SheevaPlug on: February 25, 2010, 02:06:22 PM
Is the console on a GuruPlug accessible without the JTAG module?  I would suspect so, but on the SheevaPlug they do share a common USB connection.
52  Linux Stuff / General Linux questions / Re: SSH, su, adduser do not work on debian on: February 24, 2010, 03:04:26 PM
I don't run Debian (yet), but wrt /bin/su being broken (and maybe some of the other problems you mention), on an earlier version of the Plug, someone had left the SUID bit unset on the /bin/su command, along with several others.  Perhaps this is the case on the Debian load, too?
53  General Category / Application ideas and development Q/A / Re: Sheevaplug as dvb-t recorder with mythtv on: February 22, 2010, 03:28:21 PM
FWIW, I have an HDHomeRun tuner, and I'm using my Plug to store broadcasts for later viewing.  I am not using MythTV, but rather software that came with the HDHomeRun unit, mated with some shellscripts and CRON, to record the programming to a USB drive.  I export the drive contents using NFS and watch the programs remotely on another PC with VLC.  It works quite well.  I can record a show while watching another without problems.  One nice thing about this configuration is that, unlike commercial DVRs, I can save and watch the programming in hi-def.  A full 1080i broadcast takes up about 6 GB/hr.

Since MythTV knows about HDHomeRun tuners, I suspect the Plug will work well in this configuration as a MythTV backend.  Good luck.
54  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: SheevaPlug USB Power Supply problems. Can it Drive a USB Ext Disk? on: February 19, 2010, 11:42:02 PM
Hi superpat,
FWIW, I agree with you on the spin-up current; mainly I'm just surprised a drive would exceed the USB2 power specs by that amount.  I think, technically, all USB devices need to come up in a low-power mode and then negotiate with the USB2 controller before attemping to draw more than 100ma.  The controller can always shut a device down if it exceeds 100ma, or 500ma if it has negotiated a high-power profile, but practically I suspect that most, including the Plug, don't do so;  they just attempt to supply the necessary power to the load.  (I do wonder what such a load, even for a relatively short duration, does to the voltage supplied to the processor, though.)

I also agree with you that most capacitor failures are due to either Capacitor Plague or not paying attention to ESR issues in the design.  I've brought several computers and monitors back to life by replacing the obviously bulged caps.  Someone did post a picture of their PS recently with some gunk covering several components.  It was unclear if the gunk was simply excessive glue that was dribbled over the components during the manufacturing process or the remnants of an exploded capacitor.  If the former, it appeared that it had been subjected to a lot of heat.  If the latter, it appeared to be from a component above the PS board, and not one of the PS components itself.

In any event, based on what I've seen here and elsewhere, I've come to consider the Plug's PS a relatively delicate component, and have personally taken some pains not to subject it to excessive current demand.  I look forward to hearing what you find, both thermally and electrically, when you stress-test your Plug's PS.
55  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: SheevaPlug USB Power Supply problems. Can it Drive a USB Ext Disk? on: February 18, 2010, 04:10:17 PM
An interesting and informative post, superpat.  Thanks.

The 1000ma spin-up current you mention as typical is outside of the limits for USB2.0 supplied power, but I don't doubt many of the USB-powered hard drives want more amps than what is called for in the USB specs.  Mine offers an "optional" (not supplied) USB cord that plugs from the drive into two USB ports, apparently to resolve the case where one port is not be able to provide sufficient power.

I suspect your assessment is probably correct -- that the Plug's power supply is not designed for the load required by an external USB powered drive.  Unfortunately, there is probably no circuit in the Plug to limit the power provided to the USB port.  I use a powered hub with mine, and so far it has worked well.  (I'm actually running two USB powered drives from it as I type this.)

Unfortunately, at the current juncture, it appears that USB-powered hard drives are a catch-22:  I know of no one who has been successful at reliably booting from a HD attached to the Plug through a hub, and if you attach a USB-powered drive directly, the Plug will be providing the power.  That's one of the reasons I've elected to stay with an SDcard for my Plug's root FS.

Perhaps the eSATA port offered on one of the next generation of Plugs, the GuruPlug Server Plus, will offer a solution to these problems, although with 2 or 3 separate USB ports now brought out, if they haven't beefed up their power supply, I suspect it will make such PS failures even more prevalent.
56  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Dead SD Card after 3 weeks : caused by Sheevaplug or something else? on: February 18, 2010, 09:03:11 AM
Another data point:  I use a generic 16GB SDcard I purchased from MicroCenter.  It has been in continuous use on my Plug since last June, and is still running.  I've had two events in the last month that may signal it is beginning to fail -- Plug essentially dead except for "bad block" messages spewing on the console every couple of seconds -- but power cycling and/or reseating the card has brought it back to life.  I've done nothing special to minimize system writes to the card, except to make my root file system ext2 -- indeed, I even keep my home directory on it -- but I have moved the heavily IO intensive stuff off to a USB hard drive.

Just out of curiosity, how to you all measure your IO to the SDcard?  The best way I've found is to examine /proc/diskstats:
$ grep mmcblk0p1 /proc/diskstats
 179       1 mmcblk0p1 4574 227 156788 32200 1708 426 41344 1628880 0 131840 1661070
(possibly substituting another partition for mmcblk0p1 if you don't use your card's first partition)

Here's how to interpret the numbers:
Field 1 -- # of reads issued
Field 2 -- # of reads merged
Field 3 -- # of sectors read
Field 4 -- # of milliseconds spent reading
Field 5 -- # of writes completed
field 6 -- # of writes merged
Field 7 -- # of sectors written
Field 8 -- # of milliseconds spent writing
Field 9 -- # of I/Os currently in progress
Field 10 -- # of milliseconds spent doing I/Os
Field 11 -- weighted # of milliseconds spent doing I/Os
On my systems, I average a write every 45 seconds.  YMMV.
57  General Category / Success stories / Re: Managing a USB hard drive on the Plug on: February 17, 2010, 06:50:41 PM
I can't speak for Debian (although I'm sure I'll move to it eventually), but I have placed the script after checkroot.sh and mtab.sh, and before all the cryptdisk config scripts, here.  Actually, it is at S25 under my current Ubuntu.  I don't use cryptodisks, but I'd suspect the USB subsystem would have to be active prior to mounting any such disks if I did.
58  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Trouble building module for x10 cm19a on: February 16, 2010, 10:14:04 PM
I currently have an X10 CM11a (serial to power-line transceiver/controller) hanging off my Plug, through a serial-to-USB cord.  It works fine.  I use a highly modified version of Dan Lanciani's x10d program to interface to it.  With Cron and a series of shell scripts, I have pretty much all the computerized control I desire.  If anyone has an interest, I'd be happy to describe this in more detail or share my program with you.

I have a CM19a (serial to RF transceiver) laying around here somewhere, but have never done anything with it.  The CM15a (USB to power line transceiver) came along after I had moved on to other things, so I've never looked into it.  Is it just a CM11a with a USB instead of serial backend?  Does it have all the functionality of the CM11a?  Any extra functionality?

I'm sure you've already discovered this web page, but for everyone's benefit, here's some good info on using the CM15a with Linux:

Good luck and keep us informed.
59  Linux Stuff / General Linux questions / Re: Newbie Linux Questions on: February 13, 2010, 02:31:36 PM
First of all, say im on SSH, doing some stuff to my sheevaplug, and i want to copy a 1.5tb hard drive to another.
If i send the command to do it, and i close SSH will the copy process be terminated too? If so, is there a way i can send the command to the sheevaplug so it carrys on after i disconnect?
Generally speaking, yes, it will terminate.  There are several options that allow you to run a command outside of your current session.  Check out the "nohup" and "at" commands.  "nohup your-backup-command &" may cause your ssh session to hang when you try to log off, but it should allow the command to continue.  "echo your-backup-command | at now" is also a possibility if you have the right packages loaded.  YMMV.

Also, i get about 7mbs when i transfer between USB devices, is there any way to speed this up? It seems very slow. Id expect about 20mbs if this was on a pc... so can i get anywhere close to that?
What command are you using?
60  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Is my sheevaplug dead ??? on: February 13, 2010, 09:41:44 AM
I think my power supply is dead :S
(see attached picture). There seems to be melted stuff all over the place... Is this normal ? ? ?
I can't figure out which component melted and how could it spread like this.
It's either glue or something that has failed catastrophically.  If it is not glue, it almost looks as if the culprit may have been located above the one that you photographed, venting violently downward and outward in a V-shaped pattern.  When your Plug is reassembled, what component is located over what would be the lower left hand side of the board in the picture you took?

What is the consistency of the gunk?  Is it hard (like hardened glue) or can it be wiped off?  If it's hard, it may well just be excess glue from the manufacturing process, and the fact that it is darkened in places indicates the components have gotten fairly hot.

Without any other explanation, I might well buy into your theory that an excessive load on the USB port caused the supply to overheat.  Good luck with your diagnosis and repair.  It would be nice we could order a PS replacement, wouldn't it?
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