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76  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: Booting from SD card on: April 29, 2009, 07:26:43 PM
I just finished SD/SDHC support in u-boot-3.4.16 (marvell version).
It works well and performace was resionable (fatload 3MB about 2 seconds).
I've posted this job in this forum with file attachement (I could'nt see my post myself yet. Is there some delay for a new post?).

Did you use the attachment menu exposed under the link "Additional Options..."?  If so, can you describe what happened?  If you cannot remember, could you try again and then describe what is returned so the moderators can fix address and hopefully fix that attachment facility.
77  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: USB Hubs on: April 28, 2009, 05:36:53 PM
It looks like a very careful assessment of the USB capabilties may be in order.  The USB link can be a critical part of a SheevaPlug set up, and if USB components have a variance either in meeting specifications and/or performance, then these facts should be considered when attaching a USB device to the SheevaPlug.  I've been working under the assumption that if a product says it meets USB 2.0 specifications, then everything should work?

Well, a read of http://www.linux-usb.org/FAQ.html has caused me to wonder if I should scrutinize the specifications of USB devices.  For instance:

First, you need to know what kind of USB "Host Controller" hardware you have. Mainstream hardware has one of three kinds, named after the hardware register-level "Host Controller Interface" (HCI) they implement. ...

"Universal" HCI (UHCI) ... doesn't do very much in hardware, which makes the software do more work (and need more memory)
"Open" HCI (OHCI)... does quite a bit more of USB in hardware.
"Enhanced" HCI (EHCI)... the only kind used to talk to high speed devices.

As I indicated in my initial posting, mixing the Targus Hub with a Verbatim thumb drive caused problems.  I've learned Verbatim sells a USB hub (# 95258); however, they do not certify it for Linux.  I have pending an inquiry with Verbatim's customer support asking for an explanation of why they do not certify their drive for Linux.  My thought in buying a Verbatim hub was I might finesse the problem I previously experience by using the same manufacturer's, i.e. Verbatim, components on the hope that they play nicely together.

I'm guessing that a hub has to be a traffic coordinator among its children and the device it is attached to.  I can imagine how problems could arise if everyone doesn't use the same protocol and/or have compatible specifications.  Add to that, the design of the kernel's device driver.

For reference, here's what I found that relates to the USB interface in the 1.0 documentionation,  SheevaPlug Development Kit - Reference Design-Rev. 1.0.pdf:

Figure 1.7: Block Diagram (sheet 10/21) has "Usb 2.0 with Phy interface"

Section 2.8 Drive Connection
USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 are supported

3.4.3 USB 2.0

88F6281 contains a Universal Serial Bus 2.0 port includes an embedded USB 2.0 PHY. The USB interface can support either Host or Device mode. The SheevaPlug design supports HOST mode only. There is no strapping provided by the SheevaPlug board to switch between HOST or DEVICE USB mode.  USB 2.0 port feature 480 Mbps, 12Mbpsm and 1.5Mbps data rate; bit stuff error detection, NRZ bit stuffing, and built in FS/HS termination signaling.

Am I over-analyzing here?  If people have attached hubs and have not had problems, it would be helpful to so indicate.  The lack of response to my initial posting has me wondering if people are not using hubs.

As an aside, I was looking at Corsair's 64 GB thumb drive (Model CMFUSBHC-64GB) on NewEgg's web site and read an interesting comment:

It seems many people don't understand that when transferring Data directly from a USB to USB it's going to be slow regardless what the Flash drive capacity is. My Best advice to you will be to go from Flash Drive to HDD to Flash Drive you will drastically reduce your transfer time. Example: 14gigs of data on a USB Drive would have taken me 3+ hrs transferring directly to USB Drive. It actually took 20 mins Total (12 mins from USB Drive to HDD then 8 mins HDD to USB Drive) . Understand that going from USB to USB is not a ideal way of transferring data.
78  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Re: Use Gentoo? on: April 27, 2009, 10:57:29 AM
Yup, I did the same.  In fact, I think I was the guinea pig for that very HowTo posted at the Gentoo site -- it was especially remarkable that an older version specified that one would use GIT to pull a build off of Marvell's site, I ran into problems using GIT through our company's firewall, and without fanfare on Friday night the author revised the HowTo providing steps on pulling the kernel via emerge.  That worked and I was up and running.

I approached this investigation thinking I would document every step, but as I ran into problems, my documentation was abandoned as I was resolved just to get the plug to do what I wanted.   Mine's going to be a server, too, but I'd like to have the ability/luxury of a KDE desktop, at least having Emacs in an X windows session on my Windows box.  I'm really just curious on what the limitations are in using SheevaPlug, but the fact that it only draws a few watts and is completely silent has me thinking this should replace my existing server.
79  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / USB Hubs on: April 27, 2009, 10:41:11 AM
See "Update" below; here is the original posting:

-- start of original posting --
I used a Targus hub ("Targus hub") [not powered] and interposed it between my SheevaPlug and my Verbatim 16 GB thumb drive.  The SheevaPlug constantly reset when the Targus hub was in the chain; at first I figured it was my software and problem with date/time, but I'm now convinced they were not the culprit.  I have since removed the Targus hub and the SheevaPlug, running Gentoo 2.6.30_rc1, has not had a single reset for well over a week.

So, I do not know if the problem I experienced with the hub is hardware related, or software related.  Can others reply with their experiences of using a hub, please indicate your model number and whether it is self-powered?

I'm guessing a hub that provides it's own power may be a better choice so that there are not possible voltage drops.  I'm planning on returning the Targus hub to Office Depot and buying a powered hub.

Maybe having a hub between a thumb drive and the SheevaPlug introduces delays and/or wait states that triggers a crash?

The hub is a Targus brand, specifically Targus Micro Travel USB 2.0 4-port hub purchased at Office Depot, model ACH63US, Item No. 10, Serial No. 0811000833. 

-- end of original posting --

Update 4/30/2009 6:18 p.m. PDT

I've been running my plug at work without a USB HUB; however, I have had the serial connector to my laptop (Dell 620) on it and I've found I've been getting resets, again.  I just realized, when I had the plug at home for two weeks where my SheevaPlug ran uninterrupted, the SheevaPlug was running without being connected via a serial connector, all of my access way via network.  So, it is likely that the problems I was experiencing were related to the continuous attachment of the serial cable from my laptop to the SheevaPlug.  I'm running the plug now without the serial cable connected and so far no resets.  Given nobody else is reporting problems with the hubs, I think the concern now should be directed at the stability of having the serial cable connected all the time.

Update 5/4/2009 5:12 a.m. PDT

I've been running my plug at home with the Targus bus and without the serial port connection since Thursday night and I have not had a crash; that's 72 hours up and running.  I've added to the hub a 2nd Verbatim 32 GB drive (my 16 GB drive max'd out when trying some Oracle products) and all is well.

Conclusion the hub was not causing the problem I had -- the serial interface connected to my Dell laptop seems to have to been the problem.
80  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Use Gentoo? on: April 27, 2009, 08:14:28 AM
I'm slogging through installing Gentoo on the SheevaPlug, using this HowTo


as my starter guide.  I'd like to know if there are others doing what I am doing so a collaboration on various install issues might be pursued.

For example, I finally got Xterm working with my windows PuTTY so now I have as many consoles of the SheevaPlug on my Windows XP desktop as I want using "xterm &" in the main console.  It turned out my Xming configuration was blocking connections and I didn't know about the Xming log feature (not well documented) that quickly identified the problem.  Someone else going through this could save time, but it takes time to document this stuff and if I'm alone, there's not much point.

So, I created this poll to see who else is out there . If you voted that you have built your own (2.6.30_rc1 or better), please contact me directly.

81  General Category / Application ideas and development Q/A / Re: Java on Gentoo? on: April 26, 2009, 10:35:37 PM
Can you be a little more specific?  I haven't tackled that, yet.

What kernel are you using?  What version of Java?
82  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Let's cut to the chase: does the SheevaPlug have bad flash memory? on: April 16, 2009, 06:53:53 AM
Using Gentoo 2.6.30-rc1 I get:

NAND device: Manufacturer ID: 0xad, Chip ID: 0xdc (Hynix NAND 512MiB 3,3V 8-bit)
Scanning device for bad blocks
Bad eraseblock 785 at 0x000006220000
Bad eraseblock 949 at 0x0000076a0000
Bad eraseblock 1135 at 0x000008de0000
Bad eraseblock 1297 at 0x00000a220000
Bad eraseblock 1791 at 0x00000dfe0000
Bad eraseblock 1831 at 0x00000e4e0000
Bad eraseblock 1982 at 0x00000f7c0000
Creating 3 MTD partitions on "orion_nand":
0x000000000000-0x000000100000 : "u-boot"
0x000000100000-0x000000500000 : "uImage"
0x000000500000-0x000020000000 : "root"

Is this normal?  Should I continue to monitor it and save the results looking for changes?
83  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Clock working? on: April 15, 2009, 10:09:18 PM
Is there a hardware clock on the SheevaPlug?   Using Gentoo 2.6.30_rc1:

plug1 ~ # hwclock --show
Timed out waiting for time change.
plug1 ~ #

The SheevaPlug Development Kit Reference Design Rev 1.0 (I know this is superceded) references on page 10 a RTC battery, I'm guessing this means "Real Time Clock".

I'm looking at  time programs such as   htpdate (See http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Time_synchronisation ).
84  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: My SheevaPlug is very unstable on: April 15, 2009, 10:00:48 PM
I've been experiencing lots of crashes.  I installed Gentoo on a Verbatim 16 GB USB plug through a Targus 4-port hub.  I determined that the USB port needs about 15 seconds to establish itself at boot, so I have a boot delay of 15 seconds in my loader. 

I had a problem with date/time being set to 2017, that may have been contributing to the crash.  I've changed all the access/modify times of all files dated ahead of today.  Will see if that causes the crashes to lessen.  If this were a regular computer, I'd return it, but I appreciate we're on the cutting edge here and I had to install a development kernel (2.6.30_rc1) from Gentoo.  So many variables, but I'm sticking with it to see what can be ironed out.

Update (4/18/2009):
My crashes were occurring when I took my server to work (Imagine that... taking one's server to and from work) and I was using the Targus Micro Travel USB 2.0 hub [not powered] between my Verbatim 16 GB thumb drive and the SheevaPlug.  At home, now, I removed the Targus hub and just plugged the Verbatim thumb drive directly into the USB port and the SheevaPlug has been running reliably for that last 48 hours... I've been installing fun stuff like Xwindows, Xterm (neither of which I have working, yet, but they did compile and install okay), and MediaWiki and Twiki.  I think my problem may have been related to the Targus hub and/or being in a corporate network where security access routines may have been trying to dominate my server.
85  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Re: Gentoo Support on: April 15, 2009, 09:51:20 PM
I have Gentoo running, all from the USB (16GB) thumb drive. 

I used Windows (PuTTY) to connect, I did not have to use another Linux box.  The instructions changed last Friday evening at


where they first had you using GIT to Marvell's repository; now the kernel is obtained from vanilla sources using emerge.  This was a breakthrough as the GIT to Marvells was not working (see my posts at:


Sadly, I am experiencing unscheduled reboots, and I had forgotten to manually set the date/time at start up and had files dated 2017.  I create a perl script to change any future dated files back 11 years and I'm in the process of testing the system's stability. 

Still haven't worked out the time clock, I'll post separately about that issue.
86  Linux Stuff / General Linux questions / Date-Time on: April 15, 2009, 12:10:08 PM
I haven't looked carefully in the documention as to whether there is a stored clock setting, but I'm finding that between boots, if I do not set the date/time, I end up the base year 1948.   Somehow, I must have entered in the date format incorrectly (Gentoo) and have files now set for year 2016, I think those files having future timestamps is raising havoc and causing my system to suddenly reboot.
87  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: SD card support on: April 13, 2009, 11:00:49 PM
I tried a SDHC card and it worked fine.  It is found as /dev/mmcblk0p1  so you can mount it with:

Whoot! Now, to move all logging and other stuff there and see if it survives a reboot. I have to admit, I am not real impressed with how the card lugs into the unit. I also have to remember that this slot will not be available on a "retail" version (if say, I ever go into making one of these a product).

Where did you read that the SD slot will not be available on the "retail" version?
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