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1  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: GuruPlug Server Plus Heat Problems on: May 27, 2010, 09:22:02 AM
Is a fan really required? Isn't it enough to replace the internal power supply with an external power brick like with the sheevaplugs?

I haven't received my GP yet (ordered a few months ago) but I am getting a bit worried about these neverending overheating problems. Being a fan-less solution was a big part of the device's appeal for me, and it would defeat the point to add a fan in there!

Thanks for the picture and fan links. The fan is excellent. Make sure you think about air flow and ducting. Smashing the fan between the heatplate and PS shield with no airflow gap won't help much. Make sure there is a path for the air to flow.  If you could get the fan to suck air from the existing bottom case vents and blow it against the heatshield with the exhaust air flowing directly out of the case along the sides, that would be ideal. Doug
2  Linux Stuff / Linux distributions / Re: Guruplug: Which distribution is/will be shipped? on: May 14, 2010, 02:52:03 AM
Did you receive your shipment? I pre-ordered a guruplug server a few months back with you and haven't had any update since.

We received a delivery update from Globalscale last night, this tells us that our shipment will be leaving China next week; this is sent over to Hong Kong then onto the UK by air. With previous orders once we are informed that the shipment has left China it normally takes about 7 days to get to us. But as I am sure most of us are aware of the disruption the volcano has caused the airlines, there maybe a small delay whilst they are clearing the backlog of freight being sent by air.
Once we have confirmation of the flight leaving Hong Kong we can then announce a firm delivery date to ourselves and therefore a despatch date for all orders.

Many thanks for you patience.

3  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Sheevaplug - e-SATA vs. USB 2.0 & Encryption question on: April 18, 2010, 05:55:26 AM
The practical transfer rate limit of GB Ethernet is likely to be around 50-70MB/s and more often than not, 20-30MB/s depending on your switch/cables/etc...

The plug has a hardware encryption chipset but so far I don't think anything is really using it (and in particular Truecrypt or dmcrypt). I get about 5-10MB/s with dmcrypt on a USB2 disk with my sheevaplug. I got about 5MB/s with some tests with truecrypt as well. Maybe it would be slightly faster with eSata but I don't think it would be significant (haven't seen any bench about this yet though)

If I would buy the e-SATA version of the Sheevaplug and connect it to a 1GBit router and e-SATA hard drive I will get a theoretically transfer rate of 125MB/s from the Sheevaplug to my Desktop computer since the bottle neck is the 1GBit router. I was fine with the idea but then I read this benchmark: http://computingplugs.com/index.php/SheevaPlug_Performance#Network_Performance
If my interpretation is correct - the bottleneck is not the 1GBit router but the CPU of the Sheevaplug which will not allow a transfer rate above ~25MB/s.
So an USB 2.0 version and an USB 2.0 HDD would do the job (and save me some money). Can anybody confirm that the Sheevaplug is limited to less then 30MB/s over LAN?

Besides I'm interested in encrypting my data. I found the Western Digital My Book Essential with hardware encryption. Since it is hardware encryption it should not effect the CPU of the Sheevaplug to decrypt the data. The problem is you need the Western Digital Tool to "mount" the hard drive and after I wrote an e-mail to the support they confirmed there is no linux version of the software. Is there alternative software which can "mount" the hard drive without the Western Digital Tool?
If not - what is the performance of software encryption and which software do you use? TrueCrypt, Loop-AES?

Thanks in advance.
4  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Is my sheevaplug dead ??? on: March 15, 2010, 09:45:57 AM
I used the 5V/2.5A power supply that comes with this dlink hub which is about the same price in the UK as the Conrad's supply on its own (but only 2.5A instead of 3A):


It uses the same connector as yours, or some wires and electrical tape Smiley

I had exactly the same problem with my Sheevaplug. I repaired mine with an external 5V/3A power supply and a fitting connector.


Power Supply:

5  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Is my sheevaplug dead ??? on: March 11, 2010, 05:54:59 PM
Wow! The capacitor in your SP actually exploded... Mine was a subtle leakage like the pictures posted earlier in this thread (not so obvious to detect)

So here is another one... Embarrassed

My plug was down last December, I have a little bit of time today to open it up, only to find that I'm another victim of this low-quality power supply...

6  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Globalscale Technologie's one year warranty on: March 09, 2010, 05:30:45 AM
I think this would make a nice cheapish XBMC box: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/167153

It not 100% silent though (HD + fan) and it draws more power than the plug (~30W vs 5 to 10W)

I don't think I will ever buy anything from GlobalScale again, and will recommend against them to others. It's two weeks, tomorrow, since I first tried contacting them.

But that doesn't help me now. I want to get up and running again cheaply, and buying a BeagleBoard is out of what I can afford. (I would wait for a A9 version and the ARM XBMC port anyway, then it would double as the perfect media pc).

A external power supply does seam nicer anyway.

I'm hoping the only slightly dangerous bit is removing the old power unit. I then fit/make a port and hook a transformer of the current required to that port. Need to read more about this before I do it.

7  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Globalscale Technologie's one year warranty on: March 09, 2010, 04:00:06 AM
I agree with what you're saying and I think this problem will eventually become big enough that GlobalScale won't be able to ignore it publicly, but it'll take more people to complain. I have a guruplug pre-ordered with NewIT and I asked them about the power supply problems, they told me this:

"We have been speaking to Globalscale about this very issue/concern, and they assure us that the power supply in the new Guru is up to standard."

I'm still a bit doubtful about GlobalScale's claims... And does that mean they admit there's a problem?

Regarding the warranty, I think it's fair to say that plugging in an external HD shouldn't damage the power supply under any circumstances. If it was a known problem they could have made the USB output unpowered to avoid any issues (or used a better capacitor!) - On the other hand maybe our plugs were just part of an "unlucky" batch... In any case the warranty should still apply.

Personnally I prefer having an external power supply anyway (I found the plug was way too hot with the internal one)

About safety, I avoided touching any bare wire/solder joint when I removed the power supply. The wire that goes from the supply to the plug board can be cut without danger (you'll need to cut it to avoid having to buy a new small power connector for the board)

How can I possibly tell if it's cheap capacitors, a problem the SheevaPlug seams plagued with, or harddisk spin up draw that killed it? Because one I can legitimately claim under warranty, the other I cannot. It does look like the WD passport HD requires 1000mA at spin up. It seems quite possible that the failure is due to both problems. However, the disk seamed to very rarely spin down, so that surely would mean that spin up draw wouldn't be the issue.

I did ring NewIT and they did say I should be talking to Globalscale Technologies. I spoke to a nice guy who clearly knew his stuff, and was running the exact same setup as me without issue. He stated they had only one other unit failure outside the 30 day period. I also cc NewIT in on the email to Globalscale Technologies, but they email me back asked to be removed. Globalscale Technologies as I said, have never got back to me.

Logically it would seem my best bet is to just break the imaginary warranty and fix the power unit myself. Even if I could get a replacement, and externally power the WD, it still possible it will fail again as there does appear to be a power unit issue. But morally what really eats at me, is they would be getting away not respecting their warranty, which is immoral let alone illegal. Though I'm not sure I care enough to do more than bad mouth Globalscale Technologies to anyone who asks me. Like most of us, I'm a bit of a nerd, and work with other nerds, have many nerds friends, and it's nerds who buy these things, so turning me against them will lose them at least some sales (plus the sales those sales could have generated). It's a real shame.

So moving on, as I think the Globalscale Technologies warranty is worthless. The lights of SheevaPlug no longer flash, or do anything, when it's plugged in. Does this mean I'm less likely to fry myself playing with the power unit? I can see the worried look on my wife's face already. I want my server back. I'm not buying another, and don't have the spare money anyway, and if I did, I would now get a BeagleBoard.

8  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Globalscale Technologie's one year warranty on: March 08, 2010, 05:11:19 PM
In my case, the plug was only powering some LEDs on the USB hub I had connected to it, and the disks connected to the hub were all mains-powered.

I'm guessing that eventually a lot of sheevaplugs will end up having problems with dodgy caps in the power supply, USB load or not... Not the first time that it happens in the computer world Sad

If you connected an HD via a single USB, with no external power to the HD, the Plug's PSU dying is pretty much your fault. We agree the Plug should, like everyone else, be able to handle out-of-norm HD spin-up power requirements, but they don't, and though it's idiotic, it's their right.
9  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Globalscale Technologie's one year warranty on: March 08, 2010, 11:11:09 AM

Unfortunately the dead power supply problem seems quite common: http://plugcomputer.org/plugforum/index.php?topic=1318.0

I also bought my sheevaplug from GS before NewIT started selling them in the UK with a 1 year warranty so I don't think it's under warranty anymore, and anyway it wouldn't be worth sending it back to the US...

The good news is that this problem is relatively easy to fix if you have an external 5V power supply (they come with a lot of gadgets or can be bought in electronic shops cheaply) - Read the thread above for more info.


10  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Is my sheevaplug dead ??? on: March 07, 2010, 02:16:04 PM

My sheevaplug just died a couple of days ago, with pretty much the same symptoms: starting with blinking ethernet light (and even disrupting my router causing lots of packet loss for all the machines on my LAN!) and eventually dying completely with blinking power light.

The only thing the USB plug was powering were some LEDs on the USB hub connected to it (the HDs connected to the hub were self-powered)

When I unplugged the plug, the lights carried on blinking for 30 seconds, so it was definitely looking like a capacitor problem. I opened the plug and saw the same mess as the picture posted in this thread.

I'll probably rig something with an old 5V power supply later but right now I'm wondering if I should cancel a previous pre-order for a guruplug if they're going to have the same crappy power supply...

A lot of people are having the same problem so hopefully this will be fixed in the next plugs!

EDIT: Just rigged a 5V/2.5A external power supply and the (franken-)plug is back online...
11  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: Kernel 2.6.32 Crypto on: January 19, 2010, 03:24:50 PM
Do you use dm_crypt on a USB disk?

Can you try this quick benchmark:

echo write command 500 MB:
sync; time sh -c "dd if=/dev/zero of=./test bs=1000k count=500; sync"
echo read command:
sync; time sh -c "dd if=./test of=/dev/null; sync"
rm ./test

I get about 10Mbytes/s read/write on a dm_crypt USB hard disk ext3 partition with hardware encryption (5Mbytes/s with no hardware support and 30Mbytes/s with no encryption at all)

I have hardware crypto with dm_crypt, but that's it. Have not bothered going for anything more as it's the only thing i really use a lot.

12  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Gimme a button to unmount on: January 08, 2010, 07:34:59 AM
I don't know if you can do that with autofs, but maybe it's possible to call an external script when the drive is auto-unmounted. This script could change the LED to report the drive mount status.
Or if you're not in a hurry you could run that script from a cronjob every minute (not great but cheaper than a hardware solution)

Another possibility: what about plugging in a cheap USB mouse (you'll need a USB hub too of course) and map one of the buttons to call the unmount+LED check script? I have no idea how you can remap mouse buttons to call a program without being logged in but it's probably possible without too much hacking...

I already use autofs for automounting.

Besides I find the unmount feature in autofs pretty insecure. The manual says, the HDD gets unmounted when itīs not used. So before I plug off the USB-HDD I must know if it is already in mounted or unmounted state;

Now that is a point I didn't consider: I must have something like a feedback from the plug if the unmount procedure has succeeded (sometimes it is not possible to unmount a HDD). I think flashing one of the LEDs would be the right thing...

So it should look like: press button to unmount; wait some secs; if the blue LED is blinking longer than 5 seconds the unmount procedure succeeded; the USB-HDD can be now removed from the USB port.

13  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Gimme a button to unmount on: January 08, 2010, 05:03:18 AM
I regularly have to unmount my external 500GB USB-harddisk before I can pull it out safely. This means I must switch on my notebook, login with ssh onto the sheevaplug, unmount and shut down the notebook.
I want the Sheevaplug to have a button so I just have to push this button, the harddrive gets unmounted and I can pull it out safely. Unfortunately there is no such button Wink .

Anyone here who maybe solved it another way ? Is there a possibility to reconfigure the reset button ?

Any help is appreciated !


Maybe auto-mounting/unmounting your USB drive with autofs would help?

More info here: http://wiki.debian.org/AutoFs
14  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: crypto accelaration on: September 30, 2009, 05:52:44 AM
How do you successfully set up an encrypted disk on one of the modern kernels, theblop?  Every time I try to use cryptsetup I get a NULL pointer dereference error.  Right now, I'd be delighted to get 5MB/sec to an encrypted FS.

(FWIW, I notice that most Ubuntus have a loadable aes module, but this seems lacking on the kernels provided here.)


I compiled the latest orion kernel (http://git.marvell.com/?p=orion.git;a=summary) which has all the Marvell patches, including hardware crypto (as long as you specify CRYPTO_DEV_MV_CESA=y or m in the kernel config) and I get about 10MB/s read/write on a usb2 hard disk, which is about 3 times slower than unencrypted but still better than the 5MB/s I got without hardware support.

The CESA module will also be in mainline 2.6.32.
15  Linux Stuff / Kernel / Re: 2.6.31 new release on: September 29, 2009, 11:28:57 AM
# write test
sync && dd if=/dev/zero of=./test bs=1000k count=500
500+0 records in
500+0 records out
512000000 bytes (512 MB) copied, 67.3066 s, 7.6 MB/s

# read test
sync && dd if=./test of=/dev/null && rm ./test
1000000+0 records in
1000000+0 records out
512000000 bytes (512 MB) copied, 61.8155 s, 8.3 MB/s

Thanks, it looks promising! I'll try compiling the 2.6.31 orion kernel and see what I get with my hard disk.

Ok I compiled 2.6.31 from the latest orion tree with CONFIG_CRYPTO_DEV_MV_CESA=y and got about twice the speed:

write 500 MB:
512000000 bytes (512 MB) copied, 57.3278 s, 8.9 MB/s
512000000 bytes (512 MB) copied, 45.0345 s, 11.4 MB/s

About 3 times slower as without encryption, but it'll do for my backups!
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