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Author Topic: Another dead one?  (Read 3449 times)
jbauer
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« on: August 23, 2010, 03:56:16 PM »

I have a SheevaPlugDevKit - in June.  Was sorta working.  Had to re-boot it 4 or 5 times over the last few weeks.  Now, no IP address, no communications via USB plug.  Seems dead.

Sound typical?  Am I dead in the water?

- Thanx
- Jon
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c128
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 06:59:47 AM »

Sound typical?  Am I dead in the water?

Bit hard to say from your description.
What are the lights doing (if anything) and (this will sound odd) does it smell funny?
When my PSU started down the road to failure there was a nasty, acrid, burnt chemical/plastic like smell as the capacitor started to puke its guts out.
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restamp
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2010, 07:27:14 PM »

I'm beginning to conclude that although 240V/50Hz operation seems to expedite the breakdown process, it is only a matter of time before the SheevaPlug's PS bites the dust due to capacitor failure.  So, I'm seriously considering replacing all the electrolytics on the PS board on speculation.  I believe there are about 5 of them.

Does anyone have a complete listing of these components (capacity, voltage, temp, etc)?  I'd rather acquire the parts before I take the device out of service and open up the case to do the swap.  (I recently lost another 5V wallwart to a bad capacitor.  Was able to reincarnate it, but jeez, it seems like just about every electronic problem I have at the moment somehow revolves around bad electrolytics.)
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jbauer
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2010, 11:16:22 AM »

I sent mine back for a refund.  I can't deal with this kind of crap for a device that I sorta need to depend on!

- Jon
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birdman
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2010, 05:03:43 PM »

I sent mine back for a refund.  I can't deal with this kind of crap for a device that I sorta need to depend on!
It's a development box - why would you depend on it?
Oh wait - you've sent it back, so you obviously don't depend on it!
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jbauer
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2010, 10:45:05 PM »

Nope, not any more...

- Jon
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CqCn
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2010, 08:58:29 AM »

I'm beginning to conclude that although 240V/50Hz operation seems to expedite the breakdown process, it is only a matter of time before the SheevaPlug's PS bites the dust due to capacitor failure.  So, I'm seriously considering replacing all the electrolytics on the PS board on speculation.  I believe there are about 5 of them.

Does anyone have a complete listing of these components (capacity, voltage, temp, etc)?  I'd rather acquire the parts before I take the device out of service and open up the case to do the swap.  (I recently lost another 5V wallwart to a bad capacitor.  Was able to reincarnate it, but jeez, it seems like just about every electronic problem I have at the moment somehow revolves around bad electrolytics.)

Hi restamp,
I am back after being away for about a year.  Just got running  two of 3 critical programs I need to use this as my stable server to replace my 6 year+ running Slug.  Then, noticing very little activity in the forum, I searched for recent posts from you, and came across this one. 

Have you got a spec of all the caps already? Please publish.  There are very long lasting capacitor types now available to replace the older shorter life caps, but they are a lot more expensive.  However, for an individual unit where one has alredy sunk the purchase cost, this type of upgrde might be worth it.

I forgot....  Does the plug allow for an external supply (without mods) ?  If so I would consider switching to external for mine before disastrous burn out happens.  External supplies are quite inexpensive these days, especially if you look for them on line.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 09:02:04 AM by CqCn » Logged

Cordially, CqCn

restamp
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2010, 01:51:41 PM »

Hi CqCn,
Sorry for the late reply.  I've been out of town myself this past week.

I'm still running on my original unmodified power supply.  I only have one Plug, and it's in service, so I've been hesitant to open it up and experiment.  A friend's PS did bite the dust recently and I have that defective PS board in my possession.  Unfortunately, he tried to fix it first, and I don't have all the caps he removed, so I can't give you a definitive list.  Perhaps someone else on this forum can help.

From what I've read (and my friend's personal experience), it is fairly easy to convert the Plug to an external PS.  You just need a well filtered 5V DC 2A brick.  There is a single connector between the PS board and the processor board, and you can feed the power to the processor from this connector.  A side benefit of using an external supply is that the Plug then runs quite cool.  Apparently most of the heat generated comes from the internal PS.

I have one other thing I'm curious about:  Has anyone ever opened up their Plug and examined the PS after it has been running for a while, but before the PS fails?  I notice a lot of folks think the gunk the find spread all over everything after the PS fails is due to one or more capacitors leaking electrolyte over the board.  But people I've shown the defective PS to who know all about capacitor plague tell me what is on the failed board looks nothing like any capacitor leakage they've seen.  It's a hard, dry substance, not wet electrolyte, and it doesn't appear to emanate from any capacitor.  I personally wonder if what we are seeing is dried glue put on as part of the manufacturing process, perhaps darkened by the heat over time as the PS has run.  If someone can shed some more light on this, I'd be interested.

Welcome back, CqCn.  Let us know when you get your Plug up and running.
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CqCn
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2010, 02:40:58 PM »

Hi CqCn,
Sorry for the late reply.  I've been out of town myself this past week.

I'm still running on my original unmodified power supply.  I only have one Plug, and it's in service, so I've been hesitant to open it up and experiment.  A friend's PS did bite the dust recently and I have that defective PS board in my possession.  Unfortunately, he tried to fix it first, and I don't have all the caps he removed, so I can't give you a definitive list.  Perhaps someone else on this forum can help.

From what I've read (and my friend's personal experience), it is fairly easy to convert the Plug to an external PS.  You just need a well filtered 5V DC 2A brick.  There is a single connector between the PS board and the processor board, and you can feed the power to the processor from this connector.  A side benefit of using an external supply is that the Plug then runs quite cool.  Apparently most of the heat generated comes from the internal PS.

I have one other thing I'm curious about:  Has anyone ever opened up their Plug and examined the PS after it has been running for a while, but before the PS fails?  I notice a lot of folks think the gunk the find spread all over everything after the PS fails is due to one or more capacitors leaking electrolyte over the board.  But people I've shown the defective PS to who know all about capacitor plague tell me what is on the failed board looks nothing like any capacitor leakage they've seen.  It's a hard, dry substance, not wet electrolyte, and it doesn't appear to emanate from any capacitor.  I personally wonder if what we are seeing is dried glue put on as part of the manufacturing process, perhaps darkened by the heat over time as the PS has run.  If someone can shed some more light on this, I'd be interested.

Welcome back, CqCn.  Let us know when you get your Plug up and running.
Nice to hear back from you.

External switcher supplies of 5v 2A (I think the plug really needs <1W, w/o hard drives) can be found on line for $5 these days.  I like it running much cooler too, perhaps that will quadruple the life of the rest of the plug Smiley

Well, I have completed my dns setup, exactly as I wanted.  Now working on php porting.  The big problem here is the directory and file configs from my last linux box is quite different, but the versions of the needed modules are very close so it should work for my previous functionality.

What is happening with the plug development area? Very little activity here?  Where have people move on to ?

Is there a way to add a wireless module (one of those inexpesive thumb like plugins) the usb port and make the Plug connect to the net wireless?  Has anybody shown how to achive this?

BTW, recently I have been playing with the NXP micro modules, some of them are tiny with huge functionality --- but not a real time full linux like on the Plug.
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Cordially, CqCn

restamp
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2010, 06:01:14 PM »

Yes, I have a spare 5V 3A power brick sitting on the shelf, just in case.  It's really a very handy thing to have for a number of reasons.

As far as WiFi, I'm sure there are some USB devices that could be made to work, but also consider the GuruPlug line, which comes with built-in WiFi hardware.
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CqCn
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2010, 11:22:07 AM »

Yes, I have a spare 5V 3A power brick sitting on the shelf, just in case.  It's really a very handy thing to have for a number of reasons.

As far as WiFi, I'm sure there are some USB devices that could be made to work, but also consider the GuruPlug line, which comes with built-in WiFi hardware.

As for wireless, there are actually two functionality.  One is for the plug to connect wirelessly to the net (instead of using the normal current wire connection).  Implementing this using addon off the shelf wireless adapters designed specificially for the windows stack may be very difficult task.

There is also another wireless use.  I would be interested in using a standard wireless adapter just to communicate with the plug, or for using a wireless data logging link to the plug.  At this point, switching completly over to the guruplug looks like a bit too high a task, not to mention throwing away a good working plug.  Has anybody got any success with a wireless data link like that?  You mentioned some models may be more successful, any specifics?

I have got all my needed apps up and running and I have switched into production mode.  After a few days of use, it seems everything is working well.

Normally I do not use the console port.  Is it possible to use the console port for reading data such as that come from solar electric panels (with appropriate interface)?  Or the console port is very specific to console use?

On the standard plug, is there any bits of io available for say monitoring power failure (with a small battery backup for orderly shutdown) or to control some devices?  If there is any reference how to on these available, kindly direct me that way.  Thank you.
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Cordially, CqCn

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