I've had a SheevaPlug in continuous operation since May, 2009, thus far without failure. Root partition is on a MicroCenter generic SDcard, still on the original card which is running fine. Several USB components are hung off of a powered hub. I keep waiting for something to fail, and I'm sure it eventually will. Sometimes I wonder if I should open it up and replace the PS caps on general prinicple, but so far I have not done so.
Yep. Shouldn't have crowed. I came home tonight to discover my main desktop PC wouldn't boot. Just hung in the BIOS "initializing USB". After some experimentation, I found that the underlying culprit was the USB connection to my SheevaPlug's Console/JTAG.
But, the Sheeva was running fine.
I pulled the USB connection to the Sheeva, booted the PC, did some work, and then turned my attention to the SheevaPlug. Hoping it was a glitch, I reset it. It came back up fine, but its USB was continuing to drive my PC fits. Here is a sample of what was spewing in the /var/log/kern.log on the PC over and over:
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 10.571285] usb 7-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 17
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 10.738333] usb 7-1: unable to read config index 0 descriptor/start: -71
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 10.738506] usb 7-1: chopping to 0 config(s)
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 10.746332] usb 7-1: string descriptor 0 read error: -71
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 10.746573] usb 7-1: no configuration chosen from 0 choices
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 11.021342] usb 7-1: USB disconnect, address 17
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 11.361308] usb 7-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 18
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 11.514281] usb 7-1: device descriptor read/all, error -71
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 11.570095] hub 7-0:1.0: unable to enumerate USB device on port 1
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 12.131316] usb 7-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 20
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 12.282226] usb 7-1: device descriptor read/all, error -71
Mar 2 22:26:35 pandora kernel: [ 12.340067] hub 7-0:1.0: unable to enumerate USB device on port 1
From the logs, I saw that the PC was having trouble with this USB device since yesterday, although it must have been sane enough then not to interfere with the boot sequence.
Next, I power cycled the Sheeva. This time, ssh and nfs did not come up, although the device was pingable. Since I had no console to see what was going on, I took the SDcard over to the PC to fsck, backing it up in the process. This took some time. Then, I reinstalled it and powered up the Sheeva. This time, no-go. The Sheeva just sat there blinking at me in a manner I've grown accustomed to seeing when a switching PS isn't quite able to jump-start itself.
Examination of the PS revealed no obvious failures. One cap is bulged, but indeed, mine looked pretty good compared to the pics others have posted here.
Bottom line, I spent the past hour soldering together a wiring harness to power the Plug via an external wall-wart. Luckily, I had several 5V 2+A wall-warts lying around This one was a retread from my HDHomeRun box, which I repaired after it failed last summer. The Sheeva seems happy, and frankly is running a *lot* cooler now. Was hoping to get two years out of its PS, but 22 months is not bad from what I've seen here.
Oh, BTW, was curious if my Dlink USB hub would back-feed power to the Plug, as some have indicated some powered hubs will do. (I was also half wondering if perhaps back-fed power might account for my Plug's PS's longevity. But, alas, the Plug died as soon as I unplugged it from the power strip, even still connected to the powered hub.
Chalk up another one.