Sunday 15 March 2009

Debian NSLU2 Stopped Working

My slug, NSLU2, stopped working. The power went off and it didn't come back on after booting. It just sat there with the ready light on yellow and the ethernet on green, but not showing anything on the disk 1 light. I couldn't ssh to it or ping it. Google led me to the NSLU2-linux-debian-readme page. This led me to suspect something wrong during booting. I turned off the slug and attached the USB drive to my debian PC. In the procees the entire USB hub stopped working. If I took the USB hard drive out the USB hub started working again. So I rebooted into windows, put the USB drive in and got an instant blue screen of death. Not good. Last attempt I plugged the LaCie USB drive into my laptop. The laptop didn't die, but windows said "Please insert disk" when I tried to browse to it. I'm thinking it is dead. Looks like I need to be buying a new USB hard drive and re-installing debian on the slug. If anyone has a better idea please leave a comment!


Dave Potts said...

Of course I gave up too soon. After posting I fired up Spinrite and it identified my LaCie drive as being formatted as a Linux drive and hence unreadable by Windows. I ran Sprinrite on the disk overnight and it found no problems. When I get a mo I'm going to boot my laptop to the System Rescue live CD I have and see if I can read the drive from there.

Dave Potts said...

The next problem having booted from the System Rescue CD was how to mount the USB hard drive in Linux. After scrolling through dmesg I found some lines allocating the USB drive to /dev/sdb1. Did a mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/lacie and it all came up fine.

Edited /etc/default/rcS to set FSCKFIX=yes and /stc/default/bootlogd to enable logging.

Moment of truth, plugged the slug back in...disk activity...just in case it is fsck'ing I'll leave it going over night.

Dave Potts said... that didn't work. Can't ping the slug and no sign of life. Took the drive off again and mounted it on a linux box. Nothing was in /var/log/boot. Doing an ls -ltr on /var/log showed no file modified later than 10 March. Searching the whole drive with

find . -mtime 0

...only found the /etc/default files that I had modified last night.

Will have to read some more tips online this evening to figure out what to do next.

Dave Potts said...

Looking at the NSLU2 LED sequence in the readme, it looks like my machine stops at "Initramfs is running, prior to mounting root filesystem". Google found me a reference to someone with the same issue, but the solution felt a bit difficult.

So I went over to the Debian-arm mailing list and posted a plea for help. I wait on a reply.

Dave Potts said...

Nothing back from the mailing list as yet so I'm going to try flashing the slug again. Doing the prep work, I think the steps are:

* Get upslug2 installed on my linux box
* Follow the instructions on to put the slug in upgrade mode
* Flash in the 5.0 debian image from
* SSH in and see if I can get the installer to run in rescue mode . I'm really not sure about this last step.

Dave Potts said...

Hmm. Various combinations of the above steps and choosing options from the installer menu didn't work.

I'm going to sleep on it and then look at using the instructions for manually unpacking a tar ball to install on the nslu2 from here.

Dave Potts said...

I've had several sleeps and decided that I'm going to give up and reinstall. I think the steps are:

(1) Backup the hard drive data to my laptop
(2) Reinstall -- this time partitioning into 50 gig partitions so that fsck might not take so long on the boot one if needed
(3) Restore the data from the backup