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 Sometimes my FitPC2 doesn't start up at all --- what to do? 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 10:24 am
Posts: 13
Post Sometimes my FitPC2 doesn't start up at all --- what to do?
בס"ד

Sometimes, powering-on my FitPC2 (by pressing the power-on button) just lights up the power-on LED with no other signs of life:
  • No display signal.
  • The computer does not accept ssh connections (but it usually does).
  • Pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn't switch down the computer (but it usually does).
  • Pressing the power button does switch down the computer -- only pressing it for several seconds.
After forcefully powering down the FitPC2, the following start up succeeds: There is a normal display; the computer boots up and starts the sshd demon, the keyboard works and power-down works normally.

Of course, so far, the indications are very unspecific of what the root cause of the problem is. How can I check and pinpoint the problem more precisely?

Here are some more details about my setup:
  • I run a current testing distribution of Debian on the fitPC2.
  • A few month ago, I sent this fitPC2 for RMA repair to CompuLab (network hardware problem).
  • I share monitor/mouse through KVM with another almost identical (and identically configured) fitPC2.
  • I haven't seen any similar problems at the second computer. In particular, when the first PC2 fails to start up, I switch to the second one and work with it until the first one works again.
  • Although, the second fitPC2 has a slower CPU (first: 2GHZ, second: 1.6GHz) and less memory (first: 2GB, second: 1GB). Hence, I usually use the first computer for my work and use the second computer very infrequently. If the second computer has similar start up problems, I may just not yet noticed them.
  • However, the first fitPC2 worked for a few years without such start up problems.
I hope you can help me and put me into the right direction how to deal with this problem.

Best regards, Yaakov


Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:01 am
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Post Re: Sometimes my FitPC2 doesn't start up at all --- what to
Here are some tips. First, in order to find the root cause please operate without the KVM switch and monitor its behavior then.

There may be several reasons:

1. Power issues:
a. Please make sure you're using HDD with 5400 rpm max, as faster disks will have higher power consumption and may cause power unstable behavior.
b. Make sure no issues with power supplies. Try to switch PS between both fit-PC2.
c. What is the fit-PC2 HW revision? You can make a photo after opening the mechanical bracket. It might be related to the Network fix?!

2. SW image - switch storage drives between two computers and monitor the behavior of the "bad" and the "good" one.


Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:28 am

Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 10:24 am
Posts: 13
Post Images and first tests after switching disks and power suppl
בס"ד

Thank you very much for your reply. I reply to your points out-of-order:

mbirger wrote:
c. What is the fit-PC2 HW revision? You can make a photo after opening the mechanical bracket. It might be related to the Network fix?!

Here is a photo of the "bad" FitPC2 and of its disk:
Image

For comparison, here is a photo of the second, "good" FitPC2 and of it's disk:
Image

mbirger wrote:
a. Please make sure you're using HDD with 5400 rpm max, as faster disks will have higher power consumption and may cause power unstable behavior.

As seen in the photos: Both drives have 5400 rpm. I bought them from you together with the FitPCs.

mbirger wrote:
b. Make sure no issues with power supplies. Try to switch PS between both fit-PC2.

2. SW image - switch storage drives between two computers and monitor the behavior of the "bad" and the "good" one.

I switched the disks and all connected cables (including the power supply) between the two PCs. As a result, the previously "good" PC showed the start-up problems. This indicates that the problem may not lie with the PC itself but with the disk or with the power supply (or with some other device connection -- of course, both PCs are connected identically to a modem-router).

[In order to isolate the problem further, I switched the power supply back, leaving just the the disks switched. As I haven't tried this configuration a lot, I haven't yet seen any start-up problems with it. Edit:In the following days, I will make some experiments, swapping the connections between the two FitPCs to see what parameters affect the start-up failures. I will report more after making more experiments...]

mbirger wrote:
Here are some tips. First, in order to find the root cause please operate without the KVM switch and monitor its behavior then.

While I fully understand your reasoning (and --of course-- I agree with the methodology), I keep the KVM switch for the time being: A few months ago I switched the display connection a few time between the FitPCs and the display became very unreliable --- maybe the connectors started to wear as a result of the frequent connection changes. In order to avoid further wear of the difficult to replace connectors, I bought the KVM switch. I believe that we can so far make progress without changing the display connections.


Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:14 pm
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