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Status: 2009-07-03 - Deader than a door nail.

I'm reporting on Friday, not Thursday, this week because of the holiday. I get Friday off for free, so I thought I'd swap my days around and not have to burn PTO this week.

A bit of follow up on the hard drive situation. Short version: It's toast. I've tried all kinds of necromancy: Logic board swap with a known good drive, firmware upgrades, the Seagate "testing" tools... ...I guess that's about it. The problem is that the drive is not recognized by the BIOS, which eliminates the vast majority of the tools I could possibly use. I had high hopes for the logic board swap, but several forums confirm that the logic boards contain calibration information that are specific to the spindle with which it was shipped, meaning that even if I had two identical working drives, swapping logic boards wouldn't work. So far, I haven't found a way to get the logic board to re-calibrate with the new spindle; I suspect this is something that must happen at the factory.

Reading up more on the symptoms, it appears this is a common problem with the Seagate drives. On some boot, it just decides to lock up hard and not communicate with anything, and there doesn't appear to be any way to get it back. Seagate accepts that its a dead drive and will replace under warranty, but that doesn't get you your data back.

So, I'm frelled. Hundreds of GB of Music, TV shows, projects, source code, taxes, etc... Lost...

The one remaining hope I have is if I can find at least three of the four drives that were in the RAID array from which this data was copied. I'm not sure I haven't already wiped the data on those drives, so I may be totally screwed. But its worth a shot.

So, yeah. That brings us up to now. I've purchased a whole new system: Intel Atom 230 based low power mother board, 1GB of DDR2-5300 RAM, 2x Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB drives to be put in a RAID-1 mirror. Using my old Antec power supply and _REALLY_ old rack mount case, and a DVD-ROM drive I had laying around, this will be the new server... ...at least, it will be once I get a CentOS v5.3 x86_64 DVD ISO downloaded and burnt.

The eventual goal is to put a 12vDC solar panel or two on the roof and use them to charge a 12vDC battery to provide an off-grid battery backed 12vDC system to run my radio gear. With one of these 12vDC ATX power supplies, I could also put the file server on this 12vDC system. The LinkSys WRT54GL router and NetGear 10/100 switch already run on 12vDC, so those are no-brainers. Eventually I'll have all my network and radio gear off grid running on "free" power. (That mini-box site I linked to also has a 250W wide input ATX power supply that might work with my desktop. Pulling this much power from the 12vDC system would require either a second solar panel (they're about 150W each) or hooking up a 12vDC battery charger to run when the voltage gets low.

Anyway... In the mean time, I'm debating what I'm going to do. I'm thinking of setting up my half-rack (really, a 6' 2 post rack that's been cut in half) and mounting all the 12vDC gear I already have: battery, power supplies, radio gear.. Then also mounting the new server and running AC to it for the time being. Alternatively, I could also work on the C code for my analog clock project. Decisions, decisions, decisions...

More later today after I've, ya know, actually done something...

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