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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:57 am 
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Hi,

I'll say upfront that I'm a n00b to both linux and NASlite (this is my first time with both), although I've got enough experience in the Windows and PC hardware worlds to build up PCs comfortably.

Some friends and I have been building NASlite+ machines with the intention of using them to store media centre files (for our MCE2005 boxes).

After getting a little Dell Optiplex GX100 to use for NASlite+ and putting a couple of drives in it, it runs great and quiet, however the 2 drives in it each make a 'click' sound roughly every 9 seconds (I'll say 'roughly' because the clicks aren't in sync). It sounds like the heads are giving a little jump.

Does anyone have any idea of what could be causing this? It doesn't do it if the PC is on but NASlite+ isn't running. So I'm trying to determine if NASlite+ is the cause? I don't believe it is related to my network environment since I can pull the network cable out of the NAS PC and the clicking still continues. I thought it might be SMART but even when I disabled this in NASlite+ (and rebooted) the clicking is there. By the way, this is all after the big disk churn for a couple of minutes that occurs when the NASlite+ box boots (which I'm assuming is normal?). The drives were brand new (unformatted) when I installed them into the NASlite+ box.

I'll try and give some system info here that could be relevant, but if other info might be helpful please just let me know.

- NASlite+ v1.5 for USB Flash, booting using floppy kicker diskette, SMART disabled
- Dell GX100 Celeron 700MHz, 256MB RAM, latest BIOS
- drive '1' = Western Digital WD3000JB 300GB, UDMA/66
- drive '3' = Western Digital WD3200JB 320GB, UDMA/66
- Netgear GA311 Gigabit PCI NIC
- Linksys WAG54G router/switch (100Mbps)
- the main 'client' at the moment while I'm testing is a Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop running WinXPSP2

If anybody has any thoughts on this (or even if this is "just one of those things, which is why we put our NASlite boxes in a soundproof cupboard") I'd be grateful for any assistance!

Thanks, all,
CJ (New Zealand)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 4:28 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:05 pm
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Location: Up State NY in the USA!!!!
Just an idea, I have one of those and the cooling on them suck. The drives could be overheating. Try opening them up and getting air to the HDAs and see if it persists.

Mike


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 5:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 5:09 am
Posts: 130
I don't know what type of clicking, but if it sounds like the noise is from the heads going crazy, it may be something to worry about.

I had a similar experience with a new disk and noise occured when I was copying something to the NASLite box.

24hours later the disk died....


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:01 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:42 am
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Location: Arkansas, USA
For whatever it may be worth ... I've had the feared "hard drive clicking" on several large drives (>300gb) using external USB enclosures. In every case the problem was that the enclosure was underpowered for the newer large drives. Is it possible the drives you have sre "stressing" your MoBo's power supply?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:22 am
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My guess is that this is OS (NASLite) related - primarily because it does not occur if "the PC is on but NASLite isn't running" - although that could depend on the method used to prevent NASLite from loading - the drives may or may not be spinning - to further pin it down you could boot the system from the Dell diagnostic CD or diskette set - if you can run the drive tests with no clicking then you're looking at something related to your OS.

I doubt that the problem is power related, the point of maximum current draw on a disk drive is during spin up - I'm not certain if the WD drives are configured for staggered spin up (allows the drives to spin up one by one as the system detects them) - if you don't have staggered spin up and the power supply is too small for the drives, it will typically shut down directly after power up, when the overload trips the protective circuit.

In my experience with clicking and USB enclosures, it does happen and it is caused by power, but I've only had it happen at spin up.

One last thing - if you do put the NASLite box in a sound proof cupboard - make sure there is plenty of ventilation, excessive heat will cause premature disk failure.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 11:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:52 am
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Hi guys, thanks so much for your input, your experience is really appreciated.

@mikeiver1: Good thought, so I cracked the lid and have been running lid-free (after a couple of reboots and cool-down for an hour or so). The clicking is obviously noisier (!) but alas is still present.

@ALucas: The heads only seem to go crazy for a few minutes at boot-up as soon as the NASlite+ OS is loaded and operational. I'm assuming this is something to do with a SMART scan (even though I have this disabled), but is this unusual? Otherwise, the annoying clicking just sounds like the heads parking and then being slightly disturbed so they need park again, every 9 seconds. Certainly doesn't sound dangerous (fingers crossed) but it is annoying since I've never heard drives behave like this and I'm trying to make a quiet system.

@Grumpa: Good idea, and after looking I found the unit only has a 152W PSU. This should be ample to drive a Celeron 700 and 2 HDDs, but definitely worth investigating. So I disconnected one drive entirely and removed absolutely everything I could from the PC, even the PCI NIC (apparently these can use about 4W). My assumption is that Dell wasn't cutting it too fine with their original specs and, since I'm using less components than their original design (no CDROM, and even the PCI riser removed) it should be within tolerance (although the 300GB HDD in there probably uses more power than the original 6G or whatever would have shipped with it). Clicking still present, although this admittedly this isn't a fully reliable test.

@fordem: That was kind of my thinking, also. Drives certainly spin up OK and spin down fine when I get NASlite+ to terminate, and there's no problems with accessing one or more drives simultaneously from clients, so my current (no pun intended!) feeling is that power isn't the issue. But, with a 152W PSU and two big new HDDs, there's a good chance I'm wrong.

I do have a lingering suspicion that it is SMART-related, even though I have this disabled in NASlite+. I have doubts because of the big disk churn that happens at startup, which I've read on these forums is caused by SMART, is that right? If it is, and yet I've got SMART disabled, why does it still do this checking (or whatever it does)? So if SMART is somehow still doing something then maybe it is also causing this drive head-stirring that is resulting in the drive clicking?

I also found a reference to a similar problem, which seems to suggest power management in the OS. Is there any way for me to implement these commands (I can't see how to get a command shell from within NASlite, and I'm guessing there probably isn't one?)?

As another thought, do people think it might be worth my moving to NASlite 2? Is there some improvements in that version that may help this issue? And is there a limited-time trial version of v2 that I could test? Or perhaps there are other enhancements in v2 over v1.5 that make it a worthwhile move anyway?

Apologies for all the questions! I figure it's a good way to learn a bit about how NASlite+ works even if I can't resolve the issue, so I do appreciate everyone's time on this.

CJ


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:26 am 
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On boot NASLite+ executes a SMART self test on all storage drives. That is the reason for the clicking sound that you hear. Most drives are quiet during SMART self test, but some are not. The test will continue for about 30 to 45 minutes. Check the status pages for progress with smart enabled to verify that's the cause.

Disabling SMART only disables the periodic check, so the boot time self test is executed no matter what. After the test is complete, everything should quiet down and return to normal.

Hope that helps. :wink:


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