May 2015 Archives

Repairing a non booting Linux box


The other day my primary mail server was rebooted after some routine package upgrades and it refused to boot! Technically, the BIOS failed to handover to Grub2, so I had to reinstall Grub2 on the MBR of the Boot disk.

I thought I'd document it here, for posterity, and because I didn't see it explicitly called out elsewhere.

First thing to do is get a live linux USB stick: I use UNETBOOTIN, a handy tool which will download and install a live linux distro (or FreeDOS, BSD, etc) to a USB stick. You'll probably need a 4GB stick or larger, which is no big deal these days.

Once you've got your USB stick, go ahead and boot the Linux box using it to your distro of choice. I normally use a recent version of Fedora, because I've been a Redhat user since 1999, but any recent version of Linux should have the tools below available.

Once you're running your live linux, you'll need to open a terminal, and become root, then re-install the grub boot code to the MBR. The following assumes that your boot partition is /dev/sda1, and the boot device is /dev/sda. (you mount the partition, but you install the MBR on the device.)

$ sudo su -
# mkdir /mnt/sda
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda
# grub2-install --boot-directory /mnt/sda/boot /dev/sda
Installing for i386-pc platform.
Installation finished. No error reported.

That should be it. Reboot, and remember to remove your USB stick!

Aside: I have had problems with recent Live Installs where the UUID of the boot volume is reported wrongly, so that the USB stick won't boot, but instead fails to the DRACUT emergency Root Console. You need to run blkid and write down the UUID of the boot media and then manually edit the ubninit code to get the right UUID.

When I replaced a set of UE 200vi which had failed many times, I went with a relatively high end pair of UE 600vi earbuds, in the hope that they'd exhibit a higher build quality than the previous UE 200vi's I'd had.

The Fault: Audio fails because of some cable problems, possibly associated with the junction of the plug end of the cable. This happened at varying intervals, but every single set I have received has failed, in some cases within a month or so! Here's my history with the UE 600vi:

  • Purchase Date: 2013 12 09
  • Replaced: 2014 04 07: 119 days
  • Replaced: 2014 06 19: 73 days
  • Replaced: 2014 07 30: 41 days
  • Replaced: 2014 09 20: 52 days
  • Finally Failed and Refunded: 2015 04 27: 209 days

Thats a total of 494 days, or an average of 98 days per unit!

After the September 2014 replace, my contact details were taken with (I think) the intention of Logitech contacting me. I presume they'd like to know some usage patterns to determine if I am using the product in a way which violates the warranty, as replace units on average every three months indicate a pretty severe problem for a device meant to last two years.

Every single time, it has been a no questions asked replacement. Whether this is due to Logitech policy, or inability to communicate, I don't know. If there was any pushback from the manufacturer, I would have expected more resistance to warranty replacements. Therefore, I think Logitech are aware that there are significant issues with their design, and the margins are such that high levels of warranty replacements are acceptable to them.

I stress that I got a new set each time: this is not a single bad device, this is a sample of 5 randomly chosen devices. There exists the small opportunity that the devices I get at warranty are refurbs, but I see them taken out of a new box, so I don't think that's the case.

2015 04 17 - left ear stopped working again, very quickly - going from intermittent, to no audio. Once again, the cause seems to be the cable at the plug end, as wiggling it can sometimes get audio back to the left ear.

Oh, and no one from Logitech contacted me at all.

2015 04 20: I've contacted the Warranty people (Changed to a different provider), and they are unable to provide a new model as the UE600vi are discontinued. They will instead provide a refund. (Full amount? Unclear.)

2015 04 26: Finally Resolved: the new warranty providers gave me a no questions asked refund of the full amount that I paid. I would have settled for less, honestly, as I got an amount of use value from the product, but I'm very happy with the solution. They kept the product, so I was unable to attempt repairs. Instead I bought a pair of RHA MA750i, for almost the same price, but vastly better build quality, thicker cabling, and most importantly, much better strain relief of the cables at the junctions.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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