Dreamplug, recover with no JTAG

I’ve got myself a dreamplug. It arrived a few days ago. I didn’t have time to do anything to it, I just booted up, saw it got the IP, connected to it and shut it down.
My brother-in-law also got one, and his arrived a few weeks earlier so he had time to mess with it. And from messing around directly with the setting files in stead of making changes only to the live system so they won’t survive a reboot, he managed to get his dreamplug in a non-connectable state.
And of course, none of us bought a JTAG. I know why I didn’t, because my plans were top make sure my management interface is always ok.
So he came by today so that I can fiddle around and fix it for him.

I have a USB BGA card, which I am using on my ESXi until I will manage to somehow passthrough a PCIe VGA card. So I figured I would plug that in, with a USB keyboard and maybe get some video.
Wrong. No video.
The SD card also doesn’t boot my default.
So, as I remember reading it has everything on an internal microsd card, I took the plug apart.
It’s really not complicated at all. You unscrew 4 screws and then the sd card is there, very accessible locked in place with what looks like a GSM bracket (I only saw this type on some GSM phones, but I’m sure its used in many places).
So I put the card into a usb reader, connected it to a virtual machine running linux, mounted it and fixed the config files.
And while I was at it, made a backup of the SD card too (disk copy, to preserve boot sector).

So…. why in the world would anybody buy a JTAG?
Granted, it is easier to work with that, but then again, this device is not exactly for the common user either.

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8 Responses to “Dreamplug, recover with no JTAG”

  1. Parkham says:

    Won’t that void the warranty? I’m still playing around with mine. I’ll leave some thoughts once I get it up and running.


    • ciuly says:

      I never raised that problem as I bought mine from the US and it would be expensive to send it back for whatever reasons (Unless of course it dies beyond my possible recovery/fixing). Then I probably would read up the warranty too 😀
      But if you ask yourself this question, either read the warranty, or ask on their forum/support email 😉 And let me and the rest of us know 😉


  2. Parkham says:

    The main thing that prompted my question is that I just received mine yesterday. I can’t get it do anything. It won’t get an IP from DHCP on either NIC and the wireless AP isn’t working by default. Which means I can’t ssh to in order to do anything.

    I am having second thoughts about opening it up, as there could be a hardware problem.. or something is screwed up with the image. I was thinking that maybe I could install the latest image and then just hope it works 🙂

    • ciuly says:

      Ah, that changes the problem a bit. I suppose you verified your DHCP server logs, yes? Note that it takes quite a few minutes until the system boots up and initializes so leave it to start for like 5-10 minutes. If nothing appears in your DHCP logs, then try the default (you will need to add a secondary IP to your computer in that class for this to work). If that also fails, then turn to their support forum, you will get a lot more help there.
      Mine is setup since a long time and I don’t want to mess with it 😉

      • Parkham says:

        Yep, nothing works. I have DHCP running from 2600 router through a 3550 switch (other devices get dhcp just fine). The funny thing is, I can do a show mac address-table and the switch can’t even see the mac address (but sees the others). I’m guessing the dreamplug isn’t even getting to the OS since the switch can’t see anything.

        Still waiting on an account approval at their forums. The device is a ds2-1148. I’m not even sure which image or loader to get for it if I decided to crack it open and re flash the internal card.

        • ciuly says:

          Well, if and when you open it (mind you, there are screws there so no need to literally crack it open 😉 ), you will be able to mount the card and read the file system. But as I recall, somewhere in the documentation papers you got with the device it is explained what version of software it runs. Or maybe it was in the PDFs, can’t recall exactly.,

          I think there is also a way to know where it stops loading by the state of the LEDs. I know they are documented as in what lit LED position/color is what service so you might use that information to know what actually made it to start up.

          Of course, if it doesn’t start up once you got it out of the box … it’s pretty much a clear case of return as it’s pretty sure DOA. You just need to make sure it’s really dead and their support forums should help you there.


  3. Parkham says:

    Thanks. I’ve been waiting over a week to get my account authorized at their website. *sighs*. The manufacturer support is slow slow slow as well. Irritated. I guess when I get pissed enough, I’ll take it apart or buy a JTAG.

    • ciuly says:

      Sounds … *weird*. What site did you register on? Registrations nowadays are pretty much “instant”. For example, I just created an account on the forum of newit.co.uk. Took less then 3 minutes the entire process of registering and activating the account.
      Did you check your spam folder? Did you try a public email address (gmail/yahoo)?

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