5N: Hang on boot, power green, bays yellow, 5th blue light on

A few days ago my 5N powered itself down. I blew out a little dust, scratched my head and powered it back up. It seemed ok but later that day it had powered off again

Attempting to bring it up now hangs on boot. I have removed the drives and the behavior is the same. I have unplugged and left powered off overnight and the behavior is the same.

The power LED is constant green, the bay lights are constant yellow (even with the drives inserted) and as the device boots, it flashes the blue lights in sequence and then attempts to “load” the blue lights from left to right. It gets as far as the 5th blue light from the left (essentially the middle-ish blue light) and stops. That 5th blue light stays constantly lit and the system goes no further.

Another interesting symptom is that the power button will not halt the system, even if held down for 45 seconds or so.

I’ve got my disk pack tucked safely away waiting for me to figure this out. I was originally just going to replace it but that’s a tall order right now, obviously.

any thoughts on identifying the failure are greatly appreciated…
Have a great day!

?? Your power-brick may be on the fritz.

I almost said the same thing… it seems like most “odd” startup problems either resolve to a weak power supply… or a disk in the pack drawing excessive current.

Just occasionally they resolve to file-system issues, but that’s rarer, and doesn’t manifest with the disk pack removed.

interesting replies, thank you.
so the consensus is that I should just grab another power-supply such as this? Because 50 is a lot less than what I was suspecting I was coming out of this with.

Again, your input is seriously appreciated.

Something along those lines would be my first test, that said I’d probably try with something along the lines of a lab bench power supply, but that’s only because the fact I happen to have access to one which will supply the spec required…

so… not being your lucky self, I have no access to a lab PS. 50 is a small price to pay, the advice here may have saved me hundreds. If Im wrong (and assuming the world comes back at some point) then I’ll just upgrade to the 5N2 as intended.

I’ll post results in case anyone else has similar concerns…
tnx again


New power-supply. Same problem. Looks like Im buying a 5N2 after all. Well, as soon as someone starts selling them again…

Anyway, i appreciate the effort.

EXACT same problem here.
5N2 powered itself down.
Manually restarted and was fine for a bit, then powered itself down again.
Hangs on boot with exact same indicators.
Power button has no effect.
Removed power and battery overnight overnight. No change.

Behaves identically with or without disks.

Have not yet tried another power supply as suggested above, but can test with a lab supply if needed.

Connected serially via USB to TTL serial cable and putty.
nasd appears to be started (other posts indicated this as cause of hang)
nc: timeout suspiciously occurs afterward (is this normal?)

[1969-12-31,16:00:26.635001763] rcS.2: INFO: Starting nasd
[1969-12-31,16:00:27.094456203] rcS.2: INFO: finished.
nc: timeout

Shortly afterwards, device responds to a ping but never appears in Drobo Dashboard.

Does this additional information provide any additional insight?

I had a similar but not identical problem on my 5N2. For me, it would boot up with no drives, though. If you are able to get it to boot with no drives, try setting it to RO mode to try to back up your data, at least. In my case, I could ping it, but I could not see any shares until I put it into RO mode.
Strangely, after getting it to boot into RO mode and setting it back to normal RW mode, everything started working again and has been for about 4 days now.

For the record, my bootlog also shows “nc: timeout”, even during a regular bootup:

[1969-12-31,16:00:28.336294443] rcS.2: INFO: Starting avahi
[1969-12-31,16:00:28.714351683] rcS.2: INFO: Starting logrotate
[1969-12-31,16:00:28.931254483] rcS.2: INFO: Starting syslog
[1969-12-31,16:00:29.165991003] rcS.2: INFO: Starting incron
[1969-12-31,16:00:29.848926643] rcS.2: INFO: Starting sudo     
[1969-12-31,16:00:30.019555803] rcS.2: INFO: Starting LXcpuHistory
[1969-12-31,16:00:30.138597563] rcS.2: INFO: Starting LXmemHistory
[1969-12-31,16:00:30.291302803] rcS.2: INFO: Starting LXnetHistory
[1969-12-31,16:00:30.427867483] rcS.2: INFO: Starting ntpd        
[1969-12-31,16:00:30.557839843] rcS.2: INFO: Starting recovery server
listening on [::]:4999 ...                                        
nc: timeout                                               
[1969-12-31,16:00:40.584984922] rcS.2: INFO: Updating diags configuration
[1969-12-31,16:00:40.687814242] rcS.2: INFO: Starting nasd
[1969-12-31,16:00:41.041316122] rcS.2: INFO: finished
[2022-08-26,11:28:59.554232863] rcS.3: INFO: started                     
[2022-08-26,11:28:59.567958401] rcS.3: INFO: Diskpack is writable
[2022-08-26,11:28:59.911016681] rcS.3: INFO: Starting LXdiskHistory
[2022-08-26,11:29:00.017167109] rcS.3: INFO: Starting iostat
[2022-08-26,11:29:00.119419873] rcS.3: INFO: Starting mbgroups   
[2022-08-26,11:29:00.141699309] rcS.3: INFO: finished

The nc process timing out may be a remnant of a vulnerability correction where the nc command could have been used for a RCE: https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=2018-14709. More details here: Call me a doctor! New Vulnerabilities In Drobo5N2 | by Rick Ramgattie | Independent Security Evaluators. It could be “normal” for nc to no longer output as a mitigation of this vulnerability (though I could not find anything in Drobo’s release notes indicating that they had corrected this bug).

The boot process may be different on my 5N2, so I don’t know if the 5N should have an ‘rcS.3’ script to run after the ‘rcS.2’ (though it would seem likely).

It would be interesting to know what firmware your Drobo is on. There have been many reports of issues on the latest 4.3.x firmware. They’ve since pulled firmware 4.3.x for unspecified reasons. This is the response I got from support when I asked about it:

“For the update of firmware to version 4.3.1 was pushed back with our engineers at the moment since we are fixing something for this update.”

If you want to read up on my latest Drobo adventure to see if any of it can help you, see this post:

But as others have already mentioned, Drobo can often misbehave in ways similar to the symptoms you’re describing when the power supply is failing. I would recommend you test it with a known good power supply.