Drobo 5N & 5N2 single red light of death

I see that plenty of people have woken up to a Drobo 5N/5N2 dead with a single red light.
Anyone figure out how to fix it?
Resetting, re-seating drives, replacing the PSU, all fail.

Does anyone know what on the motherboard may be at fault? Drobo support have been responsive however they won’t provide me the details of what the cause of this is - I’ve asked for schematics etc so that I could do the fix myself however they have said no in each case.

They have offered for me to sip the unit to them and offer to repair it for $350 (assuming the could).

I have three other Drobo FS that are 10 years old now and they work perfectly. I’ve never heard of an FS having this ‘single red light of death’. It must be specific to the design of the 5N/5N2 and an inherit fault.

It’s a pity they won’t be more forthcoming given that they are trying to restructure. They’re only losing customers with their behaviour as I see it.

Yep…I now have full yellow lights or else the single red light of death. Putting the unit into read-only mode did not help trying to get the drives to mount. I haven’t written data to it recently, and the only thing that has changed is a firmware update recently.

I have exact same issue with my 2017 5N, solid Red light no drives will mount and 12 years of photography that I can’t access.
This is going to cost me a lot if I can’t get the data off the drives.
DROBO will never see another penny out of me.

Your drive pack should still be intact even if your Drobo is completely dead. If you insert them into another 5N or 5N2, they should be readable and accessible. If you contact Drobo support, I believe they sometimes offer loans of equipment for recovery purposes (I’ve seen others in this forum mention this, but I’ve never had to do it myself).

If you can’t get your hands on another Drobo 5N/5N2, you can also try UFSExplorer, which is supposed to be able to read Drobo disk packs:

Sorry for your trouble, and good luck!

Regards,

Dom

Same here, it looks like programmed obsolescence to me. Drobo being under the protection of the tribunal for bankruptcy, they do not offer any parts, repairs, except to lend you a loaner (for 99$) to recover your data. (I have been on a waiting list for close to 2 months) I did some tests, open the enclosure and found out that no voltage is reaching the drives. My next step will be to get the drives out, connect a SATA data cable from each drive to the proper connector in the Drobo, and power the drive with an external power supply. I might be able to recover my data and I will never buy a “proprietary” NAS again!

I bought a used but working Drobo 5N2, which I found on ebay and placed the hard disks in this one in the same order as it was in my original one. I opened the former Drobo and found that there is a battery in there, which didn’t work anymore after 5 years. I replaced it with a similar one, less than 20 EUR cost (the original isn’t available anymore), reassembled it and it is working again. It requires some experience of open it and do this but there are YouTube videos around where the fan was removed by a much more silent version, which I did as well and got a much more silent Drobo now. By doing this you see the battery fixed with two cable ties.

Hi Klaus, thanks for your comment. I had the same idea, tested the battery and found it was giving 4.1 volts. So I thought it was OK. Upon reading your message I tested the amperage of the battery and found ‘0’ amps. So I removed the battery connector and fed 3.6 volts @ 2150 Milamps (same as battery) with my variable PSU, but that did not spin the disks. I did not provide more voltage and amperage to avoid burning something. I read somewhere that this battery is supposed to let the Drobo shutdown gracefully in case of a power failure (to void corrupting data on the disks). So it basically act as a mini UPS. Also, I noticed the battery is connected to a little board I haven’t been able to see yet if this board has any components. But maybe the voltage of the battery is somehow increased to enable feeding the appropriate voltages to the Hard disks (5V and 12V) for a very short time. I would be curious to know what’s the measured voltage of the battery output with a fresh battery. Also, which brand and model battery did you substitute the original?

Hi Klaus, thanks for your comment. I had the same idea, tested the battery and found it was giving 4.1 volts. So I thought it was OK. Upon reading your message I tested the amperage of the battery and found ‘0’ amps. So I removed the battery connector and fed 3.6 volts @ 2150 Milamps (same as battery) with my variable PSU, but that did not spin the disks. I did not provide more voltage and amperage to avoid burning something. I read somewhere that this battery is supposed to let the Drobo shutdown gracefully in case of a power failure (to void corrupting data on the disks). So it basically act as a mini UPS. Also, I noticed the battery is connected to a little board I haven’t been able to see yet if this board has any components. But maybe the voltage of the battery is somehow increased to enable feeding the appropriate voltages to the Hard disks (5V and 12V) for a very short time. I would be curious to know what’s the measured voltage of the battery output with a fresh battery. Also, which brand and model battery did you substitute the original?

The replacement battery is a LG ICR18650HD2 3.6V 2000mAh/25A. It needs to be connected to the small circuit board with an NTC, which is for safety reason to protect a overheating of the battery. The Drobo 5N2 is now running, so I don’t want to open it to measure the voltage output of the battery. In my case the battery replacement resolved my issue.

Hi Klaus, Thanks for the info. Did you use the Drobo original circuit board (NTC) or a new one? I could not locate your battery model; did it incorporate NTC protection?