Intermittent problem: Drobo5N keeps restarting with drives installed

Hi Folks,

Posting this here in the hope that someone may be able to shed some light. I’ve done a scour of the 5N forum but not really seen anything which may help unfortunately. This thread ( describes a similar startup sequence, but I don’t have the fan issue (i don’t think!)

The symptoms are below:

  • On startup with drives installed (3x WD green 3TB drives), the device sometimes gets into a startup loop:
    — All lights (five yellow drive lights+blue capacity lights) go on
    — Capacity lights turn off, then come on and start to do their start up animation
    — Drobo then halts, cycle begins again. Each loop is around 30 seconds or so.

  • Followed guidance on

  • Pulled power when all lights on, ejected all drives, Drobo seems to boot fine every time provided dries aren’t installed. I can access the drobo in this state through the dashboard.

  • Sometimes Drobo restarts normally when i shut down and reinstall drives, but is not a guarantee.

  • Intermittent problem, no apparent solutions online.

  • Firmware updated 30th Dec to 3.5.12(8.96.86249)

  • Drobo dashboard (Mac) Version 2.8.5

I would be extremely grateful if anyone is able to offer any thoughts - though the unit was registered in August 2014 it hasn’t been heavily used and, when the unit does boot normally, it shows no errors. The intermittent nature of the fault makes me reluctant to write the unit off.

Finally - the “all yellow” drive lights concern me somewhat - nowhere online can I find what “five yellow drive lights during boot” means (I only have 3 drives installed) - normal booting should apparently show red?

Thanks folks - much appreciated,


Should probably add that this is the disk pack I’ve had in it since purchase; the unit has operated normally any other time, though the unit has not been in constant use.

hi amckinely,
it sounds as though it might be a diskpack issue based on what you mentioned…
if that is the case, you could try putting the drobo into a ReadOnly mode, for example as mentioned here, as that has been known to be able to stabalise some cases where a drobo was going into a reboot cycle:

(you could also raise a ticket with support, even if out of support for a 1 time pay-per-incident if you wish, though maybe that readonly mode could help in the meantime)

Thanks Paul - I booted the drobo with no drives, did the CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+R which “changed read only state” (though I can’t see any indication of what it was changed to!)

I got a dialog saying “The unit must be restarted due to firmware update” - I’m assuming that this is the read only reboot (as the unit was already running the latest firmware)?

Anyway - I’ve put the drives in, and it has booted normally, though I can’t see any indication on the Dashboard as to the read-only state of the unit. I’m grabbing data of it now anyway, and will do a full reset on everything.

The irony is that I was going through all of this to put in a more rigorous backup plan!

Will update with progress…


thanks for the info andrew, am glad if its up and more stable now so yes grab all data while it is up :slight_smile:

Sadly the damn thing is back to its old tricks - the ‘read only mode’ thing attempted above seems to have been a fluke and the intermittent problem simply didn’t resurface at the point.

What I find most frustrating about this whole affair is that the problem is intermittent, and that there are some diagnostics coming through the light codes on startup, but nothing in the knowledge base helps understand what the issue might be.

I think it could now be described as “intermittent function” rather than “intermittent fault” :frowning:

Short of borrowing another 5N from somewhere to see if the disk pack does the same thing in the second Drobo.

Suggestions still gratefully received!

hi amackinley, thanks for the update,
hopefully you have been able to copy at least some good portion of your data so far?

a few suggestions could be these if easy to do…

you could try powering all down, and waiting about 5 minutes
and then would you be able to try a different cable (just in case that is affecting things in some way, and to try connecting directly to the computer, in case it was going through any hubs etc)

please also disconnect from the internet to prevent any possible auto updates just in case…

how are things after powering all back up? (i think it should still be in read only mode until exited out of read only mode via command)

btw you may already know this, though if you do happen to borrow another 5n, please remember that diskpacks should only be removed, or inserted, in their entirety, and with power all Off and cables unplugged. (there is also a page about the migration procedure here with more info too)