Unbricking my SheevaPlug

More or less one month ago, my SheevaPlug went bananas and didn’t turn on again. After talking to a colleague at Igalia who googled a bit, we found out that it could be a problem with the power supply unit. The issue seems to be known and it happens when you keep an external harddisk taking power directly from the USB port for a long time. It seems that power is not enough and you get a burnt power supply unit.

What I did was opening the Sheeva and taking the power supply unit to electronics specialized shop in my city and they told me that they didn’t have so small power supply unit, but that I could use an external one. He explained me what I should do.

I needed a couple of pieces not to cut the new power supply unit cables and a soldering iron (with some solder, of course). Then I could cut the connector of the broken power supply unit as you can see in the picture:

Next step was soldering the red cables to the inner pole of the adapter and the black ones to the outter pole (if I am not mistaken, you can recognize in the picture that the outter is negative and inner is positive). As I was bad doing this manual works at school and I still am, we (my wife and me, yes the pole soldered by her was in a better shape than mine) had to insulate them with a bit of insulating tape. You can see this in the picture.

The rest was just putting the external power supply connector thru the hole left by the old one and keep the cables where the old one was. I connected it to the motherboard, closed it and voilà!

Now I have the again the Sheeva with the external hard disk, but I provide external supply with something similar to this not to have the same problem again, but I wonder if just using a more powerful power supply unit would remove the problem of having the harddisk with external an external one.


  1. Hi,
    For how long had you have the external disk plugged into the USB port? My sheeva plug has been using a WD 320GB USB disk for months, I think, without any problems yet. (Since October, maybe)
    So I’d like to ask if it is a matter of time that the power supply gets burnt, or just happens sometimes.
    Cheers, and congrats for getting it working again 🙂

  2. The issue is the time and if the harddrive has external power. If it does, you don’t have any problem, otherwise, the power supply unit needs to work harder to feed that disk too and then you get trouble.

    About the time it worked, it was from end of September 2009 to beginning of February 2010.

  3. I think it should be called slug not because of the similarities in the name, but because it crawls on the ground like a real slug.

    There shouldn’t be any problem from now on with the external disk external power supply.

  4. I’m of the same opinion of J.A.: you should never have got rid of the amazing slug… it can be slower but after 2 years of non-stop 24/7 service I can tell you it’s pretty rock solid :-).

    Moreover, the fact that now you have to use an external power supply is another reason not to stop using the slug, which just needs 8 watt in total (no need of external supply for the HD).

    C’mon man… throw away that “plug”and get back to the “slug”! 🙂

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