Ever had FreeBSD brick a device?

AlexanderProphet

Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 74

#1
I plugged my e-cigarette into a Thinkpad running FreeBSD. When I unplugged it the screen no longer worked, it wouldn’t create any vapour and also it was ticking (yes, ticking like a bomb).
I tried cleaning it thoroughly, changing the batteries and reflashing the firmware, but the thing is now basically a brick.
I wouldn’t normally blame an OS for such a thing but FreeBSD has been acting oddly on two of my computers for a while now - random reboots and stuff. And I remember Ubuntu once had a bug that bricked some machines’ BIOS.
I’m annoyed as the e-cigarette cost £70. I know they’re generally not hugely reliable but I really do wonder if FreeBSD played a part in this.
 

olli@

Active Member
Developer

Thanks: 144
Messages: 156

#3
Why would you plug an e-cigarette into a FreeBSD PC? I mean, does it attach as a HID device or similar? Is it even recognized by FreeBSD?

Anyway, I think it is very unlikely that FreeBSD is the culprit.
 
OP
OP
AlexanderProphet

AlexanderProphet

Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 74

#4
Why is it on Unix/Linux forums people always answer a question with another question? :D:p
The e-cigarette is intended to charge via USB, I didn’t just plug it in for a laugh to see what would happen.
Spartrekus if you’ve nothing constructive to say, go away. LOL.
 

k.jacker

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 316
Messages: 548

#6
Why is it on Unix/Linux forums people always answer a question with another question?
Why do you at first complain and then say the following...
Spartrekus if you’ve nothing constructive to say, go away. LOL.
No offense, but you shouldn't talk to others like that on any forum. It's against the forum rules and you risk to get banned.

Anyway, if you get really annoyed by someone, just put this member on your ignore list and every content from this user will be hidden while you are logged in. That would be right approach.
 

Spartrekus

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 84
Messages: 508

#10
Thanks aragats that would explain it. Guess im off out shopping tomorrow. :(
thank you again.

Concerning brick, more information or details would be helpful, for better interpretation.
If FreeBSD would have some influence on the "brick", a software fix would be needed.
 

jstn

New Member

Thanks: 6
Messages: 6

#11
I can't bring myself to believe the OS had anything at all to do with this - all you did was plug in a device that generally speaking wouldn't even be recognized as anything by any OS, especially not *BSD.

What ecigarette was it? The vast majority of them are Chinesium junk notorious for crapping out early in their lifespans for no real good reason at all. Also just as a bit of advice even though this is probably way off-topic for the board:

1. If it has removable batteries, remove them and charge them in an external charger. You can get cheap dual bay chargers for 18650s and any other high drain cell out there. Ecigarettes often have usb ports for charging and firmware updating, but keep in mind that these are super high volume devices made in China by the lowest bidder imaginable. It's pretty common wisdom in the vape community that you should really avoid USB charging entirely unless you have a higher end device that's been tested to charge safely and evenly. USB charging on cheap devices is notorious for damaging batteries, frying chips, etc.

2. Don't go to a brick and mortar store to buy that stuff - the markups are absurd and all of that stuff can be had online for waaay cheaper. $70 online will buy you a really, really nice vape that will last you for years. $70 in most physical vape shops will buy some $20 Smok piece of junk at a 350% markup and you'll be lucky if it survives past three months.
 
OP
OP
AlexanderProphet

AlexanderProphet

Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 74

#12
Hmm. I’m not sure I can give much more useful information. I can program, but certainly not at kernel level. I was more curious to know what was going on, rather than demanding a fix. Electrostatic Discharge sounds much more plausible than a bug, now it’s been pointed out to me.
 

chrbr

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 238
Messages: 663

#13
I also guess that the issue is hardware related. I assume that the e-cigarette does not register at the USB hub to drain more than the current the USB spec allows for "normal" devices. This would cost a dedicated chip. I would try if the HDD of the Thinkpad works elsewhere or if the Thinkpad can boot from a different medium. But it can be that the removal of the e-cigarette caused a glitch on the USB 5V rail, may be to more than 5V because the load has been removed.

About FreeBSD, one of my family members ancient laptop has a very lousy power supply jack. Under FreeBSD it might crash and reboot from time to time. But after reboot it runs again. This recover did not occure under other operating systems. This laptop is almost dead but refuses to die ;-). May be if it dies I will remove the jack and connect directly to its power supply and it wakes up again to live forever.
 

recluce

Active Member

Thanks: 15
Messages: 105

#17
And you shouldn't. I started life as an electronic engineer and I've designed computers from the TTL chip level, resistors and transistors. FreeBSD did not smoke your device.
^ This, I doubt that there is enough circuitry in an e-cigarette for it to even register with any OS. Sh***y design of the e-cigarette appears most likely, didn't devices like this literally blow up in their users faces?

If FreeBSD was to blame: cudos to Beastie, destroying e-cigarrettes is a great service to public health ;-)
 

tingo

Daemon

Thanks: 359
Messages: 1,915

#18
Ah, this thread made me remember that once in the old days, when IBM still made laptops named ThinkPad I managed to get one of these laptops into a non-booting state simply by installing FreeBSD on a partition on the harddrive. The laptop would not boot unless I removed the hard drive from it. Turned out that the then current version of the BIOS on that laptop reacted badly to a FreeBSD partition type, which locked up the machine (before any output on the screen). Later after a BIOS upgrade I installed FReeBSD again, and it worked as it should. Fun times.
 

Spartrekus

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 84
Messages: 508

#19
Ah, this thread made me remember that once in the old days, when IBM still made laptops named ThinkPad I managed to get one of these laptops into a non-booting state simply by installing FreeBSD on a partition on the harddrive. The laptop would not boot unless I removed the hard drive from it. Turned out that the then current version of the BIOS on that laptop reacted badly to a FreeBSD partition type, which locked up the machine (before any output on the screen). Later after a BIOS upgrade I installed FReeBSD again, and it worked as it should. Fun times.
interesting that it could happen.
 

olli@

Active Member
Developer

Thanks: 144
Messages: 156

#20
Why is it on Unix/Linux forums people always answer a question with another question? :D:p
Because the information I asked for might be useful to determine the cause of what happened.
The e-cigarette is intended to charge via USB, I didn’t just plug it in for a laugh to see what would happen.
If the USB connector is only for charging, then FreeBSD is definitely not the culprit. Because, in this case, FreeBSD doesn't even see the device at all, let alone attach a driver to it.
 

Beastie

Daemon

Thanks: 468
Messages: 2,174

#21
Ah, this thread made me remember that once in the old days, when IBM still made laptops named ThinkPad I managed to get one of these laptops into a non-booting state simply by installing FreeBSD on a partition on the harddrive. The laptop would not boot unless I removed the hard drive from it. Turned out that the then current version of the BIOS on that laptop reacted badly to a FreeBSD partition type, which locked up the machine (before any output on the screen). Later after a BIOS upgrade I installed FReeBSD again, and it worked as it should. Fun times.
interesting that it could happen.
Some have "hidden" partitions that store disaster recovery tools, monitoring tools and what not. Removing or modifying such partition may prevent booting, essentially bricking the machine.
 

abishai

Aspiring Daemon

Thanks: 137
Messages: 620

#22
I have a working example - UPS Powercom MACAN-1000 hangs and reboots (in endless cycle) ASAP I plug USB cord (without any drivers) to FreeBSD 11.1 box. So, I am sure that FreeBSD USB stack or HID has difference than Linux or Windows one.
 

Crivens

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator

Thanks: 723
Messages: 1,678

#23
abishai maybe put a bug report to the manufacturer? Also there is a usbdump util (not sure about the name) which might tell you what the device tries to do.
 

olli@

Active Member
Developer

Thanks: 144
Messages: 156

#24
I have a working example - UPS Powercom MACAN-1000 hangs and reboots (in endless cycle) ASAP I plug USB cord (without any drivers) to FreeBSD 11.1 box. So, I am sure that FreeBSD USB stack or HID has difference than Linux or Windows one.
But that USB connection is not just for charging. It certainly tries to establish a data connection, even if FreeBSD doesn't have a driver to attach.

By the way, what exactly do you mean with “without any drivers”? I assume your kernel does include the basic drivers for USB controllers and USB hubs, doesn't it? (uhci, ohci, ehci, xhci)
 
Top