A Really Dumb But Useful Tip

  • Hi all,

    After probably 6 months of my pfsense box randomly rebooting itself I have found the culprit…

    Some background:

    Basically I run pfsense at my home using an old P4 2.4 with 2GB DDR400 and some old 10/100 rando nics.
    It has been setup like this for about 11 months and ran perfect for the first 5, with the exception of a nic dying after the first month or 2, but, an easy swap fixed the prob.
    For the last 6 months I have noticed the boxes uptime jumping, as in the box has been resetting itself, in the first 3 months of this happening I couldn't care less as it was only every 2 or 3 weeks and the box still ran fine whenever I needed it. However, in the last 3 months the box would reboot every 2 or 3 days some days up to 3 times a day and a lot of the time when I am using the internet.

    The important part:

    About 9 months back I swapped out the graphics card that was first in it as it was LP and I needed one, so I threw in a newer one, the switch worked as planned.

    The situation and fix:

    Since the problems first began I thought they would probably be related to a PSU or similar however, I just wanted to wait till the box died completely before I was going to switch it for like a C2D or X2.
    Anyway, today the boxed died and a reboot wouldn't bring it back, so, I opened her up and just randomly from where my view was I went to flick the GPU fan, it was locked up...
    So, I took the GFX out and sure enough there was the answer to all my problems, the GPU had burnt out.
    I swapped it out for a new fan less version and bang it fired straight up and has so far ran stable as a fat guy in front of a TV set.

    The lesson:

    From this I have learned two simple lessons and I hope others find these no brain'r tips as a useful reminder:

    1. Not essential but if your mobo requires a GFX to boot, try and go for the fan less option. Small fans like this in servers that are not inspected cease and cause problems.
    2. If you experience unexpected reboots in any machine check for heat problems, things that overheat make systems reboot. Don't always make the mistake of suspecting the PSU like I did.

    Anyway, its been a long 3 months of not extremely bad but just annoying and frustrating problems and I am glad that in the end the root cause was simple.
    Hopefully I can have another but this time longer session of lengthy pfsense love.


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