3 short beeps exactly every 15 minutes - no idea what the cause is

  • I'm experiencing this annoying issue since a few days:

    My pfsense box beeps 3 times (interval is probably a few hundred milliseconds between each, pitch is the same) every 15 minutes. The beeps happen usually ~40 seconds after the full minute, plus minus a few seconds, so e.g. 00:00:40, 00:15:38, 00:30:39, 00:45:40, etc.. It's pretty annoying, since the box is in the living room and can't be moved anywhere else.

    I did not change any settings that i am aware of, but the problem started shortly (but not immediately) after upgrading pfsense to 2.4.4. I did run into a few problems during the upgrade (due to PHP versions), but solved it by running the upgrade from the command line until all packages were finally upgraded. I don't run any third party software on this box.

    The really, really weird part is this though:

    in order to at least have a bit of peace in the living room while I'm triaging the problem, I got rid of the execute bits of the 'beep' command (chmod -x /usr/local/bin/beep). I verified that I get a permission error trying to execute it and that no sound was emitted. But to my big surprise, at the next 15 min mark, the box beeps 3 times again :(

    I ruled out a cron job, since there was only 1 job that executes every 15 minutes, but after changing the frequency of that to every minute, the beeps still happened every 15 minutes (i verified that the settings took by inspecting /etc/crontab).

    I grepped the complete file system for occurences of the beep command, but everything that came up could be ruled out.

    Unfortunately, the logs don't show anything that could be the cause either.

    I am a bit lost here. Anybody got any clue what's going on here? Thanks for any leads...

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    It could be from a physical component, such as an HDD or the BIOS indicating some kind of problem. Imminent drive failure, heat, etc.

    The only thing on the firewall I can think of that runs every 15 minutes is a cron job to update scheduled firewall rules.

    Are there any log messages that coincide with the beeps?

    I'd lean toward a drive issue though. The upgrade would have caused a lot of disk activity and writes to the drive which could have tripped any number of different issues.

    What type of hardware is it? Can you open the case and listen more closely to narrow down where it's coming from?

  • Thanks for your super fast reply!

    The hardware is an Apu.2C4 with 4GB memory and a mSATA SSD. I've run S.M.A.R.T. tests on the SSD, but they all come back fine, refrained from doing a memtest since that means I got no internet while the test is running (and that takes a while). The unit (including RAM and SSD) is only a few months old, and besides the weird beeps which only started a few days ago, everything runs rock solid with zero anomalies / issues.

    The logs contain nothing that I could correlate.

    The only cronjob I have which runs every 15 minutes is the DynDNS update script, which I modified to run every 15 minutes instead of once a day (for similar reasons as described here: https://redmine.pfsense.org/issues/2148).

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    You might take the top off the case at least and see if you can narrow down where the beep is coming from. It still could be from the drive, or any other add-on hardware there. If it's from the piezo speaker then it would be from the OS or BIOS.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Hmm, curious!

    I would definitely try changing the dyndns update period just to be sure it's not related.

    I would also check the temperature is reasonable.


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