The Day Curiosity Killed the Router
You may have noticed some sketchy uptime on this blog lately. For a few days there, my site would be online for a few hours, then drop offline for a few then return. It's done horrible things to my traffic as well as my personal productivity.
You see, my router, Serenity was falling apart. The little compact-flash card I was using was starting to flake out and I was seeing data corruption, segfaults and lots and lots of kernel panics. Not fun. This could be managed with the occasional reboot, but that's not a fix. No I had to buy a new cf card and rebuild serenity from the ground up.
This sounds more difficult than it is really. I just hopped down to London Drugs, bought a new card ($23 for 2gb! Looks like SD really did win that race) brought it home and opened up the box with my trusty screw driver, moved a few parts around and replaced the card. The only thing left was the install and configuratioin... except I got stupid.
The case fan was unplugged. I'd removed it months ago 'cause it was making noise and I wanted a quieter house. However, the CPU was *really* hot, so I thought it might be a good idea to test out if the noise was really tolerable or not. I took the little power wire and plugged it into a free set of pins and sure enough, the fan came on -- the server also rebooted.
I'd plugged one of the power cables right into the motherboard on some unlabeled pin. There was some scary-sounding beeping, and then the smell of burnt metal and plastic... even smoke. My curiosity, coupled with a stupid mistake (learn your cables Dan!) had had quite literally "toasted" my router.
So I'm now using my wireless router (originally just an access point) as my primary router and I'm already not liking it. I'd gotten used to handy things like IP blocking, and routing non-standard ports to standard ports to get around lame security on other networks -- all of it gone. However getting a replacement for serenity is looking to be around $400 so that's not going to happen anytime soon.
So let this be a lesson to you kids: be careful when playing with expensive hardware... one mistake and you really could fry your board :-(