Life is too short for (cheap) hardware

I recently acquired a Revoltec Alu Book USB mass storage enclosure for a 2.5″ PATA HDD, which is based on the Myson CE8818 chipset and therefore matched by the (wrongly named, as this matches all CE8818 based devices) following USB quirk in FreeBSD -current:


The enclosure worked fine for a while, but then started to fail under FreeBSD with heavy disk activity, spewing the following messages in dmesg:

kernel: umass0: on uhub4
root: Unknown USB device: vendor 0x04cf product 0x8818 bus uhub4
kernel: da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 target 0 lun 0
kernel: da0: < > Removable Direct Access SCSI-2 device
kernel: da0: 40.000MB/s transfers
kernel: da0: 114473MB (234441648 512 byte sectors: 255H 63S/T 14593C)
kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): READ(10). CDB: 28 0 8 45 78 6f 0 0 48 0
kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): CAM Status: SCSI Status Error
kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): SCSI Status: Check Condition
kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): ILLEGAL REQUEST asc:20,0
kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Invalid command operation code
kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Unretryable error
kernel: g_vfs_done():da0s1a[READ(offset=71050477568, length=36864)]error = 22
kernel: vnode_pager_getpages: I/O read error
kernel: vm_fault: pager read error, pid 27989 (cp)

cp(1), which I used for reproducing the problem, said cp: /foo/bar/baz.txt: Bad address and the destination file was corrupt.

I investigated the possible course of the failure. A dying disk? A quirky chipset? A change in the FreeBSD umass(4) driver or something else?

After having spent weeks of debugging this periodical error, it eventually turned out to be a dying USB HDD enclosure.

Close examination of the PCB showed that some of the lines connecting the HDD connector to the chipset had clearly been repaired before shipping this unit, but no coat of varnish had been given afterwards – leading to corrosion of the PCB over time.

I have just replaced the USB HDD enclosure with a new one (from a different vendor, of course) – and I can no longer reproduce the above problem with the same HDD installed.

Lesson learned: Life is too short for dealing with (cheap) hardware.

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