It’s strange how well my latest hardware failure mirrors this legendary old Aesop's fable...

A lion, an ass and a raven who were tasked with maintaining a small computer network sought to petition Jupiter for a resolution to the sudden failure of their Dell PowerConnect 2216 16-port switch. “Pray tell”, spoke Jupiter, “what is the nature of the defect so observed?”

The ass stepped forward. “Oh wise Jupiter, we were struck by two power fluctuations upon this day and whence recovery was attempted every one of the link and activity lights illuminated brightly like the stars, but henceforth no traffic would traverse the face of our once mighty gateway. We beseech thee to provide replacement so that we might both Facebook and Twitter once more.”

Jupiter was so annoyed by this reply that in his rage he struck down the ass. He roared at the startled lion and raven “Thou would seek to replace such a faulty unit without hesitancy? Foolish is the creature who wastefully discards the entire device while failing to realise a malfunction of this nature is likely nothing more than perhaps a single popped capacitor. Thou shalt receive from me no replacement, not even so much as an unmanaged 8-port Procurve or simple Netgear equivalent. For the only item I may deign to grant thee is a replacement power supply should it be determined such be needed.” 


Upon hearing Jupiter’s words and fearing the same fate as the ass, the lion nervously opened up the Dell PowerConnect switch to examine its internals and in so doing discovered the power supply on a separate circuit board to the mainboard of the device. Upon placing a voltmeter across the power supply output, the lion saw a sickly and fluctuating 2.5v feeding into the mainboard. “Ah,” quoth he, “3.3v for I should be observing here”. Realising this low output was either down to a power supply fault or a partial short circuit on the mainboard pulling the supply voltage down, the lion used a test bench PSU calibrated to 3.3v to determine the correct operation of the mainboard, and then proceeded to examine the power supply PCB before again addressing Jupiter.

“Oh mighty Jupiter, I see now on the underside of the power supply a failed surface-mount capacitor. But I am without schematic and the capacitor is absent of markings. I beg insight of your great wisdom as to how I am to effect a repair without this data.”

Jupiter made appear a replacement 5v power brick of suitable current rating. “The power supply I provide thee now I have recycled from another redundant application. Remove the failed PCB from thine switch and replace it with what I have entrusted unto thee, along with series diodes three to drop the 5v down to a more desirable 3.2v. Thus both the PowerConnect switch and the replacement power supply, while deemed fit for nought but scrap by the ass, will marry together anew and in so doing prolong their servitude toward thee.”

The lion fitted the replacement power supply and once more the Dell PowerConnect switch was brought back to life and observed to be fully operational. 



For the final time, the lion turned to Jupiter.

“Oh magnificent Jupiter, my eyes are now open to the possibility of the working life of electronic goods being extended through the investment of some time and logic into the search for a cause to any perceived malfunction followed by restitutive action, but please, pray tell, what has the raven to offer our tale for he has contributed nought towards our endeavours upon this very day?”

And at that point the raven flew up into the air and shit down the lion's back.