BLOD – (n.) Acronym for Blinking Lights of Death. Endemic to Netgear GS108 gigabit switches.

After a weekend spent at Lake of the Ozarks, the last thing I wanted to come home to was a hardware failure. In truth, the failure waited until I’d been home a couple of hours, but failure it was.

I moved the house to gigabit ethernet a while ago. I know, I know, there’s all kinds of conversation about whether that’s really necessary for home networks, and whether home ethernet NICs could actually benefit from the added bandwidth gig-e brings. For me, it certainly seems to be a big help, as I move gigabytes of data around the network almost daily in order to keep my images backed up, on multiple spindles and machines. When I decided on the move, I tried some other gear with no real success, and finally landed on the Netgear GS108. It wasn’t terribly expensive, and have me an eight port switch when most switches I could find at the time were five ports. Check and mate.

Tonight, it appears my quiet little switch has blown chunks, thrown up its hands, and given up. All the lights on the switch blinked on and off, like someone was playing with a light switch. I tried playing with cables and ports, and finally googled the problem. It appears this is not a problem only spotted at the Deauxmayne.

I found a blog, the Technical Blog for Jim Beveridge, in which the author details the same problem I discovered today. Lots of folks have apparently stumbled onto this problem as they’ve encountered this problem. Some folks pursued RMAs, which is probably the best answer, but in truth, I couldn’t begin to guess where the receipt is this switch, when I bought it, and whether it would still be in warranty. Some folks reported some rough experiences with the Netgear support folks in trying to get an RMA, so I elected to investigate another path.

In several of the comments, folks mentioned a pair of blown capacitors in the unit, so I figured I’d look. Guess what? Sho ’nuff, one of the normal flat-topped caps had obtained a rounded head, presumably blown, and hitting the descriptions on Jim Beveridge’s blog dead on.

Tomorrow, it’s a stop a Radio Shack, and a cap that a little beefier than the 6.3v 1000uf stock components. I’ve read someone’s comments that they fixed it with a 15v 1000uf part. I’ll just have to see what RatShack’s got available for me tomorrow.