Unexpected shut down of BeagleBone Black

I have been using the BeagleBone Black as the platform of my node. These nodes had distributed deployed in rural areas. For several months all of them have been working great. Unfortunately, in some of them, I have observed an unexpected behaviour that shut off.

Let me give you some more information about the node. The power source of the node is a 12 V battery connected to a large solar panel so that constantly charged. The BeagleBone Black power through a step-down converter (output: 5V 5A) that drives the voltage of the 12V battery to the appropriate level. I used two peripheral devices for wireless communication. The former is a 4G USB mobile router for internet connectivity, and the latter is an XBee for RF communication with other nodes.

When I went there to investigate the problem, all of them had the same symptoms

  1. No LEDs on.
  2. 5V present at the output of the stepdown.
  3. The 12V battery was full charged.

Made the device again respond by unplugging/plugging the 5V connector of the BeagleBone Black (the wire from step down to BBB).

I read a similar issue by the James_Littlefield the deferent in my setup is that my power source is a 12V battery. That makes me believe I am safer from brownout situations, am I? However, the problem is still here without an obvious solution. When the beagle bone black is powered off, the only way to be responsive again is to pull power from the device and plug again.

I am searching for the reasons that cause this erratic behaviour or ways to reboot the device without human action.

Any suggestion?

Is anything else powered from your 12VDC battery or 5V step down? If so, it is possible that load might be either creating a negative spike on your supply to the BeagleBone that causes the Beagle’s power management chip to shutdown the BeagleBone. I recently had an external system powering the Beaglebone Black Wireless and through P9_6. I thought there was a glitch in the setup but finally determined that my 5V step down (from 12VDC battery like yours) was being caused by the 5V regulator overheating and it’s output voltage dropping.

Have you looked at the /var/log/messages, syslog and/or kern.log files for any indication that a power issue was logged?
If you can connect a FTDI to USB cable to the BBB, you might be able to log an issue when it is seen.

Thanks for your suggestions!

I investigated my step down converter and I observed that it causes brownout when is overheating. In addition, I tested a beagle black how it works when a brownout occurs, I saw that it turned off just like in the scenario I described in the original post.
Fortunately, the reset and power button still works when it is closed under these conditions. So as a solution I will incorporate a small Arduino device that will monitor whether the beagle is open or not. If beagle is turned off, the Arduino will turn it on again via the GPIO power Pin 9.