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I am using a BBB (Rev C) as a web server, powered by a 5V power supply connected to the 5V jack. I read in several locations that disconnecting the power supply to turn off the board can damage the board.

Is this an issue if the BBB is running and there is a power outage? The web server is used as a web front-end to a MySQL database and is used fairly infrequent. Most of the time, the BBB is idle.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It'll not so much damage the board as in hardware failure, but it may very likely corrupt filesystem in the memory cards. Both the built in and the one in the slot. It may potentially cost you a headache to restore the filesystem, but it can be done. There are ways in Linux to have a read-only filesystem and make changes in a RAM based overlay. But in that case all changes will be lost at reboot. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie Aug 28 '15 at 19:36
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@jippie is right. the issue is the filesystem. If your OS is actively writing at the point when power is lost then you have the potential for issues. The risk is lower if the system is not heavily used and the frequency of power outages is low. But it is still there. The best defense is to provide a battery backup that can run your BBB for a few minutes and get the BBB to monitor the input power. As soon as it drops initate a controlled shutdown. This is essentially what commercial Uninteruptable Power Supplies do. So you can eother roll your own or choose a UPS with a linux agent and use that.

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