I did some more tests (With uLaunchELF v4.42a this time), and found that I will only get such behaviour when I do not plug in a network cable that is connected to a network (Or the Internet...).
The external HDD unit will start up too, if I was to power it and leave it plugged in.
Is that normal?
I doubt that my NA has an issue though - the HDL Dump server works fine with it (No noticeable delays - except for the usual delay that I also observe with my SCPH-39006 console).
And it doesn't have the issue that PS2LINK has (See below).
My modified copy of PS2LINK doesn't seem to work properly with that 10K either - the LINK and ACT LEDs will keep blinking, and will take about 30s to "stabilize".
The only thing I did was to remove the bugs around the IOP reset code, mainly to make operation on older consoles more stable.
However, the same PS2LINK build will work properly on a newer console.
I thought that I should bring that up, since it feels as if the PS2SDK SMAP driver is not working properly with the hardware.
The 10K I have is one of those 10K consoles with BIOS v1.01.
BTW: Does anyone know why uLE accesses the NA when "View Debug info" is selected?