My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

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me4twb
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My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby me4twb » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:37 pm

Hello, I have a 9114-275.

I think I have hard disk trouble, does anyone have some advice?

My system came all banged up with loose parts falling out, and stuffed full of very fine dark powder and sticky clumps of dust. The dark powder was like very fine coal dust, or soot or something.

I bought the system from an Australian ebay seller that was selling 10 of them. I wouldn't be surprised if these systems came from a Geo office on a coal mine site or something.

I had it sitting there in a state of disrepair for quite a while, the return period is well and truly lapsed now. The seller said the systems were working and came with AIX 5.3 but I now think that the systems were configured for net boot.

I eventually got it mostly cleaned up. I couldn't fully disassemble the system for cleaning as the inner part of the case is held together with pop-rivets.

And now it runs the firmware and I get output on an LCD monitor through the DVI connection, but no OS is found. The system in sms is configured for boot order:

1) floppy
2) ide cd-drom
3) ethernet

and that is it. But it has a (presumably scsi) hard drive in the front bay. When I tell the SMS to scan for all boot devices it only lists the floppy, the ide cd rom and then the two ethernet ports. The scsi disk is not being picked up. But I hear the harddrive start up when power is turned on.

Does a disk show up in SMS even if it has no bootable partitions? I have no clue how this works in these IBM systems but on my x86 computer the BIOS will list all hard drives connected to the motherboard whether they are bootable or not.

Maybe my HDD is faulty and I need a new one?

Perhaps I should acquire aix5 cd boot media and a new hdd?

Also sometimes the amber light on the only power supply blinks but then it stops and the system runs fine it just won't boot.

The case has many strips of foam in it. Some parts were perfectly clean, Most parts were atrociously dusty. A lot of the dust was very sticky and had to be manually plucked and fed to a vacuum hose. Maybe previous owners were smokers?

Also I find it odd that the PSU fan runs even when the system is powered off. So long as the power cable is plugged in the power supply fan is running. Is it that inefficient it needs active cooling even for standby power? I plan to use an inline watt meter to measure its standby power consumption this afternoon.
Attachments
IMAG0257.jpg
Couldn't strip it any further because pop rivets.
IMAG0277.jpg
Here you can see that the long GFX card which only just fits in, has bounced out of its retaining slot. Rough handling during transit I suspect.
IMAG0273.jpg
Part of orange plastic lever tab thing from PSU had broken of and rattled inside PSU. At first I thought it was broken capacitor, then the rattle stopped and I saw it was just plastic, it got caught in a heatsink.
IMAG0267.jpg
Operator panel cable plug could not accept the operator panel cable because the lever tab on the side came dislodged in shipping and I had to pull the lever tab out with pliers.
IMAG0264.jpg
Fallen cable hook stops media bay removal. Had to rip it out from the other end using needle nose pliers

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VenomousPinecone
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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby VenomousPinecone » Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:11 pm

Hand clean and reseat everything. Judging by the condition it arrived in I wouldn't be surprised if everything was out of alignment. As for the very fine black dust, it is probably just run of the mill toner.

Just as a generic assessment I would say unplug the peripherals (cd-rom, et al.) one by one and try booting up, just to see what happens. Definitely try a different HDD. I think you got a dumpster box, might not be worth the shipping you paid for it. Naturally I would be glad to be proven wrong!

Oh, one more thing; AIX is commercial software, so you would only be able to acquire it through commercial channels and not here.

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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby jan-jaap » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:24 am

VenomousPinecone wrote:As for the very fine black dust, it is probably just run of the mill toner.

No, I've seen that in Onyx2's etc as well. I believe that in a system with sufficient airflow the larger dust is simply blown out, and only the smallest particles remain.

You can clean it off with a clean paint brush.
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me4twb
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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby me4twb » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:49 am

Indeed, it might just be super fine particles of some kind.

The system pulls 16.5 watts just by plugging the power cable in. That is more than some laptops with a lit screen and running web browser.

When it stabilizes at the OK code on the operator panel it reads 17.566 watts

On initial boot up it goes to 90 watts when the fans come on.

Then the fans get loud and the reading is 128 watts then about 30 seconds its 145 watts then another 30 seconds and its 250 watts. Screen still hasn't turned on yet.


The keyboard caps lock etc lights flash at 271 watts

Another 20 seconds and the screen lights up instructing me to press 3 to choose it as the console, 274 watts

power stays around 271-274 watts through out the bios logo and the open boot system which ends up looking for a bootp server.

Power it off again via the operator panel and its back down to 17.344 watts

It seems in its current configuration it draws an appropriate amount of power given its namesake, 275.

I wonder if when it goes into an OS it has any power saving?

I have a 36gig drive on the way from the USA, will continue then.

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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby robespierre » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:13 am

I know there are specialized vacuum cleaners for picking up toner, carbon brushes, and other electronic debris. They are ESD protected and use multi-stage cartridge filters for the microfine particles. quite expensive as well.
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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:52 pm

Indeed, it might just be super fine particles of some kind.

The system pulls 16.5 watts just by plugging the power cable in. That is more than some laptops with a lit screen and running web browser.

When it stabilizes at the OK code on the operator panel it reads 17.566 watts

On initial boot up it goes to 90 watts when the fans come on.

Then the fans get loud and the reading is 128 watts then about 30 seconds its 145 watts then another 30 seconds and its 250 watts. Screen still hasn't turned on yet.


The keyboard caps lock etc lights flash at 271 watts

Another 20 seconds and the screen lights up instructing me to press 3 to choose it as the console, 274 watts

power stays around 271-274 watts through out the bios logo and the open boot system which ends up looking for a bootp server.

Power it off again via the operator panel and its back down to 17.344 watts

It seems in its current configuration it draws an appropriate amount of power given its namesake, 275.

I wonder if when it goes into an OS it has any power saving?


Only 275 watts? ;) Seriously, that's actually about right for this system. POWER4 (and PowerPC G5/970) CPUs are dim-the-lights power hungry. As a point of comparison, my quad G5 pulls between 210 and 280W, depending on load; though it's clocked a lot faster than your -275 and has more cores, your -275 has a crapload of cache. Not until the POWER6 did IBM start making significant strides in power reduction; my 2-way 4.2GHz POWER6 pulls around 300W throttled down in ASMI so that it uses less juice, but it does a lot more grunt work with that power draw. The POWER7 is even better.

Unfortunately, I think the 9114-275 predates ASMI, which is really awesome and beats the crap out of SMS. I don't think there are any power throttling options on your machine. I think the -285 does have a service processor, however, which is why it "comes to life" immediately as you turn it on, and it should have HMC support.

SMS may not be able to configure your disk and that might be why it doesn't see it, assuming that the controller isn't shot. If you have no way of accessing it over HMC, I would strongly advise investing in an AIX CD set. They pop up on eBay all the time. Because you have a machine, you are automatically entitled to run AIX, so just find a disc set that works. 5.3 is the minimum that your system will run, IIRC. Once you boot AIX in service mode, you will have more options about setting up the disk.
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me4twb
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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby me4twb » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:17 am

I now have a new HDD installed and I also some 5.3 install media.

I think that the ebay listing (that they ran 5.3) must really have been quite bogus based on something I found out now.

I got the system to boot cd 1 and it installed and it was all good. You can choose between gnome/kde/cde, I chose CDE just to keep things simple.

After reboot I get operator panel status: 9411 and sms message 20ee000b, which is something like os not found or so I think. The AIX installation procedure changes your sms config so that it boots the hdd and only the hdd on reboot. So I rebooted the machine and set it to boot CD again. Its a pain because the boot process takes 8 minutes before you get to the bios banner.

I looked on the internet why this error can occur, and it seems a big reason can be firmware too old to run the OS. You can't seem to list the firmware version number from the open firmware OK prompt, you either have to attach a null modem to the service processor on the back, or boot AIX and use lsmcode utility.

The aix install cd limited function maintenance shell doesn't even have ls, but it does have cd and lsdev. So basically I had to operate the system blind and I gave up on that.

Instead of going down to the garage to get a system with a db9 port to access the service processor, I booted the CD install disk and used normal maintenance mode to load the installed volume group. This gives me usual command lines tools in ksh.

The OS is installed and it has X11R6 and everything. So I found it odd it wouldn't run. Can't start X11 though but I can run normal command line apps so I ran lsmcode and my firmware is version 3F040326, which based on this page: ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/software/ser ... C3F_CD.htm indicates that I can only run 5.1 and 5.3 requires the next version. (this guy: http://unix.ittoolbox.com/groups/techni ... 6#M1480166 seems to think the next version after that is the minimum.).

Well anyway I will have to upgrade the firmware version somehow. Not sure how I'm going to achieve that and its 11:17pm with work tomorrow, so this chapter ends early.

[EDIT]
Also yes, I confirmed that even if the HDD is working and not broken, it will still not show up in sms and so on unless it is marked in an "active" state, which the installer does for you. But even though I have 2 hdds plugged in, only 1 was available for installation, so I assume that the original it came with really was a dud as well. Now I'm thinking it would have been better to just 5.1 install media. I only had 5.3 in my head because of the (bogus) ebay description.

[EDIT 2]
The only benefits (besides generally newer software) that I can see 5.3 having over 5.1 are some JFS2 improvements, and supporting NFS v4. I'm currently the highest bidder on some 5.1L media

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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby kjaer » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:24 am

limited function maintenance shell, this is unix 101. no 'ls' -> use 'echo *'. make the shell do the work.
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me4twb
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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby me4twb » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:00 am

Good tip.

My AIX 5.1 cd set arrived. It doesn't include the linux toolbox nor the expansion pack so I'm unable to install web server / netscape / firefox / gcc etc.

But I now have AIX 5.1 installed and running smoothly (using the CDE gui). I am setting up mirroring of the rootvg right now, which of course is taking quite a while.

System has no ssh/sftp/http access but it does have ftp server and telnet server so I am going to use that to get some rpm's onto it from here: http://www.perzl.org/aix/index.php?n=Main.Gcc#v4.5.4

Also it seems that by default all of the file systems are only 64megs in size (var, root fs, home, tmp, and so on) but /usr is 640megs or so. But my disk is 34gb so I have plenty of space to resize those FS to make them bigger.

The SMIT program really makes administering the system much easier than linux or freebsd. Plus linux lvm is based on the system used here in AIX as far as I know (logical volumes inside volume groups which spread over physical volumes).

And the SMIT device list lets you see all the scsi controller ids and connection strings that you need when making physical volumes of them. The installer configures all disks present at install time as a physical volume for you anyway, but only the one that you selected at install time gets used for rootvg.

So now its just a matter of getting svn 1.7 and gcc 4.5.4 and all their dependencies working, and then I'll be able to try and get some open GL / X11 stuff happening on this GXT6500P.

I anticipate that I will run into an issue of no x11 development packages installed but if so then I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Last edited by me4twb on Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:03 am

smit is very nice, despite its detractors.

perzl.org is indeed a great depot for software. Almost all my installed AIX freeware packages are perzl builds. Which reminds me, I need to update gcc.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: My 9114-275 saga continues to the next chapter

Unread postby uridium » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:16 am

These things'll happily run 7.1 after a firmware update. I've got a couple in the other room configured for 5.3 and 7.1.
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