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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:27 am 
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Hi,

I was given two SGI machines from my university today, a deskside Onyx2 and an O2, and they each have some problems. The Onyx2 boots to the desktop, but after running for a while it starts making grinding noises and "FAN FAIL" is displayed on the LCD screen. After about an hour the whole machine shuts down, with a "high temperature" warning lamp lit. Obviously some sort of a fan issue, but I'm not sure which fans are failing, as the problem doesn't start occurring immediately, but after the system has been on for a while, as if the machine is switching from one fan speed to another. There seems to be airflow on the top and the bottom of the case, but it sounds like the fans are either bad, need oil, or are dragging against a cable.

The O2 I received doesn't have a fan issue, but it doesn't boot. I got this error:
Code:
Unable to execute scsi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(8)/crt_ option = 1: no such device
Unable to load bootfile: no such device


I tried to fix it by re-installing the OS using the IRIX installation tools CD, but after it copied the installation tools to the HDD, it would go back to the same problem. I tried the tips in this thread http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=643120 to fix it, but it still doesn't seem to work. I think it's a problem with the disk, as I'm getting disk parity errors in the IRIX installation boot screen (picture attached.)

I'd really like to save these machines and get 'em fixed up, but I'm not familiar with the architecture yet. I looked up the "FAN FAIL" message in the Onyx2 manual and they said I need to make a support call, but I doubt the warranty is still active from 1996. Has anyone here had either of these problems, or know of a way to fix them?

Thanks for any and all help!


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:47 am 
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On the O2: When the "Welcome to O2, press "ESC" for maintenance" screen comes up press escape. Then select option 5 (PROM monitor).

You'll get a prompt. Try running "resetenv". Your machine is looking for the crt_option=1 bootfile, when it should be looking for sash. The number of errors on the screen capture also make it very possible that your drive is failing. SCSI drives of moderate capacity are a dime a dozen, so go ahead and look for a new one (3.5" 1/3 height (1") SCSI drive, SCA)

The Onyx2 has a fan failing, but it keeps on trying to run until the machine temperature gets so high that the system controller shuts it off. I don't have a deskside SN1 machine, so I'm not sure what the fan types are, but if they have the same fan tray that the rackmount models have I have a spare fan tray you can make an offer on.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:09 am 
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There's a DB9 serial port located on the lower right rear corner of your Onyx2. That port provides access to the Module System Controller, or MSC. Among other things, the MSC controls the fans in your Onyx2.

After a fan failure occurs, the MSC should provide you with a pretty good idea as to which of the fans in the fan tray have failed.

To access the MSC, use a null-modem cable to connect a 9600-8-N-1 configured serial terminal to the serial port mentioned above, and power up the system by turning the front panel key to the "Diag" position. Preface MSC commands with a combined press of the "control" and "t" keys. Issuing "control t" followed by "fan" should return the fan status. You might try the fan command after the fan fail message appears on the Onyx2's front panel (the MSC display) , but try it before the system auto-powers down.

There are nine fans in your Onyx2's fan tray - if you'd rather not try to find a replacement for an individual fan (to avoid continuing fan errors the replacement will need to closely match the original pretty closely), the Onyx2 Deskside uses the same fan tray as Origin 2000 Compute modules, so the one SAQ has available should be a direct replacement.

If your Onyx2 Deskside is enclosed in a plastic skin, you'll have to remove the front and rear panels to extract the fan tray. Those plastic panels are notoriously fragile, so you might want to solicit some advise on the subject if you do have to remove them.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:35 am 
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Thanks for both of your responses! I tried the resetenv command on the O2 and after setting the OSLoader to "sashARCS" I was able to boot from the cdrom. The O2 HDD I was using seems to be making the click-of-death sound when I turn the system on, so I'll probably need to replace it, perhaps with one of the many HDDs in the Onyx2. I noticed after doing a resetenv that I couldn't install the system software, as it claimed "Invalid swap partition (0)." I think it's because resetenv set my OSLoadPartition to
Code:
pci(0)scsi(0)cdrom(4)rdisk(0)partition(0)

not
Code:
pci(0)scsi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(0)

I tried changing it back, but running ls showed me disk(1) partitions 0 and 8 aren't devices, so I'm a bit confused.

As for the Onyx2 fan issues, I'm glad to know that all the fans are on a single tray. If I do decide to replace the tray, I'll let you know! I have a PC with a serial port, so regarding the serial terminal fan debug diagram, can I just connect the PC and use HyperTerminal or similar software as the serial terminal? Also, if I do decide just to replace a single fan, is there a special fan I need, or will any fan of the same size and RPM do?

Thanks again!


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:02 am 
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zshall wrote:
I have a PC with a serial port, so regarding the serial terminal fan debug diagram, can I just connect the PC and use HyperTerminal or similar software as the serial terminal?

Yes. Just be sure to use a "null modem" cable or cable adapter (send and receive pins are reversed on one end compared with a normal serial cable), otherwise you won't see anything.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:08 pm 
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zshall wrote:
Code:
pci(0)scsi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(0)

I tried changing it back, but running ls showed me disk(1) partitions 0 and 8 aren't devices, so I'm a bit confused.


Does this O2 have 1 or 2 slots for hard disks? If it is an R10K O2, the bigger heat sink on the CPU eats up the space of the left hard disk slot. The remaining slot has SCSI ID #2. This makes the R10K O2 probably the only SGI with a system disk ID other than 1.

And the PROM knows nothing about this, so a resetenv will reset everything to use SCSI ID 1 which isn't there ...

You can manually set the appropriate values, and a fresh IRIX install will probably take care of that as well.

BTW: the Onyx2 has a similar gotcha: if the console is on the graphics display (it normally is), and you install IRIX from it (why not), the console will still be set to to the first serial port when the IRIX installation finishes. The result: no display output after a fresh install (until XDM starts). Could be frightening, if this is your first Onyx2 and your first IRIX install ...

A 'setenv console g' takes care of that, of course.

Good luck & happy hacking!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:02 pm 
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zshall wrote:
As for the Onyx2 fan issues, I'm glad to know that all the fans are on a single tray. If I do decide to replace the tray, I'll let you know! Also, if I do decide just to replace a single fan, is there a special fan I need, or will any fan of the same size and RPM do?


Stop (1a) before you replace the tray... even if you can find one....

Vague memories of this....

I had fan problems on a compute module which uses the exact same fan tray as your Onyx2. It was a loose connection that would seems tight until the machine heated up... I think I ran the machine briefly (it might have been winter) with the fan tray hanging outside so I could observe the fan tray ... or maybe not... it was years ago now.. But I kept on fiddling with it for several hours until it was fixed..

Image

See that thick cable on the front that goes from what looks like a draw (power module) down to a tray that has a pull ring on the right handside...? Good.. that tray is 9 fans...

The plastics are as brittle as anything so you will destroy them if you take them off.. Get some plastic glue before you even start (MethylChoride is evil evil stuff and wear a mask, and there are probably much much better options expressed in these forums)...

I could have gotten pliers to crimp the fan connector for a tighter fit, but I think that was a bit difficult to manuver in there so I got some solder and tinned the ends of connector so that they were a tigher fit... Was never ever a problem again even after several years. Maybe it was my recollections but I think that I found that after making a tighter connection on a couple of fans I had a little indication of success and got more of them working and that encouraged me to continue with it.

Hope this helps and my memory is not too faded on any of this..

R.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:47 pm 
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PymbleSoftware wrote:

See that thick cable on the front that goes from what looks like a draw (power module) to a tray that has a pull ring on the right handside...? Good.. that tray is 9 fans...

The plastics are as brittle as anything so you will destroy them if you take them off.. Get some plastic glue before you even start (MethylChoride is evil evil stuff and wear a mask, and there are probably much much better options expressed in these forums)...

I could have gotten pliers to crimp the fan connector for a tighter fit, but I think that was a bit difficult to manuver in there so I got some solder and tinned the ends of connector so that they were a tigher fit... Was never ever a problem again even after several years. Maybe it was my recollections but I think that I found that after making a tighter connection on a couple of fans I had a little indication of success and got more of them working and that encouraged me to continue with it.


Image

Is this the part that you're talking about? Also, about the plastics, is the front cover the plastic that you're talking about? I was looking around and apparently they gave me two front covers, one still wrapped up and not on the machine. Perhaps they were aware of this problem all the way back then. The professor who gave me the machine told me that it's been sitting unused for over 4 years, but that it didn't have fan trouble before, so I'm thinking a quick fix is the best bet rather than a full fan tray replacement. I'll take a closer look as soon as I can get my hands on a null-modem cable and get those diagnostics up.

Another thing that came to mind is the electricity. Right now the machine is plugged into a 240 volt outlet in our university's research center, and it's the only 240 volt outlet on campus. The manual says the 4-node unit requires at least 208 volts, but the standard in the US is 120V. I've looked online and found a transformer that claims to convert from 120V<->220/240V... is that a safe solution in a house or an apartment?

I'm going to need to remove the machine from the research center pretty soon (they want it gone, hence why they were so eager to unload it to me), and I was wondering how travel-ready it is? Can it be put (slightly diagonally tilted) in the back seat of a car, or should the components stay completely upright (in a pickup truck or a station wagon). Are the components likely to be jostled around during transit or are they pretty firmly seated?

--

As for the O2, I think there's only one hard drive. I'll try setenv with disk(2) instead, but I took a picture of the environment before resetting it and it said disk(1). Unfortunately I don't have the machine or the picture at hand, so I'll need to take a look tomorrow. At current, I'm able to boot from CD to sashARCS, but only after going into the command monitor and typing "boot". "install" doesn't seem to work, but is listed as a command. I'll try messing with the environment again tomorrow.

Y'all have been a wonderful help so far, thanks!!


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:21 pm 
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zshall wrote:
PymbleSoftware wrote:

See that thick cable on the front that goes from what looks like a draw (power module) to a tray that has a pull ring on the right handside...? Good.. that tray is 9 fans...

The plastics are as brittle as anything so you will destroy them if you take them off.. Get some plastic glue before you even start (MethylChoride is evil evil stuff and wear a mask, and there are probably much much better options expressed in these forums)...

I could have gotten pliers to crimp the fan connector for a tighter fit, but I think that was a bit difficult to manuver in there so I got some solder and tinned the ends of connector so that they were a tigher fit... Was never ever a problem again even after several years. Maybe it was my recollections but I think that I found that after making a tighter connection on a couple of fans I had a little indication of success and got more of them working and that encouraged me to continue with it.


Image

Is this the part that you're talking about? Also, about the plastics, is the front cover the plastic that you're talking about? I was looking around and apparently they gave me two front covers, one still wrapped up and not on the machine. Perhaps they were aware of this problem all the way back then. The professor who gave me the machine told me that it's been sitting unused for over 4 years, but that it didn't have fan trouble before, so I'm thinking a quick fix is the best bet rather than a full fan tray replacement. I'll take a closer look as soon as I can get my hands on a null-modem cable and get those diagnostics up.


Exactly that part... all those wires comming out of the fans go back to a little distribution board and I some how worked out that some were not getting a good connection so I set out to resolve that. I think I might have measured it with a multimeter with the machine switched off or something to see which ones were "good" and which didn't have a good connection... It was years ago.

All the plastics are brittle... Even the clips on what is labelled "Cap" will break.. Trust me about the fragility of all the plastics of the desksides ... Origin 2000 and Onyx2 desksides that turn up on fleabay tend to be "naked" ie sans plastics... The plastics have been discussed many times on these very forums... using the forum search will reveal all kinds of interesting things.

zshall wrote:
Another thing that came to mind is the electricity. Right now the machine is plugged into a 240 volt outlet in our university's research center, and it's the only 240 volt outlet on campus. The manual says the 4-node unit requires at least 208 volts, but the standard in the US is 120V. I've looked online and found a transformer that claims to convert from 120V<->220/240V... is that a safe solution in a house or an apartment?

I'm going to need to remove the machine from the research center pretty soon (they want it gone, hence why they were so eager to unload it to me), and I was wondering how travel-ready it is? Can it be put (slightly diagonally tilted) in the back seat of a car, or should the components stay completely upright (in a pickup truck or a station wagon). Are the components likely to be jostled around during transit or are they pretty firmly seated?


We only have 240V in this country, so I guess its it safe enough... I get a drop down transformer if I need 110V/120V... Other than that I know nothing about living with a 120Vs grid.
My Onyx2 deskside was heavy enough not to move much from a trip from Australian National University (Canberra, ACT) to home (Sydney, NSW).
I used a station wagon because the deskside was large enough to warrant it, everything else we had to drive without hiring was too sporty and/or small to take it...


zshall wrote:
Y'all have been a wonderful help so far, thanks!!

Give something back in the future, when you;ve been here a while.

R.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:06 pm 
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Officially a loaded Onyx2 deskside (2-node+ IR) needs 240V, but usually desksides will do 120 just fine, but make sure that it's a circuit that isn't marginal, since they'll take all of 15 amps. A 20A plug is good if you can get it, otherwise try to replace with a commercial plug. Several members have measured power consumption, and it's around 1200W as I recall. I have a loaded single-CM O2000 and deskside Challenge L that I run off of 120 just fine (but not at the same time).

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:25 am 
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Hi

To give you an idea about power consumption, my Onyx2 (4x400MHz, 8Gb RAM, 2xRM9-64, DG5-2, 2x73Gb disks) consumes around 850W on a 220V grid with HIPPI & FC cards removed. Every disk you don't need will increase it, as well as every additional card. Fully populated it consumes around 1000W.

It can change a lot on yours depending on the processors and particularly the RMX-YY(YY) you have.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:01 am 
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zshall wrote:
Is this the part that you're talking about?

The part you highlighed is the power supply. The fan tray is underneath it. It slides out forward. You have to undo two thumbscrews on the back before it will slide out.

zshall wrote:
Also, about the plastics, is the front cover the plastic that you're talking about?

The entire font panel is kept in place with a single screw, located in the vents near the bottom of the front skin.

Once the screw is out, the entire front panel can slide slightly down (you may need to gently wiggle it a bit, be careful not to break anything!), and then forward.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:20 am 
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Quote:
The part you highlighed is the power supply. The fan tray is underneath it. It slides out forward. You have to undo two thumbscrews on the back before it will slide out.


Image
The fan tray I found on eBay seems pretty big, so I'm assuming it's similar to my first illustration, where the fans are lining the bottom of the machine, blowing north-south, rather than standing upright, blowing east-west.

I'm planning to get a null-modem cable later today, but in the mean time I recorded audio of the fans.

They start up normally: http://soundcloud.com/zshall/onyx2fansnormal
Then after about 3 or 4 minutes there's some trouble: http://soundcloud.com/zshall/onyx2fanstrouble
And the longer it runs, the worse it sounds: http://soundcloud.com/zshall/onyx2fansworse

As for the O2, I've confirmed there is only one HDD, and when I run hinv I don't even see the HDD listed anymore. I tried removing the third HDD from the Onyx2 to see if I could put it in the O2, but when I so much as pulled on the disk handle, a cloud of dust engulfed me. Perhaps this is why the fans are failing... 12 years of dust.

I'm planning to de-dust the Onyx2 today, and after searching the forums here it looks like compressed air is handy in this endeavor. I'm thinking I'll just blow compressed air on the outside and the drive assembly first.

Quote:
Officially a loaded Onyx2 deskside (2-node+ IR) needs 240V, but usually desksides will do 120 just fine, but make sure that it's a circuit that isn't marginal, since they'll take all of 15 amps.


Hm... it is indeed the 2-node InfiniteReality model. This page http://techpubs.sgi.com/library/tpl/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?coll=hdwr&db=bks&srch=&fname=/SGI_Admin/Onyx2_Desk_OG/sgi_html/ch03.html says that if I have 1 node board I can run it on 110 volts. Do you mean by "usually desksides will do 120 just fine" that the system will boot and run on a US outlet with 2 node boards, but will trip the circuit breaker if it's doing something too intense? Can I disable the second node or remove it if the system is configured with two? (I doubt it but I might as well ask :? )

Edit: The power supply does appear to be rated at 110V/16A or 220V/10A. I talked to someone at my university and he said that the orange outlets that someone else had claimed to be 220V were actually 110V but were isolated ground. It may not be a problem after all as long as I don't overload the circuits.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:23 pm 
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zshall wrote:
I'm assuming it's similar to my first illustration, where the fans are lining the bottom of the machine, blowing north-south, rather than standing upright, blowing east-west.

Correct, except the airflow is downwards. Hot air may want to go up, but the fan tray easily overcomes that. Upward airflow would turn it into one *big* hoover and suck up all the dust from the floor into the system.

zshall wrote:
I'm planning to de-dust the Onyx2 today, and after searching the forums here it looks like compressed air is handy in this endeavor. I'm thinking I'll just blow compressed air on the outside and the drive assembly first.

A can of compressed air should do fine to remove the dust from the disk drive assembly.

If you remove the plastic top cover, you could try to do the same for the rest of the system (especially with the fan tray and power supply removed), but I'm not sure a can of compressed air will go very far into the card cage. Before you disassemble anything there, search the forum for 'compression connectors' and their fragile nature. And don't use a real compressor: they are usually oil based and they leave tiny oil drops everywhere.

My first Onyx2 was *very* dirty when I got it. Had fan tray issues as well. I took it apart completely but it took me a while before it ran reliably again after re-assembly. I cleaned the backplane, but apparently not thoroughly enough, because (I think) part of the dust of the backplane ended up on the pads that the compression connectors mate to, and the in the compression connectors themselves. This will give you XIO errors and an unstable system. Not good.

I kept some shots. Here are some, hope they help:

Attachment:
File comment: Upside down with wheelbase removed
IMG_0005.med.jpg
IMG_0005.med.jpg [ 126.56 KiB | Viewed 497 times ]
Attachment:
File comment: View of the card cage (mostly emptied)
IMG_0006.med.jpg
IMG_0006.med.jpg [ 158.28 KiB | Viewed 497 times ]
Attachment:
IMG_0008.med.jpg
IMG_0008.med.jpg [ 117.94 KiB | Viewed 497 times ]

(edit: typo)

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It turns out that when reset, the WD33C93 defaults to a SCSI ID of 0, and it was simpler to leave it that way... -- Dave Olson, in comp.sys.sgi

Currently in commercial service: Image :Onyx2:(2x) :O3x02L:
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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:50 am
Posts: 5
Well, the truth is here. I went out to my local computer superstore and bought a null-modem cable. Plugged it into the Onyx2 and fired it up. Thanks a bundle to techfury on the IRC channel who walked me through troubleshooting why it kept freezing up (I was using Hyperterminal which didn't work instead of PuTTY, which did.) I powered on the beast, and it was running for a while until it ran into the FANFAIL as it does. I didn't get an ASCII diagram printed to the MSC console, but I did get a new message on the LCD: FA06FAIL.

MSC> fan
ok h

MSC> tmp
ok h

Was the output of the MSC console. Does this mean that fan 6 failed? The ambient temperature light was on, and I've noticed the high fan light go on before I even turn the system on (if I turn on the breaker and don't power up). Perhaps the room is just too hot?

One very strange thing (which techfury guessed might have been because of a backlog of commands all hitting the system at once in HyperTerminal due to improper handshaking) is that as soon as I pressed "Connect" on the serial port, the fans immediately slowed down and I heard all sorts of loud grinding from in the machine. Before that, everything seemed okay. The high fan light wasn't on before this occurred, but when the fans lowered their speed, they seemed almost too quiet.

Either way, do I need to mess with the DIP switches in the front to get the ASCII diagram of which fans failed? From the message I can infer fan 6, but maybe there are more.

Also, the fan assembly pics really do help! I'll be looking at them more critically when the time comes to open the case. Thanks!


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