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TTY Issue with Sunblade 150

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serial console, sunblade 150, transmit detect

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Old 02-21-2010
Geekasaurus Geekasaurus is offline
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TTY Issue with Sunblade 150

I purchased a Sunblade 150 from Ebay. It had 512MB RAM and 80GB hard disk. I recently purchased additional RAM and another 80GB disk, and installed them. The RAM goes through POST without issues. I just can't get beyond the OK prompt. I am using the serial console.

I have been unable to make the on-board graphics work, and do not have a SUN mouse and keyboard. I am content with the serial console. Using the serial console, I can see the machine going through all its various tests...prior to shutting it down, I went to OBP and set the diagnostics flag to true. Everything appears copasetic

Except that I cannot send any data to the serial console. I dug out my RS-232 tester, and it does appear to have a problem. The CD (Carrier Detect), DSR (Data Set Ready), RTS (Ready to Send), DTR (Data Terminal Ready), CTS (Clear to Send), and RD (Receive Detect) lights are lit as normal, however, the TD (Transmit Detect) is not lit.

To check the cable, I connected it to my RS6000/B50 server. All 7 lights come on as expected and everything works. The problem therefore is not my cable, nor is it the XP system that I am using PuTTY to make the connection with. This cable did work prior to the installation of RAM and hard disk. I was able to install Solaris 10 via the serial console without event.

I had to purchase new IDE cables for the upgrade--the ones that came with it were far too short.

This makes no sense to me at all. Should I remove the RAM? I did try it with the 2nd Hard Disk disconnected, but the problem returned.

Why is the Sunblade not asserting TD? Everything else seems just fine.

I read elsewhere that I cannot use a standard mouse and keyboard with this thing. Further, the on-board video is deader than Elvis--at least there is a rumor that Elvis lives. Could these issues be related?
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Old 02-21-2010
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I have used a Sun Blade-150 serial console and all I connect are pins 2, 3, 1 and 7:
Serial Port & Cable Pinouts SunHELP
Did you know you can use the serial port for input and the monitor for output (and vice versa)?
The output-device setting can be set to include the resolution and refresh rate of your monitor so that you see the messages during power up and before Solaris takes over, e.g.:

Code:
output-device=screen:r1024x768x60

in this case 1024 pixels by 768 pixels at 60Hz.
I have seen folk confused by having two VGA connectors because a framebuffer card had been added in and they had the monitor plugged into the wrong one. To make the alternative framebuffer card may require amending of the pci-probe-list:
9. Multiple Monitors on a System (Solaris Handbook for Sun Frame Buffers) - Sun Microsystems

I'm fairly sure a PC USB mouse will work, it might be a bit fast or slow, a normal PC USB keyboard I think will work but will lack the power, front, back, stop, etc. keys.

On the memory front a Sun Blade-150 requires error correction SDRAM (ECC SDRAM).
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Old 02-21-2010
Geekasaurus Geekasaurus is offline
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Sun TTY

Thanks for your input. Unfortunately, I cannot enter anything at the OBP OK prompt. That is the problem. There are not two monitor cards in the machine. There is only the on-board VGA port. Unfortunately, my monitor does not permit manual setup. It is auto-tune only, and when it detects some sort of VGA signal, it will adjust itself to that signal. I have a KVM, and it works fine on the other 3 machines it is connected to; including the HP-UX system which only supports 1024x768 when it boots.

This cable did work fine until I made the upgrades. I installed Solaris 10 without issue, and was able to make StarOffice work for me after it was on the network. But you're correct about the pinouts. I carefully checked the serial connector; there are no bent pins.

I'm beginning to think that the mainboard on this thing is busted. It worked fine with the less RAM and disk before the upgrade. Maybe I did something to it and broke it somewhere along the way.

This sucks; I am out of work and cannot afford a new SunBlade. I need this machine to learn Sun's virtualization and ZFS. These need to be on my resume so I can get some work.
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Old 02-21-2010
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Have you tried the monitor connected directly to the Sun without a KVM?

You can learn Solaris zones using OpenSolaris on an Intel box...

On the serial port front, there are a lot of options that can be "fiddled with", take a look at:
Man Page for eeprom (OpenSolaris Section 1m) - The UNIX and Linux Forums
and all the ttya- options which may have been reset back to default values by your upgrade.

You did not comment on whether the memory is ECC or not?
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Old 02-21-2010
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About the keyboard. I would try a standard (PC) usb keyboard and a vga monitor plugged in directly. Most USB PC keyboards will work fine as an input device, I have never had any of the problems others have mentioned when using non-sun keyboards ( other than not having the additional keys ).
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Old 02-21-2010
Geekasaurus Geekasaurus is offline
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Its Interesting....

I removed the upgraded RAM (it is ECC, non-registered). The upgraded RAM passed the extensive POST checks, so I was sure that the issue was not the RAM. In any case, I removed the upgrades and the problem still repeats.

I tried your trick of using a standard USB keyboard and mouse with the serial console showing. Now the boot process does not continue to the OK prompt, but freezes while probing the PCI busses. It completes the following steps, but freezes after the last:

Code:
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 7  isa dma floppy parallel power serial serial
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 3  pmu i2c temperature card-reader dimm-spd
   beep ppm fan-control

Probing Memory Bank #0 512 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #1   0 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #2   0 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #3   0 Megabytes
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device c  network firewire usb hub device 0 keyboard 1    input
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 8  sound
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device d  ide disk cdrom
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 5  pci
Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 0  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 1  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 2  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 13  SUNW,m64B
(blank: it freezes here)

I note that it did detect the USB keyboard; but it locks up. The keyboard is known to be good (I robbed it from my Ubuntu notebook).

Unplug the USB keyboard and reboot; here is the same section of the POST:

Code:
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 7  isa dma floppy parallel power serial serial
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 3  pmu i2c temperature card-reader dimm-spd    beep ppm fan-control

Probing Memory Bank #0 512 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #1   0 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #2   0 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #3   0 Megabytes
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device c  network firewire usb
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 8  sound
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device d  ide disk cdrom
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 5  pci
Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 0  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 1  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 2  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 13  SUNW,m64B
Reset Control: BXIR:0 BPOR:0 SXIR:0 SPOR:1 POR:0
Probing upa at 1f,0 pci
Probing upa at 0,0 SUNW,UltraSPARC-IIe (512 KB)
Loading Support Packages: obp-tftp kbd-translator
Loading onboard drivers: ebus flashprom eeprom idprom
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 7  isa dma floppy parallel power serial serial
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 3  pmu i2c temperature card-reader dimm-spd
   beep ppm fan-control

Probing Memory Bank #0 512 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #1   0 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #2   0 Megabytes
Probing Memory Bank #3   0 Megabytes
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device c  network firewire usb
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 8  sound
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device d  ide disk cdrom
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 5  pci Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 0  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 1  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0/pci@5 Device 2  Nothing there
Probing /pci@1f,0 Device 13  SUNW,m64B

Sun Blade 150 (UltraSPARC-IIe 650MHz), No Keyboard
Copyright 1998-2003 Sun Microsystems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
OpenBoot 4.10.6, 512 MB memory installed, Serial #60065423.
Ethernet address 0:3:ba:94:86:8f, Host ID: 8394868f.

Skipping diagnostic script because diag-script = none


ok

When I unplugged the USB mouse/keyboard and rebooted, the Sunblade finished its boot process to the OK prompt. Its just that, without the TD signal asserted on the TTY, I cannot give it the next command to cause it to load the OS. I am almost convinced now that the motherboard is toast.

I tried your suggestion of plugging the monitor directly into the Sunblade (bypassing the KVM): nothing happened; the on-board video just is not functioning (I didn't check this when I first purchased it; I just used the serial console).

So the score card is: no video; no serial console; no USB keyboard/mouse.

I'll keep playing with it this afternoon, but I suspect that I'll be ordering another one soon. I don't have this kind of money. Does anyone want to make me a brother-in-law deal on a gently used Sunblade 150?

Last edited by Scott; 02-21-2010 at 07:25 PM.. Reason: Code tags
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