Request Help Finding a Kybd, Mouse, Graphics Card

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Operating Systems AIX Request Help Finding a Kybd, Mouse, Graphics Card
# 1  
Old 11-03-2007
Java Request Help Finding a Kybd, Mouse, Graphics Card

Hi All -

I looked through this forum and a couple of other places without success. Maybe someone here can help. I very recently came into possession of a p520, a 9131-52A. It arrived without documentation, mouse, keyboard, or graphics card.

I managed to get ASMI to work on both DB-9 ports and both HMC ports well and reliably. Per IBM tech support, I reset the entire system back to factory default settings. There is no display of HMC=0 in the LED screen.

My goal at this time is to get to a command line prompt and start working with SMIT and command lines. HMC is not a priority at this time unless I need to to reach a command line.

Tech support reps say an IBM-proprietary keyboard and mouse are needed for use with the on-board USB ports. That's fine. Here is where I need help: I have a list of eight keyboards by part number that are supposedly RS6000 and p-series compatible. I spent most the day yesterday looking for an internet supplier of keyboards without success.

I want to avoid the expense of a fancy KVM if possible (inexpensive might be an option). I prefer direct connections to the server. Where can I find a USB keyboard that will work? Multiple internet dealers have all come up empty. Does anyone have a known working keyboard that they are willing to sell? If you have a IBM-compatible USB mouse and graphics card, I would be interested in those as well. (The sales rep I went through has not a clue where to find them, either.) The USB ports provide power to a Microsoft keyboard and mouse, but evidently, the signals are all wrong.

Any assistance (and maybe a deal) will be greatly appreciated.

Colorado Springs, CO
# 2  
Old 11-03-2007
Originally Posted by MikeJ
My goal at this time is to get to a command line prompt and start working with SMIT and command lines.
Alternatively you could get it working with an X terminal.
# 3  
Old 11-04-2007
The problem is rather simple: PC keyboards are just the devices with the keys. Unix keyboards are part of a "terminal", which includes (for instance) an beeper for emitting signals. This is why PC keyboards do not work.

What should do the trick, though, is putting a serial terminal to work. That could be a IBM 3153 or a similar device. Plug it into the serial and use 19200 baud, 8 Data bits, no parity and 1 Stop bit. (19200, 8N1) Alternatively a DEC VT220 or even a terminal emulation program (kermit, ...) will work too.

A word about the commandline: IBMs termcap entries are traditionally crap. What works best is: Wyse60, VT100, VT220 and the native IBM3153 (sometimes called IBM3153-III). Most others will do for basic work, but fail in one or the other respect when it comes to the fancy things (reverse video, etc.), so there is a chance SMIT (which is in its ASCII mode based on the curses library) will not be displayed properly.

# 4  
Old 11-04-2007
Thanks for the reply. Getting closer, not there yet. I just found out that the serial ports I use routinely for ASMI will NOT work for getting command line displays. I just found this:

About Virtualization from (Dated Nov 25, 2005):

"You cannot use the internal serial ports of any p5 server (as this one is, with AIX 5.3 already loaded) because they are already configured as Virtual Serial Devices shared between any partition you create in the p5 server. IBM confirmed to me the same thing: the serial cards are there but are not available since you don't install VIO. I know it is frustrating to buy a (multiple) serial ports adapter just to use one, but this is IBM."

I will be talking more to IBM Tech Support first thing tomorrow morning (5 Nov 2007). X-windows will not work at all because I have no access to the command line interface, so I cannot prep the server to use X-windows.

To All Readers: I am open to any and all recommended combinations of adapters, interfaces, etc., that will get me to the command line and are proven to work. Recommendations as to what KVM, graphics card, keyboard, mouse, serial cards, USB cards, etc., are welcomed and may help someone else in the future. Specific item make and model, or part numbers will be most appreciated. I am logging progress steps for future reference. (None of the above items arrived with the server, nor did any documentation of any kind.)

# 5  
Old 11-05-2007
I thought that P5s would defer the VIO serial to an actual serial. That is, if a terminal is attached to S1 at boot, then the serial I/O goes to the physical port instead of to VIO. I'd be curious what would display at boot with a TTY attached.
# 6  
Old 11-05-2007
No HMC = No VIO.
You could have IVM though.
If you have a p5 with just one install of AIX (no vio and no ivm) then the serial ports (which are owned by the service processor) are passed on to the AIX OS, it knows to do this if the display shows HMC=0, I think as vty rather than tty as on power4, ports.
You cannot use smitty tty to configure them because they are not tty ports, but you can configure them (speed, parity, etc.) from ASMI and they can be used for a console in AIX.
If you get no console output during or after boot, boot to SMS and select the console, then do a service/maintenance mode boot, and again, configure the console to any available vty type device, then do a normal boot and you should be OK.
If you have not installed AIX yet then boot to SMS, select the console and then install AIX and you should be ok.
As said before the default console settings are 19200,8,n,1 but you can set this from ASMI for both the ASMI and the AIX connection.
# 7  
Old 11-10-2007
SUCCESS! Got p-520 server working!

Hi Everyone -

I finally got the refurbished p520 working. Below are my findings and what I did to make it a usable machine. Starting point for me was receipt of a server, and nothing else. My writings below may be long for some experienced people, but will be very useful guidance to newcomers who need to set up a p-series like I had to.

My thanks go out to everyone who responded and offered suggestions.
- Mike

October 26, 2007

Finally got the ASMI function to work. At least one Windows-based computer with serial-based access Hyperterminal or Putty is needed.

(The windows computer should have a dedicated network interface card to access the ASMI via the HMC1 port. A PCI 10/100 Mbps NIC (which I purchased later) should be available for commercial internet access. It will be designated as Eth2. That arrangement comes later.)

Use a serial cable between COM1 9-pin port of the personal computer to the IBM server's 9-pin ports of S1/T1 or S2/T2; they both work equally well. The cable I had required cutting it in two and rework the wiring: 2-3, 3-2; 4-6; 6-4; 5-5; 7-8; and 8-7. Pins 1 and 9 are not used. This results in a RS232 null modem with full handshaking. Use the cheapest volt-ohm-amp meter from Radio Shack to verify continuities.

From a no-power condition to powerdown condition, plug in the power cord and wait about 5 minutes or until the LED screen displays "01 N V=F". Connection can be made by Windows Hyperterminal or Putty via COM1 port, signal of 19200,8,N,1,Hardware. Note the unusually high bit rate of 19200. This is unique to the p-series servers. When the blank screen appears, press any key and read the login banner.

User default name is "admin"; password is factory default to "admin".

The serial ports work only in off mode (the p520 has power connection, but the ASMI white button has not been pressed).

IP default address for HMC1 is after a full return-to-default reset. (IP default address for HMC2 is after a full return-to-default reset. For me, that port will not be used.)

T5 and T6 ethernet ports do not work at this time. They are specifically designed for data transport to multi-terabyte storage arrays. These ports have fixed IP addresses and are coded to prevent being changed. Ignore them. You will need a PCI Ethernet card to get access to the Internet.

A Microsoft USB keyboard and mouse will not work; an IBM keyboard is needed.
A Microsoft mouse will not work; an IBM mouse is needed.
There will be no graphics display on the server's monitor; an IBM graphics card is needed.
There will be no ping ability to the Windows terminal; an IBM PCI network interface card is needed.

But through the serial port and null modem cable you can get some kind of feedback. Make use of IBM tech support right away; you paid for it.

IBM Systems Information Center

As this is a refurbished machine, the ASMI LED screen shows that it was once connected to an HMC (it displays HMC=0). This display must be removed. To do that, the ASMI function must be used to reset all settings back to original conditions.

To reset all settings to factory defaults:
Log in via the serial modem cable.
Go to System Service Aids > Factory COnfiguration > Reset all Settings > Continue.

Give the server a long time, maybe 15 minutes, to finish its reset program.
If successful, the phrase "HMC=0" will be absent from the LED screen until it is purposely set in the future.

NOTE: Regardless of what you read in IBM literature for servers, clusters, and all that, an HMC is NOT needed for a single, simple, stand-alone server. I have seen multiple stand-alone p5xx servers accessed directly by serial cable, and keyboard and mouse, and they work just fine for their purpose.

2 Nov 2007:

Called IBM Tech support (1-800-IBM-SERV) today. Talked to a service rep for guidance and opinions.

Called IBM Sales at 1-800-388-7080, options 2, 1, 1 to order refurbished keyboard and mouse. Keyboard was part number 24P0440 (101-key keyboard, US English, black, USB connector, $150). Mouse was part number 3N6669 (black, optical, $40). Shipping was about $15, but I got them the next day.

Called Sales at 1-800-256-6133 to order a refurbished graphics card and a 10/100 Mbps NIC. Graphics card was IBM number 2849 (Power GXT135P, Graphics accelerator with digital support, PCI, $250). Ethernet card was IBM number 4962 (10/100 Mbps PCI Adapter 2, $150). Shipping was about $14, but they arrived from Atlanta, GA, within 36 hours via FedEx.

When looking at Internet vendors for additional parts, IBM parts start at ridiculously high prices, and only go up from there. Refurbished solid state parts like PCI cards (no moving parts) either work or they don't work. A new GXT135P card was listed at $550 from IBM sales when purchased new. The refurbished card works as good as the new one. If you need an expensive part, forget about the cost and just get it.

I placed the USB keyboard in USB T7 and the mouse in USB T8 (personal preference). Place the graphics card in PCI slot 2 and the 10/100 Mbps NIC in PCI slot 3 for optimum performance (per IBM).

The server I received had AIX 5.3 pre-loaded upon it. (I also paid for a new operating system DVD and one year of software maintenance support, about $1,200). And yes, I WILL get my money's worth out of them. 1-800-IBM-SERV is the starting point. Have your customer number in front of you. Work your way through the telephone menu. Eventually, you will talk to a live person.

The HMC1 port is accessible via the Windows computer web browser, such as Internet Explorer. You will need to manipulate the first Windows computer NIC to be the link to the HMC1 IP Address of (the Hyperlink screen will depict this port to be Eth0; the Ethernet straight-through cable plugs into HMC1).

Set up the first NIC for the subnet. Default speed should be 100 Full Duplex. Connect the PC's first NIC to HMC1 with a straight-through Ethernet cable. Access the port using your web browser using a URL of

When you access the IBM server via the HMC1 address, an ASMI screen should appear. Become familiar with each menu option. The ASMI can also be reached from remote terminals on the network with a common web browser and by using the same URL address.

Update entries in c:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc\hosts and
c:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc\networks files.

This allows the proper routing of packets based upon the destination IP address. The NIC-to-HMC1 access works in all modes of the server, power off, intermediate, and full-on.

When all parts are in place (this should be fairly obvious after working with all of them for a while) and a common high-resolution monitor is connected to the graphics card, use Hyperterm or Putty or the web browser to power-on the IBM server. Amazingly, everything worked right the first time for me.

After getting SMITTY access on the video screen, manipulate the 10/100 Ethernet PCI card address to be agreeable with your second NIC IP address (smitty screens will depict this port to be Eth2). Connect the PC's second NIC to the PCI 10/100 Mbps NIC with a straight-through Ethernet cable. This will take some decision on your part of what subnet to use, what subnet mask, and what IP Addresses are available. If you don't know this, call IBM Tech Support for help. You should be able to ping both directions between the Windows computer and the IBM server. Once ping replies come back as connected, access the Eth2 port using your web browser using a URL of your assigning.

At this time, everyone is on their own to manipulate and learn the AIX operating system.
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