Did I brick one of my BPN-SAS2-846EL1 backplanes?

pclausen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
458
So I have 4 846 enclosures all with these backplanes. 2 of them were on really old MFG code (firmware was previously updated to the most current version, which is 55.14.18.00). The old MFG code cause those chassis to report funky PHY slot values instead of the SLOT designation on my newer backplanes.

The servers are running Win10, which is not compatible with the SMC 1.5 Lite utility GUI, so I used the xflash utility directly from the command prompt.

I issued this command:

xflash -i 500304800096297F down mfg sc846mfg_primary_fw55_14_18_0_mfg_2_38.bin

followed by:

xflash -i 500304800096297F down mfg sc846mfg_primary_fw55_14_18_0_mfg_2_38.bin 0

and:

xflash -i 500304800096297F down mfg sc846mfg_primary_fw55_14_18_0_mfg_2_38.bin 1

The last 2 commands is what bricked the first expander I think. So performing the above and then resetting the expander, it never came back. Did a cold boot and went into the LSI HBA BIOS, and it could not even see the expander any more.

So I guess I killed it. I was able to do the 2nd expander successfully by only doing the "down mfg" command without specifying a region. It works great and fixed my issue with the Areca.

Is there anything I can try myself to resurrect my dead backplane?

Anyone know what SuperMicro would charge to fix it? There used to be a decent supply of these on eBay, but these days you are lucky to find a used one for $300. A new one runs about $500.
 

pclausen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
458
I used a LSI 9211-8i HBA to flash.

I ended up installing Win 7 on a spare SSD and used the 1.5 Lite GUI to flash the other 4 backplanes with no issues.

I did submit a trouble ticket with SuperMicro earlier in the week, but have yet to hear back from them.

My understanding is that there are like 6 different memory regions that will accept updates.

From what I can tell, regions 0 and 2 are for the FW and region 1 is for the MFG code.

The 1.5 GUI shows regions 0 and 2 for flashing the FW. It does not show which region is used for the MFG code.

However, when I pushed the MFG code to region 0 from the command line with the xflash command, it probably wrote the MFG code to a FW region and bricked the expander.

I'm hoping there is some sort of backdoor way to communicate with the expander so that I can correct my mistake and write the FW back to region 0. Perhaps there is a RS232 port that I can access via Putty or something and do an old school xfer using xmodem or something?

I think the part that is broken right now is being able to communicate out of band through the SFF-8087 port.
 
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pclausen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
458
I agree that generally speaking, you should not mess with updating the firmware or the MFG code. In my case, with Areca 1882 and 1883 controllers, I hated how some chassis would report PHY (MFG code 2.26 or older) for the disks in the bays and others SLOT (MFG code 2.27 and newer). It was messing up these scripts I'm running to monitor disk temp on the PHY ones since the PHY IDs did not map 1:1 to actual bays 1-24, where the newer MFG code did.

I did hear back from SuperMicro, and they said the only fix in my situation is to communicate to the expander over a serial interface and that only they can do that. I'm waiting for them to give me a quote for repair. In the meantime, I downloaded 1.4 Lite Tools, which offer both a serial and parallel (remember those? lol) interface in the software to talk to the expander. I might give that a shot myself to see if I can fix it without sending it to SMC.

Here's what the RAID Set Hierarchy looks like now that all my expanders are on FW 55_14_18_0 and MFG 2_38:

Prod Server:





Backup server:





And doing a sync between them is pegging my 10G network. I swear it was not quite that fast before the FW and MFG upgrades, but I'm sure that is psychological, lol. Might be time to look at 40G/100G however sine my disk utilization was only 54% (about about the same on the other server as well).



The dips are when I move from one .MKV to the next (copying various smaller files in between).
 
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pclausen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
458
So here's the serial port on the expander: (UART_P)



It was hidden under part of the frame. Now I just need to figure out the pin outs. Guess I only need GND, Tx and Rx.
 

Blue Fox

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 9, 2004
Messages
11,718
Kinda surprised that's all they have. The equivalent 2U backplane has a USB port.
 

pclausen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
458
They do have an "USB" port. This one:



But it is actually an Ethernet port. Friend of mine has the cable and bracket to expose it to an RJ45 connector:



But the SMC Lite tools do not have an option to connect over Ethernet. Besides, I suspect the current state of my expander means that serial communication is likely the only working option.
 

Blue Fox

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Messages
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That cable and bracket are for some old IPMI cards. It's actually a USB port, albeit with an uncommon connector (one of my digital cameras has it though). Windows started looking for drivers for it when I plugged it in years back to do some testing.
 

pclausen

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2008
Messages
458
Interesting. I'm not aware of any SMC software that can access these backplanes via USB.

I did hear back from SMC btw. $45 diagnostic fee plus labor/parts to repair. I figured once they have the backplane on the bench with the software communicating with it, restoring the firmware back to memory regions 0 and 2 is literally a 30 second process, so hopefully they won't soak me too bad on the labor.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2018
Messages
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SO it looks like i may have just fried a backplane by applying the wrong firmware to the wrong region....

pclausen, did you ever resolve this? Ever figure out the uart pinout? or just send it in?

Putzing around with my DMM Pin 2 seems like ground and pin 4 seems like vcc.. leaving 1 and 3 for tx/rx. I just ordered a uart to usb adapater to see what happens. keep in mind this is for my backplane which is a different model.

Now there are 2 jumpers next to the uart and debug ports that are for "supermicro use only" i have a feeling that the jumpers are related to the uart & debug ports.
 
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it can be done. I already ordered a used backplane off ebay, so i figured i had nothing to lose by messing around with this one.

I got a breakout usb to ttyl adapter on my windows laptop. I have a bpn-sas2-836eL1. using a DMM i figured out pin 2 is grnd... i deduced pin 4 was vcc, even though it wasn't outputting 3.3V, when tested against ground it would report 0 ohms for a moment then build resistance... this is evidence of a filter capacitor charging up. watching the voltage on pin 1 and 3 to grnd i was able to see a brief spike in pin 1 during boot that i deduced was some transmit activity. pin 3 seemed to be floating. a digital scope would have been nice here, but make do with what you have.

I also moved both pri_mode1 and pri_mode2 jumpers to the on position don't know if it was necessary but it didn't hurt. Finally i connected the serial pins to the expdbrg1 port, not the uart port...

pin 1 is tx (hooked to rx on my card), pin 2 is grnd (hooked to grnd on my card) and pin 3 is rx hooked to tx on my card....
Here is an image of the setup.
3276335044145849397.jpg


I downloaded the windows smc tools 1.5 and manurally ran the xflash utility in power shell, you have to connect within a couple seconds of powering up the card otherwise it won't work.

.\xflash.exe -s com4 get avail
.\xflash.exe -s com4 erase flash
.\xflash.exe -s com4 down fw .\sas2xfw_55.14.18.0.fw 0
.\xflash.exe -s com4 down fw .\sas2xfw_55.14.18.0.fw 2
.\xflash.exe -s com4 down mfg .\sc836mfg_primary_fw55_14_18_0_mfg_2_38.bin 3

first i erased the flash memory.
i then flashed the firmware onto region 0 and 2, and the mfg code onto region 3


I reconnected the backplane to the sas controller and booted up my server into linux with a usb live key and before i did that i went into my LSI array controller OPROM "ctrl-c" during the boot menu to load the lsi controller bios. HAZZZAH! it see's the backplane and the one drive i connected to it to test!

Next issue is the SAS or WWN address is gone because i used the xflash tool - and probably would have been gone because i nuked my firmware the first time around by applying the wrong file to the wrong region...

I could not figure out how to use the xflash utility to reset the WWN and for good reason.

I let the system boot into linux and run the gui util and manually program the WWN. watching the output of "ps" i saw that it was flashing a file called temp.bin to region 3... so it was creating a temp file with the new WWN and flashing it that way, no way i could have done that with xlfash. Now after doing that i reset the card in the gui and shows no firmware and no mfg code again... uh oh... i rebooted, went back into my live image again, and it's reporting the correct WWN, the correct reg 0 and reg 2 firmware and the correct mfg image....

AWESOME!

now the backplane i ordered on ebay to replace this one will get put back on ebay to go out to a new home.​
 
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They do have an "USB" port. This one:



But it is actually an Ethernet port. Friend of mine has the cable and bracket to expose it to an RJ45 connector:



But the SMC Lite tools do not have an option to connect over Ethernet. Besides, I suspect the current state of my expander means that serial communication is likely the only working option.

actually while smc tools itself doesn't have an ethernet option the sas2x chipset from lsi does support ethernet communications and the xflash.exe util that the smc.exe tool is a wrapper for, does have options for ethernet.... i would say that that "usb" port probably is an ethernet port in actuality.
 

Blue Fox

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actually while smc tools itself doesn't have an ethernet option the sas2x chipset from lsi does support ethernet communications and the xflash.exe util that the smc.exe tool is a wrapper for, does have options for ethernet.... i would say that that "usb" port probably is an ethernet port in actuality.
It's not. I've actually plugged it in unlike anyone else it seems. See below:
That cable and bracket are for some old IPMI cards. It's actually a USB port, albeit with an uncommon connector (one of my digital cameras has it though). Windows started looking for drivers for it when I plugged it in years back to do some testing.
 

Village Idiot

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
98
I've run into a similar issue with my EL1 backplane reporting wrong slot information. Looks like the MFG file is missing or corrupt. Does anyone have the FTP link for the latest Firmware/MFG code.
 

Patan

n00b
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
1
it can be done. I already ordered a used backplane off ebay, so i figured i had nothing to lose by messing around with this one.

I got a breakout usb to ttyl adapter on my windows laptop. I have a bpn-sas2-836eL1. using a DMM i figured out pin 2 is grnd... i deduced pin 4 was vcc, even though it wasn't outputting 3.3V, when tested against ground it would report 0 ohms for a moment then build resistance... this is evidence of a filter capacitor charging up. watching the voltage on pin 1 and 3 to grnd i was able to see a brief spike in pin 1 during boot that i deduced was some transmit activity. pin 3 seemed to be floating. a digital scope would have been nice here, but make do with what you have.

I also moved both pri_mode1 and pri_mode2 jumpers to the on position don't know if it was necessary but it didn't hurt. Finally i connected the serial pins to the expdbrg1 port, not the uart port...

pin 1 is tx (hooked to rx on my card), pin 2 is grnd (hooked to grnd on my card) and pin 3 is rx hooked to tx on my card....
Here is an image of the setup.
View attachment 53518

I downloaded the windows smc tools 1.5 and manurally ran the xflash utility in power shell, you have to connect within a couple seconds of powering up the card otherwise it won't work.

.\xflash.exe -s com4 get avail
.\xflash.exe -s com4 erase flash
.\xflash.exe -s com4 down fw .\sas2xfw_55.14.18.0.fw 0
.\xflash.exe -s com4 down fw .\sas2xfw_55.14.18.0.fw 2
.\xflash.exe -s com4 down mfg .\sc836mfg_primary_fw55_14_18_0_mfg_2_38.bin 3

first i erased the flash memory.
i then flashed the firmware onto region 0 and 2, and the mfg code onto region 3


I reconnected the backplane to the sas controller and booted up my server into linux with a usb live key and before i did that i went into my LSI array controller OPROM "ctrl-c" during the boot menu to load the lsi controller bios. HAZZZAH! it see's the backplane and the one drive i connected to it to test!

Next issue is the SAS or WWN address is gone because i used the xflash tool - and probably would have been gone because i nuked my firmware the first time around by applying the wrong file to the wrong region...

I could not figure out how to use the xflash utility to reset the WWN and for good reason.

I let the system boot into linux and run the gui util and manually program the WWN. watching the output of "ps" i saw that it was flashing a file called temp.bin to region 3... so it was creating a temp file with the new WWN and flashing it that way, no way i could have done that with xlfash. Now after doing that i reset the card in the gui and shows no firmware and no mfg code again... uh oh... i rebooted, went back into my live image again, and it's reporting the correct WWN, the correct reg 0 and reg 2 firmware and the correct mfg image....

AWESOME!

now the backplane i ordered on ebay to replace this one will get put back on ebay to go out to a new home.​

Hello,

I have the same problem with my Server with the Backplane. Can you please help me re-flash it. I have got the firmware and bin files but the smc program doesn't find the expander anymore.

Regards Ronald.
 
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