Sun Ultra 40 M2 does not boot - power supply?

Discussion in 'Power Supplies' started by datum, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. datum

    datum n00b

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    I already replaced the Video card - twice, to no avail.

    The machine turns on, makes noise, fans turn on but the Post code stays at FF and does not increment.

    Does this look like the power supply went bad? The machine is from 2006.
     
  2. Grebuloner

    Grebuloner Gawd

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    FF isn't listed in the manual as a valid POST code. Are you saying it starts at FF and doesn't progress from there?

    I don't think it's a PSU issue, I think you're motherboard or CPU(s) are on the way out. First you should try putting in a new CMOS battery (CR2032), funny things apparently happen when they die, and it's super cheap to get them. If that doesn't fix the problem, you could try a replacement PSU (will still be just as old as the current one, though, they used proprietary connectors), but I don't think that's it.

    If you have 2 CPUs, try taking CPU1 out and just use a single memory stick (take out the video card, too, you don't need it to read the POST codes and it removes a variable, same goes for all the drives, etc., go right to basics!). If that doesn't work, try putting CPU1 into the socket for CPU0. If at some point it starts working, start adding memory and the second CPU back one at a time until it fails, and you've found your bad part. If not, you definitely need a new mobo. Look for bulging capacitors on the board.

    What do you use this ancient power guzzler for?
     
  3. hititnquitit

    hititnquitit Limp Gawd

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    Pretty sure ff stands for fully functional.
    Test your psu with a multi if possible.
     
  4. Grebuloner

    Grebuloner Gawd

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    They're hex codes, FF is just the highest possible display value, or conversely, the equivalent of "-1," which is why I'm curious if datum's board starts at FF and stays put (bad) or cycles through many and ends there (potentially not bad, depending on the beeps, if any). Different brands use different values for when a system has completed post and is ready for the OS. I have a Gigabyte board that will stop on A0 or d4 depending on if it was a cold or warm start.
     
  5. datum

    datum n00b

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    I have some data on its 4 HDDs and I was trying to get it off, or just resurrect it and do something with its. Maybe you are right, it's time is over. Being so old and energy-hungry and so loud.

    I replaced the CR2032 battery, the old one was at 2.8V, installed a fresh 3.1V to no avail.

    If it's the power supply, why is it making all that noise, that's the question I asked myself.

    How do I remove the CPU? I didn't realize the CPUS were removable. I thought they were soldered to it.


    I didn't see anything obviously bulging but will look again.
     
  6. datum

    datum n00b

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    I haven't used that machine in a while but I remember the LED 2-digit HEX code flashed something incrementally. It wasn't static. Now it's not flashing or advancing anywhere from "FF". I don't recall seeing it flash to FF either.


     
  7. Grebuloner

    Grebuloner Gawd

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    Your PSU is somewhat ancient, can you describe the noise? metallic grinding=worn fan bearings (to be expected, really), high-pitched whine = coil sheathing & coils wearing out (not the end of the world, but annoying).

    I don't think it matters too much, though, considering the board problems. The fact that it turns on at all gives credence to the PSU doing well enough that there isn't an auto-shutdown situation (the amount of power at that point vs. capacity is really small).

    Server CPUs are definitely removable, and if the board is fine, it should do something if you take everything away except the PSU. There are levers/screws on either side of the coolers to take them off (be careful to gently twist the coolers side to side before pulling away, the thermal paste is probably 13 years old and you're at risk of damaging the CPU/socket if there is a firm hold), then little arms that you raise to unsecure the CPUs in the socket, which can then be pulled out. Power on the board, it should give a long beep pretty quickly and show something other than FF in the display. If none of that happens (and really, if it isn't beeping at all now), your board is dead, and you'll either need to replace it, or seek other solutions.

    To get the data off the drives, put them into an external enclosure one by one and hook up to another system with the same OS, they should be read just fine.
     
  8. datum

    datum n00b

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    Cn you describe the noise? metallic grinding=worn fan bearings (to be expected, really), high-pitched whine = coil sheathing & coils wearing out (not the end of the world, but annoying).

    ==============================

    There is no grinding. And not really all that high-pitched. It's just loud. And has been loud for years. I don't recall it having changed. It behaved the same way years ago when it booted.

    I do recall one difference, upon the initial bootup, the noise was loud and as it booted, the fans slowed down. Here, they never slow down. Just run ad infinitum at the highest speed/noise/pitch level.

    My question is, if the power supply fried, why do the fans turn on? Nothing should be turning on. The power button should result in no action.
     
  9. datum

    datum n00b

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    Server CPUs are definitely removable, and if the board is fine, it should do something if you take everything away except the PSU. There are levers/screws on either side of the coolers to take them off (be careful to gently twist the coolers side to side before pulling away, the thermal paste is probably 13 years old and you're at risk of damaging the CPU/socket if there is a firm hold), then little arms that you raise to unsecure the CPUs in the socket, which can then be pulled out. Power on the board, it should give a long beep pretty quickly and show something other than FF in the display. If none of that happens (and really, if it isn't beeping at all now), your board is dead, and you'll either need to replace it, or seek other solutions.
    =============================================

    I will try that.

    One thought I have is to get another, possibly stripped Ultra 40 M2 for a token price and just insert my video card, RAM and HDDs into it. I cannot see how these machines are worth anything even when working. And a parts one should be scrap metal territory. I mean it's 2005-2006 territory.

    I don't even know what the point is of resurrecting this machine. It's noisy, power-hungry, very heavy and something else will break on it. Maybe keep it as a spare, or a sandbox for Linux experiments.
     
  10. Grebuloner

    Grebuloner Gawd

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    I think that's just the reality of a workstation/server grade power supply with tiny little fans: They're always loud for maximum cooling. I think your PSU is fine, all things considered, it would have quieted down once the motherboard finished post and took control of system fans.

    You clearly haven't looked through ebay. For reasons I can't fathom, buying a replacement is ridiculously overpriced. You're right, it should be dead cheap, but it sure isn't. I wouldn't spend the $250 for a replacement board, it just isn't worth it. I'd say hawk it on ebay yourself "as is" and make a couple hundred bucks, maybe.

    You really can get the data off those drives without the system, and that's what I'd be doing instead of trying to resurrect it.
     
  11. datum

    datum n00b

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    I have looked at Ebay for the last 18 years and shipping is dreadfully expensive on these units and for some reason complete Ultra 40 M2s run something like 400 or 500 which does not make any sense.

    The only way I buy off Ebay if it's local. Local computers, monitors, HDTV, etc. Just pick them up. One can avoid astronomical shipping fees.
     
  12. datum

    datum n00b

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    But I agree with your assessment, generally. This thing isn't worth resurrecting unless it's dirt cheap. As in, I find an entire computer for something like $50 or $100, for sale locally.
    Stripped, without RAM or HDD. Which isn't outside of realm of possibility.
    That would be the ideal thing. A single motherboard is likely to cost more than an entire machine, which is strange.
     
  13. datum

    datum n00b

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    P.S.

    I did remove all the RAM and turned it on. Same thing. No effect. Just fan noise and it does not boot. The LCD hex codes do not change and they used to.

    The reason I think this is important is because I recall a few years ago a unit of RAM failed and the machine failed to boot. Until I removed the DIMM, blew dust out of the area where the RAM goes in (the slot) and then it booted just fine. But it beeped very loudly with failed RAM.

    I think your assessment is right on the money. It's neither video card nor power supply.
     
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  14. Grebuloner

    Grebuloner Gawd

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    Not especially. I think the resale value is coming from the fact that it isn't a standardized form factor and not a whole lot (comparatively speaking) were produced, so working replacements have value to either suckers, or those poor businesses that bought these as replacements for their 30 year old VAXes and are desperate for replacement parts which are cheaper than a new system and software license.

    I have some Dell Pentium III pedestal servers that seem to have EATX measurements and hole mountings, but has wider spaces between the PCI slots (and only 5 or 6 instead of 7). You can't use a dual slot card because it won't line up, and the slots are useless if the board is moved to a standard case.