RS6k 7012/320H woes

Carlos E Murillo-Sanchez ce.murillosanchez at
Tue Nov 6 21:12:10 CST 2018

Paul Berger via cctalk wrote:
> For loading the diagnostic from diskettes diskettes see the section 
> "running diagnostic program from diskette" in the previously mentioned 
> "Diagnostic Information for Microchannel Systems"  the key switch has 
> to be in the service (wrench) position insert the appropriate boot 
> diskette there are two  8MB of memory and >16MB of memory turn on 
> power and after the self test it should start reading the diskette and 
> when it finishes it will display C01 to prompt for the next diskette 
> if that does not happen either the image is bad or there is a problem 
> with the diskette drive.  There is a reasonable good chance that there 
> is an issue with the diskette drive, especially if it was sitting on a 
> carpeted floor.  Typically the diskette drive was rarely used and the 
> fans in the system will draw air in through the diskette drive 
> carrying all kinds of contamination with it, you may want to open the 
> drive up and clean it out and clean the heads.  It is very likely that 
> the diskette drive in the machine has the power lines in the ribbon 
> cable instead of a separate power connector making replacements hard 
> to find.
> As for the serial there is only one scenario that works fully pined 
> cables with a null modem that matches the wiring of   the printer 
> terminal interposer.
> I don't think that an ethernet card is going to be a big help if you 
> want to use the AIX that is on the disk as you have no way of 
> configuring the ethernet network unless you can get a terminal 
> working.  Another roadblock may be the root password, it is possible 
> to break in when you have physical access to the machine however you 
> still need a terminal and you also need original install media at the 
> same level of AIX or a mksysb backup tape from the same level of AIX 
> to boot into maintenance mode.  The original install media for a 
> machine of this vintage would have been a tape or lots and lots of 
> diskettes.
> Getting diagnostics to work would be a really good start.
> The AIX on the SP2 would have been the same, in fact the hardware on 
> the SP2 nodes was similar to the regular RS/6000 boxes except the 
> console was through a special serial network in the frame and accessed 
> through the control workstation.  Most regular users likely accessed 
> the nodes through a LAN.
> Paul.
Thank you, I'll double check the null cable and clean the diskette 
drive.  The diagnostics disk's images that I found are simply labeled 
"AIX diagnostics" with four 1.44MB images named disk1-disk4; there is no 
mention of different versions according to RAM size.

I suppose that if I wanted to reset the root password I could mount the 
HD on another system, bvi the raw disk, look for the "root:" string and 
edit the next few bytes...  but right now it seems like the AIX 
installation in that disk is hosed anyway.

We did connect via LAN to Cornell's SP2.  I loved that everything just 
worked.  Later, Cornell retired that system and replaced it with an NT 
Velocity cluster.  The user experience was nowhere near as good.


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