Help with PC164LX system - Linux

This is a discussion on Help with PC164LX system - Linux ; Hi, My Alpha PC164LX system has been acting up lately. I tried to contact the company from which I bought it (DCG computers) but it seems they don't exist anymore. My last resort is to check on USENET if anybody ...

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Thread: Help with PC164LX system

  1. Help with PC164LX system

    Hi,

    My Alpha PC164LX system has been acting up lately. I tried to contact
    the company from which I bought it (DCG computers) but it seems they
    don't exist anymore. My last resort is to check on USENET if anybody
    has suggestions..

    When I power it up, it gives 6 beeps which means (from what I see in
    the MB manual) that it gets a CRC error on reading the boot loader
    back from RAM.

    It also seems that it doesn't even reach the failsafe bootloader.

    I don't think there is a problem with the RAM, since it seems to pass
    the RAM test and if I remove the RAM from the system, it beeps 5 times
    which indicates that no RAM is present. I have also checked that the
    RAM slots are clean and that the memory modules make good contact.

    My guess is that there is a problem with the memory controller on the
    MB.

    Sometimes the system does boot up, but then after a short while of
    normal use it just freezes up.

    Do you have any helpful suggestions, or do you think the MB is giving
    up the ghost?

    Thanks for your time.

    Regards

    Gert Cronje

  2. Re: Help with PC164LX system

    Gert Cronje wrote:
    >


    >
    > When I power it up, it gives 6 beeps which means (from what I see in
    > the MB manual) that it gets a CRC error on reading the boot loader
    > back from RAM.
    >
    > It also seems that it doesn't even reach the failsafe bootloader.
    >
    > I don't think there is a problem with the RAM, since it seems to pass
    > the RAM test and if I remove the RAM from the system, it beeps 5 times
    > which indicates that no RAM is present. I have also checked that the
    > RAM slots are clean and that the memory modules make good contact.
    >
    > My guess is that there is a problem with the memory controller on the
    > MB.
    >


    Now, that sounds quite like my board (PC164, but not LX) which has a
    faulty Bcache chip.

    If you are able to use the SROM Mini Debugger and the SROM test port
    (prob. a MMJ socket somewhere), a terminal connected to this port and
    the jumper for the Mini Debugger closed might show up this pattern:

    beeping, Bcache switched on:
    21164A.01.02.03.04.05.06.07.08.09.0b.0c.0f.13.14.1 5.3f.06.15.17.18.3a

    There might be an undocumented setting of the the jumpers for Bcache
    size that switches the Bcache completly off. My board only works in this
    position.

    > Sometimes the system does boot up, but then after a short while of
    > normal use it just freezes up.
    >


    Probably works if chips are cold or vice versa. Not the first time that
    I've experienced cache SRAM failures, old SparcStation 1+ (not the 1)
    also had problesm with some SRAM chips, Mitsubishi, IIRC.

    > Do you have any helpful suggestions, or do you think the MB is giving
    > up the ghost?


    Let's call it Alzheimer...

    --
    Michael Joosten, SBS C-LAB, joost@c-lab.de
    Fuerstenallee 11, 33094 Paderborn, Germany
    Phone: +49 5251 606127, Fax: +49 5251 606065
    C-LAB is a cooperation of University Paderborn & SIEMENS

  3. Re: Help with PC164LX system

    Michael Joosten wrote in message news:<403A3AE6.6231@c-lab.de>...
    >
    > If you are able to use the SROM Mini Debugger and the SROM test port
    > (prob. a MMJ socket somewhere), a terminal connected to this port and
    > the jumper for the Mini Debugger closed might show up this pattern:
    >
    > beeping, Bcache switched on:
    > 21164A.01.02.03.04.05.06.07.08.09.0b.0c.0f.13.14.1 5.3f.06.15.17.18.3a
    >
    > There might be an undocumented setting of the the jumpers for Bcache
    > size that switches the Bcache completly off. My board only works in this
    > position.
    >
    > > Sometimes the system does boot up, but then after a short while of
    > > normal use it just freezes up.
    > >

    >


    Thanks for the response Michael. I didn't know about the SROM
    debugger, but I'll give it a try. I just need to make myself a
    connector...

    I've downloaded the documentation for the SROM debugger etc. I see
    they talk about a SDK. Can I download that from somewhere, or is it
    something that you have to buy from Digital (I suppose HP now)?

    Thanks

    Gert

  4. Re: Help with PC164LX system

    Gert Cronje wrote:
    >
    > Michael Joosten wrote in message news:<403A3AE6.6231@c-lab.de>...
    > >
    > > If you are able to use the SROM Mini Debugger and the SROM test port
    > > (prob. a MMJ socket somewhere), a terminal connected to this port and
    > > the jumper for the Mini Debugger closed might show up this pattern:
    > >
    > > beeping, Bcache switched on:
    > > 21164A.01.02.03.04.05.06.07.08.09.0b.0c.0f.13.14.1 5.3f.06.15.17.18.3a
    > >
    > > There might be an undocumented setting of the the jumpers for Bcache
    > > size that switches the Bcache completly off. My board only works in this
    > > position.
    > >
    > > > Sometimes the system does boot up, but then after a short while of
    > > > normal use it just freezes up.
    > > >

    > >

    >
    > Thanks for the response Michael. I didn't know about the SROM
    > debugger, but I'll give it a try. I just need to make myself a
    > connector...


    Just like me... I got bored and just soldered the three wires from a DB9
    socket to the upper leads of the MMJ connector itself.
    You might be lucky and use a phone western plug, but I'm not sure if the
    two outer pins/contacts are also needed. Finding such RJ plugs with 6
    contacts in the usual heap of spare parts is surprisingly difficult...

    >
    > I've downloaded the documentation for the SROM debugger etc. I see
    > they talk about a SDK. Can I download that from somewhere, or is it
    > something that you have to buy from Digital (I suppose HP now)?


    I don't think this SDK is necessary - its purpose is to create
    specialised boot programs for the flash roms, IIRC. And no, when I
    hunted for this problem, I did not find the SDK.


    --
    Michael Joosten, SBS C-LAB, joost@c-lab.de
    Fuerstenallee 11, 33094 Paderborn, Germany
    Phone: +49 5251 606127, Fax: +49 5251 606065
    C-LAB is a cooperation of University Paderborn & SIEMENS

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