[rescue] I got a new Octane! Why can't I talk to it?

jodys at helluin.org jodys at helluin.org
Wed Apr 4 06:57:12 CDT 2007

On Tue, Apr 03, 2007 at 09:22:06PM -0500, Micah R Ledbetter wrote:
> Thanks to the gracious Steve, I'm now in possession of an SGI Octane :).

Octane's are awesome.
Octane's that run are even better.

> I'm probably just being dumb - I've never owned a *working* SGI  
> before - but what do I need to do in order to interact with it? I've  
> tried a sync-on-green monitor + PS/2 kb and mouse, but I get no video  
> signal. I also have a null modem cable and minicom hooked up to a  
> linux machine that didn't get me anywhere, even though I tried both  
> serial ports on the Octane.

Here is one possibility

The machine is set to boot from graphics and you are trying to connect
to a non-13w3 monitor using a Sun (or one labeled Sun/SGI/DEC) 
13w3->HD15 adapter.

The coaxial bits of the 13w3 connector (the w3 part) are reasonably 
standard across vendors. The stuff in the middle (the 13 part) is not. 
So, if your adapter works with Suns it likely won't work with an SGI. 
I've found that many monitors are confused if, say, they are recieving 
H sync on one of the Monitor ID pins.

A quick fix to the above problem, assuming you are sure that your
monitor supports Sync on Green and you are willing to commit an adapter
to this purpose, is to snap off the 13 pins in the middle. This will
only provide R,G and B to the monitor. Irix may report the monitor as
"unknown", but this shouldn't affect anything and you should be able to
see the machine POST.

Also, double check you have the keyboard connected to the right port, I
believe it is the one closest to the inside. There are little icons. 
To my embarrassment, I wasted over an hour wondering no keyboards would
work on my Octane when they were connected to the mouse port...

> When I boot up, I get the light on the front turning red for a while,  
> and then white. I hear noises like the disk is doing something, but I  
> never get anything over the serial port or video cable, and no  
> messages (or even garble) over the serial line.

This is good. POST was finished and it should be booting whatever OS is
on the system (hopefully IRIX). 

As a last resort, I'd try to reseat the graphics card. Do be careful.
Read the owner's manual for all of the caveats about compression
connectors if you haven't already.


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