[rescue] Sun Ultra 1 Creator 3D - Power On Problems

Ahmed Ewing aewing at gmail.com
Sun Mar 11 04:54:09 CDT 2007

On 3/11/07, Ronald Gilchrist <unixrescue at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I recently rescued a Sun Ultra 1 Creator 3D from being thrown out. After
> bringing it home, and having a look inside (256 MB RAM, 9GB Disk, CD-ROM,
> Floppy a 13W3 graphics card and an extra SCSI + 10/100 NIC SBUS card) I
> tried to power it up.
> The CPU, PSU and Disk fans all spin up, for about 5 seconds and then spin
> down. If I "power the machine off" and then "power it on" it does the same.
> The power light flickered initially, but I don't see it anymore.
> Is this machine likely to be dead? Is it stopping because it doesn't have a
> keyboard / mouse pulgged it? Could it be the lithium battery in the TOC is
> dead and so is the machine (ie a new TOC would bring it back to life)?

It's definitely not stopping due to a lack of a keyboard/mouse. All
Sun boxes, from the cheapest workstation to the biggest server frame,
are built to support headless operation  with no framebuffer/keyboard
natively, using the serial port for input/output. The NVRAM chip's
battery is also not the cause--if it were bad, the box would still
power up, albeit with ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff for a MAC address.

> I've switched the serial ports to RS-232 (they were in their RS-432 default
> state) and I plan to connect it up to an x86 linux box just as soon as I
> find a F<->M 25-pin adapter, but in the mean time, I'd like to know, should
> I bother?

The problem is likely either the system board itself, or the power
supply. The system board/CPU assembly is more likely, IMHO--most power
supply issues would prevent the system from powering up at all, in my
experience. Your best bet is to hook up a Sun keyboard and
VT100-compatible terminal, then hold STOP-D immediately after the
power-on keyboard chime to force the box into diagnostic mode with
output to serial port A, then capture the POST output and examine
where it halts. It may also be a good idea to first remove all
SBus/UPA cards and all but one of the DIMMs to allow for a minimum
configuration, in case one of the components is holding the box down
(this is not likely).

Hope that helps,


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