[rescue] Sparcstation 2 OBP password recovery

Mouse mouse at Rodents-Montreal.ORG
Tue May 12 13:10:12 CDT 2015

> I got a call out of the blue this morning from a friend who had
> picked up a Sun Sparcstation 2.  They were trying to do install the
> OS, but someone had put a password on the OBP.

(1) Replace the NVRAM with a new one.  Downside: comparatively
expensive (prices I've seen bandied about for new chips are in the
$10-$20 range, and that's assuming you can even _find_ a new, as
opposed to NOS, chip - NOS is not as good because the batteries have a
shelf life which is running low for most old-stock chips).

(2) Remove the NVRAM and replug it live.  Downside: somewhat

(3) Cut into the NVRAM chip and connect a new battery.  If done right,
this involves disconnecting the old battery, which should lose the
current contents.  Downside: requires physical hacking at the NVRAM and
soldering skills.

(4) Find out what it's trying to boot from (usually disk or network)
and give it an OS of your choice there, then, from that OS, reset the
NVRAM security-mode setting.  Downside: requires that you have, or can
set up, a bootable SS2 OS on the medium it wants to boot from.

(5) Pull the NVRAM and plug it into something else which can scribble
over the contents (EEPROM programmer maybe?).  Downside: requires such
a "something else".

(6) ...something I haven't thought of.

Personally, I've usually gone with (4), but I've got lots of SPARC32
machines and am well positioned to set up an OS on either network or
disk.  I've done NVRAM battery hackery as sketched in (3), but for
replacing dead batteries rather than jailbreaking a passworded system.
I've never dared try (2) and haven't considered (1) worth the expense
and bother, and I don't have the equipment for (5).

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