[clug] Rescuing old motherboards the hard way

Rodney Peters rodneyp at pcug.org.au
Thu Jun 24 19:39:24 MDT 2010

On Thu 24 June 2010 18:01:40 linux-request at lists.samba.org wrote:
> Message: 6
> Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2010 15:19:29 +0930
> From: Paul Wayper <paulway at mabula.net>
> To: <linux at lists.samba.org>
> Subject: [clug] Rescuing old motherboards the hard way
> Message-ID: <59221.1277358569 at internode.on.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>  Hi people, 
>  Through a bit of handwaving and vaguery I have found a couple of 
> machines in my hands. They're out of warranty, the manufacturer 
> doesn't want them back, and they're perfect for an application that I 
> have in mind for them. They have no VGA output but can talk through a 
> serial console and have USB connectors. They boot off a pair of SATA 
> disks RAIDed through an Adaptec board. 

Are you certain that they do local boot ?  If they were part of a server farm 
they might be set to boot from network only.

If a tftp server and boot image are available you might get the motherboard to 
boot.  If not then perhaps a USB keyboard and F12 (probably for Phoenix BIOS) 
to try for an alternate boot source.

Another possibility is to get a PCI VGA card in there some way and see if that 
is recognised.  Together with USB keyboard that would facilitate checking BIOS 

I've not used a SATA raid card.  The previous generation IDE ones often had a 
(Wind only) utility for changing BIOS parameters of the card.

> The frustrating things about 
> this are: 
>  1) No matter what, it seems to either want to boot off the specific 
> RAID image or locks up at the "Verify DMI Pool Data......". 
>  2) It recognises 'TAB' to go into the console but not Ctrl-A to go 
> into the Adaptec configuration. 
>  3) The motherboard model (NAMB-6200) is completely unrecognised 
> either on the internet or by its (most likely) manufacturer. 
>  4) None of the jumpers are documented. 
>  I'm convinced that there's some clever setting somewhere - a jumper, 
> maybe, or a BIOS setting - that stops me installing stuff that the 
> manufacturer didn't want me to install on it. Any ideas as to how to 
> get around this niggling bit of closed-sourcery would be appreciated 
> :-) 
>  Have fun, 
>  Paul 

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