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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:11 pm 
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Heh, life got busy, and after my initial trials with it failed, I'm giving it a go again.

I spent some time on it then, but failed (and am still failing).

I have the 2.0 media; tried installing onto a fresh 500gb and 2tb drive without success. I've tried on Windows 8, 7 and even built an ancient laptop with XP (and left it unpatched!) but no go. Wiped out the first 2mb or so of the drives I was going to use via linux "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=1K count=2000" while they were in another machine.

Tried it with only the two devices on a local LAN. Saw that it was getting an IP initially. Am not so sure now.

Getting into Recovery Mode has been tricky; if I miss it the first time it seems to go into a boot/reboot cycle, and things mess up even if I pull out the plug for a while. After jockeying around with it for a while, now it's at least in a blink code-- but an ominous one:

2 aqua white, 3 red BIOS recovery source not present.

Wha?

So I wonder if I should get the debug cable; and if so, whether I really need the PS/2 one or if the VGA-only one is ok. I sort of asked this in another post, but then I realized that maybe my own situation is different.

I've never gotten this box working; it was cheap enough, but shelling out that $80 for a box I've already thrown $125 on (but only $125 mind you) is something; if someone would offer me what I've already spent I'd wash my hands of the whole business and just get a NAS box. I'm curious about WHS, but FreeNas or whatever also sound compelling.

What's the best solution?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:11 am 
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Can you kindly connect the server to your network without drives installed then turn it on and observe the health light. You should see it first blink Aqua White and Red then it will turn solid aqua white. If you happen to have the users guide for the EX48x you can find this on page 229 of the users guide.

If you see this then your server is now in its recovery mode and you should be able to see it on your routers DHCP Listing as a device starting with the name MININT followed by other things. This is important because without this occurring then you will have difficulty setting the server up.

Its also important to have the correct recovery media for your server and for the EX48x series it did ship with the HP 2.x software so that's good.

If by chance you happen to have an EX49x server then the 2.x software will not work because all the server models had specific server software due to the hardware differences and all the servers look the same and the parts are interchangeable across the EX47x, EX48x, EX49x and X510.

I will also mention that the MSS is sensitive to drive issues so its important that the system drive be in good condition. Sometimes its best to just format the system drive into a single partition and other times to just wipe the partitions and start off with an unformatted drive when first starting the server. Also its best to only have 1 drive in the server when first starting the server as you can add drives later after the server has initially been configured.

As for the DEBUG board I agree its difficult to justify the purchase of one when you are not sure if the server is in good condition or not but once you know the server is fully functional having the DEBUG board is a great troubleshooting tool as it takes all the mystery out of the server. Being headless is a novel idea but man when you run into issues the time savings alone more than pays for the debug board for sure. Also the debug board makes it easier to install other operating systems onto an MSS should you venture down that road in the future.

Should you get the server working I would advise you to install all the Microsoft and HP updates. Along the way there will be an HP Update that will install v2.5 software. If you can get your hands on the 3.x software for the EX48x then it will make recoveries easier with Win 7 computers because its more up to date.

Good Luck with your recovery and let me know if you run into other issues or have additional questions.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:44 pm 
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Agreed. Any suggestion on whether I need the PS/2 vs just VGA debug board? I guess I could always just sell it afterwards if it turns out to be no good (the server I mean). And I'm not really super interested in doing a serial TTY if that's what the serial is for. It's definitely a 485. Or well, that's what it was supposed to be, and that's what the box says.

I have tried with just a single drive, initially with it partitioned, then with the first meg or two zeroed out via dd on a linux box.

I'll see what the blink code is again. ok well, maybe tomorrow as it's almost 1am here and I know what a time sink this can become as I fall further into the rabbit hole again; the other day I was up past 3am tinkering with it.

Thanks for being here, I'll give it a go again.

PS. feeling disheartened because I also broke my GPS while trying to repair its battery; tiny little ribbon cables are tough enough, but when you mess up the even tinier plastic latches, it's hopeless.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:13 am 
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You can get the VOV Technologies DEBUG Boards in different configurations. If your not making use of the USB Ports or have no future plans on using them then you can get by with just the VGA configuration. Having the one with PS2 ports free's up the USB Ports should you opt to use them to connect external drives to increase your storage in the future.

Thing here is only you know what your capacity needs will be but often many fill up there MSS with drives and start expanding their capacity externally first using eSATA then USB. On the EX48x series servers the eSATA port is not port multiplier aware so your limited to only 1 drive where as the EX47x support up to 4 bay enclosures and the EX49x supports up to 5 bay enclosures. Using the USB ports on any MSS for storage you can add 4, 5 or even an 8 bay enclosures.

Thing about these servers is that once you start using them its very easy to use up your storage especially if your going to add movies to stream from the server to your various home devices or stream movies online but this depends on the video format you go with. I only mention this because at first glance a 4 bay system seems ideal but for many that 4 bay solution turns out to be quite small especially with WHS being limited to 2TB Drive for the max size although some have managed to get the larger drives working its not exactly plug and play.

As for what is written on the Box you received your server in its really difficult to know for sure. Last year I bought an Acer Easy Store Server and it was shipped in an HP MSS Box so you never know. I have also purchased other MSS models and they come in boxes that were for a different MSS Model.

Because the enclosures can be interchanged between all the MSS units with exception to the LX19x series its really hard to know for sure what you might have. However the Server Software you received with the server may be an indicator of what you have but each model series had their own set of specific disks.

The motherboard markings may indicate what you actually have but for me to know for sure I would have to take apart my servers or look for motherboard pictures online. If you go back and read my last post you will see I mention placing the server in Recovery Mode and then logon to the router and check the DHCP Listing for a device starting with the name MININT followed by other things. If you see this then you either have and EX47x or EX48x series server. Then a quick look at the motherboard will tell you right away if its and EX47x or EX48x because the EX47x is AMD and the EX48x is INTEL.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:32 pm 
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all right!

so, now i have the debug board in place.

i power it back up and.... it shuts down. then it powers up, and shuts down again.

over and over. darn.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:02 pm 
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ok! now i got it to boot up and am finally into the bios! i did have to struggle with it doing the boot/reboot thing a bunch of times. still unsure what that's about. the PS info seems to suggest that the PS is in ok shape, as far as i can tell. and this was all even without any hard drive in slot #1.

... now what? i'm not even 100% sure i want windows on here anymore :)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:05 pm 
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AHHHH~~!!!!@

the 1st boot device was set up to be usb:smi usb disk. so maybe that's why it wasn't booting off the network?!?

seems promising?

sorry for the spammy posting, but it's very much a play-by-play here.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:26 pm 
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blecch. i think i have a bum power supply too; it has MORE difficulty with booting up and i can see that it dies right when it starts trying to spin up my first disk.

thanks for the help, i am now in money recovery mode on this server!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:44 am 
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A bad hard drive can also cause your EX485 to recycle power. Thing worth noting is that its not uncommon to have a PSU Fail in an MSS. While the voltages being displayed in the BIOS may appear to be within range the real test is when the PSU is placed under a load and that's when you would typically see it fail. Typically when the PSU Fails under a load it will just shut down and stay off and at times it may run for different lengths of time before it shuts off.

Its really not worth messing around with a PSU in any device that is suspected as a failing PSU and its often best to just replace it and move on. Problem with the MSS is most worry about potential issues with motherboard and unfortunately move on to other solutions when they really do not have to.

I can't even begin to tell you how many failing MSS units I have purchased over the years that only needed a PSU. Some of these units I actually purchased just to acquire the enclosure for other projects which is how I ended up with spare parts. Most of the other units I found homes for and they have been running well and I have only had 1 unit actually come back and the issue was a PSU.

Under normal circumstances the EX485 will boot into its recovery mode from the on board USB SMI Device either when you activate it by pressing the Status/Reset Button during the boot process or if there is no bootable device found when the EX485 is turned on.

However:

I will also tell you the EX485 is a weird animal and has been known to change its boot order device to have the USB SMI as the first boot device. I am uncertain why this happens but it appears to occur most often when another OS is installed and this in of itself should have no bearing on the BIOS but its just an observation I have made and yes experienced personally about 1.5+ years ago when I setup a couple EX485's to run WHS2011 and then shortly after upon rebooting the EX485's would boot into their recovery mode from the USB SMI. Looking at the BIOS the USB SMI would show up as the first boot device. Here the solution for WHS2011 was to disable it which has to be done in two areas of the BIOS otherwise it just does its own thing but its not a deal breaker if you have a DEBUG Board but without that this would drive you crazy. If you were to search the forums you should be able to find posts from others who mention the USB SMI on the EX485 showing up as the first boot device or the EX485 constantly rebooting into its recovery mode.

As for installing WS2012 on an MSS it would not be my first choice. Some have done it but I imagine at the time they probably used one of their TechNet Keys so there was no real significant cost to them. There are some who just really like the form factor of the MSS and just want to stay with it but to each is own and there is no right or wrong here but the cost for WS2012 is a significant one and so for most I would urge them to go with different hardware where the components are easier to acquire.

For the EX485 I do think that WHS2011 is a perfect alternative if you can get your hands on it but depending on what your doing the stock WHSv1 is still a viable solution depending on what your needs are and what your running for clients.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:00 pm 
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I'll agree with you; after a couple of reboots it switched so that USB SMI was boot device #1; really weird. Anyhow, I don't think it's a bad drive, I'm thinking that indeed it's looking like another potential $65 expense for a new PS too. I do have that debug board, and it's been great to see. This new problem however is giving me pause.

Haha, do you want another MSS, at least I've done the troubleshooting for you and I'm pretty sure that it is indeed the PS, given its behavior. I'm not at all tempted to open it up or anything; no user-serviceable parts inside (at least not by me).


Reading more about W2k12, I'm not thinking that I really want to dive back into the Windows world. weighing my options at this point. If I do get the PS, then I'll have spent more post-purchase as I did on the box itself. (I have had the drive for a while, it's considered "free")


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:07 am 
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If you decide not to move forward with your EX485 and desire to sell it let me know and please list it on the For Sale Form as well and post pictures of the actual unit.

Do you happen to have a working Standard PSU. I have some adapter cables that will convert the PSU Wires from a standard 20 pin configuration over to an MSS configuration. This would help you confirm the PSU.

Another thing worth looking at is the installed CPU and RAM.

I am actually thinking of acquiring another EX48x so I can play with the BIOS MOD from the EX49x but I do not want to do this with the one I have in my collection and I have a customer who could actually benefit from the BIOS Mod but if his unit were to crap out then I would have to replace it so I might be interested in your unit or one I could find on eBay.

If your in the USA then I may indeed be interested in your unit.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:38 am 
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I just bought the PSU; last gasp. I am indeed in the USA, but let's see if I can get it working first.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 11:43 am 
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here's the one i bought: http://www.ebay.com/itm/330800575511


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:35 am 
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Looks like you picked it up at a very good price too. They ship very fast. Hopefully that will get you going.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:55 pm 
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ok, it's installed. but now, i don't get anything from the debug board when it powers up (though it does not die anymore, yay?)


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