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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:18 pm 
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This is probably the reason I don't upgrade my Server 2012 Essentials experiment in the forum. I wanted to upgrade to WS2012E Release Candidate, but I was in a hurry, that day. So even if I didn't have much light, I tried to find a slot for my monitor on the APC. I hit, by accident (or is it because I was thinking about the dentist appointment), the button on the APC. Everything shut down, except the MSS (it had a eSata enclosure and the network connection which also shut down). After everything was back on, I finally could plug the monitor and start the installation. Hmmm! The monitor indicated that boot process went on to processor identification then froze. Restarted, same thing, looked at the health indicator = solid blue.

To make a very long and stressing story short, after much reading here (2008 and 2009 posts about bricked MSS) I decided to deconstruct the MSS and short with a piece of small wire the data pins on the SMI flash (under the board). Hurray!! the boot sequence went on pass the IDE identification and I could start installation from the USB flash disk of ws2012erc on a 250GB disk.

Everytime the installation process would reboot I had to shut the MSS down, short the tiny pins and start it back. You know there are some 10 reboots in that installation. So now I have an MSS bare open, which has Server 2012 on it, I even connected a computer to it. It is cooled by an external fan. But I cannot reconstruct it. Always need to short the data pins to start it.

I tried to reflash the BIOS, I even changed a bios setting to long boot; don't do that, I had to wait for the whole memory checking shorting the tiny... tiny data pins, which was quite long. I read in one post that the soul had repartitioned the SMI flash drive in BMR format and then the thing could work without shorting pins. Well I did better I completely removed the partition on the SMI flash. ](*,) It was only 15 MB before I did that, so I knew it was not correct, I think it should be 90 MB.

Anyways, I don't know quite what to do now. I may permanently short the two pins with a bit of solder, but it doesn't sound good, does it? If someone could hand over a copy of SMI flash for EX47x I could try to see if it cures the brick. Or any suggestions... you know, any could help. :shock:
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Last edited by VieuxJules on Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:24 pm 
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Found this thread. Will try Easeus tonight or tomorrow. I am downloading the SMI files at the moment.

Will keep you informed on progress.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:51 am 
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SOLVED

Unbrick EX47x - Part 1

After taking a lot of paths to unbrick my EX47x, here is the simple path to follow to a successful unbrick. I said simple, I didn't say easy!

How to find out if your EX47x is bricked (don't know if it would be the same path for other MSSs)

Without a monitor
Normally, at startup, the health light is solid blue; then it turns red before blinking blue/red, while loading. If your health light stays solid blue at startup and doesn't blink, you probably have a bricked machine.
With a monitor
If you have hooked a monitor, besides the solid blue health light, the monitor will show the title (bios I think) and the next line will be the processor identification, and it will stay there; it may also show the memory status depending of your configuration. Then nothing! you may wait as long as you wish, nothing more! You have confirmation that your machine is bricked :evil:
(if it lists your IDE drives, than it's not bricked, your problem is elsewhere)

How to unbrick your server

First open up your MSS and remove the motherboard. (There are many guides to do this, like the ones to upgrade memory). Do not unplug the PSU to the motherboard.
Put the motherboard on a safe area and remove the 4 screws at each corner that holds it to the PSU. The PSU won't remove, yet! The processor heat sink is also threaded into the PSU casing. Remove these heat sink screws also. Beware not to remove the heat sink, the paste may hold it onto the processor. If you want to take the opportunity to replace the Artic Silver 5 paste, go ahead, take a bottle of Grey Goose vodka (any brand will work) and clean the paste. You can take methyl alcool also but won't be able to take a drink as you go. Anyways better not drink at this time. [-X
Be sure to put the heat sink back on the processor, it will hold only by the paste.

Carefully put the PSU aside (still connected to the motherboard).
    - If you have a system disk with WHS or any other system you had installed on it, plug that disk to the bottom connector of the MSS backplate; if you don't have a system disk which was previously installed on the MSS then see instructions at the end of this message to create one
    - Put the motherboard on its side (underside facing you) and insert the backplane (with the disk) onto its connector (on the mobo, see picture in the first post)
    - With a monitor (the easiest path)
      - plug a monitor through your VGA cable (if you have one)
      - plug a keyboard (USB or PS2)
    - Without a monitor
      - Plug the front lights assembly (power, network, health) in order to monitor your progress
      - Plug the network cable connected to your router for part 2
    - Finally plug the PSU to the wall
    - Don't forget to put an external fan in front of this assembly, if the processor gets too hot when you start the machine, it will shut down

Now, goto this message to locate the SMI flash controller on the flip side of the motherboard (which should be facing you) and the two data pins you have to short. Look carefully its a very small chip. The data pins should be facing number 371 (on the mobo of EX47x).
To short the pins, some have tried a screwdriver, I prefered a piece of electronic wire, it has to be small and conductive.

While shorting the pins with one hand (avoid touching anything else with your instrument), push the front button to start the MSS. If you shorted correctly, and used a monitor, you should see the IDE drives being listed, you can now stop to short the data pins and let the system start; without a monitor, the health light should start to blink blue/red it's probably time to stop shorting.

If you don't have a system disk
    - Put an empty drive on the bottom slot of the backplane,
    - and put a bootable USB flash disk with a system installation software on the bottom USB slot;
    - also plug the network cable to complete the system installation


Then, after shorting the data pins, the system installation will begin. Everytime the installation process will restart, you will have to shut the MSS down, short the data pins and restart until the system is installed. In this case, you probably will need to have a monitor (unless you have an unattended config file for the installation you wish to perform). But in my understanding you will not be able to install WHS v1 through another computer.

PART 2 on next message

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HP-EX470 4GB Athlon-X2-BE-2350-(Stepping G1) Windows 8 (server build)


Last edited by VieuxJules on Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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yakuza
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Unbrick EX47x - Part 2

Now that your system is running again, you have to cure the SMI flash drive so you don't have to short the SMI controller's data pins everytime you want to start your MSS, notwithstanding that it is not as cute when outside its box. :sanjuan:

With the help of a monitor and keyboard, or through a connected computer if you are headless, open a command window with administrative priviledge.

Type in these commands (in boldface):
    - Diskpart the command prompt will change to DISKPART>
    - List Disk it will list your disks; you'll have to identify the number for the SMI disk, I think it's the one with around 247 MB
    - Select Disk <enter the SMI disk number> it will select it
    - Clean it will remove the partition style
    - Convert MBR it will change your SMI partition style from GPT to MBR
    - Exit
    - Exit

That's it! :chicken:
Shut down your MSS, then restart (without shorting the pins). It should now boot normally.
Reconstruct your box doing preceding steps backwards
It is unbricked!

I had to read many posts (some old, some new) to understand this process, you'll say I'm slow to get it, I admit, but you certainly want to make sure you will not brick it permanently.

It worked for me, hope it will work for you!

Many thanks to taa, ymboc (again), drboogie, ndenev, crazycyke, and many others in this site.

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yakuza
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:41 pm 
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Alex,
Hi Alex. This is Mark. I spoke with you at length about WHS and the ex470 while you were still at HP. And I bought one right after our discussions. It has served me well all these years. I just recently upgraded the ram and install Essentials on it. It crashed after I got it installed so I had to re-install. Now I made a mistake. I was setting up storage spaces and wiped my partition including re-formatting it to GPT. So now my ex470 will not boot.

VieuxJules,
Hi. Great article. Well written. As I do not have a vga cable nor the other tools needed to fix it, I am wondering if you would be willing to fix it if I covered all the shipping and costs? Please let me know.

Thanks Guys!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:17 pm 
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Hi Bravehart,
Would be glad to help. First, in the guide I provided a path without a monitor, so you could look at this first (it would be cheaper for you 8) ). Second with this method, the SMI files are not recovered, meaning that you cannot reinstall WHS v1, unless you find a copy of those files. But since you installed 2012 essentials, then you don't need it. There is also a possibility that this method won't work for your system, I think Comp1962 tried it and it didn't work for him. Finally, I live in Québec, Canada, I'm not aware of the cost it will up to. So I suggest to get information before making your decision. If you decide to go that path and take the risk, then PM me and I will give you the coordinates to send your machine.

Best of luck
vj

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777Braveheart
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:04 am 
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Hi everyone,

I have a private discussion with 777Braveheart to ensure he really has a bricked system, before he takes action. I have to say I'm daltonist (difficulty to identify red and its derivative colors). On the MSS, I can clearly distinguish between blue and red, but not between blue and purple. Braveheart mentions his system's health light is solid purple while in my guide I mention solid blue. Can someone enlighten us by describing the Health light behaviour. On my system it starts blue, then blinks, then red/blue blinking. A bricked system will have this behaviour: Health light starts solid blue and stays like that (maybe its purple??); Power light stays blue; and Network light shuts off. What is the start sequence on your systems with the correct colors?
vj

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HP-EX470 4GB Athlon-X2-BE-2350-(Stepping G1) Windows 8 (server build)


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