The collected works of MrBill - Page 1

Hello, Ive had an interest in sgi machenes for a while now and I finally managed to get an sgi octane. It appears to all be here, aside from the hard drive being loose and not having the sleds. Its got a sticker on saying its been wiped.
I cant any video from it though. Upon presssing the power button the fans spin up, but thats all i can get. Any suggestions or trubleshooting tips?

Yeah, graphics output. I am not familiar with the connector on the octane, never seen it before. It came with an adapter that has a vga connector on it, im using that, connected to a VGA monitor.

Picture of connector / adapter.
I'm not getting a light on the front. I'm unfamiliar with the hardware, attached is a link to a picture of the video Card. There are 5 empty sockets on it, im not sure if there is something missing or if those are just optional ports for some other expansion.

Im just using a fairly modern Dell flatscreen monitor, ill give it a shot with an older multi synch monitor ive got in storage in a while. Ill also try the serial console and see if I can get any more useful info, thanks for the help.
The drive does not spin up. Some of the lights on the front do light up. Im in the process of putting it back together, I had a bit of a fight getting it apart. The top clamp to the cpu board wouldn't open all the way locking the board inside.
Looks like someone was nice enough to bend all the screws as well, had to drill one of them out. Ill post a picture of the diagnostic lights. Im still trying to find my null modem cable to get into the serial console. Thanks.

Diagnostic lights :
I took it apart, and reseated everything. Cpu, memory, the main cpu board, video card and power supply. Still nothing but the fan runs. Should the fan on the power supply be going too? It doesnt spin. I hooked up a null modem cable and fired it up and got nothing. I dont really know what to do beyond just buying replacement parts at random, which is out of my budget at the moment.

A friend of mine said he said he spotted another octane jsut like mine in one of the local college storage closets, perhaps if i can get my hands on that one i can swap some parts out to find where the problem is with mine.

I will take a further look around here and inspect the connectors on the motherboard, thank you for the help.
After recently buying an SGI octane off ebay in as is condition, determined it had a bad backpane with bent and broken pins.

Looking for a replacement backpane for a SGI Octane.
I took a look inside the power supply and it all looks good, no burnt parts or bulging capacitors.

the pins on the backpane are bent beyond repair. I attempted to straighten them but some broke off, so im going to need a new backpane.
Just bought a working octane off ebay, and have an IRIS on its way in the mail.
Im not sure how to proceed from here. Seems to be in fully working condition, but im not sure where to get / Install irix.
Is the irix media something I can just download from somewhere, or am I going to need to buy it from somewhere? Can I buy it from SGI still?
There seem to be all kinds of differnt install media, what CD's do I need to get my Octane up and running?

Please forgive me if these are all beginner questions, Any help is much appreciated.
Thanks for the tips. Sadly the Octane Didn't come with an IRIX installation,sanatized sticker on it, the hard drive was loose in the machine with no caddy, sounds like its failing.
I didnt think the machine would be able to netboot, but thats good to hear, ive done it with other machines so at least i wont have to run out and buy a scsi cd drive.

Sadly no girlfriend, but up for the pizza and beer suggestion if anyones nearby. For the record im in Vero Beach, Florida.
Ive got lots of other linux machines here, No sense running linux on the octane too.
Excellent. Thanks, i was actually having some trouble setting up a netboot server, this will make things much easier thanks.
Alright, I got a copy of the install cd's elsewhere, however Im not quite sure how to proceed. I burned the Installation tools and overlays disk, put it in and told it to boot from the cd, and this is what im presented with.

IM not sure how to proceed. I did manage to get a scsi drive, although its an internal drive, ive got it connected through a bunch of adapters and the octane acknowledges that there is a cd drive connected and the scsi id doesnt conflict with the hard drive

HINV output -

scsi setup External scsi port goes to an adapter which connects to the cd drive using an ultrawide cable.

Alright, i made some progress, however im still stuck. I got my scsi cdrom working, and started installing following this guide.

Everything goes fine, i swap out the cd's and the system seems to be installing, then im asked if i want to reboot. I select yes, but the system doesn't restart on its own, it just drops to a black scren and stays there. after about 5 minutes i manually turn the octane off and back on. (not sure if thats normal) The system says it is booting the os, then gives the error :

unable to execute xio(0)pci(15)scsi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(0)/unix: media not loaded

Autoboot failed.

Press enter to continue.

Im not sure how to proceed from here, I was on a roll once it started installing off the cd's and i thought i had it installing right, then this happens...
foetz wrote:
you might need to set one or more of the 4 boot related prom variables:

I ran resetenv. Still no luck. I took a look at the values with printenv, they seem to be set correctly.

Output of hinv and printenv:
I can boot to sash, however when i run the command ls dksc(0,1,0) it tells me its not a directory.
Set up a serial console. Output of ls :

Command Monitor.  Type "exit" to return to the menu.
>> boot
896+115812+16653+3832 entry: 0xa800000047fa7e2c
Standalone Shell SGI Version 6.5 ARCS   Apr 30, 1998 (64 Bit)
sash: ls
sgilabel  ide  sash  IP30prom
. . . Spent like 45 minutes following that guide, swapping out cd's and watching hard dirve activity. If its not there, then where did it go. . .

I guess Ill erase the drive and try again.
I don't think I had the hard drive partitioned right. I went over the install instructions, but used all the install cd's this time around instead of just installing the base set like the guide suggested. Seems to be working fine.
Im so glad to finally have a working system.
Thanks to everyone here who helped me to get this working.
I bought an IRIS Indigo a while back, and have attempted to install irix on it, however Ive gotten stuck and am not sure how to proceed.
I ran through the entire irix install, it took about 45 minutes, however the machine does not boot, it says that no media is loaded.

Im not sure what to do from here, any help would be appreciated. Attached are some pictures showing hinv, partition info, and the media not loaded message.

File comment: Media not loaded message.
MVC-715F.JPG [ 127.5 KiB | Viewed 363 times ]
File comment: Hinv
MVC-716F.JPG [ 134.93 KiB | Viewed 363 times ]
File comment: I am able to boot into sash. I also ran ls to see whats there.
MVC-717F.JPG [ 128.86 KiB | Viewed 363 times ]
File comment: Patritions listed in fx.
MVC-718F.JPG [ 125.64 KiB | Viewed 363 times ]
This will be the third or fourth time i have reinstalled. 45 minutes of swapping out disks, then the reboot, and the files are nowhere to be found.
I must be leaving something out. know of anything i could be doing / not doing that would cause this?

Ive followed this install guide to the letter.
Yeah, 2 items, they didnt appear to be anything major. I can run the install again to get the exact details.

Something to do with the cosmo player. I used the command "remove conflicting" to tell it not to install those 2 particular packages before starting the install.
Also I couldn't tell weather to be on the maintenance stream or the feature stream. I chose the feature stream.
Two of my install disks were bad. In the middle of the install there were a bunch of scsi errors, they were getting pushed out of the way buy the packages being installed, so i didnt notice first few times around.
I burned a copy of the 2 disks, and sure enough, this time around the install took a bit longer, and im greeted with the IRIX login screen after startup. Thanks for the help.
Ive gotten a few sgi machines in the past months and have been debating on getting an altix 350, they look like really interesting machines, and the price seems to be low enough that I can build up a respectable system in a few months, however I dont know anything about them, so im hoping someone here can fill in some of the blanks for me. Ive been digging through some of the manuals and documentation, but there is quite a bit to go through, i was hoping someone here could give me some clear answers. I really dont want to drop a lot of mony and end up with something i cant use.

1- I see you can connect multiple machines together with numalink cables, which is kinda one of the main selling points for me, but im unclear on how exactly it works. If it like a fast cluster, or does the memory and cpu's across all the machines appear to all be on the same machine? Do I need software written specifically to take advantage of this, or can i just run any old program and it will be none the wiser that its all on seperate machines.

2 - Can I use just a standalone altix 350? As in just buy one and connect more later as i need? I dont see much in terms of io on the back of them, just a console port, numa link, power. Can I just add any old pci card in there or do i need a special SGI ones? I suppose my end goal here is to get a system with enthernet I can ssh into. Possibly vga too if its posible.

3 lastly, i see there appear to be several different versions of the Altix 350, different outer appearances. Links to different ones ive seen on ebay at end of this post. Can i use these different ones together or do they all need to be the same. Does one of these have better features than the others that I should be more inclined to buy?

Again, any advice is much appriciated. I really rushed into buying my Indigo, and the unseen costs of getting the extra proprietary keyboard, mouse and memory really added up, I dont want to make that mistake agian, and really be clear on what im planning on getting this time


Links to different Altix 350 models : ... 1423.l2649 ... 1423.l2649
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Yeah the origins look much more stylish, especially in that fancy rack. You can numa link them together like the altix ones?

Ill be honest, I would kill for a deskside or rackmount origin server. The problem is that I just cant feasibly ship them to me, and driving to get them is equally expensive.

Heres a bunch of complete racks full of 16 Altix 350's on ebay, loaded and ready to go. $800 per rack , again, just no way of getting it here, so im going to have to build one up peice by peice, probably paying more for it in the end. If anything is a disappointment its going to be having a load of these servers and not having that fancy rack to go along with it. ... 2eca9d750b
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In response to PymbleSoftware,

Thank you for your response. Its good to know that I wont need specially written software.

(There is a limited list of cards supported, what are you expecting graphics?, these are run headless)

Alright, good to know, at least i know now that not every pci card is supported. As for graphics, i did not know weather they supported it or not. Not a setback, i actually will prefer it that way.

Again, the info is very much appriciated.
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I realize that It is not X86 and software is going to need to be ported. Im fine with that. Im all for IRIX and mips stuff, i just haven't seen much of it on ebay, and what I do find generally tends to be extremely expensive. If it crosses my path at the right price im more than willing to throw together an origin 350 rack as well.

I think im going to grab a couple of these and pray I can find A base system later, as I dont want to be paying a fortune finding all the hard drive caddys, getting the rails,and numa link cables.
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won't be as expensive as your electric bill.

To be honest I completely forgot to think about what it will take to power this. oh well, worst case scenario I can just run the base node like BetXen said, and run all of them when they are needed. I had 3 dell quad xeon rackmount servers in the past, if power usage is similar to them with just these 3 nodes i can manage. Ive actually got a watt meter here, ive been meaning to post a listing of the power usage of my octane and indigo with different cpu / disk / power supply options. Ill post how much it uses once it gets here.

I ended up buying 3 of these. I got everything needed to run the system, and the base node is coming with a debian installation ready to use.
The base node also comes with a fibre channel controller installed, the guy I bought it off of said there is a fibre channel disk array that goes with it, im might grab that too.

I want to thank everyone here for the insightful info.

I guess I should start reading over all the documentation in detail before it gets here :)
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Wow, that is quite a find on the fujitsu Tablet. I was not aware they made newer versions of it.

I myself have an older stylistic Lt-500. Came with a fancy little dock and a serial pcmcia card. Actually makes a really nice tiny serial terminal.

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I have a SGI indigo with it's proprietary keyboard and mouse, I really like the keyboard, but unfortunately it can only be used with my indigo. Was there a ps2 keyboard made with the same keys / shape? I would really like to be able to use such a keyboard on one of my other more capable machines.

The keyboard i'm talking about is like this one here : ... ms_top.jpg
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thank you all for the helpful information.

I'll keep an eye out for either the granite or the "indigo2 slab" keyboard. Id much rather get the slab. Is that what is pictured here along with this indigo 2 at auction? ... EBIDX%3AIT

That looks to be exactly what I want, although I already just bought a indigo2 so I cant justify spending that just to get the keyboard.

I did read a little into making a converter to go from the proprietary connector to standard ps2. I actually just recently got an ardunio,I don't want to risk breaking the keyboard, it took a while to find and was expensive. I'm surprised I didn't burn up the indigo itself when i first got it. Figured it was just ps2, plugged in a nice DEC branded ps2 keyboard i used for everything, plugged it in, all the num lock lights glowed real bright and there was a burning smell. I figured out what i had done wrong, surprisingly once i got the proper keyboard the machine still works fine.

I'm a bit of a keyboard snob, and very much like the SGI granite big slab (along with the IBM Model M and the earlier Apple Extended keyboards).

I actually have a bunch of ibm model M keyboards here(found them at the scrapyard), I actually liked the keyboard for the indigo better. It's just as big but quite a bit quieter.
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Hey, thats what i paid for the propritary one for the indigo, but yeah, i could have had another indigo2 for that price.
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I know the main focus of the forums here is SGI hardware, but i figured I would ask this here because I'm not really sure of where the best place to get information for sun machines would be. I picked up 2 SUN IPC workstations today from a warehouse.Pretty neat looking little machines. They are both in pretty rough shape, bits of rust on the case and corrosion on some places on the motherboard. They were not stored in ideal conditions. I did alot of cleaning of the motherboards, however upon trying to power them on i get a soft click, a quick flash of a green led, then nothing. Im not sure weather to suspect the power supply or the motherboard, If it's the motherboard i might as well pitch them. The power supply uses an odd short 12 pin cable, i was curious if there is a pinout for this so i could test to see if the power supply is the issue. They both give the same behavior when trying to be powered on. Short click, green light quickly flashes, and then nothing.

At any rate It was worth it just to get a pile of simm memory and a couple scsi disks i can use in my SGI machines.
Any help or suggestions are appreciated.
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I decided not to try and make any sort of adapter for my indigo keyboard and just bought a granite ps2 slab keyboard. Works great, exactly what i wanted. Space bar seems oddly yellow compared to the rest of the keys, but i don't imagine a beige one would have been in much better condition.
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Ive gotten a couple of calls in a similar format. I think they pull my number off adds for things i have for sale on Craigslist.

Difference being i described the face of the microwave rather than my SGI machines. They did not call back.
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Kinda excited about this so thought i would mention it here, although Ive been slowly accumulating a good pile of sgi machines over here I decided for a change to get something big and get a pdp11 with some related gear. Ive been looking for a pdp 11 for quite a few years, but due to their size it is not really an option for me to go get one, but i managed to luck out and find one within driving distance in my state of Florida. Its going to be a big haul, It is a couple of racks worth of stuff. I kinda jumped at the chance to get it and didn't really factor in that it is well.... going to be heavy and a big job to load up, but i think it will make for a interesting trip. Honestly, anything to get out of Vero Beach for a day. I leave Tomarrow with a group of friends to go load it up.

Anyone else here have an interest in the pdp 11? Would anyone be interested to see pictures of the machine and equipment i manage to bring back?
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I just picked up another octane from a nearby city. This is my first SGI machine to be picked up locally. The seller did not seem to know much about it, he actually had it connected to a cracked monitor.

Anyhow, got it home, and fired it up. Seems fully functional. Dual R1200 cpu at 300 MHZ, 256 mb of memory, and 2 9.1 gb hard drives in caddys. The machine does not boot to irix. It displays the following message then reboots.

IM not sure what to make of that. Id like to try and get it to boot, as a last resort i can pop it into one of my other machines and see whats on there. There is a sticker on both the back and under the front cover, seems to list some kind of software installed, any idea what that could be?

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I never thought I would ever be able to own one of these. I ended up renting a car and making a 4 hour drive both ways to go pick it up. Looking back the day after Christmas may not have been the most calm time to be on the highway,quite hectic.

Meh looks cool. I guess the next order of business should be to get a keyboard.

Between this and the altix 350 the power meter spins like a top now.
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smj wrote: Wait, there's a machine that miod *doesn't* have an example of?!? ;)

Glad to see they included the remote control, MrBill. :lol:

Congrats though - nice score. It'd be easier to get the keyboard converter though link (I'm not affiliated).

EDIT: Also, what's that bit of DECish looking gear in the right foreground of your photo?

Thats not a remote, that's actually my cell phone. beats the iphone by far. :)

Good call on the dec gear. That is the corner of a microvax 3800 that I just recently got running. One of the power supply's was bad. I pulled out the failing supply and i managed to get to the boot monitor on the Vt100 on my desk. That's about as far as I got with it. I was going to try and netboot netbsd on it, it has 64 mb of memory, i think that will be enough, but I have no tape controller or hard drive.

I actually just bought the microvax 3800 a little before the Crimson. It was within shipping range, I had it shipped to my workplace, but then my focus shifted to getting the crimson paid off and picked up. I'm probably going to end up with both the crimson and the Microvax on a network side by side in the same room. Ive also got a couple racks of pdp 11 gear in the garage, but ive yet to get that going, it ran for about 5 minutes then i ran into power supply issues.
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miod wrote:
smj wrote: Wait, there's a machine that miod *doesn't* have an example of?!? ;)

I'm staying away of the large iron those days. I mean, I'd love to get my hands on a Crimson or a Challenge, but I don't have room for such a machine and this wouldn't be a reasonable decision.

It was not a reasonable decision for me either, there is about a foot of clearance to get into the room, and between that pile of dell servers and the mound of laserdisk players there is next to no space to move anymore BUT BUT BUT ive got a crimson. I may not have the space to stand back and look at it, but ive got one.
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skywriter wrote:
kshuff wrote: As jan-jaap says, been there done that...

Times three!


Yu're gonna shoot your eye out with that thing!

Ogod do you still have all 3?!?
how did you manage to get 3 of these? they seemed pretty rare and hard to find to me.
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jan-jaap wrote:
ivelegacy wrote: the real problem is: what do you run on them ?

Duh. FSN of course :D

Fsn is pretty neat.That was the first thing i tried out once i got my octane going.

I'm not sure of the capability of this machine. As seen on the picture, ive got it connected to that large 50 inch plasma monitor. I see it has a audio jack, i was unaware the machine had audio capability. Would it be possible to watch video's with sound with this machine? Perhaps Ill keep it connected to that monitor full time and use it for displaying video streams from the security cameras.
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