Category Archives: Computer Hardware

Computer Hardware

OpenManage and iDrac

We migrated systems from one colocation to another and re-thought our entire VLAN structure. All IPMI/iDrac/iLO/out of band management was segmented off into another VLAN for easier support and DHCP enabled. Unfortunately our e-mail servers didn’t get the memo about the IP change; sure, their network cables were moved to the new VLAN, but the IP address was not changed to either that network or a DHCP enabled state.

We didn’t find out until this morning when we attempted to revive an email server that had fallen flat on its face. Lesson learned.

That being said, I had always changed iDrac settings on these servers via the BIOS or lifecycle controller. I didn’t want to reboot the box again just to set an out of band management interface, so what was I to do?


Anyway, here’s the brief list of commands you can run if you have Dell Open Manage installed on your computer (with a simple ADMIN cmd.exe window)
Get current configuration
racadm getniccfg

Set Static IPv4

Set Static IPv6

racadm setniccfg -d

Turn off or turn on the port
racadm setniccfg -o

Whole bunch of stuff here

Supermicro X9SRW-F CPU Temperature Issues

So I was not having a good time with this supermicro box – it’s a 2U with 8 SATA drives (3T each), areca raid controller, 4 core intel, 8gb ram. Not much. It ran wonderfully as a FreeNAS/NAS4Free box for the last 36 months and was just no being repurposed as an Oracle Playground (ie development/POC).

Installed CentOS 6.4 on it and gave it to the developer. Full building power outage later and it wasn’t booting backup. Turns out that my 8 drive RAID10 had some issues; 1 of the drives in a mirror died (click of death) and the other drive had corrupt data blocks. Awesome. Finding some working drives later, I rebuilt it again.

Now it was Fan full throttle, fan not full throttle, random fan issues. The logs stated something like CPU Temperature assertion, CPU Temperature desertion. Overheating? The room temperature is a balmy 72F. So I put the fans on Heavy I/O fan mode. This seemed to work for a few hours but then we were back to throttle up/down again.

I upgraded the IPMI firmware from 1.2.x to 3.0.x. I rebooted the machine. I even cold booted. I then updated the BIOS (download from supermicro, use Rufus to create a new bootable USB device, copy files, run ami.bat BIOSNAME.FILE). Still no dice.

Then I read what user “SpeedKills” posted on a forum board; simply RESET the IPMI to factory defaults.

Did that and no more fan issues.

ESXi 4.1 Dell OpenManage

I had Nagios telling me there was a memory issue on the server, but not in which slot the bad ram was located. OM to the rescue?

Download (I’m running on a Dell PowerEdge 2850 Server)
Use the VMWare VSphere CLI to run the following: –server SERVERNAME_OR_IP -i -b “C:\”
Enter the username (root)
Enter the Password (password)

Then, using the Dell Web Server administrator (OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-WIN-6.3.0-2075_A00.20.exe), connect to your virtual machine and IGNORE CERTIFICATE ERRORS!

Asus O!Play HDP-R1

I purchased an OPlay about a year ago. It’s been great – uses less power than my former HTPC AND the wife likes the ability to navigate via remote only better than my keyboard/mouse/remote combo from before. She (and I) misses the XBMC interface though. That interface is MUCH better than the ASUS one. But who can complain about 14 watts of power and the size of the unit?

So why the post? I was having problems playing Bluray ISO rips. DVD ISO’s played just fine. Bluray m2ts files played just fine. Bluray ISOs would skip quite a bit in terms of the video – audio was always working via the HDMI connection. The odd part was the same files would play just fine over the external USB powered Hard Drive without skipping.

2.5GHz Pentium Dual-Core
1024MB DDR2 PC6400
4X 1.5TB 5400RPM SATA in RAID5 (about 4.2TB usable)
FreeNAS 0.7.1
Gigabit Layer 3 switch

I had set the freenas settings as follows:
Send/Receive buffers were set to 65535
Large read/write was set to on
MTU was set to 9216 (jumbo frames)

Still it was skipping. Since it didn’t happen on the external drive, I assumed that the network was to blame. After a little bit of research I found out that Samba is not nearly as awesome as NFS.

So, turn on NFS on your freenas:

Path of /mnt/raid/Multimedia with Network of in my case

Then, telnet to your OPlay and make a few minor settings:

Open Putty
Telnet to the OPlay
Login as “root”
mkdir -p /tmp/ramfs/volumes/core
mount -t nfs -o intr,nfsvers=3,rsize=32768,wsize=32768,hard,udp,nolock /tmp/ramfs/volumes/core

If you get an error, you did something wrong. Obviously change the IP:/directories to be that of your environment.

If it works, move onto making this a startup script.

cp /usr/local/etc/rcS rcS.old
vi /usr/local/etc/rcS
Scroll down to the end of the file, then press “i”
#Mount NFS
mkdir -p /tmp/ramfs/volumes/core
sleep 15
mount -t nfs -o intr,nfsvers=3,rsize=32768,wsize=32768,hard,udp,nolock /tmp/ramfs/volumes/core
Press “esc”
Type “:wq” and then hit enter

You should now see your NFS share on your OPlay’s local disk area! Yay!
AND no more skipping issues! YESSSS

I’m running firmware 1.28 NTSC.

Change Floppy Drive Letter

I had to update the BIOS of a very old computer so it could handle more RAM (128MB chips were the max at the time). But I needed to create a floppy disk to do so. Plugged in my trusty USB floppy drive to my i7 machine running Windows 7 x64. Tried to run the floppy drive installation program – Not compatible with your version of windows. Damn, must need 32bit.

Moved over to the laptop with Windows 7 32bit – not a valid 32bit application. Argh. Zero for two.

Use my vmware XP Pro image – but the application requires the use of Drive A: Dammit. Zero for three.

Here’s how to change the drive letters around:

Rename \DosDevices\A: to \DosDevices\Q:
Rename \DosDevices\B: to \DosDevices\A:
Rename \DosDevices\Q: to \DosDevices\B:

Now your USB floppy should be drive A:

Blackberry Curve 8300

My work recently provided me with an all-expenses-paid Blackberry Curve 8300. Yay.

That’s both a good and a bad thing.
Good: I have a free phone that I can always check on my work email, personal email, sports scores, talk with people, take pictures of products, etc.
Bad: I have a device that keeps me always in contact with people that need my help.

So I’ve had it for about a month now. I stopped using the silly leather holder they provide in favor for a easier approach: I just lock it and throw it in the pocket.

Then, just yesterday, I stopped being able to move the ball to the left. Correction, I could move the ball to the left, but the cursor wouldn’t recognize any of my efforts. Up, down, right – they all worked just fine.

I’m not one to just sit around sulking, so I jammed a skinny flat screwdriver under the plastic (but metal looking) ring that holds the trackball in place. You can do the same – just above the T and Y keys. Just slowly pry it up, then the ring comes out. Then you can flip the whole phone upside down and the trackball assembly falls gently into your hand.

Blackberry Curve
Blackberry Curve

This is when I noticed a piece of crud (technical term, I know) on one of the wheels that spins. Crud free is the way for me!

Needless to say it all works now. Pretty sure I put the wheel back in upside down, but it doesn’t matter to the phone.


Usually when you receive this error it means your HD is going bad. If your computer keeps rebooting and then asks to start in safe mode, that’s a good sign. Keep hitting the usual F8 button at startup to deselect the option of reboot on system failure. We don’t like that option anyway. Endless loops of reboots help no one.

If then on the giant blue screen of death you see this message:
“STOP 0x000000ED UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME”, then try this simple repair step before calling it a day.

1.) Put in your Windows XP CD
2.) Boot off your Windows XP CD (usually hit F12 to bring up the boot menu)
3.) When the Welcome to Setup screen appears, press the “R” key to start the recovery console
4.) If you’re prompted, enter the administrator password (on Home edition it’s usually blank)
5.) At the command prompt type “chkdsk /r” and press enter – this will find and repair most issues found
6.) After Checkdisk has finished running, you can type “exit” and hit enter to reboot the machine