Sunday May 31, 2009

Trying to strengthen the mold

I asked a friend who was a ChemE in college what I could do to make my CPU bracket stronger, he passed me on to Larry. Hi Larry!

Larry's suggestion was to add fiberglass threads to the resin as it mixed. My last interaction with fiberglass involved Tequila and the last football game I went to at OU. I woke up the next morning with a rear end full of fiber - seems I had worn shorts and somehow managed to find a spot that was flaking.

So I listened and got a tyvek jacket:

No forensic evidence

I also pulled out a mask I had used when painting our cement floor:

Hooh, Hooh, hooh

I also got some fiberglass cloth to cut into 1/4" strands:


I could go on about technique, but you cut at 45 degrees to the grain and you want shorted than 1/4" in. Anything longer (upto 3/4" in) you keep in a different container. I have a picture of my two containers, and yes, it appears both have strands longer than 1/4" in:

Web, weave?

The other thing I needed was something to vibrate the mold to get out air bubbles. Try as I might, I couldn't think of anything. Except making my iPhone ring and ring. Or finding an app what made it vibrate. I paid $0.99 for some app and covered my iPhone in an expensive protective sheathe:

Safety first

Here you can see my first run:

Shaken, not stirred

You can see the sandwich bag housing the iPhone, you can see where I added 4 holes on the feet to allow additional resin to be added. You can see I'm making a small plug to test strength.

And you can see I made a mess:

Spider bracket

I didn't bother cleaning off the flash - the resultant structure was weak. I'm not sure, but I think I didn't stir the A and B compounds enough for the first batch. The remaining batches did get stirred and the final plug shape I cast was much stronger. I remember that the bracket felt like it had not set when I pulled it out.

We can see my sandwich bag was a good idea:

Always have protection

I did another run, not shown, and the resulting cast was stronger than both the first and the prior one without the fiberglass. But, I was getting frustrated because my resin was setting too fast, it was difficult to get the gooier mix of resin and fiberglass into the form, and I didn't want to recut the fiber.

I've since used milliput (and a nice clay snake!):


to extend one of the original brackets:

CPU bracket with milliput

I'm waiting for that to set before I dremel it out.

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Tuesday May 05, 2009

Mold is done, die is cast

As I kept on spending money to make a mold of the w2100z CPU retainer bracket, I came to the realization that I wanted to make a mold more than I wanted a silent PC. It is that simple. I came up with a cheaper method to extend the original brackets, and I may end up falling back on that.

But that is later, for now we should concentrate on my travel to get a mold.

I'd have to say the biggest non-lethal mistake I made on this project was assuming that since the retainer was pretty plain and out of sight, I didn't have to be as careful as I needed to be with making say a figurine. I didn't always measure twice, which can be seen in my choice of using a sandwich container for my mold box:

Sandwich to the rescue!

I didn't make sure that there was a 1/4-1/2 inch space at the top and I ended up having too much extra space. Also, an expensive lesson here is that all of that dead space in the middle of the bracket needs to be filled with mold material. If I had placed an object there to take up room, I would have had a donut shaped mold and saved some money. Ehh, I don't know how easy it would have been to work with that mold!

I really should have taken the time to smooth out the layer of clay. That really ended up hurting me when I casted a bracket. But that all is in the future. Right now we can see that I've run out of mold material:

Need more goo!

I had calculated the amount of product needed and was dismayed to realize that just for the top portion it was more than the starter kit provided. BTW - the kit tells you how much base you have, but it doesn't tell you how much of the activant you got or how much the base container weighed.

Speaking of weight, I needed to buy a gram scale:


I felt weird walking through a store looking for a gram scale, syringes, and disposable plastic gloves. I.e., I realized what else that stuff could be used for!

Anyway, the scale was a wise investment and I can now use it on the expense reports I need to send in (i.e., do I need one stamp or two?). Also, I flashed back to HS Chemistry. I must have been paying attention at some point, because I knew to offset the weight of my containers.

A day later, and I have some cheesecake with a nice blue playdo crust:

The top is done

And if we flip it over, we see the next issue:

Who has my can-opener?

I need to cut open the sandwich container. I realized this before I added the mold material, but went on with it anyway. I was having a tough time figuring out what to use as my mold box (did I mention that this was my very first attempt to make a mold?). You can see another problem, I didn't make sure to get a good seal with the clay against the wall.

Once all of the clay, well most of it, is removed, we can see the bottom part:


I would end up getting more of the clay removed, but I mainly concentrated on the stuff on the retainer. I had meant to leave some on the inside corners of it, but decided not to do so. My other idea was to later add some milliput and shape it as needed.

I didn't capture my next mistake - which was probably the worst. I forgot to add the mold release before I started to pour in the bottom mold. I caught this after I had started, but before the mold really set. I poured out the product, scraped it down, and added some release agent. I was already screwed and not inclined to buy another $29 bottle of mold material. I had the milliput in mind already.

Also, as can be seen here, I didn't have enough clearance on the bottom:

Oh no, its Mr. Bill

I used duct tape to build up the side. That actually worked out okay.

After I pulled out the set mold, you can see there really isn't a line to separate the two halves:

No tan line!

I took a line and cut along the clay residue. Another lesson is that I should have marked the line on the clay box. Here we can see the original part, rescued from its early grave:

Free at last!

And here we can see the mold:

Rugged terrain

I set the mold and it is alive I tell you! Alive!

My clone

But it does need some surgery:

Surgeon wanted

At first I thought my mold was bad, but then I realized that it was simply an air bubble. I got rushed at the end, resin was pouring out of the bottom of the mold. I had been burping it, but I didn't get enough product up to the top corners. Some vent holes there might have done wonders.

The main problem with the resulting part is that I don't think it is strong enough. I'll need to recast and add some fillers. I read somewhere that nylon string strands would work. But I need to confirm that.

But what I can do with this part is fit it perfectly to the fan clip and the motherboard. I can use milliput to reshape. And once I have that in order, I can either create a new mold (wouldn't be prudent at this juncture) or have an easy way to reshape strengthened clones or the originals.

It was fun and I'm amazed that with as many things I did wrong, I got close to what I wanted. The unit cost can only go down and I'm pretty sure I can get a stronger retainer!

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Friday May 01, 2009

First stage of getting a mold

So, I've never made a mold before and I've never made a casting. I've been reading the Alumilite online examples and I went ahead and bought their starter kit. I figured if they can tell me how to do it online, they can have some of my money.

The first thing I did was use modeling clay to plug the openings:

Fill those holes

I'm going to have a two part mold and I won't be able to have those openings in there. Note that I really should make sure to smooth things down on the prongs, but hey, I want to know where to cut those holes back in. I'm banking on having a faint outline there to guide me.

You can see things are pretty smooth still though:

Holes filled

Note that the surface I care most about is that screw connector shown at the top in that picture. I really want it to be level such that the fan will not wobble. But given the way I'm building the bottom of the mold, this will not matter that much:

Bottom clayed up

I've elected to have the seam be on the base and I've pressed the retainer into the clay. At this point I need to clean up the top of towers (look in the lower left one) or I'll be cleaning up each and every cast. Another decision is whether I want to add some more clay to provide material to shave off for the base connections. I.e., I pretty well near went into the outer wall on my earlier attempt. I still plan to add some material around the feet when I prep the bottom half.

Oh well, I still need to figure out what I am going to do about the casting box, so I've got some time.

I'm also hoping the resulting cast will be strong enough. The demos produced car model parts and I think that will be sufficient. I'll have to see - I may need to get different casting resin.

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Houston, we have a problem

So we can see here that it doesn't look like I can shave enough off:

Not going to do it

I went to Hobby Lobby over lunch and it looks like I going to need to make a mold and tap out some holes. I saw some Alumilite products that look like they would be durable plastic.

The plan would be to cover the screw holes and take a mold. Hmm, I might also look to add a bit of width on the hole bases. I.e., I probably need another millimeter or two of wiggle room. 1 for the hole and 1 for the rim.

But once I have a mold in place, I will also be able to make my own spares and not be so cautious with what I have. :->

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Pictures for the fan brackets

Here is a picture of the CPU retainer bracket before any modifications:

Before on CPU bracket

All of the holes look nice and round.

I marked one corner (so I was always testing the same fit) and started in on the holes with a dremel. The intent is to shift them about 1mm up. I'm not using calipers or anything at all scientific. I'm doing it all by eye. Note that this means I might have the right side fitted correctly and not the left. And I may end up over compensating. My inspiration are those oval screw holes on older hard drive brackets.

I'm fitting the lower left and upper right screws in when I'm doing my tests. I leave the screws loose and move the bracket up and down to check the fit. Here we can see the original offset:

Original space

And here we can see the new and improved offset:

New and Improved space

At this point, I'm getting leery of making more shavings. If we look at a closeup of one of the holes:

Hole closeup

you can see that I may end up going to far. I have no clue what will happen as I tighten the screws later. I don't want a crack.

Just by eyeballing the remaining clearance needed and the bracket to be carved off, I'm not convinced that that this is plausible. Right now I have a working bracket for the stock CPU fans and I'm flashing on the old adage, "Measure twice, cut once."

Also, I've got another problem on the daughterboard. You can see that even unconnected my test blank is not going to fit:

Daughterboard issue

There is a header there (for the CPU fan) that is blocking lining this up correctly. I shaved down the outside of the retainer and got it to fit:

Shaved bracket
Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Thursday Apr 30, 2009

Some slow progress on the fans

I got the Dremel out and started shaving back the mounting holes for the CPU bracket. I think I can make it work. But on my last shave, I got a little impatient and made a cut bigger than I wanted. It wasn't damaging, but I realized I'm too groggy.

Anyway, I'll add pictures tomorrow and maybe continue on.

I've been assuming all along that the problem was the cpu fans. I did another search and came up with someone who installed a Zalman: here and write-up here.

One of the pictures had a closeup of the case fan, so I searched for it and here is a description: here:

If noise issue is no problem for you, you might want to consider this Delta 120mm fan. It features a whopping 152 CFM of airflow at 53 dBa. For a 120mm fan that is 38mm thick that isn't too shabby. This high end Delta 120mm fan is often used in rackmount server rooms where noise is not an issue.

I can't swear, but I think the CPU fan is a:

Tach output, 9 blade, very high performance 40CFM, moderate noise 38dBA,

Okay, it is clear Sun was getting a good deal on server room fans and not desktop fans.

But, as a server, these things kick butt!

If I wanted to keep the stock fans, I think I would look into building a box to house the computer. I've looked at noise dampening from an audio perspective (think garage band) and it looks like a simple box with 2 layers of drywall might do. Sounds heavy. I'd probably consider a light wooden frame and the sides made out of a double layer of cork. This would not be a load bearing box, just something that could be placed over the computer.

You would want airflow (the trade-off is classically sound versus temperature.) with a means for air to come out. Perhaps a low blowing case fan? :->

I think I could build something like that for much less than the sound reduction boxes I see online.

Hmm, too late at night - but I wanted to capture the thoughts on the noise reduction box!

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Tuesday Apr 28, 2009

Working towards a quiet w2100z

The w2100z is loud, no two ways about it. And someone claimed that you can't make it quiet.

Well, I have a nice w2100z and I want to use it as a test server at home. I'm tired of the constant buzzing. So, I've ordered some things to help quiet it.

There are basically 3 things I can do to reduce the noise footprint:

  1. Replace the loud components.
    1. CPU fans
    2. Case fans
    3. Power supply
  2. Put the computer in a data closet.
  3. Add some noise absorbers inside the box.

I've actually already relocated the w2100z and it still pollutes the ambient noise in my house:

Data closet

You can see where I've pulled the w2100z off of that half-height telco rack mount cabinet. And I cleaned off that dust from a remodeling job in the house! Okay, I keep the closet door open all of the time to keep air flowing and I also have added a bathroom fan to push air through the closet:

Bathroom fan

I bring this up because closing the door or turning off the fan are big improvements. So, even with any improvements I make, I'll have to keep this in mind. One thing I have done is add a remote digital thermometer to the room. I'm trying to get an idea of how hot it really gets, but I won't know until summer time really hits.

Also, if I put the w2100z inside the cabinet, I might be able to leverage any sound insulation it will provide.

Okay, the real thrust here is that I ordered some replacement fans for the case and cpu. I like Scythe and I like to order it from NewEgg, except the Scythe Mini-Ninjas were out of stock. So I got them from EndPCNoise:

Scythe Mini-Ninja

I went with the Mini-Ninja because space inside the w2100z is limited:

Stock fans

I've put a full height Scythe Ninja in a couple of Antec P180 cases and I've been leery of doing that for a dual-cpu system. I.e., one in a case is tight.

Anyway, the first thing I did was take some pictures of the current CPU fans in place, in case I wanted to add them back:

Stock fans in place

This also showed me where the fan connectors went. I thought I was screwed, as the current fans had a 3 pin connector, but the cpu fans that came with the Mini-Ninjas (and some quieter replacements:)


were either 3 pin or came with converters.

I pulled out the heatsinks, which was a bit of chore, but I followed the directions at Sun Java™ Workstation W1100z and W2100z User Guide. We can see the thermal grease on the bottom of the heat sink:

Dirty old fan

I used some alcohol pads to clean off the gunk:

Clean old fan

Note that some has gotten on the "fins" and it appears there is small ding. I think that happened trying to get it loose from that last connector.

The CPU also starts out dirty:

Dirty CPU

And cleans up nicely:

Cleanish CPU

Note that I'm not as concerned with getting this perfect yet. You can see the grime in the plastic retainer bracket and I'll only be worried when I get ready to add it all in.

Before I do anything else, I want to do a dry run to see if the fit is right. So I just place the towers on the cpus:

Rough fit

Amazingly, the daughter board has a better fit than the motherboard. Also, I'll probably not put a CPU fan on it as the case fan will do a lot of work there. Or if the CPU fan is quiet enough, perhaps I'll make sure to push and pull air across that CPU.

With the motherboard CPU, it looks like it will fit okay, but there are some connectors underneath which may cause complications:

A tight fit after all

The real problem is that the CPU fan retainer bracket that Sun has used is not standard! The 940 socket adapter has nothing to grab onto:

Retainer wont

Hmm, we see that the Socket 478 assembly clip almost works:

478 or bust

Except that the CPU hole does not line up correctly!

If we pull the bracket, attach the clip, then we can see that we now know the dimensions needed for a replacement retainer bracket, and dang if it isn't a close fit:

Almost there!

But we can see that the mounting holes are just a bit off center and I'm not sure if the metal assembly might now be touching something else on the motherboard. If I knew for sure that it was not, I could probably bore new holes for the mounting screws. I'll have to think about that.

By the way, a quick search for replacement brackets showed that the Sun ones were not compatible with standard 940 brackets.

If I line up the holes, we can really see the gap:

A little gap

It is about 3mm off and it doesn't look like there is any place to get that back.

I need a good solid connection or the thermal seal could break.

Does anyone know of a good replacement bracket? It seems proprietary brackets don't work well and the Scythe Universal Retention kit will not work.

I need to think about what I'm going to do before I make any modifications. :->

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Sunday Apr 19, 2009

Spuds and drives are in, lets get a filesystem going!

Okay, the spuds and the drives work like a charm:

[root@ultralord ~]> format
Searching for disks...done

       0. c0t1d0 <DEFAULT cyl 30391 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>
       1. c0t3d0 <DEFAULT cyl 38910 alt 2 hd 255 sec 126>
       2. c0t4d0 <DEFAULT cyl 38910 alt 2 hd 255 sec 126>
Specify disk (enter its number): \^D

I want to create a pool for building kernels:

[root@ultralord ~]> zpool create builds c0t3d0 c0t4d0
[root@ultralord ~]> df -h /builds
Filesystem             size   used  avail capacity  Mounted on
builds                 1.1T    19K   1.1T     1%    /builds

Hmm, while I like the space, these are 640G HDs. Wait, I didn't use raidz:

[root@ultralord ~]> zpool  destroy builds
[root@ultralord ~]> zpool create builds raidz c0t3d0 c0t4d0
[root@ultralord ~]> df -h /builds
Filesystem             size   used  avail capacity  Mounted on
builds                 587G    19K   587G     1%    /builds

Much better - now I need to get some source and let it rip!

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Thursday Apr 16, 2009

Got the spuds, now what?

So I ordered 5 540-3025 for $15 off of And note, I easily could have had my manager okay getting 3 additional drives from my Ultra 24. Really, it is that easy. But DYI and blogging are fun!

The spuds were too tall. We can see here that we have room for 3 additional drives:

Space for 3 drives

And yet we can only add two spuds here:

Only two spuds kinda fit

Note that the middle one is not even aligned properly into a slot!

So first off, if I just wanted to add one drive, the spud would work without any modification. Secondly, I'm not upset with the seller on - I took a calculated risk on these spuds. Thirdly, I have a dremel and I'm not afraid to use it!

I did a quick visual comparison of the old spud and the new one, it looks like the top can easily be cut off at these points:

Arrow shows where to cut

I can better show this with a red line in the back:

Red line shows where to cut

It won't effect the hinge and it looks easy enough to do. The first pass on the first spud is shown here:

Rough first pass

I took my time and probably made it harder than it really was. You can see here how raggedy it looks:

Needs to be smoothed

That will need to be smoothed down. I don't need perfection, but I don't want to cut myself putting a drive in. I also don't want any pieces falling off due to vibrations and being sucked into a fan! A close up can really show how unacceptable this is:

Close up on roughness

I also want to show you a before and after picture so you can see what I took off:

Before and after

I then quickly started on the second spud, focusing on cutting out portions:

Cutting out boxes

I don't show the final results, but I did smoother cuts and I didn't have to sand it as much.

And we can see the two spuds added to the Ultra 24:

In the Ultra 24

Okay, now I just need the drives to show up!

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Thursday Apr 09, 2009

Getting spuds for an Ultra 24

So I have a new Ultra 24 and I have a stack of sata drives. Hmm, perhaps I could mix the two?

One problem, I don't have the 540-6562 spuds. (see Sun Spud HDD brackets for a discussion) Evidently I can buy the 540-6562 off of eBay, except they do not have any.

I can find a set of 5 540-3025 for $15. And it turns out that these should work! See A review of the Sun Ultra 24 workstation for why I think so. In any event, $15 including shipping is a price I'm willing to take a gamble on. I guess I could always pull a drive off of my w2100z and try, but really, I can wait for my newly ordered spuds to arrive.

Note, I could probably get my manager to order me a brand new spanking drive with the spud attached. But that is no where near as fun as wondering if my order is going to work or not.

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2009, Kool Aid Served Daily

Monday Sep 29, 2008

Finding that missing box

Reinstall with a graphical install option appears to have configured X for me, I'm now able to login to the headed console. I'll fix that later.

Now to reinstall everything.

Note that I kept the second zpool, so it was easy to import it and quicker to reinstall my stuff.

And sweet, the Sun Ray software just installs and runs! The crowds go wild!

Hmm, the fonts for the icons on the screen look sharp. Those in my terminal window look like they are from the 80s. Yuck!

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2008, Kool Aid Served Daily

One of our boxes is missing

So my w2100z is fully installed, but not fully functional. I learned some valuable lessons along the way, and I'm not yet done. Things brought back to the surface:

  • Don't forget to edit your menu.lst if your system is headless. I did it for the install media, I should do it for the system.
  • If you break the root mirror, that can leave your menu.lst pointing to the wrong side of the pool. I.e., there are I expect a copy of the boot targets for each side of the mirror. Combine these two lessons and you have a system that looks dead.
  • Just because you think the Sun Ray Server install code rocks and it has always been easy, don't forget to backup your settings.

And the big one, sometimes it is better to go to bed than futz with things just a bit longer.

I've tried both Sun Ray Software 4 Update 3 Beta for Solaris 10 5/08 X86 and Sun Ray Software 4 09/07. In both cases I've got the 26D error. I know that the firmware on the DTU is being changed between releases and the server software knows about the DTU.

I've tried the following things to get this working:

And I left it there with the last one. I'm about to restart. I think that perhaps fixing my menu.lst has caused this issue or I have to face the fact that I upgraded to too modern a build. But since I never had this problem before and I don't have my hands on the prior configurations, I'll try to get it working.

Strike part of that, I do have /etc/dt/config archived off and it shows I never did the Xserver thing:

[th199096@warlock config]> ls -la
total 26
drwxr-xr-x   2 root     other          6 Sep 25 12:41 .
drwxr-xr-x   3 root     other          3 Mar 29  2008 ..
-r--r--r--   1 root     sys         1577 Aug  1  2007 README.SUNWut
lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root          34 Sep 29 02:58 Xconfig -> /tmp/SUNWut/config/xconfig/Xconfig
-r--r--r--   1 root     root        5868 Mar 29  2008 Xconfig.SUNWut.prototype
lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root          35 Sep 29 02:58 Xservers -> /tmp/SUNWut/config/xconfig/Xservers

Okay, I fixed that back out and I told grub not to boot to the console. But I didn't tell eeprom(1M):

[root@warlock ~]> eeprom
boot-file=bootadm: kernel command on line 64 not recognized.
boot-args=bootadm: kernel command on line 64 not recognized.
[root@warlock ~]> eeprom console=text
[root@warlock ~]>

By the way, if this is horked, so am I. :->

Okay, I'm horked. I have to come up in failsafe mode. Now how do I fix my eeprom? Luckily, is it?, I've had to do this in the past - eeprom hosed on an x86. And it has the sed command I will need because I refuse to learn how to configure my terminal! And I've saved above what the real value should be!

# pwd
# sed 's/text/ttya/' bootenv.rc > xxx
# diff bootenv.rc xxx
< setprop console 'text'
> setprop console 'ttya'
# cp xxx bootenv.rc
# reboot
Creating boot_archive for /a

So I'm not getting X on the headed headless server (i.e., I've attached a monitor). I get output there until the OS takes over.

What is in my /var/dt/Xerrors?

Fatal server error:
could not open default font 'fixed'
XIO:  fatal IO error 146 (Connection refused) on X server ":2.0"\^M
      after 0 requests (0 known processed) with 0 events remaining.\^M
failed to set default font path '/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/,/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/sun/,/usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/F3bitmaps/,/
One of the directories in the list above does not exist
or it does not contain a valid 'fonts.dir' file

Okay, lets take care of that! All of them existed and none had a valid 'fonts.dir' file. And now:

Fatal server error:
could not open default font 'fixed'
XIO:  fatal IO error 146 (Connection refused) on X server ":2.0"\^M
      after 0 requests (0 known processed) with 0 events remaining.\^M

I'm really coming to suspect X is the thing horked on this system.


It looks like something, perhaps eeprom touched my menu.lst and added a new and default setting for me:

title Diagnostic Partition
        rootnoverify (hd0,0)
        chainloader +1
#---------- ADDED BY BOOTADM - DO NOT EDIT ----------
title Solaris bootenv rc
findroot pool_rpool
kernel$ /platform/i86pc/kernel/$ISADIR/unix -B console=ttya bootadm: kernel command on line 64 not recognized.
-B bootadm: kernel command on line 64 not recognized.
module$ /platform/i86pc/$ISADIR/boot_archive
#---------------------END BOOTADM--------------------

Which yields:

krtld: Unused kernel arguments: `bootadm: kernel command on line 64 not recognized.'.
SunOS Release 5.11 Version snv_99 64-bit
Copyright 1983-2008 Sun Microsystems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Use is subject to license terms.
NOTICE: mount: not a UFS magic number (0x0)
Cannot mount root on /ramdisk:a fstype ufs

panic[cpu0]/thread=fffffffffbc293a0: vfs_mountroot: cannot mount root

fffffffffbc48dc0 genunix:vfs_mountroot+356 ()
fffffffffbc48df0 genunix:main+e6 ()
fffffffffbc48e00 unix:_locore_start+92 ()

skipping system dump - no dump device configured
SunOS Release 5.11 Version snv_99 64-bit
Copyright 1983-2008 Sun Microsystems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Use is subject to license terms.
Hostname: warlock
Reading ZFS config: done.
Mounting ZFS filesystems: (8/8)

I've got the head on it, so I'm going to reinstall and see if I can at least get X working on it.

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2008, Kool Aid Served Daily

Sunday Sep 28, 2008

Western Digital My Passport not working

While I'm waiting on my installs to finish, I thought I would tinker with the Western Digital My Passport Essential WDMENG1600TN 160GB USB 2.0 I thought I was using for my Time Machine Backup for my Mac Book Air. It had stopped working one day.

I've hooked the USB drive up to several computers and I haven't even seen it appear. I tried another WD USB drive and it was working. Anyway, tonight I finally tried changing out the USB cables from the two and it started working. And the "bad" cable worked with the other drive.

I used the WD tools to reformat it back to factory spec and then I couldn't see it on my MBA. I pulled the unpowered Belkin mini-USB hub and plugged it straight in. Joy!

Speaking of which the 4 port mini-USB hub from Belkin tricked me with the packaging. It looked like it had an external power supply tucked in it, but it was only folded paper. This is the hub which rotates. It is called a Swivel Hub. I won't be taking it on trips now.

Anyway, my Time Machine backup is now proceeding from scratch.

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2008, Kool Aid Served Daily

First reboot after install of w2100z

Okay, so I got this configuration:

# zpool list
rpool    68G  7.18G  60.8G    10%  ONLINE  -
# zpool iostat -v
                 capacity     operations    bandwidth
pool           used  avail   read  write   read  write
------------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----
rpool         7.18G  60.8G     31     14   814K   528K
  mirror      7.18G  60.8G     31     14   814K   528K
    c1t0d0s0      -      -     12      8   509K   530K
    c1t1d0s0      -      -     13      8   510K   530K
------------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----

But I don't want a mirror, I want space!

This should work, but it doesn't:

# zpool detach rpool c1t1d0s0
# zpool iostat -v
               capacity     operations    bandwidth
pool         used  avail   read  write   read  write
----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----
rpool       7.18G  60.8G      8      6   367K   383K
  c1t0d0s0  7.18G  60.8G      8      6   367K   383K
----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----

# zpool add rpool c1t1d0s0
invalid vdev specification
use '-f' to override the following errors:
/dev/dsk/c1t1d0s0 overlaps with /dev/dsk/c1t1d0s2
# zpool add -f rpool c1t1d0s0
cannot add to 'rpool': root pool can not have multiple vdevs or separate logs

Ahh, I should have done some light reading, from ZFS Troubleshooting Guide:

You cannot use a RAID-Z configuration for a root pool. Only single-disk pools or pools with mirrored disks are supported.

I was thinking of reinstalling, but no, I'll go with two different pools. By the way, I understand the need for redundancy, but I'd prefer more spindles here.

# zpool create tank c1t1d0s0
invalid vdev specification
use '-f' to override the following errors:
/dev/dsk/c1t1d0s0 overlaps with /dev/dsk/c1t1d0s2
# zpool create -f tank c1t1d0s0
# zpool iostat -v
               capacity     operations    bandwidth
pool         used  avail   read  write   read  write
----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----
rpool       7.18G  60.8G      5      4   246K   255K
  c1t0d0s0  7.18G  60.8G      5      4   246K   255K
----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----
tank        73.5K  68.0G      0      9  18.3K   165K
  c1t1d0s0  73.5K  68.0G      0      9  18.3K   165K
----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2008, Kool Aid Served Daily

Time to update my w2100z

When I last configured my w2100z, it wasn't possible to have a ZFS root. And I did some funky stuff playing around with it. My current configuration (I have 2 drives, which I think should be 72G):

       0. c1t0d0 
Part      Tag    Flag     Cylinders        Size            Blocks
  0       root    wm     524 - 3134       20.00GB    (2611/0/0)  41945715
  1       swap    wu       1 -  523        4.01GB    (523/0/0)    8401995
  2     backup    wm       0 - 8913       68.28GB    (8914/0/0) 143203410
  3 unassigned    wm    3135 - 5745       20.00GB    (2611/0/0)  41945715
  4 unassigned    wm    5746 - 8356       20.00GB    (2611/0/0)  41945715
  5 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0
  6 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0
  7       home    wm    8357 - 8913        4.27GB    (557/0/0)    8948205
  8       boot    wu       0 -    0        7.84MB    (1/0/0)        16065
  9 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0
       1. c1t1d0 
Part      Tag    Flag     Cylinders        Size            Blocks
  0      stand    wm       1 - 4466       34.21GB    (4466/0/0)  71746290
  1      stand    wm    4467 - 8932       34.21GB    (4466/0/0)  71746290
  2     backup    wu       0 - 8932       68.43GB    (8933/0/0) 143508645
  3 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0
  4 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0
  5 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0
  6 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0
  7 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0
  8       boot    wu       0 -    0        7.84MB    (1/0/0)        16065
  9 unassigned    wm       0               0         (0/0/0)            0

I've shamelessly munged together output from different format commands. Anyway, the first drive has several available partitions for Live Update and grabbing in case of need. The second drive has two partitions used for ZFS.

This configuration is very flexible for doing updates. I can have several boot partitions on the root drive and I never have to worry about the data on my ZFS pool:

[root@warlock snv99]> zpool list zoo
zoo     68G  51.5G  16.5G    75%  ONLINE  -
[root@warlock snv99]> zpool iostat -v
               capacity     operations    bandwidth
pool         used  avail   read  write   read  write
----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----
zoo         51.5G  16.5G      0      1  21.9K  60.8K
  c1t1d0s0  33.6G   381M      0      0  7.31K  12.0K
  c1t1d0s1  17.9G  16.1G      0      1  14.6K  48.8K
----------  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----  -----

But I think I want to live more on the edge. I'm looking to get a more modern build on warlock:

[root@warlock snv99]> uname -a
SunOS warlock 5.11 snv_85 i86pc i386 i86pc

So, I'm going to back everything up onto an attached USB drive, and nuke the entire system.

Back in a bit

Since warlock is headless, the first task is to build an install DVD which has a modified menu.lst for grub - see Getting a Solaris bootable DVD for headless x86es.

While I'm doing that, I'm going to back up my system. I need the contents of /etc, my punchin configuration (a Sun VPN tool), my Sun Ray server configuration, and my homedirs. The rest I could probably care less about or already have saved off.

Also, I'm pretty ruthless, once I decide I don't need something, I will delete it. That gives me a better idea of how how much I still have to backup. And no, I'm not talking system stuff. Take for example here where I delete some ISO images:

[th199096@warlock isos]> df -h .
Filesystem             size   used  avail capacity  Mounted on
zoo/isos                67G    29G    16G    65%    /zoo/isos
[th199096@warlock x86]>	rm -rf snv7\* snv8\* snv90/ snv97
[th199096@warlock x86]>	df -h .
Filesystem             size   used  avail capacity  Mounted on
zoo/isos                67G    12G    33G    27%    /zoo/isos

You may not be comfortable with this approach, but once you reinstall it is gone anyway.

Cleaned out, the ISO is booting in a VirtualBox on my WinXP desktop, so I'm signing off here....

Originally posted on Kool Aid Served Daily
Copyright (C) 2008, Kool Aid Served Daily



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