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dirty SPARCstation 4

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
Just picked up the dustiest SPARCstation 4 I've seen, "untested", and low and behold it works! I checked the voltages and they looked good. Moved the mobo jumpers to the RS232 setting. And then tried to boot. Love to see that Power-ON Reset text over the serial port! It's 110 MHz with a 32 MB stick. I programmed the dead NVRAM and tried booting off the 1.05 GB HD but I think the drive is cooked. Going to try netbooting next as I have a lengthy checklist for that and a Raspberry Pi setup for the task which I used on my SS10 and SS20.

I really like this SS4. The power supply is physically smaller, and only 50W! I love the simplicity of this stripped down SS5 (coming from the dual proc SS20), only one SBus slot instead of 3, no MBus slots. Only one HD instead of two. 5 RAM slots instead of 8 -- though having more RAM would be nice... On-board video. Only other thing to strip out would be that video which would turn it into a SPARCserver 4 hah.

Any suggestions on a drive to use? I'd like to use a 2.5" drive in hopes that it would be quieter. The SCSI connector is an 80-pin SCA. Is there an adapter that could be used to a commodity 2.5" SCSI drive? Is this SCA to SAS?
 

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agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
I get this on the 2nd "boot disk" attempt:
SPARCstation 4, No Keyboard
ROM Rev. 2.24, 32 MB memory installed, Serial #12648430.
Ethernet address 8:0:20:c0:ff:ee, Host ID: 80c0ffee.

Rebooting with command: disk
Boot device: /iommu/sbus/espdma@4,8400000/esp@4,8800000/sd@3,0 File and args:
Short read. 0x2000 chars read
Read error.
Short read. 0x2000 chars read
Read error.
Short read. 0x2000 chars read
Read error.
Short read. 0x2000 chars read
Read error.
boot: cannot open kernel/unix
Enter filename [kernel/unix]:
 
Last edited:

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
After netbooting the install, and quitting out of that, I was able to run the 'format' cmd, verify reports:
Code:
format> verify

Primary label contents:

Volume name = < >
ascii name = <SUN1.05 cyl 2036 alt 2 hd 14 sec 72>
pcyl = 2038
ncyl = 2036
acyl = 2
nhead = 14
nsect = 72
Part Tag Flag Cylinders Size Blocks
0 root wm 0 - 60 30.02MB (61/0/0) 61488
1 swap wu 61 - 873 400.15MB (813/0/0) 819504
2 backup wm 0 - 2035 1002.09MB (2036/0/0) 2052288
3 unassigned wm 0 0 (0/0/0) 0
4 home wm 874 - 1124 123.54MB (251/0/0) 253008
5 unassigned wm 1125 - 1632 250.03MB (508/0/0) 512064
6 usr wm 1633 - 1994 178.17MB (362/0/0) 364896
7 var wm 1995 - 2035 20.18MB (41/0/0) 41328
I did a read test in 'analyze' and the first pass went fine. So hard drive may still be ok..
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
hah this doesn't sound promising:
Code:
# fsck /dev/rdsk/c0t3d0s0
** /dev/rdsk/c0t3d0s0
** Last Mounted on /
** Phase 1 - Check Blocks and Sizes
WARNING: /iommu@0,10000000/sbus@0,10001000/espdma@4,8400000/esp@4,8800000/sd@3,0 (sd3):
Error for Command: read Error Level: Retryable
Requested Block: 16272 Error Block: 0
Vendor: CONNER Serial Number: PFTG
Sense Key: Aborted Command
ASC: 0x40 (ram failure), ASCQ: 0x0, FRU: 0x14
<a bunch more of these...>
WARNING: /iommu@0,10000000/sbus@0,10001000/espdma@4,8400000/esp@4,8800000/sd@3,0 (sd3):
Error for Command: read Error Level: Fatal
Requested Block: 16272 Error Block: 0
Vendor: CONNER Serial Number: PFTG
Sense Key: Aborted Command
ASC: 0x40 (ram failure), ASCQ: 0x0, FRU: 0x14

CANNOT READ: BLK 16272
 

Timo W.

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
1,356
Location
Germany
I have some spare drives for these SPARCstations, 2.1 GB and 36 GB ones. Tested and no adapter needed, as they have the SCA connector.

Where are you located?
 

ScutBoy

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
273
Location
Northfield, MN USA
2.5" SCA SCSI drives exist. Look for the Seagate Savvio line. Most often come in 36GB and 72GB models.

Often available on eBay for reasonable prices.
 

Timo W.

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
1,356
Location
Germany
2.5" SCA SCSI drives exist. Look for the Seagate Savvio line. Most often come in 36GB and 72GB models.

Often available on eBay for reasonable prices.
That is SAS, not SCSI. 2.5" SCSI drives died in the mid-90s when Apple stopped using them in their early PowerBooks.

I'm pretty sure no one ever made 2.5" SCSI drives with SCA connection. SCA was meant for high-end workstations and servers at a time when 2.5" drives were still very slow and unreliable.
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
I have some spare drives for these SPARCstations, 2.1 GB and 36 GB ones. Tested and no adapter needed, as they have the SCA connector.

Where are you located?
Ahh great, I am in Philadelphia. Currently I'm trying a Solaris 2.6 netboot install, the hard drive is grinding away, not sure if this is going to work... will see!
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
Hard drive seems to spinning right along. I setup a FTP server on my Linux box to get some files moved over. I imagine there was probably another way (rcp?) but FTP went pretty quickly. Bums me out there is no included C compiler but I found some links before for the Sun offering- May play around with that. Or try to track down gcc. Not sure what the easiest approach for gcc would be. Then again I have no idea what I’ll do with this machine and probably should just put NetBSD on it like I did a SS20.
 

ScutBoy

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
273
Location
Northfield, MN USA
That is SAS, not SCSI. 2.5" SCSI drives died in the mid-90s when Apple stopped using them in their early PowerBooks.

I'm pretty sure no one ever made 2.5" SCSI drives with SCA connection. SCA was meant for high-end workstations and servers at a time when 2.5" drives were still very slow and unreliable.

Search the 'bay for

26K5157

or

ST936701LC
 

Timo W.

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
1,356
Location
Germany
While you are right, strictly speaking, U320 is LVD, 16-bit only. These drives will not work. They are not compatible with "Single Ended SCSI", which is what SCSI is to me when talking about vintage systems and what the SPARCstation uses.
 
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