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Sun Boot issues

KD2IXL

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
78
Location
New Jersey
Hello!

At the VCF East swap meet I picked up a Sparcstation 20.

I was going through to reprogram the MAC into the IDPROM and made a mistake.


0 f 0 do i idprom@ xor loop f mkp

On this line made a typo and put "look" instead of loop and got stuck in some sort of LOOK ] prompt. I was unable to leave it no matter how hard I tried and rebooted the computer to escape the stuck prompt, well after that the computer now completely hangs on "The IDPROM contents are invalid."

I tried leaving the computer unplugged over night hoping the battery might die out, but just my luck the NVRAM has retained all it's settings.

When pressing L1+N it clears the NVRAM but not the IDPROM info so that typo remains stuck.

L1 + A does not appear to drop me to openboot as the computer never makes it to the memory check it just hangs.

I do not get a display out of either video port so I have been connecting over the serial console.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can fix my mistake or did I brick the computer with my error.
 

bear

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Messages
597
Location
Seattle, WA
I ran into something like this a few months ago, after a long period in storage, so it had nothing to do with any OBP typos. I'm pretty sure you did nothing permanent. I'm not sure I remember exactly what I did, but I believe it was a combination of L1+N, possibly L1+D, and spamming L1+A --- IIRC there was a brief window before/after the banner appears that it was possible to get to 'ok'. It was just bad luck on the "random" contents of the dead IDPROM, though oddly not random enough to change after some power cycles. Once I got to 'ok' once and reprogrammed the IDPROM, it hasn't happened again, even after a dozen or more IDPROM-loss power-offs.
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
Congrats on the SS 20! How much was it at VCF swap? I unfortunately didn’t make it out there. I picked up an SS 20 last year, was a lot of fun to play around with. I ended up getting a SCSI2SD for it. And replaced the NVRAM with a new chip which could be your fallback. They run about $20.
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
One other thought, I played around with Solaris a bit but was disappointed with it not coming with a C compiler and generally being outdated. So I ended up eventually going with NetBSD which is shockingly still supported. No web browser I could find but at least seemed to make it a bit more usable. Do you know what OS version you want to use?
 

bob22

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2017
Messages
27
Location
Cornwall / United Kingdom
From my distant past (18 years or suchlike) I seem to remember being in a similar situation. I think Bear is correct in that you just have to keep doing Stop-A / L1-A repeatably at boot time until you get lucky. Other than that, pulling the serial connection when there's no keyboard connected and diagnostics mode is enabled can induce a Stop-A, but again in your case it has to be before the freeze so it's probably easier to just keep hitting the keys. Failing that, a colleague of mine once booted a machine using one NVRAM chip and popped it out and inserted a new one for programming. I'm not sure how dodgy that is, and of course you'd need an identical machine to lend you one to boot from.
 

KD2IXL

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
78
Location
New Jersey
Congrats on the SS 20! How much was it at VCF swap? I unfortunately didn’t make it out there. I picked up an SS 20 last year, was a lot of fun to play around with. I ended up getting a SCSI2SD for it. And replaced the NVRAM with a new chip which could be your fallback. They run about $20.

I was given it at the end of the day, the previous owner didn't want to take it home. I have had it unplugged for about a week now so hopefully it cleared again.

I'll probably check out getting a new chip if I can't get it to work once I get home. I travel for work a lot so I haven't tried anything to fix it yet.

Thanks!
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
Oh wow, that’s great you got it for nothing. I would imagine the battery is dead again after a week. Hopefully not a problem. My dead chips didn’t hold anything for long at all.

Are you going to try to net boot it? Or cdrom? The netboot was a challenge but i eventually figured it out. Some reason obscure steps here and there
 
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