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Sun Sparcstation 2 no display at boot

GregSS

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
13
I have a couple of Sparcstation 2 machines that have been sitting in my "when I get around to it" pile and well...with current events, I am getting around to it.
They both have all ram banks filled, and working sbus video cards (i tested these and the hard drives in another Sparcstation 5) but when I power them up, neither will show any display on a monitor that works fine with other Sparcstation 4 and 5's.
If the NVRAM was dead, would that cause a 2 to fail to display at all?
On a 4 or 5 it doesn't, but these are older machines.
The harddrive seems to spin up, and no wierd noises, but I do not have a Type 4 keyboard so I cannot see the 4 led's that display the issues for these.

Anyone have any ideas, I would welcome them.
I do have an external CD-ROm and external hard drive which I will try next (when I find both the scsi cables, which are different, by the way) and see if I get any further.
I also have a brother with a type 4 keyboard and so, when I can I will get that from him and see if I can go through the diagnostics.

Thanks,
GregSS
 

commodorejohn

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
3,133
Location
California, USA
NVRAM issues can cause this, yeah - as was already mentioned, check the serial port. If the thing is working at all, it'll tell you plenty about what's going on.
 

ScutBoy

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
Messages
273
Location
Northfield, MN USA
+1 on the fact that you need a keyboard for output to be sent to the display instead of serial.

Secondly, even when everything "works", with a bad NVRAM is can take a few minutes before you get anything out of the machine.

I just did NVRAM replacements on 2 SS2s - nice to know there are more out there :)
 

GregSS

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
13
Well, after much fiddling with terminal and null modem cables (thanks for the tips, guys!) I determined that indeed the NVRAM is dead (not a big surprise).
I also found several ram issues...
after making myself a custom ram removal tool RamTool_thumb.jpg from an old cheap pick tool with the end snipped off, I removed all the ram, cleaned the pins, cleaned the sockets, and re-installed it all and it was found properly.
for anyone that runs into this, the openboot config lists the memory locations of the bad chips, but the mapping is not 'sequential', so you need to pay attention to the number, and make sure you are working with the proper chip.
So, for anyone that needs to do this, I will attach the map of the ram banks on a '2' RamBanks_thumb.jpg.
Now, I am off to see if I can find an NVRAM chip from a supplier that will work properly and not cost over $100.00 to obtain...I had success with the chips from Digikey on the Sparcstation 5's but I have seen people that have no success with those on the 1 and 2 models.

To be continued...


GregSS
 

Juror22

Experienced Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
185
...I had success with the chips from Digikey on the Sparcstation 5's

I have an SS5 and while all seems to be working well, would you share the catalog numbers for the Digikey NVRAM replacement?
 

NeXT

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
6,734
Location
Kamloops, BC, Canada
Now, I am off to see if I can find an NVRAM chip from a supplier that will work properly and not cost over $100.00 to obtain...I had success with the chips from Digikey on the Sparcstation 5's but I have seen people that have no success with those on the 1 and 2 models.
You could just do the logical thing and strap a new battery on.
 

GregSS

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2020
Messages
13
The ones I used in my SS5's were: M48T08-150PC1 IC RTC CLK/CALENDAR 28DIP from Digi-Key. They were US$22.00 each and are working fine in both my SS5's.
 
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