AlphaServer 4100: Never Assume…

Today I re-assembled the AlphaServer 4100 I picked up from a friend yesterday (we knocked it down into parts to transport it). It had been stored in a garage in less than stellar conditions and although a thorough inspection of the system drawer revealed nothing of concern. What I *should* have done next was strip and check the power supplies for faulty components, small creatures and other crap. What I actually did was power it on.

The result? Well nothing went immediately bad, the LCD panel came up, it went through some diagnostics, ended up sat at a screen with a name on and stopped (I assumed it was some kind of custom string like the system name, node name etc.). I let it sit for a few minutes and then powered it down. On powering the second time the system went through another diagnostic as far as the CPU test and hung after testing CPU 3 (the 4th and last). I decided diagnosis of this error would require a terminal and hooked up a VT510 to the console port. On powering it on the third time (and subsequent times) the OCP (Operator Control Panel) LCD that displays diagnostics remained blank and nothing happened. Nothing I did, including removing all the PCI cards, reseating the RAM and CPU boards, checking the PSU connectors and removing the mains to let it cool down/discharge worked.

Then came the kicker. While crouched behind the system with it powered down, reading the diagnostic LEDs, a loud pop and a cloud of that all-too-familiar magic blue smoke erupted from the front. I ran round and yanked the power. Upon investigating it looks like a capacitor has gone pop in the mains input side either inside or right next to the mains plug. I had assumed the PSUs looked fine. I was wrong, clearly. Seem you just never know…

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *