Wednesday, February 03, 2010

IRQ / interrupt conflict issues with megaraid and Linux

Ever since Linux kernels beyond, I've been unable to boot my HP Netserver LH3.

It gives a kernel panic with a variety of messages that always include "common_interrupt+0x38/0x39"

I tried everything from updating the BIOS and firmware, to myriads of differing kernel configurations (at 4 hours per compile, imagine the agony).

I also tried booting with every combination of the kernel boot parameters acpi=off, noapic, nolapic, irqpoll, etc that I could imagine. No dice.

In final desperation, I began unplugging PCI cards one by one before finally disconnecting the SDLT drive from the Netraid SCSI. Et voila!

It seems that in later kernels or versions of udev, sharing the SCSI bus with the LH3 drives causes conflicts.

I have an additional AHA SCSI card in the machine, so will try connecting the SDLT to that and see how it goes.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Applying firmware update floppies

One of our servers is an old HP Netserver LH3. It still works well, but gave some issues with a recent linux kernel update. So in an effort to revive it, I sought out the last firmware updates.

HP Netserver LH3 firmware updates

The problem with these is that they download as self extracting stiffy disk images. Hands up if you can still write to one of those...

The first step was to download Winzip and extract the files. The next was far more complicated. To access the files on the actual image (.img file), I eventually found this neat win32 application VFD that works under Vista. It allows you to mount the IMG image as a drive, from where you can access the files (you must run the winvfd file as administrator) from a administrator command prompt.

Lifesaver! From there I copied the files to a bootable CD (I got the a Windows 98 DOS CD image from All Boot Disks) and ran them on the machine.

A small headache was that one of the firmware updates was incompatible with HIMEM.SYS. Luckily I found an old Windows 95 startup disk that does not load himem and used that to boot. It recognised the CD drive allowing me access to the firmware updates I'd cut onto CD.


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