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Did I do something wrong?

Posted on 2006-03-29
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Hi,
I have a PowerEdge 2400 server I have been working with for 4 years, and which has been running 24x7 for 5 1/2 years (Except for re-boots). For the last 4 years it has had 3 18GB drives on RAID5.

Last week I shut the server down, and after grounding myself to the server, installed 3 additional known working 18GB SCSI drives, filling all available SCSI slots. Slots #3, 4, and 5 had never had a drive installed. When I hit the power button to re-start, the green light came on for a split second, then the server was dead. Should have stopped right there and came here and asked a question, but no, I unplugged the server for 5 minutes, then plugged it back in. This time it started normally. Well, it was normal until I smelled the ozone, but then it was too late, the backplane was fried. When I removed the backplane I easily spotted the overheated chips on it.

This is one of only 3 true servers with SCSI drives I have ever worked with, so my experience is limited. Did I possibly do something wrong here, installing drives in all the slots? Did they pull too much power? Or is it possible the backplane was bad from day one, and it didn't show up until we attempted to fully utilize it?

Thanks,
Bill
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Question by:westone
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10 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
Lee W, MVP earned 400 total points
ID: 16325044
If you got SCA hard drives, I don't see any reason why that should have affected the system.  MAYBE the backplane was bad, but a drive was bad, maybe something shorted something else out...
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 400 total points
ID: 16325065
You may have overloaded a circuit, or there was dust buildup which could have shorted the board.  You can lessen the current draw at boot up by staggering the startup time of the drives; most new SCSI drives have this option.  There is also some small non-zero chance that a system that was shutdown may not start up again, and given the age of the system, this can be more likely.
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by:matricii
matricii earned 400 total points
ID: 16325102
I would say that more than likely it was a computer used to a certain level and draw out of current.  Especially something that has been running for so long with no problems.  An extended shutdown with a new level of power being drawn out of it more than likely just took it out.
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Author Comment

by:westone
ID: 16325202
Thanks for the quick responses.

I have ordered a new backplane. I am concerned about installing it, putting drives in, and having the same thing happen again. I have no other equipment to attach the drives to check them. On the one hand I need to use the drives, on the other I need to avoid this happening again.

What is an SCA drive? I have been in the BIOS and the SCSI setup utility, and I haven't seen any option to delay the startup of any of the drives.
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 16325324
> I have been in the BIOS and the SCSI setup utility, and I haven't seen
> any option to delay the startup of any of the drives.

It should be in the SCSI BIOS utility.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 16325523
SCA is the interface type used by Dell servers when a Caddy is involved for the drive.  On SCA connectors, there is NO obvious power connector - it's one single connector for power and data.
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Author Comment

by:westone
ID: 16325716
That's what we have: 6 drives in caddys w/ one connection at the back. I like 'em, they're convenient to remove and install.
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by:maxinglis
maxinglis earned 300 total points
ID: 16327525
There is ALWAYS a small chance when you power-on electronic components that they will fail. Age, cleanliness affect the value of this chance. This is why (contrary to my wife's insistence) I leave my computers at home on 24/7, because rebooting/powering off/on is when stuff dies.

Max.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 16330302
maybe your power supply could not handle the extra load; calculate the power needed here :

http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/      
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by:Paul 1
Paul 1 earned 400 total points
ID: 16330339
On normal 50 or 68 pin SCSI drives there is usually a jumper pin on the drive that controls the spin up delay. I have looked on a couple of SCA drives I have here and there are no jumper pins and from memory of all the drives I have installed that were SCA they did not have any jumpers. There may be some jumpers on the backplane to control things but most likely it is how the others said with going into the BIOS and making the changes there. I would try and go into the BIOS wthout any drives installed to set it up. As 'Callandor' said it is the SCSI bios and not the CMOS bios, Usually the screen will blank and the main SCSI BIOS will display the make/model and a message of what key press to make to enter BIOS.

'Lew' mentioned that it could be a bad drive. The only way to really check would be to insert just one of the new disks in the system and give it a try. Hopefully if there is a problem there will be some short circuit protection that will protect the BP and you will know not to use that drive.

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