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RAID Configuration: rebuilding RAIDs with old hard drives

Posted on 2010-08-27
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Hi Experts:

    I have a question about setuping a RAID.

    Here are what happened:
1. I have 4 SCSI hard drives which may or may not be taken from the same RAID machine (which means they may be originally a RAID)
2. I have another RAID computer with its hard drives removed.
3. I plugged those 4 SCSI hard drives into the RAID computer and started it, and then I got the screen error message in figure 1 and computer speaker alarm (keep beeping). Then I pressed Ctrl-A as instructed by the screen and got the message "Adaptec RAID Configuration Utility will be invoked after initialization". However, I didn't see the utility start after waiting for a couple minutes.
figure 1: 4 old SCSI hard drives in the RAID controller4. I turned off the computer, removed those old SCSI hard drives, and put a single new SCSI hard drive into the computer RAID controller slut. Then I got the error message in figure 2. I still couldn't enter the Adaptec RAID Configuration Utility.
figure 2:a single new SCSI hard drive in the RAID controller
The thing I want to figure out is:
1. is any of the hardware I used broken? How can I identify?
2. why couldn't I enter the RAID Configuration Utility?
3. why did the machine alarm?
3. How should I build a working RAID computer with the hardware that I have, and I don't need to keep the data in the old RAID computer.

Thank you.
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Question by:huangs3
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by:clw3388
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Adaptec probably hung cause it is confused about what is in the system..
Assuming data isn't an issue as you are going to create a new raid on these 4 hdds..
pull out the drives.. boot system up to control A and clear configuration..
put drives back in and try to boot to control A again.. if it wont let you in test with one drive at a time, most likely you have a bad drive.. If it lets you in clear config again and create a new container..
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by:huangs3
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Hi clw3388:

    I removed all the hard drives from that computer and restart, then I got the screen in figure 3. I tried CTRL+A again but the RAID configuration utility still didn't start after waiting for 10 minutes.
    What shall I do next to find out what's going on? Is there information you think is helpful so that I can provide to you?
    Thank you.
[embed File ID=341899]
Noharddrive-GISNET.jpg
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by:dlethe
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Probably simple stale or regressed metadata on the drives is confusing the adapter.  Adaptec controllers usually have option on the BIOS screen to reformat a disk.  Do so. This will not only wipe everything off, but also serve as a bit of a burn-in
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by:huangs3
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Hi dlethe:

   I haven't found the way to the BIOS screen yet.
   The startup messages in the screen comes and goes too quickly, and I just couldn't catch it.
   Is the BIOS different from the Adaptec RAID Configuration Utility?
   Thank you.
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by:dlethe
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press the CTRL-A button at startup, and you get a menu, one of them discovers drives.  Highlight them, and there is an option to format. if worst comes to worst, you can always go to the Adaptec website and download the manual, as distasteful the thought may be ... but sometimes they end up saving you some time :)
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by:huangs3
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Hi dlethe:

    I tried two approaches while there is no hard drive in the machine.
1. pressed the CTRL+A at startup, but didn't get any special configuration menu
2. I capture the startup message as shown in figure 4, and then I restarted the machine and keep presing F2, but never get any setup screen.
    Was that because I don't have hard drive in the machine? or the BIOS has problem?
[embed File ID=341925]

Thank you.
Startup-GISNET.jpg
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by:dlethe
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No hard drive? Are these disks formatted at 520 bytes/block?  (Like did they come from an EMC or some external RAID subsystem?) If so, then adaptec won't see them.   Also there is a chance (I hope near zero) that you are not using LVD disks which can fry the disks or controller when power is applied.  Specifically what is make/model of disks.

Also are you 100% sure the disks have power and are cabled correctly?  
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by:huangs3
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Hi dlethe:
    In message 33544709, I was just trying to find a way to get into BIOS first because that maybe helpful for me to format the hard drive if I attach some on. I thought in term of getting into BIOS, there is no difference between with or without hard drive, is it?

    I am 100% sure the disks are cabled correctly (including power cable), even tough I don't know whether any disk or any part of the towner has problem.
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by:andyalder
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In the original setting does "enter" let it carry on or does that hang too? If so it may be worth putting it back to that state, letting it fail to boot and then rebooting with <ctrl A> again.

You could always use adaptec configuration for Windows instead of BIOS, obviously you'd need another disk/controller to boot from.
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by:dlethe
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only other hope is installing adaptecs RAID mgr software from their website. if it doesn't detect controller ... then throw it away
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by:huangs3
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Hi dlethe:

    Seems to me the computer is detecting the RAID controller according to some screen output (Figure 1,2,3 in earlier messages of this thread).
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by:clw3388
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If you still cannot get into the bios with  all hard drives out.. Are these drives 80pin or 68pin scsi? If they are 80 pin disconnect the cable from the card to see if the backplane is causing the issue.. If there is nothing attached to the card and it still hangs try to reseat it or put it in another slot.. If still no go the card may be toast. You can try to flash the firmware but it'll be kinda hard if you cant pass the controller on post..
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by:huangs3
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Hi andyalder:

    I rebooted the computer (without any hard drive in it), but it didn't give me the three options (enter, ctrl+A, ctrl+H) as figure 1 any more (I don't know why...). Instead it automatically run through a process in sequence as the following from figure 5 to figure 10. And ended up bringing me the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFT) shell interface. Any idea? Thank you.
[embed File ID=341980]
[embed File ID=341982]
[embed File ID=341984]
[embed File ID=341986]
[embed File ID=341987]
[embed File ID=341988]
BootThrough-1-GISNET.jpg
BootThrough-2-GISNET.jpg
BootThrough-3-GISNET.jpg
BootThrough-4-GISNET.jpg
BootThrough-5-GISNET.jpg
BootThrough-6-GISNET.jpg
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Author Comment

by:huangs3
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Hi clw3388:

    I am not sure whether it is 80 pin hard drive. Attached is the picture of how the hard drive and the SCSI controller in the tower look like. I will see whether I can open the tower and check what is going on inside, but I guess I am not going to get anything this way, because the tower was working fine and nobody open it before in my knowledge....
hardware1.jpg
hardware2.jpg
hardware3.jpg
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gikkel earned 500 total points
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Disable or Remove EFI from your boot order in BIOS. 
Perform a Mode 0 flash.  Download the most recent firmware for your controller.  You can use version 8202 even if your card doesnt have -R in the barcode (it is backwards compliant). 
To perform a mode 0 flash, install a jumper on J6, all the way to the left on the row of jumpers, closest to the external connection (to be clear - this is done with the system off). 
http://www.adaptec.com/en-US/downloads/bios_fw/bios_fw_ver?productId=ASR-2120S&dn=Adaptec+SCSI+RAID+2120S

After the flash is complete, shut down and remove the jumper. Try again.  No go? Try another slot.  After that, your backplane may be bad...or your controller.  What type of cable are your using to connect the controller to the backplane? I'm anticipating a nice picture :) 
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Author Closing Comment

by:huangs3
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Hi gikkel:
    Thank you for you follow up, the solution seems great. Due to the time schedule I couldn't try out yet. So I assign the score first and will send post to follow up if in future I try it. Thank you.
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