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Disabling stacking mode on Dell PowerConnect 35xx Switches

Posted on 2011-04-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Our company uses Dell PowerConnect 35xx series switches for the majority of our buildings. Occasionally one of the switches ships out to the field in stacking mode, which seems to break the gigabit ports (G3 and G4).

All of the Dell documentation seems to assume that you want to turn stacking ON, not off.
Is there any way to (preferably remotely) turn off stacking mode without having to go into the bootloader through the console port?
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Question by:dbright5813
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by:dbright5813
ID: 35474802
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
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by:arnold
ID: 35483595
Have not looked at this issue specifically, but is the router configured for network access? web/ssh management?
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by:dbright5813
ID: 35484251
The switch is set to static IP on the LAN side of the router. Telnet login is enabled, SSH is disabled. HTTPS is enabled, but rarely used.

The normal config has the server and any uplinked switches on copper gigabit ports g(3-4), and the router on the last copper 10/100 port (e24 or e48) depending on model.

For the switches that go into stacking mode, sometimes the copper gigabit ports work normally, other times they're either unavailable or else start to flap when you patch to the next switch in the line to them. (Dell's stacking mode requires a redundant ring backbone topology, we use single links in a star topology).

The main reason I would like to take them out of stacked mode is to simplify administration. In non-stacked mode, the interface name is easily knowable from a scripting standpoint (i.e. "eth e1").
In stacked mode, the stack ID number (set by a front-panel button) gets prefixed to the interface name. (i.e. a unit installed at say Peoria might be "eth 1/e1" but Tacoma might be "eth 4/e1" even though it's a single-unit stack.)
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by:dbright5813
ID: 35484263
I'm hoping that it's possible to do something like telnet in and drop into DEBUG mode, then set a register and reboot.
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by:arnold
ID: 35484491
if you can telnet into the switch, debug-mode will drop you into debug mode.
I've not needed to go through this process, but if you know your way around lcli or mcli whichever applies to what changes you want to make.
Test locally first.
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by:dbright5813
ID: 35486259
Yes, but the question remains, is there a command in debug mode (and the 35xx doesn't use "debug" or "admindebug" as the password) that will do it?
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by:arnold
ID: 35487340
Do you have a "admin" logon into the switch? after you run configure, do you have a debug-mode command??
Depending on the environment, I.e. if you have KVM that has the option of serial port adapter this might be a way for you to get to the remote switch onto the console via the serial port.
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dbright5813 earned 0 total points
ID: 35490569
Yes, I have the login and enable rights on the switches. If I had an out-of-band serial connection, this would not be an issue because I could simply reset the switch from the bootloader.

I was hoping to find an in-band solution, but I'm starting to suspect there isn't one. At this point, I'd settle for finding the correct burned-in debug mode password. The 35xx series doesn't use either "debug" or "admindebug" passwords that the 2xxx and 5xxx series switches apparently use.
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by:arnold
ID: 35490768
Don't know, sometimes dell support have info that is not included in the manual/command reference.
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Author Closing Comment

by:dbright5813
ID: 35714892
Closing request - Apparently, Dell did not consider accidentally pressing the stack button when designing this series.
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