AlphaServer 1200 — flash the firmware

Following on from this post.

Booted up to SRM console but when tried to boot from console it said BIOS CHECKSUM error (or something like that).

(Note: If you are in AlphaBIOS and want to switch to the SRM console, press the Reset button, wait 5 seconds, then press the Halt button.)

OK, looks like BIOS corrupted. If it’s a bad chip then it’s bad, but maybe flashing the BIOS would work…

OK, flash the BIOS on an AlphaServer

Some possibly useful references:

ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/alphaserver/firmware/retired_platforms/servers/AS1200/alpha1200_v60_fw_relnote.pdf

http://btr0xq.rz.uni-bayreuth.de/Digital/alphaserver/firmware/retired_platforms/servers/AS1200/

The latter has three 3 1.44MB floppy disks as zip files, which are supposed to contain all the necessary files. It says:

Copy the following files to diskette #1:
as1200cp.sys
as1200fw.sys
tcreadme.sys
tcarcrom.sys

Copy the following files to diskette #2:
tcsrmrom.sys

Copy the following files to diskette #3 if you’ll be updating I/O option firmware:
as1200io.sys
tcreadme.sys
cipca420.sys
dfxaa320.sys
kzpsaa12.sys

But … these are V6.0 files and according to the docs, that won’t work (yet)

https://support.hpe.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c00060044

Reading the documents, ones finds out that can only go to versions higher than 5.3 by going via version 5.3, because at that version the firmware gets reorganised (written to different parts of the non-volatile memory) — so need V5.3 images. But where from? Spent ages looking for them. Could only find:

ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/alphaserver/firmware/retired_platforms/servers/AS1200/
File: as1200_v5_3.exe 2573 KB 30/11/04 00:00:00
File: as1200_v5_3.sys 2574 KB 30/11/04 00:00:00

But these are too big for a floppy. and even if I put on CD, no instructions on how to apply. I don’t want to brick the thing… Asked on a forum but got told to use a MOP server — some kind of network booting thing. I am way too dumb to make that work.

More googling; found a V5.3 firmware iso at http://ftp.uni-bayreuth.de/Digital/alphaserver/firmware/iso_images/:

as4100_v53.iso

But it is for the AS4100 not the AS1200. It contains a file called ./AS4X00/RHSRMROM.SYS which is clearly 5.3, and they seem to be very adjacent machines … do I dare use the 4100 file on the 1200? (It would be instead of the TCSRMROM.SYS you can see listed on disk 2 above).

https://support.hpe.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c00342269 says…:

AlphaServer 1200:
The AlphaServer 1200 is AlphaServer 4000 electronics mounted in an AlphaServer 1000 enclosure.

OK; should be compatible. Do it. Create two floppies

DISK1:
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 806 Apr 25 18:58 AS1200CP.TXT
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 920 Apr 25 18:56 AS1200FW.TXT
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 1536 Apr 25 18:57 AS1200FW.SYS
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 1536 Apr 25 18:58 AS1200CP.SYS
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 4096 Apr 25 18:55 TCREADME.SYS
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 590336 Apr 25 18:55 TCARCROM.SYS

DISK2:
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 806 Apr 25 19:04 AS1200CP.TXT
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 920 Apr 25 19:03 AS1200FW.TXT
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 1536 Apr 25 19:03 AS1200FW.SYS
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 1536 Apr 25 19:04 AS1200CP.SYS
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 4096 Apr 25 19:04 TCREADME.SYS
-rw-r–r– 1 username username 996352 Apr 25 19:02 RHSRMROM.SYS

Note RHSRMROM on the second disk, copied from the 4100 iso file.

I need to make the lfu utility read the correct SYS file, so changed the file AS1200CP.TXT to call for the RH instead of the TCSRMROM file.

Ran lfu (booted up the AlphaServer into the SRM console and typed lfu ).

Selected dva0 (floppy).

Asked for as1200cp (the modified txt file).

It loaded the files (shows on screen).

l(ist) showed the SRMROM to be correct version

UPD> update srm*

Worked!

wget ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/alphaserver/firmware/iso_images/v57.iso

Then I found the V57.iso firmware and burned to CD and repeated the process using that. In that case, started the Alpha and at the SRM prompt typed:

P00>>> b dka400:

and it booted from the firmware CD and I installed 5.7 version.

Just accepted the CD’s instructions and then:

update * -all

from the lfu prompt provided by the CD. It successfully updated SRMROM and ALPHABIOS.

Then used my original three floppies to update to V6.0 of SRM.

Finally seems to be OK.

Some funny business with the IO update (‘not supported under lfu’), but seems to be OK, so will just suck it and see.

Is now able to boot from CD without errors, allowing install of operating system(s).

Next-ish?

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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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