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Firmware failsafe loader? (AlphaStation 600)

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The Question is:

I'm sitting in front of an AlphaStation 600 5/333. I have removed the 5 PCI
 SCSI Cards, an E/ISA Modem and the network card. There are no internal hard
 drives. There was never a graphics card installed.
I cannot seem to get a boot prompt using a term emulator attached to either
 serial port, using a crossover cable (though I tried straight thru just to be
 sure). The machine seems to refuse to recognize the outside world.
The unit never tries to look at the floppy for boot media. There is RAM in the
 machine. I'm utterly confused (and a beginner with these systems).
On powerup, the front LCD displays "srom 1.2 XX", where XX counts down and
 finally settles at "CD", after which nothing else happens.
Thanks in advance.

The Answer is :

  That the AlphaStation 600 series system never had a graphics controller
  installed is rather surprising, as AlphaStation series systems were (and
  are) almost invariably always sold with a graphics controller installed.
  "Try a couple of CTRL/P characters or a BREAK on COM1, and see if
  you can get the attention of the console program.  (The console
  environment variable CONSOLE -- the mechanism that selects the
  workstation or COM1 serial console -- may be set to GRAPHICS, not
  The console wiring and the associated pinout information (pointers
  to same) are contained in the OpenVMS FAQ.
  "You can use the failsafe loader to load current firmware into the box,
  if the firmware should be corrupted or of an antique version."
  "With the I/O adapters to the left and the SIMM slots to the bottom,
  there will be a clump of eight jumpers on the extreme right margin
  of the [AlphaStation 600] motherboard.  The third jumper down from
  the top (W3) selects the failsafe firmware loader.  Details on the
  firmware failsafe loader operation for various systems ... are
  available [here] at the Ask The Wizard website..."
  "CD would be the diagnostic code.  In the case of the AlphaStation
  600 series, CD indicates that the SROM code execution is complete."
  As for the Failsafe loader, the failsafe loader (FSL) is a method
  used to reload good console firmware when the main console firmware
  image is corrupted.  Without the availability and use of a failsafe
  loader, hardware will have to be replaced if the console image is
  corrupted.  There are various different implementations of the
  failsafe loader available.
  1  A jumper is used to select access to a FSL floppy on system
     power-up, a floppy that must contain properly-formatted console
     firmware for the particular platform.
         AlphaServer 300
         AlphaServer 400
         AlphaServer 800
         AlphaServer 1000
         AlphaServer 1000A
         AlphaStation 200
         AlphaStation 250
         AlphaStation 400
         AlphaStation 500
         AlphaStation 600
         AlphaStation 600A
  2  A switch or jumper selects the FSL ROM which is pre-loaded
     with a console image that allows a limited console command
     set so you can boot the firmware media.
         AlphaServer 2000
         AlphaServer 2100
         AlphaServer 2100A
  3  The console determines firmware is corrupt and requests a
     special FSL floppy. In  this case the floppy contains a
     temporary SRM console that allows you to get to the console
     prompt (three angle brackets) so you can boot the firmware.
         AlphaServer 1200
         AlphaServer 4000
         AlphaServer 4100
  4  The console determines firmware is corrupt and uses LED and/or
     BEEP codes to indicate it requires a FSL floppy.  This floppy
     must include the console firmware, and will be loaded upon
     the next system power-up:
         Personal Workstation au Series
  5  The console determines firmware is corrupt and will attempt to
     load temporary console code from floppy on powerup.  Can also
     request the FSL by enabling jumpers or switches.
         AlphaServer ES40
         AlphaServer DS20
         AlphaServer DS10
  6  No FSL mechanism is available on the following systems; these
     systems will require hardware service to reload invalid or
     otherwise corrupted firmware.
         AlphaServer 8200
         AlphaServer 8400
         AlphaServer GS60
         AlphaServer GS60E
         AlphaServer GS140
         DEC 7000
         DEC 10000
         DEC 4000
         DEC 3000

answer written or last revised on ( 11-MAY-2001 )

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