[Soekris] power-on boot problem

Landon Curt Noll soekris-mail at asthe.com
Sun Jul 10 23:30:39 UTC 2011

Hello Martin,

On 2011-Jul-10, at 03:52, Martin Johnson wrote:

> That's odd for purely solid-state drives.   

We think so too.

> Are the systems heavily loaded with other stuff, e.g. extra cards or USB devices?

All of our Soekris systems are net5501-70 units and have only solid state drives:

	Compact Flash Card: SanDisk SDCFX3-16384 16 GB
	SSD: OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SATA 240 GB

Just a CF card and a SSD on the SATA port.

We have no USB  devices attached.  We have not added any other devices.
No GPIO device, nothing on the PCI riser, nothing on the mini-PCI,
no (P)ATA device, nothing on the 2nd serial port, etc. 

> I would try (say) a 12 volt 1 amp power supply borrowed from a NetGear switch or hub.

We tried a spare 12 volt 1.2 amp power supply borrowed from a NetGear switch.
The NetGear power supply allowed the Soekris to boot from power-up much more
often than the Soekris power supply.

Switching to the NetGear power supply was an improvement, but it was not perfect.
We do encounter bad power-on boots, but perhaps not as often as with the
original Soekris power supply.

If we unplug the power supply form the AC and let the unit sit for about 2 minutes, then
we are MUCH more likely to see a bad power-on boot.

When we encounter a bad power-on boot, the Soekris will hang for about
12 seconds after sizing memory:

	comBIOS ver. 1.33  20070103  Copyright (C) 2000-2007 Soekris Engineering.       
	0512 Mbyte Memory                        CPU Geode LX 500 Mhz                   

And then it will print:

	Pri Sla  CHS --   Mbyte    					<<==== ????? huh ?????

	Slot Vend Dev ClassRev Cmd Stat CL LT HT Base1 Base2 Int 
	1 Seconds to automatic boot. Press Ctrl-P for entering Monitor.

	No Boot device available, enter monitor. 

	comBIOS Monitor.   Press ? for help.                                            

Entering a "boot 80" or "boot 81" at the prompt will also fail as the Soekris
does not see either a Master nor a Slave device after a bad power-on boot.

A subsequent and quick power cycle will show both the Master and Slave drives
and the default boot works well.                                        

Note the "????? huh ?????" line above.  When all is well, the Soekris will print out
the following almost immediately after sizing memory:

	Pri Mas  SanDisk SDCFX3-16384                    LBA Xlt 1024--63  16007 Mbyte          
	Pri Sla  OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD        LBA Xlt 1024-255-63  134 Gbyte      

chongo (Landon Curt Noll) /\oo/\

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