Solved DEC Alpha computer CR2032 battery replacement

April 11, 2013 at 12:26:19
Specs: DEC VMS Openwindows 7.3, Alpha DMCC 4/266
We replaced the battery on the processor card in our DEC Alpha DMCC 4/266. It does not seem to run the POST now. (do not see the eb....ea.e9.e8.e7.e6.e5.e4 on the screen.) And at the >>> prompt we can not get it to boot up. It says "jumping to bootstrap code", but then hangs up. Apparently some motherboard settings get erased when the battery is removed. Where can we find the procedure to get an Alpha computer running again after the battery is replaced?

See More: DEC Alpha computer CR2032 battery replacement

Report •


✔ Best Answer
May 6, 2013 at 10:18:37
With help from Teradyne, we figured this out.
The problem was that the configuration of the backplane ISA slots gets erased when the battery is removed.
In our case, there are two IEEE-488 boards in the ISA slots.
The software tries to talk to these during the boot up, and hangs when they don't answer. (generating the cryptic BUGCHECK error)
The solution for how to fix this is given in an old (2001) Teradyne Product Support Bulletin: PSB #559-500-08.
Word to the wise: If you are considering replacing the 15+ year-old battery in your DEC Alpha computer, before you do you should type the following two commands at the >>> prompt:
>>>SHO *
>>>SHO CONFIG

Write down all the setting from these two commands before you replace the battery.
Then with the new battery installed, update all the SHO * settings using SET commands, and update the SHO CONFIG settings using the ISACFG command.
Do an internet search to find out about the ISACFG command.



#1
April 11, 2013 at 13:55:40
When you remove/replace the CMOS battery, nothing gets "erased", but the BIOS settings do return to their factory defaults. One or more of these default settings may be inappropriate for your current PC configuration, therefore not allowing it to boot.

Go into BIOS Setup and check these settings, change as necessary:

First Boot Device - make sure it's set to "Hard Drive"

SATA Mode - may need changing to the other mode from what it is now.

Don't forget to save any changes with "save to CMOS and exit" (usually by pressing F10).


Report •

#2
April 12, 2013 at 05:04:28
This is a 1998 DEC computer running VMS, not a PC running Microsoft Windows.
The hard drive is on a SCSI bus, and it is 4GB. SATA wasn't even invented when this machine was built.
From online research I know I have to set the following:
>>>set bootdef_dev dka0.0.0.19.0
>>>set boot_osflags 0,0
>>>set auto_action halt
>>>date yyyymmddhhmm.ss
>>>boot (system hangs here)
I am still missing some magic command that has to be buried away in an old DEC manual somewhere...


Report •

#3
April 16, 2013 at 06:07:00
Check the os_type variable. It should be set to: OpenVMS

Dan


Report •

Related Solutions

#4
April 18, 2013 at 13:28:09
Yes the os_type variable is set correctly.
After comparing the NVRAM contents on another machine (using >>> SHOW *), we found that variable "console" needed to be changed from "serial" to "graphics". After doing that, we are able to see the POST run. And now when we tell it to boot, it gets almost booted up, but fails with the following message:

**** Open VMS (TM) Alpha operating system V7.1 BUGCHECK ****
Bugcheck code 000001CC INVEXCEPTN while above ASTDEL
CRASH CPU: 00
Current Process - Startup
Image Name [SYS0.SYSCOMMON][SYSEXE]SYSMAN.EXE
Starting compressed memory dump at (today's date)
...............................
halted CPU 0
Halt code 5
halt instruction executed
PC = FFFFFFFF80071EC0

So we are making progress, but aren't out of the woods yet...


Report •

#5
May 6, 2013 at 10:18:37
✔ Best Answer
With help from Teradyne, we figured this out.
The problem was that the configuration of the backplane ISA slots gets erased when the battery is removed.
In our case, there are two IEEE-488 boards in the ISA slots.
The software tries to talk to these during the boot up, and hangs when they don't answer. (generating the cryptic BUGCHECK error)
The solution for how to fix this is given in an old (2001) Teradyne Product Support Bulletin: PSB #559-500-08.
Word to the wise: If you are considering replacing the 15+ year-old battery in your DEC Alpha computer, before you do you should type the following two commands at the >>> prompt:
>>>SHO *
>>>SHO CONFIG

Write down all the setting from these two commands before you replace the battery.
Then with the new battery installed, update all the SHO * settings using SET commands, and update the SHO CONFIG settings using the ISACFG command.
Do an internet search to find out about the ISACFG command.


Report •

Ask Question