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HP K Class Firmware settings


HP K Class Firmware settings

Greetings to all!

Sorry to bug you guys on this unit again...

I've got my K Class server running as I just recently obtained the mysteriously hard to get C19 power plug.

The unit has the following specs:

6x 200mhz Processors (seen and working correctly)
2x Memory Carriers

4GB of Ram (3.8GB or something like that) of RAM spread across the 2 carriers.

Here's what the problem is.

The firmware, BCH or PDC (I'm new to this stuff, having worked with Openfirmware before) or whatever comes up after boot says that I've exceeded the Hardware Spec for a K370.

It claims that I can't use the Second Memory Carrier and that I should remove it.

The machine has 2 Memory slots, 6 CPU Slots, 4 HPPB Slots, and Processor Slots 4/5 have the HSC Dual Bus connector.

For all intensive purposes, this machine seems to be a K570. It SEES and TESTS the 4GB of RAM, and I don't get any errors there. It however continues to complain that I've exceeded this K370 Specification and that it won't boot.

So, how to I tell it that its really a K570 unit?

I'm not sure why the machine is labeled as a K370. It has the hardware of a K570, and the memory cards work, it just thinks that its a K370.

Any ideas?

Adisuria Wangsadinata_1
Honored Contributor

Re: HP K Class Firmware settings

Hi Keven,

Is the OS installed on your system ?
What's the output of model command ?

# model [enter]

Wait for your update.
Meanwhile I will try to look at my old document about this.

now working, next not working ... that's unix
Andrew Rutter
Honored Contributor

Re: HP K Class Firmware settings

hi kevin,

the K370 and K570 do use the same hardware and apart from the system board.
The K370 supports 6 proc and 4gb ram over one carrier board
The K570 supports 6 proc and 8gb ram over 2 carrier boards

The system board should in reality only have one connector for the memory carrier board if its a K370 and 2 if its a K570.

The only physical difference is the memory slot on the system board between the two systems.

What I suspect has happened is that the system board has been replaced by HP at some point. They maybe didnt have a K370 one so used a K570 backplane and changed the model string to suit the system. I have known this before.

This will be why you are getting the error, as it knows it shouldnt have the second carrier board.
Someone obvoiusly saw the slot and thought they would try and use it.

You can check at PDC what the server is.
in all

This will list all config proc/memory and give you the model string.

Either that or run ODE from support plus cd or if its installed on the root hard disk. Run the Mapper util in this and this will give you the correct model string.


Re: HP K Class Firmware settings

Thanks for the reply.

The mainboard is definately a K570. It has 2 Memory carriers and the dual bus HSC connector. According to the HP service manual that's a K570 right there.

I don't have a OS installed as I am picking up drives for it today. I intend on running Linux (Gentoo) on the 'box.

I'll get back to you guys with the model output, since my current null modem cable is broken (can't send at all, just recieve).

My origenal question still remains though- The front of the case says K370, and evidentally the firmware model string is set to K370.

How can I change the model string back to a K570 (since all the hardware supports it, I've searched the part numbers for the motherboard and its a K570), so that I can use my 2nd memory carrier & 4 Slot HSC card?

I've heard about some mystical SSConfig utility, but nothing more. I'd think that there would be some other utility to set it if the string is held in some sort of NVRam or something...

James R. Ferguson
Acclaimed Contributor

Re: HP K Class Firmware settings

Hi Keven:

The mystical, magical utility known as 'ss_config' is real, and it is the tool that can change the model in NVRAM. The catch is that *only* an HP engineer can run it. If you have a support contract for the hardware you could open a hardware call for further analysis and/or correction.


Stan Sieler
Respected Contributor

Re: HP K Class Firmware settings

Re:SSCONFIG, how to change to 570.

Welcome to the "HP Way" ... or lack of it :(

Some years back, HP decided to do stupid
marketing tricks to differentiate some
models of HP 9000s from each other.
(rp2430, rp2470, IIRC, and apparently
K370 and K570). Back when there *was*
an HP Way, Marketing would simply
say "it's not supported", and they didn't
stoop to getting the engineers to put
limits into the firmware! Things changed
as the HP Way died out.

[much more deleted, available via email]

Yes, SS_CONFIG could solve your problem.

No, no one's going to make it available
to you or tell you how to run it.

Right now (2005-12-09), on eBay you can buy
a K570 for as low as $280 ... that's
probably the best way to go!

Good luck!


Re: HP K Class Firmware settings

I've already got a K570 as I said.

I've spent $500 on this thing upgrading it to 6 Procs/4GB Memory & 36GB Storage (4x9.1GB).

Unfortunately this is basically just a hobby for me. I thought it would be fun (and its been a great trip sofar) to restore this particular machine and get it running Linux. I have no contracts with HP nor any desire to contact them on it...

So my next question is this:

Is this value stored in NVRam or a Flash PROM?

I've got no quirks about writing my own opensource version of SSconfig to do it myself, but I won't do anything that involves flashing any chip because I'd rather not brick my K570...
Stan Sieler
Respected Contributor

Re: HP K Class Firmware settings

You say "I've already got a 570",
but you also said:
"I'm not sure why the machine is labeled as a K370.".

As you know now, the machines are essentially identical ... differing
apparently only in max memory.

In addition to the panel name of K370,
there should be a model/serial# tag
(usually a metallic tag) either on the
back of the chassis or inside the
front door (can't recall which). That
may shed more light on the 370 / 570

So...ignoring all that, since it doesn't
matter anyway: if the machine isn't
on support, you won't want to pay for
HP assistance ... and if the machine might
be a 370, they won't change it to a 570
for you.

There are two approaches:

1) would you pay $400 for someone to
change it to a 570 for you?

If yes, then here's how to spend
that $400: buy the 570 on eBay and
have it shipped to you
(note: I'm just guessing
about the shipping cost .. it might
be more);

ok, you probably won't do that ...
but that *is* the cheapest, fastest,
easiest solution (other than giving up).

2) Poking the model string in Stable
Storage, which is what SS_CONFIG does.

You don't really want to try doing that!

Still, following down the "poke" path...

I'm aware of only three companies that
ever wrote EEPROM updating code for PA-RISC:

HP - they're not going to help :)

Immediate Recovery Systems
who have/had two products that
could save/restore/modify
Stable Storage (EEPROM). But, I don't
think their product is available.

And a third company that HP tried
to drive out of business via
the legal system. That company
hasn't the slightest interest
in reawakening the evil giant.

If you want to modify Stable Storage,
you must:

1 - determine where it is, and how
to store to it (or, find an OS
routine or firmware routine
to do it for you)

2 - deduce the checksum routine (or,
find an OS (or firmware) routine
to do it for you)

3 - deduce the layout of the Stable
Storage. It turns out that some
of it is fairly well publicly
documented, somewhat to HP's
lawyers surprise.

As one can see in publicly available
documents, there are two areas in Stable
Storage: Architected and Non-Architected.

Basically, non-architected's layout is
free to change from model to model,
although I'd be surpised if it changes

This may be of interest:




(and, other docs in that parisc-linux.org

At least two kinds of problems can occur if
you screw up modifying Stable Storage:

a) at bootup, the firmware notices,
complains, and resets it to a
default initial state.


b) you can't run, and you either need
a new backplane (or CPU, depending
upon where the Stable Storage is
located) *or* a "dagger card",
which might not exist, and certainly
will be harder to get from HP

Good luck!
Andrew Rutter
Honored Contributor

Re: HP K Class Firmware settings


The only way to get it upgraded is through HP

If you try and do it yourself you could run into leagalities, Hp has taken people and companies to the cleaners for modifying these illegally.
These were not done just for the hell of it, like it seems. It was a marketing tool and changes the value of the K class system.
HP used to sell these type of servers at different tier levels for different uses, to keep costs down for mid-low end users. A K570 was thousands more expensive than a K370. If you wanted to upgrade it to a K570 then you should be buying the new licences that are registered with HP aswell. An arguable point if you dont intend to use them.
Just contacting HP with the serial number will tell you what the system actually is registered as and what licencing it actually has with it.