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ML110 G5 only boot if clear cmos

Occasional Advisor

ML110 G5 only boot if clear cmos

Hi! I've a ML110 which after a power cut down doesn't want to power up. When you press power button fans spin for about 1 second and stop. Then try to boot again and stops again, and so. Any screen signal.

Heart breath led blinks, PSU_ON led powers steady for a second (while fans spin) and power off.

Of course I've tried disconnecting all but imprescindible. I've also tried a new psu with same behavior.

However if I clear cmos through JP7 jumper the server boots perfectly, but if I power off I have to clear cmos again to power on.

Re: ML110 G5 only boot if clear cmos



You have done most of the troubleshooting by only keeping the essential hardware needed for boot.

Have you tried with minimum RAM and tried disconnecting the storage devices, just to make sure the server may at least post.


If still issue persist, the problem could be with BIOS or System Board itself.  If the server is under warranty, you may first update bios to the latest available on the portal.


You may even change the cion battery, just to make sure the system board is retaining the bios settings.


Thank You!
I am a HP employee.

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Occasional Advisor

Re: ML110 G5 only boot if clear cmos

Of course, I've tried with minimum RAM. I've also tried to change the battery with no results.

I've just updated the bios, to same the last and now the behavior is the same, or even worse. Now the fans are at 100% all the time.


EDIT: Ok, I've solved the "fans at full speed" updating the BMC firmware from 3.02 to 3.20 (it was a requirement for the last BIOS firmware) with:


Firmware Upgrade for HP ProLiant ML110 G5 Lights-Out 100 Remote Management (For USB Key-Media)
Version: 3.20 (B) (22 Jun 2010)
File name: SP49103.exe (4.6 MB)


But the main problem continues. Once I get to power on, I can restart the computer as many times as I want without any problem, but if I completly power down the computer, I can't power it on unless I clear CMOS with JP7.

Occasional Visitor

Re: ML110 G5 only boot if clear cmos

Hi there,


I came onto this forum to try and solve this exact problem. My symptoms are the same as yours. We used the computer successfully for years. One day a hard drive failed and we had to shut the server completely down to replace it. When I tried to start it again it would pulse on and off again and would not do anything else (that was a stressful day). I have tried every possible troubleshooting scenario without any luck. Although I usually resurrect the machine by removing and replacing the lithium cell battery, effectively clearing the CMOS.


I have tried removing every non-essential item without success, even trying to boot without RAM. At first I thought the problem was with low charge on the lithium button cell causing the problem. After replacing the cell with a new one it seemed to work okay. But then on the next power failure I had the same problem.


I was going to try updating the bios to the latest version (I am currently running 2009.10.09), but I am afraid to do this in case it decides to power down after flashing the bios, possibly bricking the bios if I have to clear the CMOS in the middle of the upgrade.


To further complicate things for me, we have our HDs set-up in a RAID 1 arrangement through the HP Embedded SATA RAID controller (adaptec) and every time the CMOS is cleared, the controller is reset to AHIC mode effectively breaking my RAID unless I get to it on the first boot after failure, reset to RAID mode, save settings and hope it doesn't power down completely when rebooting.


I do not know how this problem developed. The only thing that was out of sorts when the problem first occurred was a low charge on the CMOS battery. I am disappointed that reflashing the BIOS doesn't fix the problem. Perhaps it is just time for a new server.

Occasional Advisor

Re: ML110 G5 only boot if clear cmos

Hi gbaker3,


In your situation I won't upgrade the BIOS, because it's not worth. For me it was a completely waste of time. As you could read, the fans are at full speed after BIOS update and you have to flash the BCM firmware too. Nothing new after all. As I see it you have these options:


  1. Buy a new motherboard for your server (expensive option)
  2. Connect the server to a really good UPS and power once clearing CMOS.  It could be rebooted without problem (at least mine), you only have to avoid cold reboot, it's when the problem happens.
  3. In my case, I've connected two wires to JP7 and got the ends out of the server. So, when I need to cold start the server I only have to connect the ends of the two wires themselves for a second, without have to open the server. I've even thought of briding the power button with JP7, so it will make a clear CMOS every time you press the power button. Perhaps, in your case, this is not a good solution, because as you said you have to get into the BIOS config to set the RAID.
Occasional Visitor

Re: ML110 G5 only boot if clear cmos

Hi Tomas,


I agree that a BIOS update would just be a pain for me if it does not seem to fix the problem. I was aware of the BCM firmware issue though and was prepared to update that as well. We do have the server on a UPS so it is not often that it requires a cold reboot / cold start.


Two ideas I haven't tried yet are:


1) Revert the BIOS to a previous stable version. Possibly as far back as 2008.06.24 would work as I wouldn't really benefit from any of the features introduced in later revisions.


2) Maybe a BIOS setting is causing it to hang on cold reboot. Although logically the default settings that are loaded after CMOS reset should work without issue, I did start having the problem after the CMOS battery was low and the settings reverted in the first place. I might try combing through the settings to see if something helps. To do this I would disconnect the hard drives to reduce stress during the inevitable endless reboot cycles.


Either this isn't a widespread issue, meaning there is a defect in a small percentage of boards, or most people have replaced these servers long before the CMOS battery has gotten too low to be an issue.



Occasional Advisor

Re: ML110 G5 only boot if clear cmos

@gbaker3 wrote:


...I did start having the problem after the CMOS battery was low and the settings reverted in the first place...


Same here. Problem started when CMOS battery run out. If you try to downgrade BIOS, please tell me in any case, positive or not, I'm curious about this.


By the way, most of the people replace the whole server when they have a problem like this, and don't research in depth. Server must be on quickly.