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proliant 800 (p18) no video on boot

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Nick Atkins
Occasional Visitor

proliant 800 (p18) no video on boot

The problem I have is fairly well described in the following Compaq business support document:

The problem description in that document is as folows:

ProLiant 800 6/350, ProLiant 1600 6/350, and ProLiant 1600 6/400 Servers with system ROM dated earlier than 15 October 1998 (10/15/1998) may hang during power-on self test (POST) with no video after reboot. The server does not respond to the warm boot sequence key sequence (CTL+ALT+DEL) and must be power-cycled in order for the server to clear.

The solution given is that the rom should be upgraded to the latest version. However, the problem for me is not intermittent and I can't update the rom from floppy with out having a screen to work with and perhaps more importantly I need the machine to boot at least past POST.

I had originally booted to DOS on a floppy and then to reboot the machine I pressed ctl-alt-del. It is since pressing that key combination that I have not been able to get video output.

I have read about switching sw6 on sw1 to on to invalidate the NVRAM but I'm not sure in what way this should be done (I've tried a few combinations, like - on while booting and then on for 60 secs and then boot in off etc etc).

Any and all pointers would be much appreciated, thank you, Nick
Honored Contributor

Re: proliant 800 (p18) no video on boot


If the System ROM was corrupted during the ROM Flash... the 800 series server does not support a redundant ROM, the server must be placed into Disaster Recovery Mode to force the upgrade of the System ROM as follows:

Power off the server and set the System Configuration DIP switches 1, 4, 5 and 6 to the ON position.

Insert the latest System ROM Upgrade diskette into the floppy diskette drive and power on the server. There will be no video displayed while in Disaster Recovery Mode. I think the K/B and mouse will also be disabled.

A series of audio tone beeps will be generated during the procedure. Two long beeps will indicate the system is in Disaster Recovery Mode and that a valid System ROM Upgrade diskette has been inserted. If there are any problems with the diskette, or the System ROM image is corrupted, the system will continue to beep until a valid System ROM Upgrade diskette is inserted.

When the flash operation has successfully completed, an ascending series of tones will be generated.

Power off the server and return the System Configuration DIP switches to the OFF position.

Note: If a "descending" series of tones are generated, the flash operation has failed. Try downloading a new System ROM upgrade to a new (another) diskette again and repeat the steps above.

Hope this helps!
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Nick Atkins
Occasional Visitor

Re: proliant 800 (p18) no video on boot

John, thanks for your detailed reply. I moved the switches to disaster recovery mode as per your suggestion and made a new rompaq diskette.

I have disconnected all peripherals except the floppy drive.

When I power on the machine I get the two long beeps to indicate disaster recovery mode and then nothing more happens.

There are no more beeps, no attempt is made to access the floppy drive and so apart from the two long beeps the machine appears to lock up right away.

This version of Proliant 800 has two removable cages which house two boards that plug into a back plane. I have made sure everything is seated properly. Also, power seems to be going to all the right parts.

As per my original problem description above I had this machine on first time and I had booted from a floppy. It was after I had pressed ctl-alt-del that I could never get anything going again.

Any thoughts on where I might go from here would be much appreciated, thanks, Nick
Honored Contributor

Re: proliant 800 (p18) no video on boot

Hi Nick,

I believe the P18 BIOS is the 350Mhz PII model which has pull-out I/O and processor trays. If this is the case, you may have a loose cable on the small interconnect backplane which the two cages plug into. This is quite common on the Proliant 1600 which has a very similar layout. This can happen after working in the removable storage area below the CD-ROM, if fitting a tape drive etc.

Please pull out both I/O and Processor cages to view this backplane (You may need to remove the locking screws on the chassis). On the backplane are several small cables, one of which is a power supply DC voltage check cable. If it's loose you get nothing other than the CD-ROM led falshing occasionally.

I have attached an image of this backplane to help you identify the cable in question.

Also when reseating the I/O and processor cages, push them fully into the backplane with the flat of your hand as the plastic handles don't always let you get them pushed far enough in to mate properly.

I hope this helps,


Nick Atkins
Occasional Visitor

Re: proliant 800 (p18) no video on boot

Dear Brian

Thanks very much for trying to help me solve this one, the picture was useful too. I looked carefully at all that is plugged into the back plane, I unplugged and replugged etc. Unfortunately I'm not getting any further then the two beeps in Disaster Recovery Mode or on normal boot nothing happens at all.

I am guessing that the ROM must be so corrupted as to not even be able to perform a Disaster Recovery, that is, the instructions for Disaster Recovery must be damaged too.

In going back to the point where the machine did boot and then did not it is when I pressed ctl-alt-del to reboot the machine that I was not able to get the machine to enter the POST stage again. So have I damaged the ROM by issuing ctl-alt-del?

In terms of where I go from here I guess I will have to try and get replacement boards to see what is not working or maybe there is a chip I could change to try and get it to work in Disaster Recovery Mode?

As always any and all help would be much appreciated.

I'm also new to this forum and so I will have to go and take a look at how the points system works, it would appear that by awarding points to John Ruffo I have indicated that I have a solution when presently I donâ t.

Many thanks, Nick Atki
Honored Contributor

Re: proliant 800 (p18) no video on boot


If you get in touch with me at I'll send you some further troubleshooting and part information on the PL800 which should help.