Help needed with Silicon Graphics O2 SCSI error

StenPett

New Member
Jul 31, 2019
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Tromsø, Norway
I recently acquired a Silicon Graphics O2 workstation for free (lucky me, I know). The CD-ROM drive is shot, but that was know before I accepted it. I have yet to open it to see what's wrong, but from the sound of it, I think there's something wrong with the drive belt.

The error I didn't know about beforehand, however, is the HDD. When I try to boot, I get to the O2 boot menu, with the error:

`dks0d1s8: Unrecoverable device error: Track error, ASQ=0xf8
dks0d1s8: drive is not ready
Unable to execute pci(0)scsi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(8)/sash: media not loaded
No volume header on device: pci(0)scsi(0)disk(1)rdisk(0)partition(8)/sash.
Unable to boot; press any key to continue:`

I'm guessing the HDD is corrupted, or at least the boot sector.
Is there something I can do before I go ahead and order a new/refurbished scsi drive? And on that note, do you know of any SCSI-to-IDE or SATA converters that'll work, and doesn't cost north of $1000? I have plenty of experience with Linux, but I have not touched UNIX since my air force days, and that was 20 years ago...
 
May 22, 2019
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That's a good question. I haven't worked with SCSI for as long as you haven't worked with Unix, so it would probably take some research to find out. Chances are you would need an adapter - what I don't remember is what form those adapters take.
 
May 22, 2019
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Does this look like the connector on your drive?


I'm finding lots of LVD to 50-pin adapters out there; I don't remember precisely what the difference is between the two protocols, but one of those should work.

You might also check out the SCSI to CF boards out there, too. CompactFlash is faster than SD, since it's a parallel bus (it's basically IDE), but that comes at a cost. CF cards are a bit more expensive.
 
Last edited:

StenPett

New Member
Jul 31, 2019
14
3
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38
Tromsø, Norway
I'm finding lots of LVD to 50-pin adapters out there; I don't remember precisely what the difference is between the two protocols, but one of those should work.
Yes, that's the connector on my drive. After reading up a bit on old SCSI standards, it seems that the 80 pin connector was mainly used in servers, the 68 pin variant was a 16 bit bus meant for (very) high end PC's, and the 50 pin connector was an 8 bit bus. I can connect an 8 bit device *after* a 16 bit one, but not the other way around.

The way I see it, I now have three options (technically four):
  • Get a refurbished 68 pin SCSI harddrive. Risky, but cheap.
  • Get a SCSI to CF/SD adapter. Stable, but expensive
  • Get a SCSI to IDE adapter, and daisy chain in an IDE to CF adapter. Cheap-ish, but potentially many points of failure.
    • Get a PCI IDE controller, and connect the IDE to CF adapter to *that*, leaving the SCSI port free. Slighty cheaper than option 3, but no guarrantee IRIX will actually *see* the PCI card, as I don't know how the driver support would be.

Now, to find out what's wrong with the CD-ROM drive...
 

StenPett

New Member
Jul 31, 2019
14
3
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38
Tromsø, Norway
I ended up replacing the broken hard drive with a refurbished 36 GB drive. Works like a charm now. I also set up a bootp/dhcp server VM on a separate VLAN, just for the O2, so I wouldn't have to deal with the broken CD-ROM drive (it had some broken drive gears, so I replaced that too a few days later). The bootp-server allowed me to mount all the CD images I downloaded from The Internet Archive (just search for Silicon Graphics, and it'll show up), and install the OS from them.

I now have a working IRIX installation, all set up for me to tinker with, and figure out what to do with.

Here are the links to the tools I used, if anyone needs them:
IRIX boot (bootp/dhcp server): https://github.com/halfmanhalftaco/irixboot
The Internet Archive: https://archive.org/
IRIX Installation guide: http://triton.iqfr.csic.es/guide/man/instguide/chap3-5.htm
 
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