From: Matt Goheen (
Date: Mon Sep 14 1992 - 20:44:57 CDT

(I just returned from vacation -- sorry for the delay)

It turns out that the real culprit was a dead ID PROM. This I found out
by installing the new motherboard (forgetting the ID PROM) and powering
up. This gives you some rather glaring hints that you have neglected
to move the ID PROM from the old board over (things like "Ethernet address
ff:fe:0f:ff:fe:ff" and "Invalid ID PROM checksum"). I moved the PROM
over and the new board showed the exact same failure as the old board
(i.e. dead, no display, front LED on for 4 seconds then off).

What really happened? Well, it looks like the problem was NOT related to
the shoebox. Prior to the first failure, I had installed some Xerox
software (GlobalView) that tries to set color monitors into "overscan"
mode. The installation software does this by poking an "nvramrc" program
into the PROM monitor. Apparently, old Sun IPCs don't understand the
nvramrc code and just lock up (either that or they display somewhere else,
perhaps on the B/W frame buffer). There is a keyboard sequence that will
supposedly reset the NVRAM (L1/N) but that didn't work for me (it may be
that my PROM is too old). The solution (which actually came from our
Sun service guy -- good job Sun) was to (you are gonna LOVE this) take
the PROM out of the IPC, put it into a SPARCstation 1, power on the SS1,
let the machine get through self tests, turn it off, take the PROM out
and put it back in the IPC. Problem solved!

The reason I suspected shoebox was that after I installed GlobalView, I
powered down the workstation and hooked up the shoebox. From that point
on it didn't work. After fixing the PROM, I hooked the shoebox up again
(I'm a confident guy). It didn't work. As I do have other shoeboxes
in operation on SPARCstations, I conclude that either this shoebox is dead
or that this particular shoebox is not compatible with a SPARCstation IPC.
Our Sun tech. man has confirmed that the latter is a possibility, but I
have no way to confirm the former as we have nothing but SPARCstations

So, after all this, I am out $175 (board restocking charge for the board
I didn't actully need) and several hours of wasted time. Not too bad...I

Thanks to all that tried to help...

        - Matt Goheen

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