SUMMARY: Suns and BlackBox KVM ServSwitches

From: Todd Herr (
Date: Wed Feb 24 1999 - 12:26:24 CST

Solution: Don't believe everything you read about multisync capabilities.
          Turns out the CTX VL700 is not as multisync-capable as one might
          think. A Sun VGA-type monitor, along with persistence in
          poweroff reconfiguration reboots, has gotten me to a state of
          a working KVM switch, for most values of working.

Thanks to all respondents.

On Tue, 23 Feb 1999, Todd Herr wrote:

> Greetings.
> I'm looking for anyone with any experience with the subject combination,
> especially with the BlackBox Multiplatform ServSwitch (model KV30xx),
> *not* the Multiplatform ServSwitch Ultra. I'm having an awful time
> getting this combination to work properly.
> My setup is as follows:
> 7 Suns, (1 IPX, 2 Sparc 10s, 2 Sparc 20s, and 2 Ultra 1s), running
> various incarnations of Solaris 2.5, 2.5.1, and 2.6
> 1 PC, running RedHat Linux 5.0
> BlackBox ServSwitch Model KV3012FA (12 port, multi-platform)
> Sun Keyboard
> CTX VL700 17" monitor
> My current situation:
> No video display on any machine except for the PC. All machines
> are up and network accessible. Keyboard does control switch
> functionality, such as changing ports, etc.
> When my adventure began on Sunday, I had 6 Suns and 1 PC (one Ultra 1
> was not in the configuration), along with a Sun keyboard and a Sun
> 21" monitor. At that time, I was getting display from two of the
> Suns (the Ultra and a Sparc 20), and that was all. Both of those Suns
> were the only two to boot into X (CDE); the others were command-line
> only. The PC display was not there.
> Next, I added the seventh Sun (second Ultra), and I lost video display
> from all eight machines.
> On Monday, I called Black Box, and was told that I needed to have a
> multi-sync monitor in my configuration in order to get any display
> from the PCs. I ordered a new cable to make this happen.
> On Tuesday (today), I received the new cable, and installed it and the
> CTX VL700, which appears to be multi-sync capable (see
> With this monitor, and the Sun
> keyboard, I'm now at the point of PC-only video.
> Things I've tried:
> Reconfiguration reboots on some of the Suns - no luck
> Power-cycling the switch - no luck
> Things I can't do till the weekend:
> Power-cycle the CPU farm
> My suspicions are that the various FrameBuffers are not recognizing
> the ServSwitch properly, but I'm not sure how to change that. Here's
> the output from ffbconfig -prconf on one of the Ultras:
> # ffbconfig -prconf
> --- Hardware Configuration for /dev/fbs/ffb0 ---
> Type: single-buffered FFB
> Board: rev 1
> PROM Information: Not Available
> FBC: version 0x1
> DAC: Brooktree 9068, version 4
> 3DRAM: Mitsubishi 1309, version 3
> EDID Data: Not Available
> Monitor Sense ID: 7 (Unknown monitor type, defaulting to Sun 19" monitor)
> Monitor possible resolution: 1152x900x66
> Current resolution setting: 1152x900x66
> If anyone out there has had any luck with this configuration, or one
> similar to it, please advise.
> Thanks in advance; will summarize.

Todd Herr                             
Unix Systems Administrator, SRA International.

Statistics show that 40% of absenteeism occurs on Mondays or Fridays.

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