Summary and more questions (was: trouble booting 4/260)

From: Paul Southworth (
Date: Thu Sep 15 1994 - 03:55:37 CDT


I know this is boring for anyone who already knows the answer. I will
try to make it as entertaining as possible in the hopes of eliciting
quality response to this small novel... ;)

Thanks for all the email about this problem. In sum, it appears that
at very least, the configuration I have will not work. There is some
confusion over whether a 3+ PROM revision in a 4/260 will permit you
to boot off a SunCD, but there is no confusion over the fact that a 1.7
PROM revision will not. (Interesting how the various Sun engineers who
responded were also not in agreement; I thank them for taking the time
anyway.) I was told:

1. "Rom Rev 1.7 can't boot SCSI" <-- hopefully not true (?)

2. "With ROM version 3.0, I was able to boot my 4/280 off of the
   original Sun CD-ROM drive" <-- maybe true for 4/260's as well?

3. "Try sd(0,30,1)." <-- everyone told me that.

4. Boot from tape and then tell it to install off the attached CD.
   (probably a good solution except for the lack of boot tapes)

5. "You need a later version of the boot rom (I beleive >= 3.0) for CD
   Roms to work" <-- sounds like this is a majority opinion.

6. "We have booted 4/2x0's with current Boot PROMS and a SCSI-3
   (501-1236, the one without the battery) controller. Current boot proms
   are 3.0, part numbers 525-1071-02, 525-1074-02, 525-1075-02, and
   525-1076-02." <-- sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

7. "BAD NEWS. The 4/2XX line does not support CDROM's. Sorry! We'd
   be happy to upgrade that to something newer though. Please let me
   know." <-- likes to sell computers.

Some of this is obviously good advice. Naturally I am still a little
confused about what I should do with it, but my present course of action
is as follows (more woes below, please read).

So, phase II was to take the hard disk (Conner CP31370, 1.4Gb, 5400rpm)
and plop it on an IPX, install the operating system by hand (sun4
sys/kvm, sun4 boot blocks, sun4 kernel -- I have a script to do this;
email if interested) and take it back to the 4/260 to boot without the
SunCD attached. This was a similar exercise in failure. For parts to
swap around, I equipped myself with:

1. A DD50sa<->Centronics50 cable, known to work on a Sun 3/60
2. Ditto, known to work somewhere in the chain on a SPARCstation 10/30.
3. An APS "Digital Active" terminator, with activity and term power
4. A DD50sa<->DD50sa cable from an old Sun junkheap (condition unknown)
5. A DD50sa<->Centronics50 converter (flat ribbon cable with heads on it)
6. An old shoebox with an Adaptec ESDI<->SCSI converter and an ESDI disk
   in it which I verified on a PC with an Adaptec 1542 (functional)

This is what I did. This is not exactly scientific (that's a lot of
variables and I'm tired). If you can eliminate any of those items as
potentially useful, please let me know. At this point I am not sure
what questions to ask in order to figure this out.

Scenario A
With the Conner disk alone on the bus, no fancy terminator (just the
drive's on-board termination) and the #2 cable, I got:

> b sd(0,1,0)
sd: select failed.

The drive light did not blink when boot command "b sd(0,1,0)" was issued
for the Conner at ID #1. I believe this case is moot since "(0,1,0)" is
not the correct boot command for this PROM (so I wasted my time)

Scenario B
With the Conner disk alone at ID #0 and the #1 cable, I got:

> b sd(0,0,0)
sd: sense error.

(Repeated ad infinitum) Drive lights blink furiously. Adding the
fancy terminator shows that the "REQ" and "ACK" lights are flashing
simultaneously and term power is good. Grr...

Scenario C
With the Conner disk alone, with fancy terminator, #1 cable, or with #4
cable and converter plus terminator:

sd: error 70 0 2 0 0 0 0 A 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0
Retry 5 times cetera. (What does this error mean?) This error is received for
ANY target in the range of the disk -- that is, at ID #0 I get that
error for "b sd(0,0,0)" through "b sd(0,3,0)". Others give "select
failed". The drive lights do NOT blink when the "select failed" error
is displayed or when the boot command is issued. Lights blink
furiously when the "sd: error 70..." error is displayed. Term power
good. AAAGH!

Scenario D
With the Shoebox alone on the bus and #4 cable I got something like:

sd: bad label. Trying to boot anyway.
Boot failed. Device not found.

I rather expected this, since the shoebox is not bootable. That indicated
to me that the machine could probably boot with the shoebox, and consequently
the SCSI controller is probably good (for something anyway). (Gee, now if
I just wanted to run this machine off a crappy old 140Mb ESDI disk...)

Scenario E
With shoebox and Conner disk on bus, in either order, and with or without
the fancy terminator, I got the "D" response for the shoebox target, and
the "C" response for the Conner disk. Starting to seem hopeless...

Scenario F
Opening the shoebox and disconnecting the ribbon cable from the tape drive,
I hooked up the Conner inside the shoebox and used the #4 cable. Got the
"E" result whether or not the fancy terminator was added off the ass-end
of the shoebox (SCSI OUT port). Grasping at straws...

Excuse me while I jump out this open window....
                                                 . . . .
                                                ... . . ..

In article <352njf$>,
Paul Southworth <> wrote:
|OK, still not working, but I have additionally tried this:
|1. b sd(0,30,1) <-- having been informed that this is correct for the
| older sun4 architecture machines. Still got "select failed".
|2. also, I thought I would add that this is the 4.1.3_U1 CDROM, not just
| 4.1.3. Don't see why that would make a difference w.r.t. a
| "select failed" error though. (4.1.3_U1 is supported for this
| architecture, isn't it?)
|In article <352jm9$>,
|Paul Southworth <> wrote:
||I just acquired a Sun 4/260 and need to install the operating system.
||I have tons of cables and drives I can try on it, and so far no
||combination of devices or cables on the SCSI bus will permit the
||it to boot from the CDROM. The SunOS 4.1.3 CDROM seems to indicate
||that I should be able to boot the machine from a CD (b sd(0,6,2))
||but all configurations result in "select failed" for the CD.
||I have many shoeboxes, but no tapes, I have cables to put the CD
||(which is one of the older SunCD's -- SCSI-1, not the Sony that
||I have on my IPX) in any position in the chain, but it doesn't
||seem to make a difference.
||The "b sd(0,6,2)" command results in the CDROM (which is at ID #6)
||light going on solid, and then turning off. When "select failed" is
||indicated, the light goes on again, and so on for a few times until
||it gives up.
||I tried a different SCSI controller, and tried replacing the battery
||on the SCSI controller as well. Pulled all cards out except for
||motherboard, SCSI, memory, and color video.
||Ideas? Do I need a funky cable of some sort? I have tried new and
||old (sun3) SCSI cables... (ie, the ones with pin26-->ground)
||no effect.
||ROM Rev. is 1.7
||Paul Southworth
||CICNet Systems Support

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