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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » DSS200 loss of BIOS settings / PS2 keyboard

   
Author Topic: DSS200 loss of BIOS settings / PS2 keyboard
Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6852
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 07-12-2018 01:52 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thought this would be worth writing up in case anyone else encounters the same problem.

I was recently asked to fix a DSS200 that wouldn't boot. During the boot process it displayed a succession of error messages, worded to the effect of "Timestamp on module is in the future - cannot load," and the boot process eventually stalled.

I eventually figured out that the CMOS battery had gone flat. The machine in question was kept powered down when not in use, which was probably around 18 hours out of every 24, on average. The system clock had reset to its factory default of something like January 1, 2007, hence the timestamp of the program code files that the boot sequence was trying to execute being "in the future."

The gotcha is that I had no way of getting in to the BIOS settings, because the BIOS won't recognize a USB keyboard with its factory default settings. I tried a USB to PS2 adapter that a nearby Fry's had, but that didn't work, either. Eventually, I had to order a native PS2 keyboard on Amazon, and go back to the site with it. Once the BIOS date and time was reset to the correct date and time, the server booted up as it should and all was good.

The moral of the story is twofold: replacement of the CMOS battery should be part of the planned maintenance for these servers, especially ones that are not left running 24/7, and if you are ever called to repair one that is showing this symptom, bring a PS2 keyboard with you (as well as a BR2032 battery, obviously) if the site's staff cannot confirm for 100% definite that they have one.

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Alexandre Pereira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 122
From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jan 2016


 - posted 07-12-2018 02:01 PM      Profile for Alexandre Pereira   Author's Homepage   Email Alexandre Pereira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes always bring a PS2 keyboard and mouse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWAAXrlt43s

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2429
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 07-12-2018 02:24 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Leo Enticknap
The moral of the story is twofold: replacement of the CMOS battery should be part of the planned maintenance for these servers, especially ones that are not left running 24/7, and if you are ever called to repair one that is showing this symptom, bring a PS2 keyboard with you (as well as a BR2032 battery, obviously) if the site's staff cannot confirm for 100% definite that they have one.
I can already imagine that phone call...
"Does it have a round or rectangular plug?"
"I don't know, it is rectangular roundish?"

A modern USB keyboard will not work with a passive USB<->PS/2 connector. The keyboards they sold around the time when the big transition from PS2 to USB was made usually still work with such an adapter. What you need for it to work with a modern keyboard is an active USB<->PS/2 adapter. They're usually a little bit bulkier and often come with a bonus connection: a PS/2 mouse connector.

Obviously, the guy at your local electronics shack doesn't know anything about such details. [Wink]

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Stephan Shelley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 631
From: castro valley, CA, usa
Registered: Nov 2014


 - posted 07-12-2018 02:37 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Strange, I have always been able to use a USB keyboard on a DSS200 bios. However it was a strait keyboard. No mouse/keyboard combo.Same with the DSS 100.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2429
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 07-12-2018 02:41 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I only know about one particular SuperMicro motherboard being used by the DSS220, but maybe there are multiple revisions using different motherboards like with the DCP2000?

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Stephan Shelley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 631
From: castro valley, CA, usa
Registered: Nov 2014


 - posted 07-12-2018 05:16 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It was the X7 motherboard on the DSS200. There is also a version with an X8.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6852
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 07-12-2018 06:29 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I was working in a rush trying to get the thing back up for a show, so forgot to check; but I'd guess that it's one of those motherboard BIOSes with an "Enable USB keyboard?" option, that reverts to no when the CMOS memory loses power, but was set to yes in the Dolby factory before the servers shipped.

quote: Stephan Shelley
Strange, I have always been able to use a USB keyboard on a DSS200 bios. However it was a strait keyboard. No mouse/keyboard combo.Same with the DSS 100.
The thing they had was a combined keyboard/touchpad, so Marcel's explanation that an active USB <> PS2 adapter would be needed makes sense. I'll look into getting one to carry around with me - much easier to transport than an actual keyboard.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

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From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 07-12-2018 07:40 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Leo Enticknap
I was working in a rush trying to get the thing back up for a show, so forgot to check; but I'd guess that it's one of those motherboard BIOSes with an "Enable USB keyboard?" option, that reverts to no when the CMOS memory loses power, but was set to yes in the Dolby factory before the servers shipped.
Indeed, the USB keyboard feature could just've been disabled:
- Maybe they load another config in the factory than the actual factory reset will give you.
- Maybe the CMOS settings got corrupted but not entirely wiped due to the exhausted battery.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12031
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 07-13-2018 02:22 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I recently did a DSL100 motherboard swap and had no USB keyboard issues...but I started with a Dolby BIOS CD. This should load the preferred settings and should be step one. Note, they couldn't find the DSL100 BIOS file for me so it started with the DSS100 settings and then I converted it over to the DSL100 settings manually.

In a different site, I had a DSS200 BIOS battery fail and the symptom was that it would not "resume after AC fail." I was able to merely change the battery and reconfigure the BIOS with the USB keyboard so I don't know what happened to you on this one. Possibly a call to Dolby Customer Support would have yielded you an ISO file to make a DSS200 BIOS CD that would have "jump started" you to getting it going again.

I'm curious why you used the BR-2032 versus the CR-2032. All else being equal, in a cinema environment, the CR-2032 should last longer. It has a higher mAh rating and via spec sheets, on the same load will hold its already higher voltage longer. The BR-2032 seems to have a better temperature range (though that shouldn't be a factor in the wind storm that is the internal of a DSS200) and a potentially longer shelf-life. I'm reasonably sure that the SuperMicro motherboards are using CR-2032 (or at least the ones I've encountered have.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6852
From: Loma Linda, CA
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 - posted 07-13-2018 01:06 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Marcel Birgelen
- Maybe they load another config in the factory than the actual factory reset will give you.
That's what I suspect. In the early hardware versions that begin the boot sequence from an internal flash drive, they must use a bespoke BIOS config anyways, to enable that to happen.

As for BR vs. CR batteries, BR is designed for lower current drain over longer periods (e.g. maintaining a CMOS memory), whereas CR is designed for short, high current drains (e.g. a garage door remote or a Bluetooth keyboard). Since I found this out about a decade ago, I've discovered that on a typical motherboard, a BR will last a lot longer than a CR, especially when it is powered up more than half the time and the battery is not being drained. I have therefore always used BRs (almost always 2032s for motherboards) to replace motherboard batteries ever since.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12031
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 07-13-2018 06:05 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting, thanks.

I'd say we are getting more an more people that want to power down the servers at night, particularly on the off-seasons. So then what would you do? Again, the CR2032 SHOULD have more charge to give and via spec sheet, should last longer. Naturally, I've never done any long-term study on it. I normally use whatever came out.

Now, the ICP does use the BR-2330 so there is something to your theory there though the ICPs are more apt to be off than servers.

Cost wise, the CR versus BR on the 2032 isn't of any consequence...the time to pop the cover and deal with any BIOS configuration far exceeds that.

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Stephan Shelley
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 631
From: castro valley, CA, usa
Registered: Nov 2014


 - posted 07-13-2018 08:40 PM      Profile for Stephan Shelley   Email Stephan Shelley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
On the dss 100 I had to go in and change bios settings on the new motherboards before it would load the custom bios disk. The CD-rom was not set as a boot device. Had to make changes so it was and then load the custom bios. I have had to replace several DSS 100 motherboards and had to do this with all.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 3615
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 07-14-2018 07:44 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A long time ago I bought a Cherry G84-4400 compact keyboard with trackball for service jobs. It fits in a briefcase and rack drawer, comes native with PS/2, but there is always a small active PS/2-USB converter dongle (native HID, driverless) attached to it. As it is used only for service jobs, it will probably last forever. The current models are still available with either USB or PS/2, and you will probably find many of the older G84-4400 with PS/2 on ebay for very little money. But not mine ;-)

- Carsten

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