grundo

From Computers Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

The Motorola Net6200/166 is a machine I had been trying to find for about four years, then get running for about half a year.

Specs

system-id
00 ff ff 58 08 00
name
FirePower,Powerized_LX MP
Processor
2x PowerPC 604e @ 166 MHz
Memory
8 72-pin SIMM module slots
Hard disk
Seagate BarraCuda 4 Series 4.29 GB 7200RPM Fast Wide SCSI 1MB Cache
Display adapter
Cirrus Logic GD5446 Rev A
VRAM
2 MiB
Ethernet adapter
ZNYX NetBlaster ZX345 (SA0025) -- Windows NT detects this as a DEC PCI Fast Ethernet DECchip 21140
SCSI card
Adaptec AHA-2940UW
Expansion
4 Conventional PCI slots, 3 16-bit ISA slots
Clock battery
Duracell 3V DL1/3N (one-third N)
Serial number
MP00176
Motherboard label
MLU, LX SERIES 01-07582-03 (FIREPOWER SYSTEMS INC), serial LXM01113
Firmware version
Version 03.03
Firmware timestamp
1996-09-19,01:47:29
Capacitors
21 of 25NXA220MEFC10X12.5 CAP ALUM 220UF 20% 25V RADIAL

Quirks

  • The motherboard is labeled Firepower Systems, Inc. instead of Motorola.
  • When the system was first powered on, it booted enough to give a "no RAM" beep. Later attempts did not give a beep. There are four diagnostic LEDs on the board labeled A, B, C, D. When booting with RAM, light A stays on. When booting with no RAM, light C stays on. When booting with no processor card, no lights stay on. The beep no longer happens. Purple believes this may be due to the capacitors no longer being able to function properly and only managed to work for the initial power-on before becoming useless for further attempts.
  • After recapping, we discovered that when COMM 1 is attached to serial at 19200 baud, the system prints "AbcdefgBCD", first the first seven characters, then a pause, then the last three. Sometimes, it gets to "AbcdefgBCDE" after a second pause. Sometimes, there is a garbage character instead of this 'E'. Our hypothesis after this was that the machine doesn't like non-ECC RAM.
  • After installing two sticks of EDO ECC 60ns RAM, the machine finally boots.
  • The machine cannot be run without a keyboard. It will read garbage off the keyboard port and endlessly try to interpret invalid Forth commands, as seen from the serial console.
  • Serial output only goes past "install-console" if no display is connected.
  • Apparently the hard disk is using a beta firmware. dev /pci/scsi@3 .properties outputs v1.00 Beta 7 for version.
  • The registry files found on disk do not work with any of the available offline Windows NT password manipulation tools available. I had to manually find the encrypted LM hash in the registry, decrypt it, and then brute-force the original password for the Administrator account (which is: computer). See: Old-style Windows NT LM hash recovery
  • If you reboot the computer from within Windows NT, when the system reboots into the firmware, it will claim to not detect a keyboard (using COM1 instead) and then hang. The Num Lock key on the keyboard stays on.
  • I have not yet been able to successfully boot from the optical drive. My retail Windows NT 4.0 Workstation CD bombs out immediately in Windows Setup about not being able to load the CD-ROM device, and the device it tries to load does not change with the value of OSLOADPARTITION. Other CDs, like for old versions of PowerPC Linux distros, don't get past the Forth interpreter regardless of how I try to boot the files on them.
  • The back of the case calls the serial port "COMM 1" (2x M), while the firmware calls it "com1" (1x M).

Reconstructing the boot configuration

The hard disk is configured like this:

  • Partition 1: 10 MB FAT16 partition. This contains firmware-readable executables.
  • Partition 2: Points to an extended partition (partition 5).
  • Partition 5: NTFS partition.

Given this configuration, I was able to boot off the hard disk with the following commands:

setenv OSLOADPARTITION multi(0)scsi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)
boot disk:,\OS\VENEER.EXE \OS\WINNT40\OSLOADER.EXE

Speculation / History

  • The computer originally came from Marquette University. There is an FTP log on the hard disk with many entries for vmsb.csd.mu.edu. Additionally, the registration information in the System Properties dialog says Engineering, Marquette University. It originally had a:
    • hostname of eng142
    • domain of eng.mu.edu
    • static IP address of 134.48.93.142
    • subnet mask of 255.255.255.0
    • default gateway of 134.48.93.100
    • primary DNS server of 134.48.1.32
    • secondary DNS server of 134.48.1.31
  • In response to there being an existing commercial third-party PowerPC Windows NT application on disk, Revexia says:

    For the PowerPC port of NT? Wtf, I mean like I knew that was possible but I struggle to imagine why anyone would actually want to use a PPC for NT. I can think of a million purpose built NT machines that would just have been easier to use. Wonder if that university just had a bunch of expensive PPCs leftover and a mandate to transition to Windows for integration with other systems. Let us know what you figure out!

Things to archive

The disk image is "motorola.img" on the NAS.

  • There is a surviving third-party commercial PowerPC Windows NT application! It is a version of something called ExecSoft Diskeeper.
  • Installer for Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.01 for PowerPC
  • Various hotfixes specifically for PowerPC (checked with file on Linux)
  • The copies of Veneer, OSLoader, HAL, and the drivers directory (requested by Rairii at: https://haqueers.com/@Rairii/111851384631484546)

Documentation

Potential documentation

What a successful boot looks like over the serial port

AbcdefgBCDElxhHjklmBCDEoFGIJKLMN$1234#noFGIJKLMN$1234#stand-init

/pci/isa/interrupt-controller init

init-slaves

master-cache-on

/pci/isa/rtc

/pci/isa/nvram

init-nvram-buffer

init-options

init-security

/ clock frequency

more-memory

?bailout

scrub-memory

hardware-kludge

copy-reboot-info

nvramrc

probe-all

probe-isa

probe-pci

get-mac-address

probe-onboard

probe-ide

init-scsi

init-ide

install-console

History

  • 2023-09-09: The computer is purchased at VCF Midwest. The seller states that the computer had been stored in a barn near Racine.
  • 2023-09-10: The computer is temporarily transported to my parents' place.
  • 2023-09-28: The computer is transported to the new home.
  • 2023-12-16: 📈 The clock battery is replaced. Before replacing, it was measuring 2.9 V.
  • 2023-12-16: The capacitors on multiple components are identified as bad.
  • 2024-01-14: 📈 21 capacitors are replaced (8 on processor card, 13 on motherboard.
  • 2024-01-24: 📈 The correct RAM is installed.
  • 2024-02-04: The original Administrator password is recovered.