Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Pasting up a Server

When you change out CPUs you have to remove the CPU heatsinks. The heatsinks are just held on with latched pressure levers. Between the CPU and the heatsink is thermal conduction paste. Now on old servers this will be mostly dried out and not very gooey, easy to wipe away when you remove the old CPU using a little paste dissolver. However, I had an interesting thing happen.

I installed the new CPUs and the new memory in both servers, using new heatsink thermal paste. The paste comes in a little injector looking thing exactly like the barrel end of a hypodermic. The paste is supposed to be for a single CPU install, but let me tell you, there is more than enough in a single applicator for two CPUs. Anyway, I got the new memory and CPUs installed and sealed up the servers and switched them on. Expecting to see that each had 2-quad core servers running at 3.16 Ghtz and 32 GB of memory, imagine my surprise when one showed up with a 2.66 and a 3.16 Ghtz CPU. Yep, they sent me the wrong CPU, and trusting me didn't check out the fine print on the CPU itself so here I am with a freshly installed CPU that was identical to the one I removed. Okay, so I needed to remove the lower speed CPU, call the supplier and get a replacement with the speed I asked for. Easy right? Here is where the fun starts.

Remember that heat transfer paste? Well when it is new, it is extra gooey and it turns out if you use the whole little injector on a single CPU a lot gets squeezed out to the sides making a mess of the CPU pad area and, unless you are very careful, it can easily get onto the CPU install pad itself. The problem is that the CPU install pad is actually a bunch of small hooked wires so you can't wipe the stuff off, you can't brush the stuff off, in fact the only option I can think of (now) would be to completely remove everything from the mother board, get some electronics spray cleaner and have at it. Unfortunately I tried wiping and then using a very fine brush to remove the embedded paper towel and the remaining paste. This resulted in many of those fine little hooked wires becoming fine little out-of-alignment straight wires. Scratch one CPU socket. Luckily Dell 2950s are still fairly available and I was able to order a replacement server for less than $200.00 delivered to my door. The replacement only had one 2 GHtz quad CPU and 4 GB of memory but that wasn't a concern.

So today my new-used server arrived and I gutted my old one to rebuild the new one in its image. Transferring the dual 4 GB HBAs, hard drives and remote access port from the old to the new and installing the just arrived quad 3.66 Ghtz CPU along with the existing one I had from the first attempt and using one of the heatsinks from the first server. Needless to say I was careful with the thermal transfer paste. Now I have two servers with dual Quad 3.66 GHtz CPUs and 32 GB of memory and they are both running Ubuntu 16.04.1-64 bit server software. They are talking to a 5TB mini-SAN through dual 4 GB HBAs. Now on to the Oracle installs!

I also got the replacement controller shield card for the Anet 3-d printer, but, before I install it I have to verify every single connector is set up correctly. There are three sensor cables, 5 motor control cables and 3 axis motion end stop cables that all need to be carefully checked for shorts in the Dupont connectors. Did I mention I hate Dupont connectors?

I also got and installed the green lasers in the 3-d scanner, but need the printer to make some better holders that allow x and y axis calibration of the lasers themselves. Otherwise you get cylinders inside of cylinders and other scans turnout really weird.