NetFRAME 450 Multi-processor server.
(new page Sept 2015).
This is the latest computer to arrive here for help. It came from a chap in North-West Kent who used
the system while he was working for a southeast London local authority.
It's a NetFRAME server built in about 1992. These servers were designed to be network-superservers for
PC /LAN clients. This one has a 50MHz 80486 as it's main processor. And can have as many as 8 extra processor-
cards installed, as well as a number of I/O processors each adding network, serial and other ports.
Each of the I/O processor cards has an 80386 class processor on-board. The I/O processors and the application
processors plug into the rather large backplane and communicate with the main processor and the expandable
shared-memory. In this system there is 128MB of shared memory.
The NetFRAME architecture is an unusual one. with the abilty to run multiple operating systems on the one system.
This system would typically have ran Novell Netware on it's main processor, and as it has an added 80486 application
processor fitted it most likely ran a version of unix or Lan Manager also. The operating systems available for these
machines included ms-dos, LAN Manager, NetWare, and Unix.
The system went through the usual safety checks before any power was applied. Earth-continuity, Meters connected to
the power-supplies and all memory / I/O and Application cards "pulled" from the backplane. Power on via an ELCB just
in case. The supply rails appeared on the systems start-up power-unit and service-processor. The display and buttons
came to life, but the system would not allow main supplies to power-up. This took a few days to sort out. I traced
the fault the to service processor's timekeeper device. I have had problems with these devices on other systems here.
The timekeeper device has a built-in 3volt lithium battery which over a period of 10 years or so runs flat and causes
all sorts or problems. These devices can be bought for about £20. or it's very easy to add an external lithium
battery given a little patience. I have added an external battery to this system's timekeeper. And re installed it on
the service processor board. The battery tucked neatly under the ribbon cable to the power-supplies. If the restoration
all goes well I will replace it with a new device.
Now with the device back in I can finally get a little more sense from the service prosessor. I can now power up the
system's main supplies. and self tests are beginning to run.
Memory cards all now pushed-back into the backplane. power-up ran memory-tests and reported 104MB of shared RAM. This
did not sound quite right. I tested the cards individually. They are 64MB, 32MB, and 2x 16MB (four cards in total).
The cards need to me placed largest-first in order to use all available memory. so two of the cards swapped and the
system now tests all 128MB of it's memory. SUPERB.....
Next I push the I/O and application processors back in to the system's backplane and power-up. Now I am getting scsi
disc-drive failures. Of the 10 SCSI disc drives fitted to the system 6 have problems and will not currently spin-up.
This is going to be a problem, as the failed-drives contain the operating systems needed to boot the machine.
The discs used are standard 5 1/4 SCSI types. The four drives on controllers 1 and 3 are full-height units. These are
mounted in carriers at the top and bottom right hand side of the unit.
The half-height drives in the "Live-Drive" disc-bay connect to the controllers in slots 2 and 7.
So two weeks after it's arrival. I can get the system to power-on and self-test, and I am on the look-out for
replacement drives and copies of operating-system discs / tapes so I can re-load the system.
REQUIRED... for netframe 200 / 400 series....
Any technical / service information.
Replacement SCSI discs.
Aplication / other software
your memories and recollections....
If you can help with this project, Please contact Sarah Bluck..5-Silver-Birches..