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Sun Microsystems External Mammoth Tape Drive

Discussion in 'Sun Hardware' started by William Harrington, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. Hello everyone,

    Maybe someone with some experience with the
    Sun Microsystems external Exabyte EXB-8900 can help
    with strange problems.

    At the moment I haven't been able to test it with my
    Sun Ultra 60, it is down at the moment as a video
    adapter is killing system boards.

    What I have tested it with is two machines.
    One has an Adaptec 29160 and the other with
    an Adaptec 2940W. I have an LSI MegaRAID
    controller I will test it with in the future.

    Right now I have these problems:

    The drive has problems reading and writing and erasing tapes.

    I was told by someone who used the drive just fine that
    they ended up having to get an adaptec cable that used
    high byte termination. It looks to me the drive does
    automatic high and low termination, not sure why
    someone would need cables with high byte termination.

    If the drive is in wide negotiation it has troubles writing
    and then while reading it gets up to around 10% and fails with
    Mammoth Tools with a 100MB test write and read.

    If I turn off wide negotiation the scsi bus settles down a bit
    with noise and it will write and read all the way, but the
    drive is having problems reading and writing as the activity
    light shows it and Mammoth Tools will report it.

    The person said that his combination of an adaptec external cable
    and an Adaptec 2940UW Pro worked well. He had problems with the drive
    till he got an adaptec cable for it. He hardly used the drive, it is
    practically new.

    The other combination he had was an Ultra 60 with the Sun external
    cables 68HD to 68HD 530-2384-01 but didn't recall which scsi adapter
    was in the machine if any. Might have just used the external scsi
    connector on the system board.

    No telling how it will work with the symbios chipset on the Ultra60
    board and the external cables with the sun part number 530-1884-03.

    Anyone know the fundamental differences between 530-1884-03 and
    530-2384-01 cables? It is clearly a hardware problem, seems to be
    lots of noise on the scsi bus possibly. Seems it might be picky
    with the combination of hardware.


    William Harrington, Feb 20, 2006
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  2. William Harrington

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    Is the Exabyte in a Sun Unipack housing? Or is it in some other
    manufacturer's housing?

    The Sun Unipack will auto terminate the bus as needed, as long
    as it is the end of the bus, or it will terminate the high side when
    there is a narrow SCSI connected downstream from it. (It will be up to
    you to terminate that part past the other drives, however.)
    Hmm ... does your drive have the LCD readout on the front? If
    so, have you watched it through the full startup sequence? It will tell
    you if the drive needs to be fed a cleaning tape. (And it will complain
    in just such a manner if you feed it a tape from earlier non-Mammoth
    drives. Just one tape is enough to set it wailing "unclean" and
    insisting on being fed a cleaning tape.

    If your drive does not have the LCD readout, the upper LED to
    the left of the tape slot will go on when it (thinks that it) needs cleaning.
    I'm not sure that the drive does this, but the Unipack enclosure
    (which is probably what you have, if it has 68-pin connectors on the
    back). Note that the connectors are explicitly marked "IN" and "OUT",
    and I believe that the termination only works if the feed comes in the
    "IN" connector.
    For using a narrow device on a wide SCSI bus.

    Note that the Mammoth 1 drives (8900) have two, or perhaps even
    three different SCSI cards which can be part of it. I've got examples
    of two of those.

    1) The 68-pin LVD (it should be marked "LVD" on a label on the
    drive -- and you can hope that the SCSI card in the drive is
    the one which came with it.)

    This one *should* auto-negotiate to talk to a SE SCSI host

    2) (Perhaps) a 68-pin SE SCSI bus.

    3) a 50-pin SE SCSI buss.

    One of the two 68-pin versions is in my Exabyte EZ17 tape

    I have two of the 50-pin versions in other housings. One in a
    Unipack, and one in a four-drive housing on a 50-pin SCSI Sbus card hung
    on an Ultra-2 for backup media and DVD-RW drive.

    Have you opened the housing (presuming a Multpack) to see
    whether it is a 50-pin or a 68-pin connector in the drive? That is done
    by pressing in the two latches on the sides near the back, and pivoting
    the cover up around the front, and lifting it clear. If your drive is a
    50-pin SE, and you're connecting it to LVD, your voltages may not be
    right. (Or maybe the Unipack adapts the voltage levels.)
    Mammoth tools? What OS are these running on? Given the host
    adaptor cards which you have mentioned, it may well be a Windows system,
    in which case I would consider that there are just too many places where
    things could go wrong.
    No LCD readout on the front, then? A pity, as that can be a big
    Hmm ... I had some problems with one drive for a while, until I
    got a second one from eBay with a 50-pin SCSI interface card built in,
    and swapped interface cards to put that in the EZ-17. The other
    interface card went into the flakey drive, which then started to work
    properly with a 50-pin bus.

    Of course, to use them on the Ultra-2, I first had to either
    touch /reconfigure and reboot, or to run "devsfadm" to do the same thing
    without having to reboot.
    Doesn't the Ultra-60 have a built-in SCSI? (I don't know,
    because I don't have one.)
    Give a bit more information, such as what SCSI bus is inside the
    external housing (which I've been assuming to be a Sun Unipack). And
    I've never used one of these with a PCI based SCSI bus, only with the
    68-pin SCSI bus on the Ultra-2.

    Note that the PCI SCSI cards for the Ultra-5, Ultra-10, and
    other PCI-bus equipped Suns can be either a dual 68-pin lvd, or a dual
    68-pin SE bus -- and the only way to tell is by looking up which Sun
    part number you have in a copy of the Sun FEH (Field Engineer's
    Handbook), or on a Sun website, if you have the password/account to do

    Good Luck,
    DoN. Nichols, Feb 22, 2006
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  3. On Wed, 22 Feb 2006 05:46:33 +0000
    Unipack with LCD. Internal connector is 68pin connector.
    LCD comes up with POST everything is good. Drive is in
    single ended mode and ready.
    I can only test it with systems running the Linux kernel at the moment.
    Yes. Onboard Symbios chip.

    I have another scsi controller on the way for it.
    I have only ordered parts with the part numbers in the full component

    Thanks for the reply.

    William Harrington, Feb 22, 2006
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