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Thread: Sun Sparcstation IPC 4/40 Troubleshooting

  1. #1

    Default Sun Sparcstation IPC 4/40 Troubleshooting

    Last year I acquired a Sun Sparcstation IPC 4/40. I've been troubleshooting the sucker ever since I got it. And I need some help!

    Symptoms: Power on; power LED lights, floppy LED lights and stays lit, no video, no POST beep.
    Troubleshooting Steps: Reseated IDPROM, ROM, reseated RAM, reseated CPU, disconnected HD and floppy, danced RAM, left minimal amount of RAM installed, pulled IDPROM.

    One thing I haven't done yet is look for output via the serial port. However, I would think I'd hear a POST beep regardless.

    Any ideas at this point? Do I have a dead machine?

  2. #2


    Update: I actually wasn't testing with the keyboard plugged in before. With the keyboard plugged in, I do hear a beep (originating from the keyboard, not the speaker attached to the motherboard), and the lights on the keyboard light up momentarily. No further signs of life after that. Keyboard keys (num lock, etc) are unresponsive.

  3. #3


    Its been a while since I last used one but I don't remember them making any sort of beep on startup.

    Do you have a Sun keyboard plugged in?

    Sun workstations use the first serial port instead of your monitor if no keyboard is detected. In this case you won't get any video output at all. If you don't have a Sun keyboard you'll need a terminal (or terminal emulator) hooked up to the first serial port and use it that way. The mini-DIN serial ports use the same pinout as classic Macs IIRC so a suitable adapter shouldn't be hard to find.

    Additionally if anything particularly serious goes wrong early in POST you'll probably only get an error message output to the serial port. So even if you do have a keyboard plugged in I'd certainly hook up a terminal and see what, if anything, it outputs there.

  4. #4


    I second this, hook up a serial line and watch the output. It's been over a year since I fired up my similar-but-not-the-same Sparcstation IPX, so I don't recall how long it takes to actually display anything. If I recall, it was abnormally long (compared to a modern computer).

  5. #5


    Are you using a Sun monitor or alternatively an PC LCD display with 13W3 adapter, composite sync support and sufficient resolution to test for video?

    I think there is another beep from the speaker, can't recall but the screenshot attached indicates there is.

    As noted above, I'll bet you'll find output on the serial port, assuming you have the special mini DIN adapter cable.

    I would surprised if the RTC battery is still alive but that shouldn't stop you from getting access to a boot screen.
    Attached Images Attached Images


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