Dead LSI HP and related OEM SAS controllers and expanders - troubleshooting / repair questions

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Active Member
May 6, 2015
SF Bay area
Every model of LSI card I have encountered illuminates a sequence of LEDs on the top edge of the card as they init, ending with a slowly blinking green light (possibly with other solid LEDs) that seems to indicate the card is working OK. Does anyone know any details as what the individual lights mean, or what the standard sequence is for various cards, and what they mean when a card gets stuck at a particular point in the sequence?

Also, does anyone know about the reliability and common failure modes of different LSI cards? Most of the cards I have bought on ebay work great, but more than I would have expected seem to be DOA. For example, I bought 6 M1015 cards which were pulls from brand new systems from the same seller - 4 are fine, but the other 2 are dead. They were packed really well, but I didn't get around to actually testing them until it was way too late to return them to the seller. I noticed another thread or 2 here and elsewhere about DOA M1015 cards, is the QC on this model by LSI and or IBM just subpar?

Does anyone have any experience with LSI cards which definitely overheated? Do they hang at the initialization spinner? For a heat damaged HP SAS expander, does it hang at a particular point in the light sequence, or just not light anything at all?

Most of my dead cards won't init at all and appear to not exist in BIOS and from lspci and sas2ircu/sas2flash, and the others get stuck partway through initing (either before or after LSI BIOS initing spinner appears) and block system booting. Most of the dead cards are IBM M1015 or M1115, although I do have an older generation HP P212 which hangs at the HP version of the LSI "Initializing" BIOS spinner. On the SAS expander front, I have an apparently dead IBM/LSI SAS2 expander, plus a few HP SAS expanders sold by an unscrupulous seller who listed them as "untested as-is" but when they arrived, they were packed in antistatic bags marked all over with things like "bad card" "can't update firmware" and the like, and sure enough when I tested them, none of them even had any lights on them like they usually do, or the light sequence stopped somewhere short of what a good one does initing - maybe the seller had not personally tested them, but obviously someone had.

For the fully dead cards, none of the tiny green LEDs on the card ever come on, and the heatsink remains cold even after several minutes. Should I try cleaning the PCIE connector with 99% alcohol or another solvent or contact cleaner, or are there any other simple tricks to try, common cold solder joint locations, etc.? (other than cleaning with a pencil eraser)

One of the dead M1015 cards lights up a different LED than the usual ones, located near the left side of the heatsink, any idea what that means?

As far as I understand, LSI will RMA LSI original cards, but you have to go through your OEM for other cards (IBM, DELL, HP, etc.) is that correct? Especially in the case of the 2 of 6 new pull M1015 cards being DOA, it seems like the cards were just bad, and they should be under some sort of warranty, but you probably need an IBM support contract to use it.