Dell 6TDVN SAS Expander

Discussion in 'RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters' started by Dave Corder, Dec 23, 2018.

  1. Dave Corder

    Dave Corder New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    11
    HI all,

    I stumbled across a seller on eBay selling Dell 6TDVN SAS expanders for around $20. These are pulls from something (though I haven't been able to figure out what yet). They have three SFF-8088 external SAS ports and six SFF-8087 internal SAS ports.

    I took a gamble and bought one, hoping maybe I could use it in place of some HP SAS expanders which don't support SATA3 speeds. When I got it, I pulled off the heatsink to find an LSI SAS2X36 expander chip. So far so good. It turns out that the power connector is a standard P4 12v CPU connector. I plugged it into a Dell H310 (flashed to LSI IT firmware 20.00.07.00) in a spare PC with a SFF-8087 to SFF-8087 cable and booted an Ubuntu Live CD. I was able to see the expander on the SCSI bus with 'lsscsi' and able to poke around its setup a little bit with a copy of xflash I found online (I recall the firmware was reported as version "00.50.00.00".

    Happy with the test results so far, I went ahead and ordered 2 more. Then things started to get strange. The next day, I repeated the same connection test with the same cards and cables and I got nothing. No links detected, no sign of the card in the SAS topology at all. Since then I've tried all the expanders, a couple different cables, and a different HBA (a Dell H200, also with IT firmware flashed to it) and I keep getting the same results.

    I have a SFF-8087 to SFF-8088 cable arriving tomorrow, just in case for some reason the expander cards became picky about what ports are used for uplinks and downlinks (even though the SAS2X36 isn't supposed to care).

    Does anyone else have any experience with these SAS expanders or any suggestions on what I can try to make sure they work (short of replacing the HP expanders in my DASes and praying that they work properly)?
     
    #1
  2. Philmatic

    Philmatic New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    I’m hoping there are others who have experience. I too found a killer deal on this SAS expander on eBay ($22 shipped) so I just ordered it. I also bought a HP SAS Expander just in case for my second and third DAS build.

    Worse case is that I’m out $22, but I really really dig the three external connections, I could use this as the main SAS switch across both of my DAS’ connecting to my fully loaded RPC-4224 and still have a spare connector for a third DAS.
     
    #2
  3. Philmatic

    Philmatic New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Anyone able to mount this in a standard ATX case without resorting to any MacGuyvering?
     
    #3
  4. BLinux

    BLinux Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    2,070
    Likes Received:
    621
    @Dave Corder @Philmatic I don't know that much about this SAS expander, but I would be very cautious about plugging that power cable into the board. 12V doesn't "feel" like the correct voltage to drive something like the LSI SAS2X36 chip, I would have expected 3.3V or 5V. Dell some times does some really weird things with their power cables just to mess with people; I know some of their older motherboards had a standard ATX power connector, but they would deliberately swap 2 or 4 pins, and if you plugged in a standard ATX power connection from a regular PSU, it would fry the board. So, just because it fits, doesn't mean it will work.

    I would search to see if you can find more detail specifications on what voltage should be on those 4-pins.

    Again, I know nothing about this particular expander, so maybe everything i'm saying doesn't matter. But I would just be cautious.
     
    #4
  5. Philmatic

    Philmatic New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    @Dave Corder I'm having the same issue as you, it powers up just fine and the LED turns on, but no matter what combination of external or internal ports I use. I cannot see any disks past the expander, I can't see the expander itself either (I understand it's a passive device with no drivers, but it should still be detected in MegaRAID Storage Manager).

    Seems like a bust, oh well. It would have been a fantastic device to build JBOD units with, the 3 external ports would allow for daisy-chaining or dual-linking.
     
    #5
  6. Dave Corder

    Dave Corder New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    11
    @Philmatic I've been in touch with someone on the FreeNAS forums who uses one of these successfully and, basically, he says it just works for him most of the time, but sometimes on reboot he has to unplug and power drain everything and reconnect before things will be recognized (when connected to his M1015 card).

    I just got back from vacation and it may be a while before I have some more time to tinker with the expander, but I'll provide more updates as I have them.
     
    #6
  7. Philmatic

    Philmatic New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interesting. I’ll try mine again tonight.
     
    #7
  8. Philmatic

    Philmatic New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    No dice. Tried several P4 connectors, each one lights up the Expander, but no matter what port I connect it to, extrernal or internal and no matter which numbered port I try, I cannot get either my HP SAS Expander's external port to see it (And anything attached to it) or my 9201-16e's external ports to see it.

    Shame, it would have been a dream to put in my Norco DS-24D with 6 SFF-8088 ports, I would have gotten 2 -3 and made myself a little switch out of the unit.
     
    #8
  9. ari2asem

    ari2asem New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    1
    guys, maybe is this expander dead because of 12volt 4pin atx connector?

    i have rackable se3016 16 bay unit with 4pin atx, this 4pin has power connection suiteable for molex 4pin, e.g. 5v and 12v power lines.

    have you tried with this 5v and 12v lines on a new dell expander?
     
    #9
Similar Threads: Dell 6TDVN
Forum Title Date
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters What's a good value (inexpensive :-) ) controller to replace Dell Perc H310? Monday at 2:38 PM
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters 9265-8i Desktop and Dell C6100 Testing Cachecade for Photo Editing Feb 1, 2019
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters Dell PERC H700 JBOD or passthru possible? Dec 27, 2018
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters Dell 9305-16e and use on non-dell server Nov 25, 2018
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters dell r620 10 bay - which internal HBA is best? Nov 19, 2018

Share This Page