Fun with an MD1200/MD1220 & SC200/SC220

frogtech

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Jan 4, 2016
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Good thing the modules for the 1220 are cheap...I managed to brick one I guess doing a firmware update? Idk how that happened, it literally worked fine on module 0.
 
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frogtech

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@fohdeesha

My MD1220 firmware says "RedDress" at the command prompt when connected via serial, know anything about that vs BlueDress?

I'm hoping the other module that I get also is a RedDress variant just so they match, for the sake of my OCD.

edit: nevermind, I see that they just refer to the different form factors for the shelf.
 
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fohdeesha

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@fohdeesha

My MD1220 firmware says "RedDress" at the command prompt when connected via serial, know anything about that vs BlueDress?

I'm hoping the other module that I get also is a RedDress variant just so they match, for the sake of my OCD.

edit: nevermind, I see that they just refer to the different form factors for the shelf.
indeed, bluedress is the 3.5" model, red dress is the 2.5". modules are the same, they identify what kind of backplane they're connected to at boot and change the cli prompt accordingly
 

Offspring

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Feb 7, 2021
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Hi,
First time post here, joined to say I have successfully converted a MD3200 to a MD1200 by reprograming the backplane. Big thankyou to this thread that has given me pointers of what to look for. I would guess this should work for the MD1220 and MD3220 as well.

Firstly this is definitely not my area of expertise and this has been a five day crash course for me so please excuse any mistakes.

There is very mixed views on if you can convert a MD3200 to MD1200 or even the other way round, yes they use identical parts with identical part numbers but at least for me just plugging in a MD1200 controller didn't work. The back/mid plane has two EEPROM chips which as mentioned in this thread are programmed at the factory to suite the model being shipped.

So with no modification the MD1200 controller in a MD3200 chassis would have a amber light on the controller and after a few minuets the fans would spin up to full speed, oh boy are they loud. At first I tried to use the serial interface of the controller to reprogram the backplane but found it far to difficult.


View attachment 19529
Highlighted in red are the two EEPROM chips that sit in the middle of the backplane, not to be confused with the two temperature chips that sit on the outsides of the board. The black covering is easily removable by pressing a small screwdriver into the back of the pins, then it can be fitted again later.

Next I needed a EEPROM programmer, these can be found very cheaply and fast from amazon or ebay.
View attachment 19530
I got a CH341A programmer, they are very cheap but make sure you get one with the clip included to save you soldering and unsoldering. Software wasn't included or any instructions with the programmer but there is lots of info on YouTube about how to use this. In short, jumper on pin 1&2, attach the clip into the board making sure pin one lines up with the red cable on the clip, clip the clip over the chip with the red cable over pin one of the chip that is marked with a white dot on the backplane PCB.

For the software there are multiple different programs that work with the programmer, I used AsProgrammer 1.4.1 some of the other software would just repeat the first line over and over.
To set up the software you need to tell it that the chip is a 24C64 that's under IC > l2C > _24Cxxx This should match what is printed on the top of the chip. Also check the hardware tab is set to CH341A
You should now be able to read the chips, adjust the clip if not, it can be a bit tricky to get it perfect.

So this is my MD3200 dump
View attachment 19532

Highlighted are a few key parts, the serial number is here but split into two parts, should match what's on your sticker. Also the model here as a MD3200 and the HOGS_SAS not entirely sure but its important. Also the firmware version of the last connected controller I believe is the 1.06 The rest of the chip is blank with 00's after the random bit at 0x000002F0 was different on all of my boards, not figured out what it's for.

So first thing is you can't just change the model number and be done, that would be too easy. The MD1200 has some sort of checksum which I haven't been able to pin down. Here is a reading from my working stock MD1200:

View attachment 19533
I was well out of my depth here but All I could figure out was that every 8 bytes (I think) the 8bit checksum (2's complement) came back as 00. But it being a checksum you can rearrange numbers that are already there and get the same checksum, important if you are converting multiple MD3200 as they won't work with the same serial number here, just swap a pair of numbers in the serial number section.

Finally if you are testing outside of the chassis, the control panel card must be connected otherwise the out port won't work and you won't get any drives showing up, this added a whole day on to the job for me.

I have attached a zip folder with both the MD3200 and MD1200 dumps, they don't open properly in notepad but they work in AsProgrammer.

Another Final important thing, Both chips need to be programmed the same, that's the FRU and the VPD chips are marked on the PCB. a mismatch is what causes the MD3200 to go onto lockdown.

You can just take my files and program them straight to the chips or if you are converting multiple devices to work together you will need to rearrange the serial number so they are unique, as always take backups before modifying.

Obviously this is all at your own risk and don't expect any help from dell with this.
I'm running into a similar situation as you are, in regards to having bought MD3200s and installed 2 MD1200 controllers but them not working. According to this post, however, Convert MD3200i to MD1200, all that needs to be done is to change the product ID of the backplane and it'll work normally.

EDIT: I've ordered the DELL password reset cable and a serial to USB connector. Does anyone happen to know what the ID is for the MD1200 backplane so I can change the backplanes for both of my MD3200s? Thanks!
 
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velaar

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Aug 4, 2021
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Hi,

Have an SC220 and a magic Dell cable. Doe anyone know if there is a way to split an SC220 into 2x12 drives like MD1220 can? If so what would it take? Can it be done in SW/Flash? It I have to get MD1200 controllers I will but I'm unsure that even that will work as SC220 doesn't have a split switch on it.
 

Offspring

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Feb 7, 2021
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As an addendum, I picked up an MD1200 that I'll be getting here shortly. Does anyone know what the commands are from the VxUser end to find and change the IDs of the backplane so I can use the MD3200s as MD1200s? I've got the password cable as well, so I should be able to do it.
 

joshenders

New Member
Jul 26, 2012
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Found a really handy item for configuring two MD1200s. I’m leaving this plugged in to the head unit and have a screen session open on /dev/ttyUSB0, and /dev/ttyUSB1. Helps for when those days when the fans spin back up mysteriously!


They also make a 4-port version and an 8-port block:

 

joshenders

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Jul 26, 2012
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Last night I solved a major frustration I had with serial console on these things. I'm a Mac user and delete (Backspace on a PC keyboard) never worked properly in serial console. I'm not a great typist and so not having a working delete key is extremely important. I use iTerm2 and there's a feature that will send ^H for delete. This fixes the issue!

Screen Shot 2021-12-19 at 6.21.37 AM.png
 
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neonclash

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Aug 10, 2015
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I'm trying to clear up some confusion in the hopes of using a couple of MD12xx enclosures I can get for cheap to create a zfs-ha setup. MD32 would be nice but I don't feel like locking myself to Dell drives or 512b sectors. I'm not interested in split mode, what I want is full multipath to all disks in the chain from two head nodes.

It seems that the MD12 controllers with MD firmware do not support multipath HA/shared SAS, at least officially. StraFFeR asked a question about a setup like this, and ArakniD answered that it works for them with a SC220 and a MD12 using SCSI reservations, just like zfs-ha does. But on the zfs-ha issue tracker, there are two different problems using MD12 enclosures, and on Reddit there are some that say it's doable and others that seem to show it's not. Some other searching suggests that it can't be done.

I want to know with certainty whether this topology works and is stable, what caveats it would have, and whether I would have to flash Compellent firmware onto the MD12 EMMs for it. If I can't make it work, I will probably try to find some D2600/D2700 enclosures instead.

Edit: added another link to a problem thread in this configuration.
 
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vcbb10

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Nov 24, 2020
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I bought an MD1200 today that I'll be playing with soon. I also bought the password reset cable and a Perc H810 that I plan to use to update the firmware on the MD1200 (or use the password reset cable). After that I'll follow Fohdeesha's guide to flash it to IT mode. Is it best to have the host PC (Dell r720) connected with the password reset cable and just send the "set_speed 20" command on boot to quiet down the fans?
 
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neonclash

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Aug 10, 2015
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So I got a MD1200 today, and promptly bricked the EMM trying to upload 1.06 via xmodem in minicom. No idea why it didn't work, but I have 2 more on the way. If they're also running older firmware, what's the least error-prone way of upgrading them on Linux if sg_write_buffer doesn't work?

I can only see the DesignWare bootloader output. DesignWare seems to be the vendor for the IP core of the FPGA. Will I need a NOR flasher or JTAG debugger to fix it, or is the bootloader at all able to get to the other slots?
 
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frogtech

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Honestly? The least error prone way is to use some sort of Dell enclosure that can interact with the shelf itself, like a VRTX or some other Dell server like an R6x0/R7x0 series with an external HBA installed and cabled up to it. You would be able to go into iDRAC and view connected enclosures and update it that way. In my case, I believe the bricking was because I didn't let the update process fully complete when I pulled power/the module. Which is a problem because I don't think doing it via a terminal/console cable gives completely up to date flashing-status/progress information.
 

neonclash

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Aug 10, 2015
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Honestly? The least error prone way is to use some sort of Dell enclosure that can interact with the shelf itself, like a VRTX or some other Dell server like an R6x0/R7x0 series with an external HBA installed and cabled up to it. You would be able to go into iDRAC and view connected enclosures and update it that way. In my case, I believe the bricking was because I didn't let the update process fully complete when I pulled power/the module. Which is a problem because I don't think doing it via a terminal/console cable gives completely up to date flashing-status/progress information.
Yeah, I figured as much. I've got a R720, and a pair of H830s arrived today, so I should be able to use those. The internal RAID doesn't show anything in iDRAC for attached drives, will the external one also ignore the enclosure in HBA mode? Even if so, I think I can still use sg_write_buffer like I mentioned.
 

frogtech

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That's odd. The raid controller should show attached discs under the Physical Disks section.

If you connect the H830 to the MD1200, it should identify the enclosure and the physical disks.

Maybe I'm way off base here.
 

neonclash

New Member
Aug 10, 2015
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That's odd. The raid controller should show attached discs under the Physical Disks section.

If you connect the H830 to the MD1200, it should identify the enclosure and the physical disks.

Maybe I'm way off base here.
I'll take a look once I get the new EMMs, but this is what I see currently:
1641842462700.png

It's because the internal card is in IT mode. The H830 doesn't support being reflashed, but it does have a "HBA mode". No way to see if it works properly, or if it also prevents iDRAC from seeing the enclosure and drives, without a working enclosure :confused:
 

frogtech

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If the EMMs are failed, and you have the H830 cabled to them, I would assume that's why it doesn't show anything. The EMMs have 2 LEDs on them, one is the standard power/status LED, and the other is an LED that's directly next to the ports that light up when the cable is connected. If it isn't lit up, I assume that's why it doesn't show anything. So it's either that, or I'm just wrong.
 

vcbb10

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Nov 24, 2020
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Well, my "MD1200" arrived today. I put that in quotes because they actually sent me a Dell r720 instead. I'm debating whether to return it or not, it's a pretty good price for an r720.

Anyway, eBay doesn't seem to have a great deal on the MD1200 at the moment, but, I found an SC200 for $200. Are there really any major differences between the two when using as a JBOD to an LSI IT mode controller? Also, does anyone know if the trays for the SC200 and MD1200 are interchangeable? I know the front bezel is different, other than that they look identical from the pictures I've seen.
 

neb50

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Aug 28, 2018
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Well, my "MD1200" arrived today. I put that in quotes because they actually sent me a Dell r720 instead. I'm debating whether to return it or not, it's a pretty good price for an r720.

Anyway, eBay doesn't seem to have a great deal on the MD1200 at the moment, but, I found an SC200 for $200. Are there really any major differences between the two when using as a JBOD to an LSI IT mode controller? Also, does anyone know if the trays for the SC200 and MD1200 are interchangeable? I know the front bezel is different, other than that they look identical from the pictures I've seen.
The SC220 trays were not compatible with Dell R720 2.5" drive trays, so the 3.5" ones in the SC200 may not be either.
 

frogtech

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Jan 4, 2016
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Well, my "MD1200" arrived today. I put that in quotes because they actually sent me a Dell r720 instead. I'm debating whether to return it or not, it's a pretty good price for an r720.

Anyway, eBay doesn't seem to have a great deal on the MD1200 at the moment, but, I found an SC200 for $200. Are there really any major differences between the two when using as a JBOD to an LSI IT mode controller? Also, does anyone know if the trays for the SC200 and MD1200 are interchangeable? I know the front bezel is different, other than that they look identical from the pictures I've seen.
I'd probably keep the 720, since you can turn the fan speed down with IPMI instead of having to keep the console cable connected all the time to the 1200 to access the command line.

I have a couple of MD1220s I need to sell if interested, though, I see you've been specifically saying 1200 so not sure if you're looking for LFF or SFF.
 

vcbb10

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Nov 24, 2020
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I have an r720 already, was looking to expand the storage. This one is a SFF (no trays... It needs 8), 2x E5-2620 v2 (6 core), 64gb 1600mhz ram, PERC H800, H310 mini, iDRAC 7 Enterprise. For $210, I may just keep it.

I went ahead and ordered the SC200. I need the LFF version and this was $200 with the trays. I already bought 12 trays for the MD1200 I ordered too, so I may sell those or see if they fit in the SC200 (out of curiosity). Back to waiting on shipping.