HP DL180 G6

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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Hey all,

Been a lurker for a while, finally got around to posting my first post.

There is about a year old thread about this server here, but I didn't want to necro something that old, so I figured I'd start a new one. I hope this is the right subforum for it (this is where the original HL DL180 thread was).

I just ordered this server with dual Xeon L5640's, 64gigs of RAM and the 3x PCIe riser.

This may ahve been a mistake, as just after ordering I came across the many noise complaints, especially sicne the 8 fans max out at 14k rpm whenever a PCIe card is installed, and there is no way to disable this. At 18W per fan, thats 144W of power used, in addition to the noise.

It is going in my basement, so I didn't think noise would be a problem, until I saw this video measuring it at over 100db (!?) At that noise level I'll probably hear it from the basement when I'm on the second floor!

Anyway, so I am going to have to do somethign about that. I am considering unplugging the fans from the motherboard header, replacing them, and controlling RPM manually, but I'm not sure how the server will behave. Will it throw a fit and refuse to boot due to "fan failure" or can I do this?

Appreciate any input!

Thanks,
Matt
 

PigLover

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Jan 26, 2011
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HP servers do have annoying behavior when using "unsupported" cards.

HP's energy management software is actually quite sophisticated. They call it "sea of sensors" and they basically integrate the environmental sensors from every card and try to run the fans efficiently. As long as you only install cards their BIOS recognizes it all works really well, the fans settle down nicely and the DL180 G6 will run very quietly. Not living room quiet by any means but certainly quiet enough to run in your basement.

Unfortunately, "sea of sensors" is also quite closed. There are no controls. There is no way to add information about other cards, etc. So - if you plug in a card it does not recognize they go to default behaviors and spin up the fans to annoying levels in order to keep the card they are not getting any sensor feedback from cool. If, for example, you plug in an M1015 HBA (LSI 9201) then "sea of sensors" has no idea about its environmental status and it ramps up the fans to pretty high levels assuming it needs airflow. Kinda sucks.

So - as long as you stay with cards "expected" to run on a DL180 G6 then it should be pretty quiet. If you use anything else then it may be too loud even in your basement. Of course the "supported" raid cards (P400/P410) are pretty much shit unless you are running real SAS drives. I ended up getting rid of all of my HP G6 servers pretty much because of this problem (had 2x DL180 and a DL380 - notice that I was a pretty active poster in that older thread discussing them).

ps - I even tried using "newer" HP branded HBAs (H222, basically an LSI 9208 4e4i in HP clothing). This card is not recognized by the G6 bios because it is only "supported" in G7/G8 chassis - again - loud fans.
 

Diavuno

Active Member
Pig is spot on!
The 180 is living room quiet... With no pcie cards... But as he said, not so when you install a hp card, deafening with a card hp doesn't approve.

I am not near my 180 thus second... But I seem to recall it hanging on boot with fan mods, but I was pressing F1 to skip.
I could be wrong I work on too many boxes!
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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Thank you both for your input!

Pig is spot on!
The 180 is living room quiet... With no pcie cards... But as he said, not so when you install a hp card, deafening with a card hp doesn't approve.

I am not near my 180 thus second... But I seem to recall it hanging on boot with fan mods, but I was pressing F1 to skip.
I could be wrong I work on too many boxes!
I am going to try a fan mod and see what happens. I need all four PCIe slots for unapproved cards, so I am anticipating it sounding like a dreamliner.

I already spent good money on this thing, so I am going to have to make it work.

Maybe if I replace the fans with something manual, I can feed a rpm signal back to the fan header on the motherboard and trick it into working without errors.

My plan right now is to replace the 8 fans with 4 60mm quieter fans, and one of those fan controllers with thermal probes. I know I wont get core temps that way, but by doing some tests and measuring the correlation between the thermal probe readings and the measured core temps I should be able to come up with a reasonable offset, Certainly not something I'd recommend for a production server, but for my all in one home router/firewall/NAS/MythTV box uptime isn't quite as critical.
 

PigLover

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Jan 26, 2011
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You'll definitely need something to fake the RPM sensor. If the BIOS fan control software is trying to get the fans running at 10,000RPM and the sensor comes back slower it will raise fan fail alarms. If it gets multiple fan fail alarms it will shut down.
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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You'll definitely need something to fake the RPM sensor. If the BIOS fan control software is trying to get the fans running at 10,000RPM and the sensor comes back slower it will raise fan fail alarms. If it gets multiple fan fail alarms it will shut down.
And I assume there is no way to disable this behavior?
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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Wonderful.

I obviously should have done my research better. I've never liked nanny-platforms :(
 

Marsh

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May 12, 2013
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I have two HP DL180 G6, both HP units has 8 fans in each chassis. I posted my fan mod to the HP in the forum. Post and pictures swallowed by the Dell C6100 crash and it is missing. I couldn't find the pictures in my local computer as well.
I'll try to described with plain text, although one picture is worth a whole lot more than my text.
The fan mod is disable 4 or 6 fans out of 8 in the HP chassis. To fool the fan sensor and HP bios, I connected the running fan RPM sensor the the empty ( non running fan).
By sending RPM signal to 4 non-running fan, effectively, I am using 4 fans ( sometimes 2 fans ) making it less noisy.
If I could find the pictures tonight, I'll post the pictures.
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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I have two HP DL180 G6, both HP units has 8 fans in each chassis. I posted my fan mod to the HP in the forum. Post and pictures swallowed by the Dell C6100 crash and it is missing. I couldn't find the pictures in my local computer as well.
I'll try to described with plain text, although one picture is worth a whole lot more than my text.
The fan mod is disable 4 or 6 fans out of 8 in the HP chassis. To fool the fan sensor and HP bios, I connected the running fan RPM sensor the the empty ( non running fan).
By sending RPM signal to 4 non-running fan, effectively, I am using 4 fans ( sometimes 2 fans ) making it less noisy.
If I could find the pictures tonight, I'll post the pictures.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing. I would be interested in those pictures if you do locate them.

Don't even 4 (or 2) of these little turbines running full bore at 14k rpm make a significant amount of noise? Is the difference really that noteable?

I wonder if I could replace the fans with third party fans and an a controller, and just keep one of them to feed the signal to all the motherboard headers.

Maybe I could even make that one fan almost silent by removing the fan blades, and just reduce it to a spinning shaft serving as a tachometer to fool the motherboard....
 

Marsh

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May 12, 2013
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With 2 fans, I could put the HP 15 feet away from my desk and it won't bother me.
With 4 fans, I put the machine in next room with door open, I could stand the noise.

Still looking for the picture,
For me, it is a cheap hack, I spent around 6 bucks for the fan connectors, and the fan hack is easily reversible. No wire was cut.
10 Pcs 2510 Pitch 2 54mm 6 Pin Female Connector with 26AWG 300mm Leads Cable | eBay

I made the adapters , connect the rpm sensor together to 1 working fan, disconnect power to unused fan.
Took around 1/2 hour after researching the problem.
 

Marsh

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Found the fan mod adapter pictures, pm me with your email address, I'll send pictures to your way.
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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With 2 fans, I could put the HP 15 feet away from my desk and it won't bother me.
With 4 fans, I put the machine in next room with door open, I could stand the noise.
Thank you.

For reference, do you use any "non approved" PCIe devices? In other words, is your forced into eternal 14krpm mode, or are the fans running more slowly?
 

Marsh

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May 12, 2013
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I am using a HP P212 raid controller and a Mellanox Connectx-2 IB network card.
I don't remember seeing the fan running at 14k rpm, more like 10k rpm for my machine.
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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Thank you for the info.

Here are Marsh's pictures.

Click for full size:


Click for full size:
So, for this, I gathered you used this info from the serverworks thread?

6-Pin Fan connector. Can't find official pinouts.

Connector is 6-pin Molex 2510 A. Readily available. Example here: 2510 2 54mm 6 Pin JST Connector Plug w Wire x 5 Sets | eBay

On the female connector, with the pins down and the guide-tabs facing you Pin #1 is on your left:




Fans are assumed to be installed in duplex redundant pairs - back-to-back fans. "Inlet" is fan facing the front of the chassis pulling air through the drive cage and blowing into the other fan. "Outlet" is the rear fan of the pair and blows out into the chassis.

Pin #1 is Outlet sense (blue)
Pin #2 is pwm control (yellow, both fans tied together)
Pin #3 is Inlet sense (blue)
Pin #4 is Inlet power (red, 12v)
Pin #5 is gnd (both fans tied together)
Pin #6 is Outlet power (red, 12v)

HP uses a splitter to connect the fan headers to the duplex fans. Its HP 534358-001/536646-001 (both PNs are correct - one is for original, the other is the replacement PN).If you can find them it would be quite simple to replace the male end of each split with a standard 4-pin fan connector so that you can use standard fans.


So you are connecting the RPM readout from the working fan to the RPM inputs (pin 1 and pin 3) of the others.

Do you ever have any issues where the server wants to spin the fans at different speeds, and gets the wrong RPM information back, and complains about it (fan failure, shutdown)?
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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If anyone else tries this, rather than cutting into the blue wire on the original harness, one can use a wire tap that doesn't significantly damage the wire (I used these a few years back, when installing a 3rd party GPS/NAV stereo head unit in my car). I might also solder the joints and cover them with some heat shrink sleeving just to make sure everything is nice and secure.
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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I also have a question unrelated to the fan issue.

I plan on running ESXi on this server, with a M1015 controller flashed with LSI IT firmware forwarded to my FreeNAS guest hooked up to the backplane for my ZFS volume.

Is it possible to run a sata cable from the on-board controller to a drive tray for any drives I don't want to be forwarded to the the FreeNAS guest?
 

Marsh

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May 12, 2013
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I used a paper clip to remove all the unwanted wires out of the molex connector.
Wire gauge is not critical, for it only carries fan rpm signal.
 

mattlach

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Aug 1, 2014
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I am actually considering getting an Arduino and writing a small program to take care of the fan problem.

My concept right now consists of two sides. One Fan emulator side that pulls the PWM duty cycle from the motherboard, and computes what the RPM signal the motherboard is expecting should be and sends it back, thus satisying th emotherboard from a "fan failure" perspective.

The other side would be a fan controller with three temperature sensors (one on the base of each CPU, and one sampling in case air) and sends out PWM signals to the existing fans to control them.

Never done anything liek this before, but I ahve been told Arduinos are easy to work with, so I figured I'd give it a try.

I'd use one of the many existing fan controllers, but I can't find any with automatic temperature control and PWM output on more than one channel. The voltage control models won't work as the fans in the DL180 pull too much wattage. (well, the Gelid Speedtouch6 could support them, but you can't adjust the target temp on it, which means it is pretty much useless for this application)

I'll let you guys know how I make out!