Replacing a failed CD-ROM in a Sun Ultra 60

The CD-ROM drive in the Sun Ultra 60 that I recently picked up from ebay lasted long enough to get an initial install of Solaris 10 installed, and then the tray refused to stay closed. I picked up a replacement used DVD drive from www.anysystem.com

It came with free plastic ducks. Yay!

One thing I’ve noticed is that used retro computer gear is often shipped with far more care and with better packing than new gear – good job on the packing anysystem.com:


Here’s a side view of what the Sun Service Manual for the Sun Ultra 60 calls the ‘Removable Media Assembly’, or RMA:

Here’s the front view before removing the face plate:

The front plate is removed by squeezing the left and right sides then it pops off. Remove the screws seen here on the front left and right:

… and then the whole RMA section slides out:

Undo the 2 screws on the left and right of the CD-ROM drive, remove the cables at the back and then slide it out of the assembly. Here’s the CD drive out, and the new DVD drive inserted:

RMA pushed back into place and front plate re-attached. Done!

NVRAM replaced in Sun Ultra 60, but no longer booting

I picked up a “new” (new old stock most likely since I don’t think these chips are still manufactured, and haven’t been for 10+ years) NVRAM timekeeper chip since the one in the Sun Ultra 60 I picked up cheap on ebay was dead. Luckily it seems to still have charge and is keeping the host id and mac address values between power off/on, so that’s great.

To reprogram the hostid and mac address that are stored in the NVRAM memory, following the guide here which seems to be the definite source for reprogramming Sun NVRAMs, I used the following steps to reconfigure the new chip. The value of 80 on line 2 is the machine type for Ultra models:

1 0 mkp
80 1 mkp
8 2 mkp
0 3 mkp
20 4 mkp
c0 5 mkp
ff 6 mkp
ee 7 mkp
0 8 mkp
0 9 mkp
0 a mkp
0 b mkp
c0 c mkp
ff d mkp
ee e mkp
0 f 0 do i idprom@ xor loop f mkp

The odd thing now is I’m running into this issue that I didn’t see before:


I’m not going to type in all this text so it’s searchable, but here’s the text for almost the same error (same issue, different version of Solaris perhaps?) :

Hardware watchdog enabled svc.configd: smf(5) database integrity check of:    
/etc/svc/repository.db
failed. The database might be damaged or a media error might have prevented it from being verified. Additional information useful to your service provider is in:
/etc/svc/volatile/db_errors
The system will not be able to boot until you have restored a working database. svc.startd(1M) will provide a sulogin(1M) prompt for recovery purposes. The command:
/lib/svc/bin/restore_repository
can be run to restore a backup version of your repository. See
http://sun.com/msg/SMF-8000-MY for more information.
Requesting System Maintenance Mode
svc.configd exited with status 102 (database initialization failure)

If I could get to a single user logon prompt then I could follow these instructions to repair, but the above error is just looping continuously, so I’m unable to do the repair.

When I first installed Solaris 10 from CDs, I got through the first couple of disks and then the cd drive would just eject any disk inserted, and won’t stay closed. I managed to complete the install by copying across ISO disk images and completing the install from those.

Since I can’t get a physical install cd to stay in the drive, I’m not sure I can boot recovery, so I’m kinda stuck. I think it’s time to pick up a replacement cdrom drive (might as well get a dvd drive) otherwise I’m kinda stuck in the water with this machine at this point.