Flashing Quanta / DCS C1100 servers…
I was beginning to get fed up with all the issues with the ancient BIOS and BMC firmware on my C1100/CS24-TY/QSSC-S99K’s the other day.
These being of the custom type (Quanta / DCS rebrand) it has turned out to be a hard finding BIOS and BMC firmware that will flash, but I finally came across a solution that worked for me.
Flashing them turned out to be quite easy actually, just need to know the right way to trick it
There are a lot of posts on the Dell forum about how (at least some versions of) the Dell BIOS and BMC can brick these Quanta/DCS C1100’s. But it’s apparently possible to recover from these bad flashes.
Proceed with caution and at own risk!
- Download the bios from Dell’s site and load it onto an USB Stick configured to boot a DOS prompt.
(make sure the usb-stick isn’t too big, can cause issues)
- Once booted from the USB-stick and at the DOS prompt, make a backup of your current BIOS:
AFUDOS <yourbiosname>.ROM /O
- Then update the BIOS with the new version:
AFUDOS <NEWROM NAME>.ROM /P /B /K /X
This is almost the same command-string the included F.BAT runs, except the /X switch that overrides the ROM check.
You might get a warning (I did) saying:
CMOS Layout difference between System ROM and ROM File has detected.
AFU recommend adding /C commands of your original input commands.
(The actual message, no typos by me)
Pressing “F” here lets us continue with the switches we defined and should work just fine.
- After successfully flashing, reboot the server, it will during this reboot, reset itself a few times to complete updating bios components.
- The BIOS will complain about settings and wanting to load BIOS defaults usually.
(This will also reset your BMC/IPMI config)
- Should you end up having a bad BIOS flash, there is apparently a way to recover by setting a series of jumpers. Instructions are in this topic: PowerEdge C1100 dead in the water… – Cloud – Forum – Cloud – Dell Community
This one was a bit trickier, but not too hard ither.
- In a hex editor (I used HxD), open the .bin file for the BMC downloaded from Dell and delete/cut everything before 0x250 and pad the file with FF at the end until it’s the exact size as the original file and save.
- Copy the modified firmware and the socflash utility that came with the firmware in a folder on the usb-stick used to update the BIOS.
- Once booted from the USB-stick and at the DOS prompt again, navigate(cd) to the folder you put the firmware and socflash utility in and make a backup of your current BMC:
- Then update the BMC firmware with your modified file:
SOCFLASH cs=2 option=fc if=<yourmodifiedfw>.bin
- After SOCFLASH completes, both the blue and orange BMC lights at the front should be lit.
- Wait 1 or 2 minutes.
- You will know if the flash was successful if the fans shut down and turn on (then gradually spins back down again) just like when turning on/powering the server.
- The blue and orange lights will also turn off, and you should be able to access the BMC web interface again.
(Tho you most likely will have to reconfigure it in BIOS again, I had to).
- If the flashing was not successful, the blue and orange lights will stay lit, but you will still be booted to DOS, so you can reflash the old backup firmware immediately.
If you turn off the server and the BMC was flashed incorrectly, the power button will not turn the server on.
However, these instructions should get you up and running again (apparently even if the orange light is not blinking): Dell C1100: How to update BIOS and BMC to the latest version. – Cloud – Forum – Cloud – Dell Community
There are several reports of people bricking these trying to update the BIOS and BMC.
There might differences even between the Quanta/DCS C1100s that prevent these steps from working.
Proceed with caution and at own risk!
I uploaded a package containing the BIOS (3B23), modified BMC (1.86) and the HP tool to make the USB-boot:
USE AT OWN RISK!
I AM NOT TO BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ISSUES YOU MAY ENCOUNTER USING THIS PACKAGE!