Hardware hacks – Dell PowerEdge 750 / PowerVault 745N
I picked up a board labeled “PowerEdge 750″ for 99 cents because the seller “couldn’t get it to recognize any peripherals”. It turns out that it was the motherboard from a PowerVault 745N, which uses the same hardware, but a different BIOS that disables the floppy, CD-ROM, and onboard SATA ports.
I poked around in the BIOS flash utility and discovered it has a large number of undocumented command-line switches, one of which is /BRANDNAME, which brings up a menu where you can select whether the motherboard is for a PE750 or a PV745N.
After that, it was just a matter of finding a way to get the flash utility to run on that motherboard, which is difficult when none of the peripherals are enabled. I wound up installing an Adaptec 39160 SCSI card with an old 2GB drive on it, and copying the flash utility to that drive. The board is happy in its new life as a PE750.
Also, Dell’s “asset.com” utility has a number of additional functions which are not described in the online help. Here’s the complete list of what’s available:
ASSET — Version 2.09 (C) Copyright 1993-2004 Dell Inc.
ASSET new_asset_tag Specify new asset tag
ASSET /d Delete asset tag
ASSET /o new_owner_tag Specify new owner tag (if applicable)
ASSET /o /d Delete owner tag (if applicable)
ASSET /? This help screen
ASSET /s new_service_tag Specify new service tag
ASSET /s /d Delete service tag
ASSET /b Specify new system board tag
system board tag must be “ssssssssssssssssssss-vvv-”, where
s..s is the 20 digit system board Part number string,
vvv is the 3 digit system board rev,
– is a don’t care character, but must be present
ASSET /b /d Delete system board tag
ASSET /k Fix 2000:0000 memory issue
ASSET /f [other_options] Force Affirmative response
ASSET /x [other options] eXtended display – displays all tags
Everything past the “This help screen” is undocumented.