Unidentified Whistle

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by spm, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. spm

    spm Guest

    I have recently inherited support for a new client's SBS, and have a
    strange issue...

    Server is a Dell PowerEdge 1800 with a Dell CERC SATA 1.6.6ch RAID
    controller, running RAID5 with three disks (no hot spare) for a total
    of 300GB storage, split into two partitions: an 8GB system partition -
    drive letter C - and a second partition - with drive letter W - of
    around 290GB.

    Having been firefighting issues from the undersized system partition
    and moved off everything I can, the time has come to re-size it to 30GB
    (space being taken by resizing and moving the other partition). Took
    two full images of each partition (using Acronis TrueImage Enterprise),
    verifed all the images, and started an offline re-partitioning using
    GParted (from a Parted Magic build).

    Started by resizing/moving the W partition, which GPartEd estimated
    would take up to 24 hours. Yuk. About an hour into this (just before I
    was leaving site), the Dell box started emitting a constant,
    fixed-pitch whistle. The re-partitioning seemed to continue OK, but not
    only was the whistle a worry and an interference to work, but the box
    is in the owner's home and would have prevented the family from
    sleeping. I had no choice but to kill the re-partitioning, with a view
    to restoring backup images to newwly created, suitably-sized partitions.

    The whistle stopped on powering down (naturally), but now recurs under
    predictable, reproducible circumstances: on boot-up, the whistle starts
    precisely as the "LSI Logic MPT BIOS" banner appears on screen and
    lasts for around 30-40 seconds up until the moment the OS startes
    booting (whether that be SBS on the RAID array, or a CD-based boot OS).
    This is the exact behaviour on every boot up.

    Has anyone any experience of anything similar, or can shed some light
    (or plausible theories) on this?

    I am of course mindful of a hardware issue, but have not come across a
    sound quite like this one. In the meantime, I have a restore of the W
    drive in progress - it has another 8 hours to run, apparently - just in
    case the server will continue to be useable. A call to Dell is in the
    pipeline, but as the Easter break has started now here in the UK, this
    is going to have to wait a while.
     
    spm, Mar 20, 2008
    #1
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  2. Capacitors will Whistle in a HIGH Pitch when going bad.
    So it's probably either the Power supply or Motherboard.
    Or on your controller card

    From your Description I'd look at your Controller card first..
    However I can be anywhere because of Power Load Differences.

    If this is under warranty Call DELL

    I searched the net and found a picture of what bad capacitors look like
    Bulging or leaking is something you are looking for.
    http://www.jebswebsite.com/misc_pics/ibm_mobo_capacitors.jpg
    http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/8/84/PSU_Caps.jpg

    I hope this helps
    I had a TV that did this until it warmed up. (DROVE me nuts.)

    Russ

    --

    SBITS.Biz
    Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
    Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist.
    MCP, MCPS, MCNPS, (MCP-SBS)
    North America Remote SBS2003 Support - http://www.SBITS.Biz
    Information on Small Business Server 2008 - http://www.sbs2008.com
    Information on Essentials Business Server - http://www.ebs2008.com



    -
     
    Russ \(SBITS.Biz\), Mar 20, 2008
    #2
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  3. spm

    Al Williams Guest

    Sure it's not a RAID controller alarm? Check the status of your RAID
    arrays. The LSI Logic MPT BIOS sounds like a RAID BIOS - hit the needed key
    to go into it on boot and have a look.
     
    Al Williams, Mar 20, 2008
    #3
  4. spm

    PaulK Guest

    Dell fans kick into over-drive at certain points during startup, sometimes
    when the server is working hard or the room gets hot - I've heard PC
    fans/power supplies make some crazy sounds when they're failing.

    I had a hard drive go out on a Compaq server a few years ago; it started by
    making a squeeling sound when it was spun up, shortly after was screaming all
    the time.

    I'd pop the case and try to find the source.
     
    PaulK, Mar 20, 2008
    #4
  5. In Defense of the Poweredge 1800 the one I have two years Ago I think
    Is the quietist server I've ever had, Quieter than my PC.

    But yes when it starts up it sounds like a JET aircraft taking off.

    :)

    You can check the FANS on Dell Open Manager program

    Russ

    --

    SBITS.Biz
    Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
    Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist.
    MCP, MCPS, MCNPS, (MCP-SBS)
    North America Remote SBS2003 Support - http://www.SBITS.Biz
    Information on Small Business Server 2008 - http://www.sbs2008.com
    Information on Essentials Business Server - http://www.ebs2008.com



    -
     
    Russ \(SBITS.Biz\), Mar 20, 2008
    #5
  6. spm

    spm Guest

    Thanks, but it isn't the fans. The fans have a very distinctive noise
    and they do kick in briefly at boot up. In fact, this customer reported
    extended fan noise a coup,e of weeks ago, and I had him clean out the
    (apparently 1cm thick) layer of dust from the inside of the grill and
    that seemed to have done the trick.

    This whistle is complettly different, and it does occur at a very well
    defined stage of the boot process, as I described.

    Thanks also to Russ and Alan for their input - I will get in the case
    to see what I can find, but trhe client is some distance away, and he
    will be leaving for a week's holiday over the weekend, with the
    intention to shut down his server while he's away. I'll report back
    here with more info when I can. Right now, I'm waiting to see if the
    restore will complete OK and get him up and running, for a while at
    least.
     
    spm, Mar 20, 2008
    #6
  7. spm

    Duncan McC Guest

    I'll go with Al, and suspect the RAID s/w alarm.

    I can't agree with Russ this time, caps that go bad on computers don't
    whistle as described - they *do* whistle on TVs, so I'll agree with you
    there Russ - though usually it's the LOPTE (which I've found was due to
    a cap and/or transistors back up the line) - I used to fix the things,
    TV's that is. The voltages on yer mobo should never drive a cap to
    whistling - though yep, they certainly can fail - a reasonably good way
    to tell is to see if they've bulged out on the top of them.
     
    Duncan McC, Mar 21, 2008
    #7
  8. spm

    spm Guest

    Thanks Duncan. As of now, the restore is complete and the server is up
    and running, albeit with an eseutil repair still in progress on the
    Exchange mailstore.

    The whistle seems gone, for now at least. A few reboots and nothing
    amiss. I'll open up the box when the client returns from holiday and
    see if I can find anything. Other than that, there doesn't seem much
    more I can do in the emantime.
     
    spm, Mar 21, 2008
    #8
  9. Well I'm not saying that's 100% the answer. Laugh.

    Just an Idea... :)

    Russ

    --

    SBITS.Biz
    Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
    Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist.
    MCP, MCPS, MCNPS, (MCP-SBS)
    North America Remote SBS2003 Support - http://www.SBITS.Biz
    Information on Small Business Server 2008 - http://www.sbs2008.com
    Information on Essentials Business Server - http://www.ebs2008.com



    -
     
    Russ \(SBITS.Biz\), Mar 21, 2008
    #9
  10. That's my thought too. These alarms are LOUD--quite enough to keep folks
    from sleeping. They can be difficult to find the right spot to turn off,
    too. It can be done both from the bios and from management software on OS
    boot. I am somewhat surprised that it turns off on boot, however--unless
    this was a pre-existing issue and someone had set it up to be silenced on OS
    boot? I'm not sure how I would do that.


     
    Bill Sanderson, Mar 22, 2008
    #10
  11. My point is that the sound is loud enough to sound like something is wrong
    other than annoying?

    Oh well hopefully it's something he can fix either way...

    :)

    Russ

    --

    SBITS.Biz
    Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
    Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist.
    MCP, MCPS, MCNPS, (MCP-SBS)
    North America Remote SBS2003 Support - http://www.SBITS.Biz
    Information on Small Business Server 2008 - http://www.sbs2008.com
    Information on Essentials Business Server - http://www.ebs2008.com



    -

     
    Russ \(SBITS.Biz\), Mar 22, 2008
    #11
  12. IME Dell RAID alarms are 'beeps' rather than 'whistles'.'BEEP, pause, BEEP,
    pause, etc...' rather than 'wwwwhhhhhiiiisssstttllleeee...'

    I lodged a complaint with Dell a few (many) months ago though when they, in
    their infinite wisdom, suddenly decided to not cause 'almost painful,
    piercingly annoying' alarms from their RAID devices. I consider it funny
    that I am in the minority, Dell turned off alarms due to majority customer
    request. Recent Dell systems _do not have_ the $0.05 piezzo alarm, but
    there's still space on the board for it, and on most the PCB 'tracks' still
    exist.

    RAID alarms should be near 'the threshold of pain', about 130dB.
     
    SuperGumby [SBS MVP], Mar 24, 2008
    #12
  13. spm

    Plinio Branquinho

    Joined:
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    This happened to me . In my case the whistle RAID controller triggered . This was because one SCSI disk are corrupted . The solution was to run RAID manager at startup, replace the disk and rebuild it.

    Regards.
    Plinio Branquinho
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2015
    Plinio Branquinho, Feb 13, 2015
    #13
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