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Faking the fan signal


MihaiT
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Interesting read but just wondering, my not just use the hacked iLo firmware? Using mine now for a few month in AHCI mode with my upgraded E3-1265LV2 45W CPU the fan holds between 10-18% which is perfectly acceptable (at 20C ambient). Only goes into 40% range if maxing out the 4 core CPU with Prime running for a an extended period (testing) when you have to accept the fan will need to be used more.

 

With the official iLo firmware in B120i mode it does go as low as 6% but 10-18% is still vastly superior to the 35+% I was getting in AHCI when the server first came out.

 

As mentioned elsewhere, mine is now on an open stand behind my TV in the lounge and can only hear the fan slightly in a totally silent room now.

Edited by psikey
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Hey,

 

Sorry for the late reply.

Yes, I agree with psikey that it might not be worth the effort to implement the PWM proxy solution when you have the hacked iLo or the (new) official one would satisfy you. I had been starting the project before the iLo hack.

 

You can find the sources here:

http://pastebin.com/s49SWw1A

 

As for the wiring, I detached the PWM pin from the fan connector. I get the PWM signal on a wire by directly attach a single-pin header connector to the motherboard connector. The header connector should be 0.1 inch and thus is slightly bigger than the pin on the mainboard connector but it holds well. The PWM signal from the Arduino is laid on the respective fan connector pin by soldering a pin to the wire from the Arduino and plug this pin into the header connection of the fan connector. My Arduino has 0.1 inch header connector soldered onto it such that I soldered two header connections on the two wires to the Arduino end and simply plugged them onto the Arduino pins (C4 and D0).

 

But simply cutting the PWM wire to the fan and solder wires to/from the Arduino directly would be a more robust solution.

 

I wrote a forum post (in German) about the mod. If it helps, you can find it here:

http://www.hardwareluxx.de/community/f101/hp-proliant-g8-g1610t-g2020t-e3-1220lv2-microserver-963207-51.html#post22026537

 

Cheers

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Thank you neo144!

 

When you guys say hacked iLo firmware, are you referring to the version that was briefly available from the HP ftp server ("CP021718")? This is what I am currently running and it improved on the stock firmware, my fan is now running at 23% for an ambient temp of 22C, but imy office the fan is still noticable at 23% and I'd like to further tune it down to the 6..10% range in idle.

 

Hence I want to replicate neo's PWM proxy solution. I am playing with the layout of a small custom PCB with an ATTiny and two connectors - one to the fan, one from the mainboard - so that it can be plugged between the fan and mainboard leaving the fan cable intact. The microcontroller will be supplied from the +12v fan supply if everything works out.

 

I took a photo of the fan connector today and tried to figure out the spacing from the image. It looks like it is 2x3 pins in 2mm spacing, but I'll need to verify this once I get hold of such a pin header.

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When you guys say hacked iLo firmware, are you referring to the version that was briefly available from the HP ftp server ("CP021718")?

No I don't think so. There was an ilo firmware made briefly available on here, this ilo version (a modified 1.32) was totally non official and dropped fan speeds by 40% when the ilo couldn't detect fan speed (eg in AHCI mode) - this is what psikey is using.

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No I don't think so. There was an ilo firmware made briefly available on here, this ilo version (a modified 1.32) was totally non official and dropped fan speeds by 40% when the ilo couldn't detect fan speed (eg in AHCI mode) - this is what psikey is using.

 

Thanks ad-d! I think that is actually what I am running on my G8. It brought the idle fan speed down to 21%.

 

I got hold of some 3x2 pin headers with 2mm pitch and they fit nicely. The female part needs to have a little of the plastic trimmed off to fit the fan connector on the board.

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Thanks ad-d! I think that is actually what I am running on my G8. It brought the idle fan speed down to 21%.

 

I got hold of some 3x2 pin headers with 2mm pitch and they fit nicely. The female part needs to have a little of the plastic trimmed off to fit the fan connector on the board.

Can you let me know where you got them/do they have a particular part number easy to find elsewhere (I'm in the UK and would want to source some locally than pay huge import costs if you bought yours from a different country).

 

Ps I'm not sure what cp021718 was but cp021719 was an official BIOS update from HP that dropped the fan speeds in AHCI mode, this is totally separate to the ilo though.  Psikey is using the improved official bios from HP combined with the non official ilo 1.32 for even lower fan speeds!

 

Psikey did some very good testing and showed that even with a 45w Xeon CPU fitted to his Gen8 (possibly with turbo turned off can't remember) the fan speeds were sufficient to cool the processor properly (I think it did eventually get a fraction too hot after running 2-3 hours of prime95 abuse but he is using a higher TDP processor than the server was designed for and no-one is ever going to stress the CPU during normal use as much as prime95 does).  Given the results of Psikey's testing it's really annoying that HP haven't set the ilo to officially work the same way or at least dropped the fan speeds a little further, with a supported 35w CPU it should easily handle even constant prime95 abuse without getting too hot at these much reduced fan speeds.

 

From what you wrote I suspect you're only using the improved HP bios and not the adjusted ilo firmware, I suggest you load that as well and you'll probably find that is sufficiently quiet (load this at your own risk obviously but considering the changes you've already stated you're preparing to make I guess you don't mind taking a few risks).  If psikey gets 10% fan speeds when first turned on (up to 18% when the disks heat up) and the B120i raid method starts out at 6% until the disks heat up there's probably very little audible difference between them...  What HDDs are you using in your server?  If you have hot running drives/7200rpm drives then the fans will definitely have to speed up to keep them cool.  If you want it quiet then I hear the WD Reds are quite good or the 5K4000 Hitachi disks I have run cool and quiet.

 

That said I do like have alternatives though so I am still interested where you got the 3x2 pin headers in case I do ever decide to switch the fan :)

 

Maybe a mCubed T-Balancer could be set to do the job you want if you really want to avoid the HP server controlling the fan, that way you can still keep the fan speed low when cool but speed up when the server gets hot, not sure it would be worth it though.

Edited by ad-d
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Hey ad-d,

 

Can you let me know where you got them/do they have a particular part number easy to find elsewhere (I'm in the UK and would want to source some locally than pay huge import costs if you bought yours from a different country).

 

I got them from the German electronics distributor Reichelt (reichelt.de). There is a datasheet in there when you click on "Downloads" which has the exact dimensions.

 

http://www.reichelt.de/Buchsenleisten/MPE-156-3-006/3//index.html?ACTION=3&GROUPID=3221&ARTICLE=119991

http://www.reichelt.de/Stiftleisten/MPE-150-3-006/3//index.html?ACTION=3&GROUPID=3220&ARTICLE=119971

 

The female header is a bit too thick to fit into the connector on the board. I guess if you can find pin headers with 2mm pitch locally, and they are not larger than the ones I linked, they should work.

 

Ps I'm not sure what cp021718 was but cp021719 was an official BIOS update from HP that dropped the fan speeds in AHCI mode, this is totally separate to the ilo though.  Psikey is using the improved official bios from HP combined with the non official ilo 1.32 for even lower fan speeds!

 

Oooh, thanks so much for clearing that up! I was not aware that there were two parts to it.

 

After some searching around, I got hold of a file named iLO4_132_MSGen8.7z which seems to be the iLo version with reduced fan speed. For reference, the sha1sum of the iLO4_1.32_MicroServer.bin image contained in the archive is b19b5142178b46ecfc98aa74fd2b7792dc65b8bd.

 

I just flashed this version and, happily, the fan speed dropped a fair bit! It is now at 17%. I can still hear it, but it is so much better that I can probably live with it. My only worry is that I must remember not to upgrade BIOS or iLo for the time being until (if ever) HP includes those improvements in an official release. But hey, for now I am happy  :)

 

So I probably won't continue working on the custom pcb. For the curious, here is the single-sided pcb layout in the latest revision using an ATTiny13A and 78L05 voltage regulator. In case anyone wants to continue down this path, let me know, I'll be happy to share the kicad files.

 

fJaYZ.jpg

Edited by verbuchseler
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Yes b19b5142178b46ecfc98aa74fd2b7792dc65b8bd is the 'adjusted' ilo with the lower fan speeds, I got auto upgraded from the official HP 1.32 version to 1.40 when I did the intelligent provisioning upgrade to get 2012 R2 drivers on it so that's something to bear in mind.  I don't really use the server much at the moment so I haven't tried the 'adjusted' 1.32 yet, hopefully there will be no issues downgrading from 1.40...  Not quite sure exactly how the intelligent provisioning works (is it mixed in with the ilo so you need 1.40+ for 2012 R2 to show as an available option on the intelligent provisioning OS install page?) but worst case scenario I guess I can set up 2012 R2 whilst running 1.40 then hopefully downgrade ilo once I'm finished installing.

 

thanks for the links to the fan header, nice to have as many options as possible especially if ilo downgrade causes problems for any reason.  Will see what I can find from the UK although €6 inc postage for one of these isn't bad if I can't find elsewhere.

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I haven't tried the 'adjusted' 1.32 yet, hopefully there will be no issues downgrading from 1.40... 

 

I was running iLo 1.40 and downgraded to the unofficial 1.32 without problems, FWIW.

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