The dead HP ML115 – the plot thickens…

So, I’ve now replaced my dead HP ML115 G5 server with one bought on eBay and built a second one from a combination of parts from my original broken one and another bought for a bargain price on eBay.

Once the second ML115 G5 was built, I just thought I’d try the old “broken” motherboard in this new chassis… and lo and behold, it works!

When I previously investigated the problems with my original server, there was no sign of life when powered up. No motherboard LEDs lit, no fans and no response to the on/off switch. So I tested the HP power supply out of the chassis with a couple of hard drives connected and shorting the connectors for the on/off switch. The PSU fan and hard drives span up suggesting the PSU was OK. I then tried an old, spare non-HP ATX PSU I had lying around and this didn’t seem to work either. So my conclusion was that either the motherboard or the chassis wiring was at fault – with the motherboard being my strong suspicion.

Well now I know that the motherboard is OK. The original motherboard works fine in the original chassis with one of the “new” PSUs. I’ve also just tried again with the spare non-HP ATX PSU and it works! So my investigation and testing of the PSU was woefully inadequate.

I suspect that genuine replacement HP PSUs are going to be prohibitively expensive so I’ll either look for a used one on eBay or look at using a non-HP ATX power supply instead (the only downside of the latter being that the HP PSU is a non-standard size – it’s smaller – and so fitting a standard ATX PSU in the chassis needs some minor modifications for additional mounting holes and also leaves a gap between the PSU and the top of the case).

I’m going to have enough HP ML115 G5 servers before I’m done to start my own mini datacentre!

Breathing new life into a Thomson Sky+ HD box

We’ve had a Sky+ HD box for the last 4 years and it has served us well until about a year ago when we started to notice intermittent problems such as not being able to receive certain channels at times, occasional failed recordings and picture break up. This progressively got worse to the point where we could only receive a handful of HD channels and recordings would fail regularly.

After a bit of Google research it became apparent that a major cause of problems with these Thomson DSI8125 Sky+ HD boxes is a failure of the on-board PSU. The numerous capacitors used on the PSU were not of a particularly good quality and are prone to failing over time.

(It’s worth pointing out that I upgraded the stock 320GB hard drive to a new 1TB drive about 2 years ago but from what I’ve read I don’t think this contributed to the problem at all)

Luckily there are repair kits available which allow you to replace the failed capacitors with new, high quality replacements. One supplier of these kits which I’d read good reports about is Satcure. So, I ordered a component kit from them for the very reasonable price of £10.95, found a local electrical repairer to do the upgrade for £20 and we now have a fully functioning and rock solid Sky+ HD box again.