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NIC blows up 10 February 2001
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When I was writing the Build world on your fast box, install on your slow box article, the 486 box stopped working.  During the make install, it panic'd and rebooted.  After that, I couldn't reboot the box.  It kept failing with:

Mounting root from ufs:/dev/ad0s1a
/: bad dir ino 2 at offset 0: mangled entry
panic: ufs_dirbad: bad dir

syncing disks.... 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1..etc
giving up on 1 buffers

I found no joy in the mailing lists, so I decided it was time to upgrade the box.   This 486 box was my original FreeBSD box.   It had started on 2.2.7 and was in the process of being upgraded from 4.1-STABLE to 4.2-STABLE when it died.  Over the previous few weeks, I had had several unexplained overnight reboots.  Often during the nightly processing.  I concluded there was a hardware problem and that hardware replacment was a good idea.

The 486 is now a Cyrix 6x86 (120 MHz) with 64 MB of RAM.  That's quite an improvement over a 486 with 16 MB.

In the past someone had donated me a motherboard with the above new CPU.  I used the RAM from my old NT workstation (which was also recently upgraded because of hardware failure).  When I opened the box, I found that the one of the two NICs had scorch marks and one of the chips had exploded.  I have no idea when this happened.  I don't recall any burning smell.  The card didn't smell burnt to me (yes, I did sniff the NIC...).

The pictures
nic1-thumb.jpg (4801 bytes) The NIC
nic2-thumb.jpg (5238 bytes) The blown chip.
nic3-thumb.jpg (6047 bytes) Different angle.

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