Subject: Re: Using a bare Sparc 2 (no video board)
To: Rick Copeland <>
From: Todd Vierling <tv@NetBSD.ORG>
List: port-sparc
Date: 04/22/1998 22:13:32
On Wed, 22 Apr 1998, Rick Copeland wrote:

: I have got a Sun Sparc2 without a video board and missing the NVram.  Is it
: possible to use the Sparc2 in this condition somehow? I know that the serial
: port can be used with a terminal but does it (the Sparc 2) have to have a
: NVram to run?

If the nvram chip is *missing*, you need to get one.  Without it, the Sun
will not be able to set its Ethernet address or hostid.

If it's just a dead battery, you can run it (though a power-cycle will make
you reset it again).  Here's a quick way to do it from the "new command
mode" (ok) prompt: 

ok setenv diag-switch? false
ok 0 f mkp
ok 8 0 20 AA BB CC AABBCC mkpl
ok boot

where AA, BB, CC are your choice for the last three octets of the Ethernet
address (and, incidentally, hostid), and ^D^R is Ctrl-D Ctrl-R.  You should
*NOT* see a copyright message after the mkpl command; if you do, repeat the
steps.  This is, in fact, exactly how I boot my SS2, as I still have been
too cheap to buy a replacement NVRAM with a working battery.  Another hint: 
You can hit BREAK during the very slow memory test before you get to the
first boot prompt if you want a faster way to the prompt. 

A longer description of how this works (starting over from a blank NVRAM) is
available at the URL:

(Hm.  I wonder how many times I'll rehash this info before the NetBSD
port-sparc archives becomes #1 on AltaVista for a "sun NVRAM" search?  :)

-- Todd Vierling (Personal; Bus.