C H A P T E R  7

Diagnostics Overview

This chapter describes some diagnostic tools. This chapter contains the following topics:

7.1 Diagnostic Tools Available

The Sun Ultra 45 and Ultra 25 Workstations Service and Diagnostics Manual uses displayed messages, system sounds, flowcharts, and firmware and software diagnostic tools to help you locate and identify workstation malfunctions.

TABLE 7-1 Diagnostic Tools Sorted by Tool Type

Diagnostic Tool

Type of Tool

What the Tool Does

How to Use the Tool

System LEDs


Shows status of system or of a specific component.

For information on system power and Ethernet LEDs, see LED Diagnostics.

System sounds


Single beep indicates keyboard connection when the system boots. Continuous beeping indicates a stuck key on the keyboard.

If continuous beeping, disconnect and reconnect keyboard. Inspect for stuck keys, or replace.

Solaris 10 Predictive Self-Healing


Runtime diagnostics program that monitors system errors and reports any hardware needing replacement.

Use Predictive Self-Healing first to diagnose the workstation.

See: Predictive Self-Healing Overview.

Solaris 10 Operating System


Commands display system information.

Commands iostat, prtdiag, prtconf, netstat, ping, ps, and prstat are run with superuser privileges. See Traditional Solaris Troubleshooting Commands.



Contains properties and flags to configure system and diagnostic tests.

The setenv command typed at the ok prompt or the eeprom command in a terminal window can configure the OpenBoot PROM for diagnostics and automatic execution of scripts. See NVRAM.

POST diagnostics


Tests workstation core components such as CPU and memory.

Checks low-level interaction between CPU, caches, memory, JBus, and PCI bridge. Output displayed through serial port. See Power-On Self-Test.

OpenBoot Diagnostics


Tests system motherboard and component interfaces.

Component tests are selected from menu. If component is PCI card with IEEE 1275-compliant Fcode, internal self-test is executed. See OpenBoot Diagnostics.



Exercises and stresses workstation components.

Invoked from the Solaris Operating System. Command-line or GUI user interface. SunVTS must be installed on the system under test. See SunVTS.

7.2 Diagnostic Tests

The Predictive Self-Healing (predictive self-healing tools) is often your first and best tool for diagnostics. Use TABLE 7-2 to determine which diagnostic program to use to troubleshoot a component.

TABLE 7-2 Diagnostics Tools Sorted by Component


Solaris 10 Predictive Self-Healing


OpenBoot Diagnostics



Diagnoses events and prescribes corrective actions.

Tests workstation core components such as CPU and memory.

Diagnoses system motherboard and component interfaces.

Exercises and stresses workstation components.


Complete diagnostics

Performs cache, MMU, CPU, and FPU tests

No testing






Complete diagnostics

Max diag level performs tests including block memory and quick memory tests

No testing



I/O bridge chip

Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

Performs several tests including register tests

No testing

No testing

Flash PROM


Verification of POST portion checksum

Yes. See OpenBoot Diagnostics.


Graphics accelerator

Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

Built-in self test (BIST) only

XVR-100 (pfbtest)

XVR-2500 (graphics test)

PCI card

Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

Built-in self test (BIST) only

Tests available if card has IEEE 1275 self-test

See SunVTS Reference Manual

Hard drive

Complete diagnostics

No testing

Some tests available. See OpenBoot Diagnostics.


DVD-dual drive

Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

No testing





Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

No testing




Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

No testing


(For USB removable media device.)

Keyboard and mouse

Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

No testing


Serial ports*

Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

Used for POST output


Audio ports*

Partial diagnostics, driver dependent

No testing


* More thorough test results are possible with a loopback connector, however these results are not included in this document.

7.2.1 Diagnostics Hierarchy

One approach to diagnostics is shown in FIGURE 7-1 and FIGURE 7-2.

FIGURE 7-1 Diagnostic Method Flow Chart

FIGURE 7-2 Diagnostics Method Flow Chart - Traditional Data Collection

7.3 Power-On Sequence

When you power on the Sun Ultra 45 or Ultra 25 workstation, a series of processes brings the workstation to a user-ready state.

The sequence of power-on events is shown below:

1. User presses the Power button.

2. OpenBoot PROM initiates system power-on reset (SPOR).

3. OpenBoot PROM initiates power-on self-test (POST) (if enabled).

4. OpenBoot PROM loads device drivers.

5. OpenBoot PROM loads workstation configuration from NVRAM.

6. OpenBoot PROM probes PCI bus.

7. OpenBoot PROM loads OpenBoot Diagnostics.

8. OpenBoot PROM loads and executes boot block.

9. Boot block loads and executes bootstrap program.

Note - If the Solaris kernel does not load, you can run diagnostics from the ok prompt

10. Bootstrap loads Solaris kernel.

11. Bus connections and hardware components are probed.

12. init program is loaded and executed.

13. init program reads /etc/inittab.

14. init program starts rc scripts, that read, check, and mount file systems.

15. /etc/vfstab file system is checked and mounted.

16. Additional rc script files are executed.