SUMMARY - Ethernet hardware problems

From: Bill Morrow (
Date: Fri Oct 23 1992 - 18:57:39 CDT

I asked about repairing a 386i/RR250 which was showing
symptoms of Ethernet hardware failure.

Thanks for the quick responses: (Tim Priddy )
        - has a spare part contract through DEC, so doesn't have to worry
          about these things :)
Kenneth Porter <>
        - blown fuse - good guess, I had checked already.
and the winner: (Kevin Drysdale):

  I recently experienced a problem with a 386i/250 myself. Although it
  wasn't directly related to the ethernet, the solution I found can be
  related to many different failures. I learned from Sun that the NVRAM
  in the 386i is VERY unstable. It has a tendancy to loose some of it's
  values for no reason at all. In our case the NVRAM was loosing data
  because of a weak/dead battery which is built in. Replacing the NVRAM
  fixed the problem.

I followed Kevin's suggestions on checking two NVRAM locations, one of them
was flaky, that is it changed during the boot process. I wrote the correct
to the location prior to booting, and everything seems OK now. Kevin got
his new NVRAM through his service contract with Polaris Service, and
suggested I try Apex (1-800-654-8222).

Does anyone have an alternate sorce for this part, or at least a field
engineer handbook so I can identify it?

Bill Morrow voice: (403) 220-6275
Clinical Neurosciences fax: (403) 283-8770
University of Calgary e-mail:
3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
T2N 4N1

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