Fixing the flashing red alert light on an Altus 1600 SS

Top view of the Altus 1600 server with top panel removed

Don’t know how many of them are still out there, but my school had a couple of Penguin Computing Altus 1600 SS 1U servers when I arrived. One was offline and the other was being used as a sendmail/dovecot email system. They might have come shipped with Fedora back in the day. I setup the offline line one with RAID1 and put CentOS 5.4 on it. It is doing some DNS and Apache serving for us.

It was still barely on the support contract at the time with Penguin Computing so I was able to get some semi-recent BIOS and controller updates¬† (July 2008). Since that time, have really been on my own. The server is older and I can’t blame them for not doing anything further with it. It has been running great actually and there has only been one annoyance. The flashing red warning light on the front of the chassis. The light has been blinking for at least a year.

After multiple resets and looks into the IPMI logs in BIOS, there were always intrusion detection errors. I would clear them and not open the chassis, but still get the errors in the BIOS. I guessed the red flashing had to be related to that and if I could disable the intrusion detection sensor, my annoying red light would cease. When I was moving the server room rack locations, I decided to solve this once and for all.

Sliding the top cover back and off, you will see an intrusion switch/sensor towards the rear near the power supply. Here are a couple of shots of it. I did this ‘hot’ (i.e. while the server was running) but don’t do that.

Side view of intrusion detection switch/sensor on the Altus 1600
Another side view of intrusion sensor on the Altus 1600

You can wiggle the body of that senor free and disconnect the wires that lead to the jumpers on the motherboard. This will nix the sensor feeding a bad result to the BIOS. If you have the server on when you do this (not recommended!) you will see the front bezel red warning light stop.

The pulled intrusion detection sensor from the Altus 1600

With the faulty sensor yanked, and the warning light dark, it was time to move on to better things.

Flashing red light no more!