Home > Dell, Hardware, PC6248, PowerConnect > Recovering a Dell PowerConnect 6248 from bad flash

Recovering a Dell PowerConnect 6248 from bad flash

I took an opportunity to try to get my switches configured for my home lab yesterday – that ended up taking me down a rabbit hole.  It would appear I had the original firmware loaded and the folks I bought the switches from had never upgraded.  As I’ve recently done a number of PowerConnect deployments, I figured this would be a quick effort – upgrade to v2.x then v3.x and go about my day.

Boy was I wrong.

I did manage to get to v2.1.1.4, but upon trying to load up v3.3.3.3, my primary switch indicated that the flash had errors.  So of course, I retried.  This just gave me the same error, just as persistently.   Then I started digging.  In no real particular order, where is what I learned through the day:

  • This is not all that uncommon.  A colleague of mine has had to do this a few times when power failures had corrupted the existing flash.
  • The PC62xx series has a “secret” boot menu, which allows some more direct diagnostics.
  • Through the normal boot menu, you can test and reformat the flash.  Through the “secret” menu, you can perform chkdsk, and recreate the image1/image2 flash area on the disks though.
  • PuTTY, doesn’t have XMODEM.  My heart broke a little when my go-to tool, went.  TeraTerm, however, is a free alternative that works with XMODEM!
  • If you’re connected to the switch at 9600,8,n,1, and trying to upload over XMODEM, you MIGHT want to change the baud to 115,200.  It’s been so long since I did anything serially, that I forgot about this the first time and it took 3.5 hours to upload.  The same colleague (thanks Rick Byrne!) mentioned above also pointed out there is an XMODEM/1K option in TeraTerm that helps make it go faster – ultimately less than 15 minutes.

This link http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/network-switches/f/866/t/19252166.aspx ultimately has a pretty decent walk through of the process on the switch.   These steps include:

  • Power-Cycle and boot into the Boot Code menu
  • Select Option 6 to Run Flash Diagnostics for 123 sectors – takes about 3 minutes, twice.
  • Power-Cycle and boot into the Boot Code menu
  • It will format the flash, and ask you for the MAC and S/T of the switch – which should be on a sticker on the back of the unit.
  • Select Option 30 (not listed) and enter the password “pc62xxkinnick” to gain access to the DevShell
    • Select Option 15 and enter creat(‘image1’,2) with single quotes and no “e” on create.
    • Select Option 15 and enter creat(‘image2’,2) with single quotes and no “e” on create.
  • Power-Cycle and boot into the Boot Code menu
  • Select Option 2 and change the baud rate to 115,200.  Immediately after doing so,  you’ll need to do the same in TeraTerm so that you can continue your session.
  • Select Option 4 to download via XMODEM, and select XMODEM/1K
  • When you see the CKCKCKCK starting at the bottom, click FILE –> TRANSFER –> XMODEM –> SEND.  Check off the 1K radio button at the bottom and select your file.  The console indicates it is waiting for XCODE.BIN – your file can be named as it comes (ie: PC6200v3.3.3.3.stk) as the XCODE.BIN is just what it receives the file as.  When it unpacks it, verifies it and writes it to flash, it names it correctly.
  • When that is complete, at the Boot Menu, select Option 7 to Update Boot Code.  This will do so, and reset the switch(es).  Make sure you reset your term program to 9600 baud, or after it reboots and defaults back to 9600 baud, you will think you have an issue with the switches.

I wish I had some of the screen shots from my failure, as it would let me capture the exact wording so if in the future someone is having a similar option they might find my post.  But via the above, I was able to get the switches up to v3.3.3.3.  Switch 1 still has some issue with Image1 area of the flash, but I can live with that for now.

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Categories: Dell, Hardware, PC6248, PowerConnect
  1. kevin
    June 15, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    I did exactly as above and got error There was an error during decompression…resetting switch. Could you please help?

    • July 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      Kevin:

      Wish I could, this is just something I managed to peice together myself on my own switches. My issue was becuase the flash needed to be reformatted, have you started there?

  2. Tonnie
    July 19, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    I had the issue that someone earlyer messed up the MAC Address while updating the switch, so the MAC Address was changed to 0000.0000.0000.
    on the dell support forums they told me to contact tecnical support, this because the option 6 in the boot menu has been changed to the hidden menu.

    So in the new firmware versions/boot code versions, just go to the hidden ‘option 30’ and type in the password (it is the same) there is the option “Run Flash Diagnostics” located.

  3. Karl Peterson
    July 22, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    This post is one of the most useful things I have ever come across. I was ready to put my fist through a wall before I came across this. You should have access to my email address off this post. Drop me a line. I owe you 20$ paypal

    • July 28, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      Karl:

      That’s very good of you, but I’ll let it get chalked up to karma instead, thanks! Don’t suppose you’d know how I fix a Dell PC8024F with a similar issue? Whenever I try to format the flash, it gets to the end and gives an error, repeats, repeats the error and craps out. Can’t upload any firmware to it to re-write it, as there is no file system for the upload to place it on. Would be great if I could get this thing running!

  4. Sterner
    July 1, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    So glad I found this!!!

    I was stuck on v3.3.6.4 with intermittent disconnects daily and couldn’t upload new firmware even through XMODEM. As Tonnie stated, the flash diag is in the hidden menu on “newer” firmware. Once I formatted the flash on the “bad” switch (stack of two 6248’s), I was able to upload v3.3.10.3 to each switch individually via 1K Xmodem (~20min). No need to pull the stacking cards. I’m using Win2K8 with hyperterm files pulled from Win2K3.

  5. July 28, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    Hi my friend ….thanks fothis helped me out no end….. first time i did it….it installed as image 1…when i creat with the commands for image 1 and 2 it used 06 and then 07x something….the second time around it used 05 and then 06…..and then installed as image 2 both times….like you i couldnt get it to install to image 1….image 1 reports as 0.0.0.0…. I did however update the boot code after the first time…. Did you ever manage to fix the issue of it going into image 2 location…????
    Thanks again for the learning curve.
    G

    • August 25, 2014 at 12:36 AM

      It seems to know to go to the oldest firmware location. I’m sure there’s a way to force it, but I never ended up in a place where I needed to, I’m afraid.

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