Author Topic: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts  (Read 1428 times)

caddywhompus

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Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« on: February 02, 2009, 04:53:53 pm »
OK, I went home from work on Friday and spent nearly the entire weekend trying to setup a LMCE network.  I wish I could say I was watching TV right now, but I'm not.

At a couple points, I actually had it installed and working, but I couldn't get any stability out of it.  Video was hanging intermittantly and network shares were only sometimes available, which I attributed to a bad NIC card.

I believe my problems are all hardware related so I've been working that side of the problem.  Everytime I make a major change I do a clean reinstall so everything is fresh.  As of this morning I still don't have a working CORE.  In fact, I'm stealing my neigbors WIFI to write this.

Here's where I've been:
First setup, Dual PIII 1.4 server with 1GB and GeForce 5200.  Onboard NIC for WAN, and added a pci NIC for LAN.  Added a Firewire card for 1TB external storage.  Also added a PVR-500 for TV and a USB 2.0 card for future upgrades.  This machine installed OK but I had to mess around with the network settings a lot to get things working.  Once it was up and running, the internal network keep dropping.  I tried 4 different brand NIC cards, (Linksys, 3Com, Realtek and Dlink) with the same results, and also tried swapping roles (LAN/WAN) without success.  I removed the USB and Firewire cards to debug IRQ conflicts, and swapped the NIC into every available PCI slot.  The best I ever acheived was buggy, inconsistant networking.  Many of my changes didn't even get that much.

So I got frustrated and started a new system.  Figured the above must have had a buggy motherboard or something.  The new system was an old machine a buddy gave me, completely different architecture.  It's a AMD Sempron 3000 on an Asus motherboard with 768MB of ram.  The nice thing is this machine has onboard SATA II, so I dropped in a brand new 500GB sata drive.  I disabled the primary IDE in the BIOS and installed a brand new DVD-RW on the secondary IDE as master.  I no longer need the PCI firewire or USB cards, as those ports are available on the backplane.  So the only cards I've added are an additional NIC, a GeForce 5200 AGP, and the PVR-500.  Pretty straigtforward right?

Nope.  This machine won't install.  I can't get the AV-Wizard screen to come up.  I'm using the VGA connector with a standard LCD monitor.  The install runs fine, reboots, first-run scripts run and networks are detected correctly, then right when the AV-Wiz is supposed to come up, black screen.  I tried swapping the 5200 for a 5500 with the same results.  (The 5200 is the same card used above which installed sucessfully several times)  I also ran memory test for 5 hours yesterday with all passes.  What is interesting is that if I reboot the machine, X will start and bring up the LMCE launch manager but it can't generate the on-screen orbiter. (Error about transparency manager not running)  I attribute this to it not completing the installation configuration.

I'm open to any ideas at this point.  I really want this to work, I love the idea if a single home server solution.  I could go back to my original setup which was a Clarkconnect gateway and a MythDora backend, but it's just more hardware to run, more shares to manage.  Give me a hand please!

-Jimmy

itsmeok

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 05:31:24 pm »
Are you trying with User Interface 1 (UI1) in the AVwizard ?

caddywhompus

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 05:36:01 pm »
On the first machine, I was using UI2 without a problem.

On the second machine I can't get the AV-wizard at all.

caddywhompus

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 05:40:12 pm »
BTW I'm using the DVD-DL install of 7.10 downloaded last week.

caddywhompus

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2009, 05:57:55 pm »
I can't believe I'm asking this, but would I have better luck with 8.10 alpha?  I guess it's worth a try, I've got nothing to lose.

eNoodle

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2009, 06:00:45 pm »
Nope.  This machine won't install.  I can't get the AV-Wizard screen to come up.  I'm using the VGA connector with a standard LCD monitor.  The install runs fine, reboots, first-run scripts run and networks are detected correctly, then right when the AV-Wiz is supposed to come up, black screen.  I tried swapping the 5200 for a 5500 with the same results.  (The 5200 is the same card used above which installed sucessfully several times)  I also ran memory test for 5 hours yesterday with all passes.  What is interesting is that if I reboot the machine, X will start and bring up the LMCE launch manager but it can't generate the on-screen orbiter. (Error about transparency manager not running)  I attribute this to it not completing the installation configuration.

Have you tried installing the latest nvidia drivers? Have a look here and try to install it: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Display_Drivers#NVidia_Chipsets

After installing the driver you can also run nvidia-xconfig to get an autogenerated xorg.conf. If you modify xorg.conf and LMCE changes your xorg.conf, add an "exit" to /usr/pluto/bin/X-CleanupVideo.sh, as described here: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Display_Drivers#LinuxMCE_keeps_reconfiguring_my_display_settings

eNoodle

caddywhompus

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2009, 07:32:55 pm »
Have you tried installing the latest nvidia drivers? Have a look here and try to install it: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Display_Drivers#NVidia_Chipsets

After installing the driver you can also run nvidia-xconfig to get an autogenerated xorg.conf. If you modify xorg.conf and LMCE changes your xorg.conf, add an "exit" to /usr/pluto/bin/X-CleanupVideo.sh, as described here: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Display_Drivers#LinuxMCE_keeps_reconfiguring_my_display_settings

eNoodle
No, I guess I can give it a try later.  My concern is that if the installation gets interupted, and I have to apply a fix like that, then when I reboot will LMCE run the right scripts to continue setting everything up?

krys

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2009, 09:01:45 pm »
just throwing this out there, but if the second machine is more than say 4 years old you might be running into the same problem I had once. It was similar in that I got a black screen right when the AV wizard was supposed to load. Long story short, I was using the VGA out on the Mobo and an LCD monitor. The only way I ever got it to work was by using a CRT monitor. I know this sounds crazy but its true, I hooked up a spare CRT and BAM it showed right up, got the system up and running and just for the hell of it I tried hooking the LCD back up once I knew the system was functioning properly and right back to the black screen. Never know, this could be your problem as well.
/2cents

caddywhompus

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2009, 09:54:28 pm »
just throwing this out there, but if the second machine is more than say 4 years old you might be running into the same problem I had once. It was similar in that I got a black screen right when the AV wizard was supposed to load. Long story short, I was using the VGA out on the Mobo and an LCD monitor. The only way I ever got it to work was by using a CRT monitor. I know this sounds crazy but its true, I hooked up a spare CRT and BAM it showed right up, got the system up and running and just for the hell of it I tried hooking the LCD back up once I knew the system was functioning properly and right back to the black screen. Never know, this could be your problem as well.
/2cents
I appreciate the tip, and in fact I did sort of discover what you are talking about.  After the install, and reboot, when the KDE system loader loads (the part with the blue progress bar) it incorrectly detected too high of a monitor resolution and my LCD displayed "Out of Range" while the graphical loader was being displayed.  This would cause the monitor to turn off after a few seconds.  Once the graphical loader went away, and the text load continued the monitor would wake back up.  At the end of the text scripts, when the AV-wiz is supposed to come up, that's when I get the black screen.  The monitor is still on and awake, and the system is still running, just no display.  And the keyboard shortcuts (1,2,3,4...etc.) to select the card's output do nothing.  The keyboard doesn't respons to anything, even CTRL+ALT+DEL.

The machine I'm using DOES have onboard graphics, but it automatically gets disabled in the BIOS when an AGP card is installed.  I'm using the AGP GeForce 5200, and it has only a vga and s-video connection.

krys

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2009, 10:08:29 pm »
Have you tried hitting the number keys 1-5, one at a time. You will hear a beep right when you hit the key. wait about 10 seconds if nothing happens move to the next number. Or you can look on the wiki to determine which number represents VGA and just try that one.

you will have to make sure that your computer is in the AV wizard (even if the display is off) the best way to do this if you dont hear the audible beeps that tell you your in the AV wizard is to just start smashing the shift key as soon as you boot.

caddywhompus

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2009, 03:50:49 pm »
Have you tried hitting the number keys 1-5, one at a time. You will hear a beep right when you hit the key. wait about 10 seconds if nothing happens move to the next number. Or you can look on the wiki to determine which number represents VGA and just try that one.

you will have to make sure that your computer is in the AV wizard (even if the display is off) the best way to do this if you dont hear the audible beeps that tell you your in the AV wizard is to just start smashing the shift key as soon as you boot.
I'm pretty sure it was hanging up before getting to the AV wizard.  I did try the number keys and the shift button as read in the wiki, but nothing ever happened.  No beeps.

caddywhompus

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2009, 04:00:32 pm »
Finally success!

Here's what worked (I have no idea why):

I pulled the Geforce from the system, and plugged the monitor into the onboard video (crappy SiS graphics).  The I rebooted, and viola the AV-wiz came up.  I set the resolution and selected the basic UI, which got me into the Launch Manager.  Once I got into the launch manager, I activated the orbiter, and told the system to re-run the setup wizard (since it never ran) and spent some time with Sarah.  Then a reboot, and another orbiter regen, and everything was up and running.

Now I could have left it just like that, but I really wanted the GeForce card to work so I could use the S-video output.  So I shut it down, and put the GeForce back in just to see what would happen.  IT WORKED.  The system rebooted back into the basic UI, and I went back to the launch manager and told it to "change resolution" which prompts another reboot and another run thru the AV-wiz.  I went into the AV-wiz and reselected the same resolution but this time I activated the S-video output, and set the UI to OpenGL w/blending.  Now another regen of the orbiter, and bam everything is working beautiful.

Now I have no idea why the system wouldn't 1st boot with the GeForce installed, nor why it worked once I tricked it into booting without it.  But I'm not complaining.  Hopefully this information is useful to someone, I saw a lot of posts about black screen during install when I STF for this problem.

Thanks for the help guys,

posde

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 04:07:32 pm »
you might want to update the Display Driver page in the wiki.

Zaerc

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 04:13:30 pm »
you might want to update the Display Driver page in the wiki.
Please don't.
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caddywhompus

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Re: Pulling my hair out after a weekend of failed attempts
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2009, 05:51:20 pm »
you might want to update the Display Driver page in the wiki.
Please don't.
I wouldn't think of it.  To me, this was a fluke, and hardly something that should be added to the wiki.  I think having it documented in the forums is probably good enough, as anyone with a similar issues would (hopefully) find it by searching.