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Module System Controller[edit]

A sub system in SGI Onyx2 / Origin 2000 systems.

Much like the L1 Controller in later Silicon Graphics systems.

The MSC itself it the small one line screen, CD-ROM drive and Key Switch.

The MSC Console is a serial port on the chasis of SGI Onyx2 and SGI Origin 2000 systems that starts earlier than the main serial console and has more limited but lower level features than the main serial console in the IO6. It is always running when the system breaker is turned on, even if the rest of the system is powered down.

DIP Switch Settings[edit]

Behind the faceplate of the MSC is a bank of DIP switches that control various modes. Some of these settings can be overridden with PROM settings. The faceplate is removed by pressing a recessed tab from the top of faceplate, and rotating it downward. On a deskside system the front plastic skins panel will need to be removed first.

SW bits 1-0: Boot Diagnostics Testing Level

00: Normal diagnostics
01: No diagnostics (fast boot)
10: Heavy diagnostics
11: Manufacturing diagnostics

SW bit 2: Diagnostic Output Level

0: Normal information level
1: Information level set to verbose

SW bit 5: Default Environment

0: Use PROM environment variables and NVRAM settings
1: Ignore PROM environment and NVRAM and use factory default settings

Serial Parameters[edit]

Baud:          9600
Bits:          8
Parity:        None
Stop Bits:     1
Flow Control:  None


With a serial terminal connected, pressing Ctrl-t brings up the MSC> prompt. The prompt must be brought each time a command will be entered. Successfully entered commands will return ok. Queries (for example fan) will return ok and the return value. Possible error codes:

err perm    No permission to run the command.  Enter Supervisor mode with the pas command first.
err cmd     Invalid command.
err arg     Invalid argument.

List of commands:

clr         Resets all MSC options to their power-on defaults. This includes echo mode, no heartbeats, and so forth.

ech 0       Turns off echoing as MSC commands are entered; what you type does not appear onscreen.
ech 1       Turns on echoing. You see what you type.
ech         Toggles the echoing.  (Echoing is on by default after the system is reset.)

fan         Checks the speed of the fans. The command displays an n if the fans are operating at a normal speed, and
            an h if the fans are operating at a high speed. Note that the MSC automatically switches the fan speed to high
            if one of the fans fails or if the ambient air temperature is too high.
fan n       Sets the fans to run at normal speed.
fan h       Sets the fans to run at high speed.

nmi         Sends a hardware nonmaskable interrupt (NMI) to the system.

pas xxxx    Enters Supervisor mode; xxxx is the four-character password for your system. The default password is “none”.
pas s xxxx  Sets the password to xxxx. Note that the password must be exactly 4 characters long.

pwr         Queries the system power state.  Returns u if the power is on and d if the power is off.
pwr u       Turns on system power.
pwr d       Turns off system power.
pwr d N     Waits N seconds and then powers off the system. N is a hexadecimal value from 5 to 258 (5 to 600 decimal).
pwr c N     Waits N seconds and then powers on the system. N is a hexadecimal value from 5 to 258 (5 to 600 decimal).

rst         Sends a hardware reset to the system.

sel         Displays which CPU is currently selected to receive MSC input. Prints none if no CPU is selected.
sel auto    The last CPU to have output anything is automatically selected to receive MSC input (this is the power-on default).
sel cpu     Selects the CPU to receive input from the MSC. Anything typed on the MSC that is not an escaped command is
            sent through to the selected CPU. CPUs are named by node and slice. For example, sel 1a selects CPU A in node 1
            for input, and sel 2b selects CPU B in node 2.

see         No CPU is selected to receive MSC input.
see cpu     Discards output from all CPUs other than a specific CPU (ordinarily, the output from all CPUs is displayed
            intermixed by line). CPUs are named by module and slice. For example, see 2a shows only CPU 2A's output.
see all     Displays output from all CPUs (this is the power-on default).

tmp         Displays n, h, or o, indicating whether the system is running at a normal temperature, high temperature, or
            seriously over-temperature (with a system shutdown impending).

ver         Reports the MSC firmware revision number.

See Also[edit]