Dell Latitude e6400 OpenBSD Drive Issue

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Dell Latitude e6400 OpenBSD Drive Issue

Michael G Workman
Hello,

Shout out to the OpenBSD developers for making a great OS!

I was able to install OpenBSD 6.6 on a Dell Latitude e6400 laptop, with a
USB Install. Sent the dmesg in already.

The installer would not recognize the hard drive, a brand new SSD drive.
The solution to that, from stack exchange, was to change the SATA settings
in BIOS from IRRTL to AHCI, that fixed the problem.

However if my laptop is powered off for a while, the SATA setting changes
back to IRRTL instead of AHCI, very annoying, not sure why the BIOS would
not make my changes persistent. I think it may be a hardware issue, but
just wanted to know if anyone else has encountered this before?

Thanks.

*Michael G. Workman*
(321) 432-9295
[hidden email]
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Re: Dell Latitude e6400 OpenBSD Drive Issue

Otto Moerbeek
On Sun, Feb 09, 2020 at 07:58:25AM -0500, Michael G Workman wrote:

> Hello,
>
> Shout out to the OpenBSD developers for making a great OS!
>
> I was able to install OpenBSD 6.6 on a Dell Latitude e6400 laptop, with a
> USB Install. Sent the dmesg in already.
>
> The installer would not recognize the hard drive, a brand new SSD drive.
> The solution to that, from stack exchange, was to change the SATA settings
> in BIOS from IRRTL to AHCI, that fixed the problem.
>
> However if my laptop is powered off for a while, the SATA setting changes
> back to IRRTL instead of AHCI, very annoying, not sure why the BIOS would
> not make my changes persistent. I think it may be a hardware issue, but
> just wanted to know if anyone else has encountered this before?
>
> Thanks.
>
> *Michael G. Workman*
> (321) 432-9295
> [hidden email]

This sounds like a BIOS backup battery being flat.

        -Otto

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Re: Dell Latitude e6400 OpenBSD Drive Issue

Florian Viehweger
In reply to this post by Michael G Workman
Hello Michael,

> However if my laptop is powered off for a while, the SATA setting
> changes back to IRRTL instead of AHCI, very annoying, not sure why
> the BIOS would not make my changes persistent. I think it may be a
> hardware issue, but just wanted to know if anyone else has
> encountered this before?

try to replace your BIOS battery with a fresh one. Given the age of
your machine, this could be the culprit.

--
greetings,

Florian Viehweger

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Re: Dell Latitude e6400 OpenBSD Drive Issue

Adam Thompson
In reply to this post by Michael G Workman
On 2020-02-09 06:58, Michael G Workman wrote:

> Hello,
>
> Shout out to the OpenBSD developers for making a great OS!
>
> I was able to install OpenBSD 6.6 on a Dell Latitude e6400 laptop, with
> a
> USB Install. Sent the dmesg in already.
>
> The installer would not recognize the hard drive, a brand new SSD
> drive.
> The solution to that, from stack exchange, was to change the SATA
> settings
> in BIOS from IRRTL to AHCI, that fixed the problem.
>
> However if my laptop is powered off for a while, the SATA setting
> changes
> back to IRRTL instead of AHCI, very annoying, not sure why the BIOS
> would
> not make my changes persistent. I think it may be a hardware issue, but
> just wanted to know if anyone else has encountered this before?
>
> Thanks.
>
> *Michael G. Workman*
> (321) 432-9295
> [hidden email]

I have run several laptops from that series with OpenBSD.  The other
replies are correct, your BIOS battery is dead.  Unfortunately, on many
of the Latitudes, the BIOS battery is of the variety that's embedded in
the RTC chip, and is not separately replaceable.
Some, however, including - the 6430 for example - have a regular coin
cell, albeit wrapped in a proprietary cover with a non-standard
connector, but at least is *is* replaceable without insane amounts of
work.
I have the owner's manuals for many of the 6400 series, email me
directly if you can't find the guide to replacing parts for your
particular model.
-Adam

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Re: Dell Latitude e6400 OpenBSD Drive Issue

Michael G Workman
Ok, thanks for the info.

*Michael G. Workman*
(321) 432-9295
[hidden email]



On Sun, Feb 9, 2020 at 4:47 PM Adam Thompson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2020-02-09 06:58, Michael G Workman wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > Shout out to the OpenBSD developers for making a great OS!
> >
> > I was able to install OpenBSD 6.6 on a Dell Latitude e6400 laptop, with
> > a
> > USB Install. Sent the dmesg in already.
> >
> > The installer would not recognize the hard drive, a brand new SSD
> > drive.
> > The solution to that, from stack exchange, was to change the SATA
> > settings
> > in BIOS from IRRTL to AHCI, that fixed the problem.
> >
> > However if my laptop is powered off for a while, the SATA setting
> > changes
> > back to IRRTL instead of AHCI, very annoying, not sure why the BIOS
> > would
> > not make my changes persistent. I think it may be a hardware issue, but
> > just wanted to know if anyone else has encountered this before?
> >
> > Thanks.
> >
> > *Michael G. Workman*
> > (321) 432-9295
> > [hidden email]
>
> I have run several laptops from that series with OpenBSD.  The other
> replies are correct, your BIOS battery is dead.  Unfortunately, on many
> of the Latitudes, the BIOS battery is of the variety that's embedded in
> the RTC chip, and is not separately replaceable.
> Some, however, including - the 6430 for example - have a regular coin
> cell, albeit wrapped in a proprietary cover with a non-standard
> connector, but at least is *is* replaceable without insane amounts of
> work.
> I have the owner's manuals for many of the 6400 series, email me
> directly if you can't find the guide to replacing parts for your
> particular model.
> -Adam
>
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Re: Dell Latitude e6400 OpenBSD Drive Issue

Adam Thompson
On 2020-02-10 09:36, Michael G Workman wrote:
> Ok, thanks for the info.

For your E6400, see this guide:
https://www.parts-people.com/blog/2012/10/16/dell-latitude-e6420-cmos-battery-removal-and-installation/

I found E6400 CMOS batteries from multiple vendors on the first page of
Google results, most around US$10.  The only recommendation I can give
is that I've used Parts-People.com in the past, no complaints with them.

Make sure you get the right replacement - check if your battery is
2-wire or 3-wire *before* ordering a replacement - many of the listings
don't worry about such minor details, grrrr.

The older the Latitude, the harder it is to open, but even an E6400 is
pretty easy, even if you've never opened up a laptop before.

Good luck,
-Adam

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Re: Dell Latitude e6400 OpenBSD Drive Issue

Aaron Mason
On Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 3:04 AM Adam Thompson <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> [SNIP]
>
> The older the Latitude, the harder it is to open, but even an E6400 is
> pretty easy, even if you've never opened up a laptop before.

Yes.  The E6400 and E6410 were favourites of mine, with a single
spring-mounted screw and a slide clip holding the bottom in place.
The E6420 with its eleventy billion screws on the base (none held in
place with anything) was a major step backwards, but still easier than
many business-grade laptops I'd seen.

>
> Good luck,
> -Adam
>


--
Aaron Mason - Programmer, open source addict
I've taken my software vows - for beta or for worse