Archive for NanoLab

NanoLab – Part 8 – Quick Tip for Blank Screen on vPro Intel NUC

Just a very quick tip for an annoying issue I have experienced with my Intel NUC DC53427HYE and never quite found the time to look into it and find a proper fix, that is until a recent twitter conversation! Kudos and many thanks to Frank Brix Pedersen and Mads Fog Albrechtslund for finding the solution and an EU reseller, and Frank for testing and posting it on his blog site.

If you have a vPro NUC and dont connect it permanently to a screen, then when you next connect to it via the vPro remote KVM interface, you get nothing but a blank black screen.

Link to Franks post is here which explains the symptoms and fix in detail:
http://www.vfrank.org/2015/04/28/running-the-intel-nuc-headless-with-vmware-esxi/

Frank has the NUC5i5MYHE model, but the fault looks identical to the issue I have been seeing so I will be following his post and purchasing a Fit Headless dongle from Tiny Green PC for £12 (and a rather ripoff £12 postage cost unfortunately, but there don’t seem to be any other UK suppliers). It is also available from opencompany.dk for others in the EU.

I will update this post once I have tested it on the DC53427HYE!

 

NanoLab – Part 7 – VMware vSphere 6 on Intel NUC

Just one quick bit of good news relating to the recent vSphere 6 announcements… during the beta I tested the Intel 82579V adapter which comes as standard in the original generation of Intel NUCs, and found that it works out of the box in vSphere 6! Superb!

That means no more messing around with VIBs, you just install ESXi and start creating VMs!

There are a significant number of people in the community now using Intel NUC machines in their home labs for their low noise, power utilisation and cost. This may indicate VMware endeavouring to get more behind the home labbing community!

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I will post more on this when vSphere goes GA. Hopefully this support won’t change between now and then, as I believe it may have once or twice in the past…

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For more info on these brilliant devices, see other posts in this series: Intel NUC NanoLab

NanoLab – Part 6 – Keeping Your NUCs Cool (Quick Tip)

Just a very quick tip I discovered this weekend.

If you are using your Intel NUCs with any anger, they will likely run reasonably hot to the touch and typically you would just place them horizontally on a surface as per the pictures above. For optimum performance and lifespan, we all know it’s always important to keep your NUCs as cool as possible!

The NUCs are also designed to be mounted vertically on the back of a monitor/stand/wall/desk or similar, using the VESA mount. What I didn’t realise is that whether mounted or not, if you run them on their side, they seem to actually maintain lower temperatures.

I’m not sure if the same would apply for the newer generation of NUCs with the 2.5″ drive cages, which also have small vents down the side, but it certainly works on the standard models.

Vertical running of NUCs

Vertical running of NUCs

This seems to work pretty well for me, but as always, I take no responsibility if your NUC explodes with the fire of a thousand suns!

That is all.

NanoLab – Part 5 – Intel NUC BIOS Update Issues FwUpdateFullBuffer

Having taken delivery of a new Intel NUC D34010WYKH this week, I followed the usual (and Intel recommended process) of upgrading the firmware / BIOS to the latest version. As it happens, this was version 0030 (WY0030.BIO). This was installed using the standard USB with a .BIO file, and press F7 method as there was obviously no OS installed.

Unfortunately having installed this version, building and booting the ESXi host, I was getting some very strange network issues. Specifically no DHCP address being picked by the host, but a manual IP would ping intermittently (around 10-15% of the time). Not good. In addition there were some very odd behaviours observed in the BIOS such as not booting from USB consistently, hanging when I hit ctrl-alt-del and others.

My guess was that this was a firmware related issue, so I decided to roll it back to an earlier version. I started with 0026 by installing the firmware using the same F7 method above. This is when I got an error message which stated FwUpdateFullBuffer followed by several numbers (no screenshot I’m afraid). At this point, the firmware update bombed out. Really not good!

Repeating the activity only achieved the same result, even with different firmware versions and install methods (such as a bootable USB drive with FreeDOS and iFlash2.exe).

After a bit of searching I found the following BIOS recovery mode instructions for situations when you have a screwed up BIOS:

  1. Copy the recovery file (*.bio) to a bootable USB device.
  2. Plug the USB device into a USB port of the target Intel NUC.
  3. Shut down the computer and unplug AC power.
    jumper
  4. Open the chassis and remove the yellow BIOS Configuration Jumper. See the Technical Product Specification for the location of this jumper.
  5. Power the system on.
  6. Wait 2-5 minutes for the update to complete.

    Intel NUC BIOS Recovery from 0030 to 0025

    Intel NUC BIOS Recovery from 0030 to 0025

  7. The computer will either turn off when the recovery process is completed or it will prompt you to turn off the computer.
  8. Remove the USB device from the USB port.
  9. Replace the BIOS Configuration Jumper.
  10. Restart the computer.

Following the above, I have updated my Intel NUC D34010WYKH to version 0025 and have found it to be reasonably stable so far, and definitely works with ESXi.

Obviously follow any of the above suggestions at your own risk. I cannot be held responsible if your NUC becomes a BRICK, but hopefully this will save people some time and frustration, as this was several hours of messing around in my case!

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