I’ll come out and say it, I’m not an expert or a confident user of virtualization and more specifically VMware products. Over the last bit, I’ve taken on a more senior and technical lead position at my job and that involves more to do with the infrastructure side of things and not as much ‘customer facing’. I’ve played around with VMware Workstation and Oracle VirtualBox but I haven’t done a hole lot in regards to ESXi, vCenter and the works.
I needed to ‘pull up my big boy pants’ and start learning as much as I can in the short time frame about our production ESXi cluster, trying to understand the configuration and anything that may be wrong with it.
When my department slowly withered away until it was only me, I’ve heard that our vCenter is broken and that management of the cluster is not possible. Not having VMware support, I was really concerned about this broken system and how it would negatively affect our production and highly critical cluster. I started doing some reading and came to realize that vCenter (VCSA) is only a central mangement feature. Rather than using vSphere client to manage each invidivual node/host, vCenter allows you to manage the hosts all together (in a cluster) and enabled a few features, including High Availability (HA) and vMotion (allowing to move VM’s from host to host without downtime).
Knowing this, I spent any downtime I had reading up about vCenter and VCSA. I looked at different installation methods (Windows vs Linux) the pros and cons of each. vCenter can be installed on top of a Windows installation or it can be configured on a Linux machine and often referred to VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance).
My first question was regarding what vCenter/VCSA can I use with my cluster? Luckly, I came across a page on VMware site that helps identify the version of ESXi and what version of vCenter is compatible.
With that sorted, I downloaded the most recent version of vCenter 6.7U1. I choose to download the Linux installation rather than mess with Windows and use up a license for it.
Now with the .ISO downloaded, I searched high and low to find a good step by step guide on how to complete this install. I already shut down the old vCenter VM that was previously created by our IT staff, which was having issued and filling it’s storage with logs. Rather than try to troubleshoot it, I wanted to start with a fresh install.
I came across this fantastic link that helped me tremendously for setting up and installing my VCSA. The notes and screenshots helped a novice like myself through this process.
As this was a live production setup, I was always fearful of something occurring but unfortunately I don’t have the resources to do it any other way.
Anyways, I felt that I wanted to share this quick post and the link to the site that helped me through this process. Good articles go a long way in helping others out and that is one thing I want to focus with this blog site. To provide good information that I discover or come across.
It feels like it’s been a while since my last post here. A recap from the previous WQHD T430s post, the AUO screen that I received had a light bleed defect in it. It wasn’t a huge problem but for the cost of a new screen, I wanted a display with no defects. I returned the screen and decided to test my luck with the LG LP140QH1SPB1 display.
I was really excited that this time around everything would be smooth like butter. I was wrong.
Let’s start off with the fitment of the LG LP140QH1 SPB1 compared to the AUO B140QAN01.5 panel.
The top mounting points on both panels fit perfectly. Both panels can utilize the factory top screw mounting points without issues.
The bottom two panel mount points on both displays don’t fit but the AUO display is much closer to fitting then the LG panel. Unfortuinately I didn’t take pictures of the AUO display but take my word. With some precision and a dremel, you could slighly widen the AUO bottom mount holes and they should work fine.
The LG display required me to shave off some extra plastic that prevent the panel from sitting flush in the housing.
Let’s look at a few images I took while installing the LG panel.
The first image shows two things. All four mounting points on the bezel housing have two ways of securing the panel in place(see red arrow). The first method is the screw. The second method is a plastic nipple that is right beside the screw point. This nipple helps allign and seat the panel into it’s spot, allowing the screw to be threaded in properly. The AUO panel, each mounting tab has two wholes. The LG panel only has one hole per mount point.
The second issue shown in the first image is marked in the yellow arrow. There was a tiny plastic piece that was used in securing the front display bezel. With that plastic clip, I was unable to lay the display down as it was pushing up against the panel circuit board. I had to remove it and with that out of the way, the circuit board didn’t have pressure on it.
The second image, with the yellow box shows the plastic clip that I had to break off.
The third image shows the usual mounting points (2 securing methods per mount).
The fourth image shows a better angle of the left mount point that was discussed in the first image.
The two images above are of the right side. The right side also presented almost the same problems with seating the panel into the display housing.
The image on the left shows outlined in a red box the plastic nipple that is used for the secondary securing method. This had to be removed also for the panel to sit as flush as possible.
The right image shows the panel sitting much closer to the mount point, with that plastic nipple removed. Sorry about the low quality photos and angles. I do what I can with what I have.
Now that we have the panel sitting properly, I decided to turn on the T430s and see how the panel works. Before we get further into this, I want to make a note that I did turn on the display initially before doing any modifications. The display looked fine but I didn’t test it with anything white open on the screen, which tends to show imperfections I find.
With that laptop loaded into Windows 10, I opened up This PC and was disappointed with my finding.
Looking at the panel with a white background, you can see white marks on the panel in multiple spots. This sucked bad. I went over all the connections and made sure nothing was causing this. I even removed the front display bezel but it didn’t help. This wasn’t an issue of the panel being sandwiched too tight in the housing. It was just another screen defect.
I use the factory Windows 10 dark blue/black background and upon loading up, you wouldn’t notice this instantly. Eventually it would become visible through regular operation.
Well that’s it for now. I shipped the panel back yet again to this other ebay seller. I had a complete refund of the screen (including return shipping fee) and now I’m back to where I started.
I’m concerned about buying the AUO B140QAN01.5 screen and I won’t buy the LG one anymore. I’ve contacted the seller of the AUO screen that I purchased before, asking if they got a new shipment of panels. The response I received:
We’re sorry to tell you that this model screen is new,all have a little light leakage on the middle of the left and right side.
We asked many of our suplier,they all said this screen have this problem.
Thanks for your time and patience.
Have a good day!
Looking at this post here, I may just purchase the AUO B140QAN01.1 and give that a whirl.
As you may recall from my last post here, I am trying to run two Xeon CPUs and a lot of memory, thus I need the HP Redundant fan configuration. I purchased the wrong fan (Part Number: 519740-001), thinking I can use it in the redundant fan slots. As you found out, I discovered HP Part number 513927-B21 / now revised as 519737-001, to be the correct option.
I jumped on ebay and ordered 519737-001 and had it delivered a few days ago. Once I got home from work, I opened up the server and I hoped that the server starrs would all align and my concerns would be nulled.
The fan/server work fine and this should be all I need. Of course I could add the 4th fan for further redundancy, but until these fans get a bit cheaper I’ll hold off.
Below I’ll show you the difference between the 519740-001 ‘System Fan’ and the 519737-001 ‘Redundant Fan’.
As you can see, the difference is quite large between the two. I’m glad I decided to spend a bit more and order the correct fan than to hack up the case and make the other system fan work. The air direction baffle sits properly over the fan/heatsinks so I’m a happy camper.
Last but not least, I fired up the server and was able to get 98,304MB of memory recognized.
The next step for the server is apply the most recent bios firmware to bring the server up to date. I was able to source the HP SPP (2017.04), which was the last SPP with G6 Support.
Now I am still unsure what to do with hard drive and storage. I have a few 2.5″ SAS drives that I could run in there but I’m uncertain what raid controller I should look for. I’ll have to do some more digging into that.
HURRAH! My WQHD AUO B140QAN01.5 screen from china arrived and way before the late May 2018 delivery date!
So it was time to start the T430s WQHD mod. I already have received the RMSMajestic board a few weeks back and I briefly wrote about this planned upgrade in this post.
Before I continue, I want to clarify one thing about the seller. RMSMajestic is a user apparently located in Washington D.C., USA and is a frequent poster on the thinkpads.com site. RMSMajestic is working with a person by the name of Javi-Jie from China and they have come up with this solution. It seems by past post history that this isn’t their first project together.
I gathered the required tools and items and went off to a friend’s place to do this mod.
We started off with stripping the laptop apart. The process that I followed was from the Lenovo Hardware Maintenance guide for the T430s. RMSMajestic also provides instructions to the people that purchased the mod.
The AUO panel arrived extremely well packaged and within a reasonable time frame. I would rate the seller with 10/10 so far. The panel looks to be authentic and not some kind of knock off, that I can tell.
When I was researching panels, I found some AUO panels that had slightly different sticks on the back. Using google images as references and trying to find as much as I can on the AUO B140QAN01.5 panel, I believe I have received an authentic screen.
Next, I’ll show off the actual WQHD mod kit. The reason this kit appealed to me (besides the WQHD upgrade, duh) was due to it being really basic to install and required no soldering at all!!! My x230 ThinkPad with the NitroCaster mod required precise soldering onto the motherboard, something I couldn’t do myself.
Before you do any installing, make sure you apply Kapton tape to the bottom of the WQHD circuit board kit. As this circuit board will rest on top of the motherboard, you want the Kapton tape to help protect the components from any electrostatic charge.
Due to its large range of temperature stability, and its electrical isolation ability, Kapton tape is usually used in electronic manufacturing as an insulation and protection layer on electrostatic sensitive and fragile components
With the goodies out of the way and installed, we started testing.
CAUTION: DO NOT HAVE ANY POWER SOURCE (BATTERY, POWER ADAPTER) ATTACHED TO THE LAPTOP WHILE WORKING ON THIS MOD. MAKE SURE ALL CONNECTIONS ARE SECURED AND FIRMLY SEATED BEFORE TURNING ON THE LAPTOP. FAILURE TO DO SO CAN CAUSE THE SCREEN, FUSE, MOD BOARD TO GET DAMAGED AND FAIL.
I needed to write that in case anybody actually reads this post and thinks about doing this. ANYTIME you are working on electronics, you should disconnect the power from the adapter/battery and press down the power button a few times. This will allow the circuit board to drain the power from the capacitors.
The panel that I received has four mounting points. When installing the screen, only the top two holes lined up perfectly with the T430s display housing. The bottom two holes are 75% visible. Some patience, a dremel and careful work should allow the hole to be slightly widened so that the screws could make their way into the threads. This may not be a huge issue but I prefer for my screen to not flex or move any more then it has to. I’d also like the panel to be fully secured to the housing for a piece of mind.
We made sure to install the new screen panel into the display housing. The screen panel is only being held up by two screws at the top of the case and the front bezel fascia, which snaps in and keeps the screen relatively secure.
Sorry for the poor quality photos, it was dark and lighting was inadequate but we managed! The first photo was a test to make sure the screen, the cabling and everything was properly fastened and working. The second image is with Windows 10 loaded up and the resolution now at 2560×1440! What a friggen improvement over 1600×900!!!
With the taste of 2k resolution, I was now eager to re-assemble the laptop slowly and carefully, being cautious to not damage any of the critical components for the display. One of the challenges with doing mods, is keeping everything looking and feeling as OEM as possible.
Now with everything hooked up, I started figuring out a proper way to run the WWAN and Wireless antenna cables through the magnesium cage. Below are the final photos before re-assembly.
…and that’s about it. I know I didn’t go in depth regarding the actual process to install these components. I figure that if you are wanting to do the WQHD and are into modifying your ThinkPad, you probably should research this as much as you can and feel confident enough to do the work. As mentioned before, the Lenovo Hardware Maintenance Manual is excellent and RMSMajestic/Javi-Jie provide clear enough instructions to help you through this.
Here she is in regular business fashion.
Now if you have a keen eye, you may also notice that on the left side of my screen, towards the bottom portion there appears to be screen light leak.
I’ve informed the eBay seller and hopefully we can get this issue solved. The screen was %100 brand new and if this is a defect, I’d love a replacement. It’s not a huge problem, but my eyes tend to gravitate towards the issue. I have tried to adjust the bezel, thinking it was the problem but it didn’t help. I event went as far as removing the bezel and slightly lifting the screen and the light leak was still there. I would say this is for sure a screen defect.
I will keep this post updated with whatever we determine to do with this issue and screen.
Insert Edit: March 28th 2018: The seller has agreed to ship me a new screen. As they were in the process of testing another AUO 1.5 screen prior to shipping, they discovered their batch of displays all had these kind of defects. So my only option is to ship it back and try to buy from another seller, hoping they didn’t received a defective panel from AUO.
As we close off this post..for now, I’ll upload a few screenshots of windows showing the resolution and the different variations of scaling in Windows 10.
I am currently set at 125% scaling but I could do 100% also. The screenshots go from 100% all the way to Windows 10 recommended, 200%!!!
I hope this helped anybody looking or considering this mod. I think it’s fantastic and I thank RMSMajestic and Javi-Jie for their work and dedication to this project.
If you are interested and want to read further, please see the purchase thread here or the support thread here.
Last night was fun. I thought I have had all the correct parts to upgrade and beef up this server. I was wrong. I ordered the wrong system fan 🙁
There seems to be some confusion and not enough clarity on what fan(s) are required when upgrading this server from a 1-processor to a 2-processor configuration. When I was ordering my parts and covered my server expectations in my initial post here, I never really explained what I was ordering for the server.
I spent a bit of time trying to find ways to cut costs any way I can. I looked at using the HP ML330 G6 heat sinks and the ML330 G6 system fans. I wanted to give it a try as they tend to be a bit cheaper than the ML150 G6 parts but I chickened out. I chickened out because looking at both the ML150 and the ML330, there is a air direction baffle inside both servers that directs the air flow from the front system fans – through the heat sinks – and out the back. The air direction baffle on the ML330 looks at first glance perfect but it appears to have tiny adjustments for the heat sink that is located underneath the baffle.
Either the heat sinks on the ML330 are taller then the heat sink on the ML150 or the air direction baffle is shorter on the ML330 vs the ML150. I didn’t want to experiment so I forked out the money and purchased the following:
ML150 G6 fan also from aliexpress (INCORRECT FAN/Part Number…keep reading!)
The parts arrived and last night I started installing them. The easiest thing to test was the fan and within a moment of trying to install it, I realized it was the incorrect fan. Let me explain what I found.
HP designed the ML150 G6 (unsure about the ML110 or the ML330) with 3 different kind of fans (from what I can see).
Front Main System Fan (519740-001)
Redundant Front System Fan (519737-001)
Rear Case Exhaust system Fan (unknown part number at this time)
Below I’ve attached an outdated chart of what HP recommended for fans. Part number 513927-B21 looks to have been updated to: 519737-001, according to this HP Customer Advisory.
The first and main front system fan is the HP 519740-001. This is a thicker fan and seems to have a grill at the back of it (facing the motherboard).
For the HP ML150 G6 to use redundant/additional system fans, the next part number that needs to be purchased and installed is 519737-001. The aliexpress seller that I listed above identified their fan as 519737-001 but what arrived was another 519740-001. This was unfortunate as it won’t work without some slight case hacking.
You may be wondering, what’s the big deal and why can’t it work? Well that’s what I thought until I tried to install it. When HP designed the spacing for the additional fans, they used a smaller and thinner profile so that the fans will have enough clearance under the airflow baffle.
The first image above on the left shows the HP 519740-001 system fan installed with the air direction baffle installed.
The middle image shows the baffle removed and two front fans exposed. The top fan is the 519740-001 and the bottom fan is 519737-001. Look at the design and difference. It’s not a massive difference but it’s enough to prevent the baffle from fitting.
The far right image shows the system with the 3 fans at the front and one in the rear.
If you try to fit the 519740-001 fan into a slot where 519737-001 should be, the mounting points will be completely off.
Above you can see that I tried to fit the 519740-001 into the other fan slots. The tabs and mounting points do not line up. Thus, the 519740-001 cannot be used (without hacking up the case) in the ML150 G6 as redundant fans.
With all that said, I choose to re-purchase another fan from a seller that correctly identifies the fan being as 519737-001 with the corresponding images.
The 513927-B21 / now revised as 519737-001, can be found at a reasonable price on eBay, if anybody is looking for one.
The reason I keep referring to the incorrect and now clarified and correct part number is to make this as clear as possible for anybody looking at upgrading a HP ML150 G6.
The final system fan is the exhaust fan, at the rear of the case. This is a black fan that does not have any blue housing. You can see it in the system images above.
That was my evening last night. I’m glad I’ve sorted out my confusion and wish there was a more documented or updated list available from HP for this. If not for that customer advisory from HP, I wouldn’t have realized which fan part number is correct for this server.
With all that fan nonsense out of the way, I proceeded to install the new-to-me Intel Xeon E5540’s onto the motherboard with Kryonaut Thermal Grizzly thermal grease and the stock heat sinks.
With the heat sinks installed, I proceeded to re-attach all the motherboard cabling and filled the rest of the memory banks with Kingston kvr1066d3d4r7sk3/24g. This should give me 96 GB of memory.
That’s all I have for now. I’m waiting for the last fan to arrive so that I can power on the server and start slowly configuring it.
Some uncertanty that I have is, what do I do for storage? Right now, I’ve installed three hard drives into the server cage:
HP Enterprise 7200RPM, 250GB HDD (Planned for hypervisor storage)
WD Blue 750GB HDD
2TB Hitachi HDD
I would like to play with a different raid configuration than what comes built onto the motherboard. I am unsure of what RAID controller to purchase or how to approach storing data on here.
I do have a few enterprise grade SSDs that I would like to use with this server so I would need to get SATA 3 operational in the server.
Another future post that I will write about will be regarding updating the HP ML150 G6 Bios/Firmware.
I found a HP ProLiant ML150 G6 Server – Option Parts list. This is a good reference for any upgrades on this server model.
I’ve planned doing this for a while but I just never got around to doing it. Building myself my first homelab with a new to me HP ML150 G6.
I’ve thought about this long and I’ve tried to make sense of why I do in fact need a homelab. Well for a few reasons.
Replicating a lot of stuff I do for work, in a lab will help me grow and learn. Working in a 24/7, 365 day environment is extremely difficult. I need to be able to work on certain projects in my spare time and practice so that I can deploy them in a live environment.
I need more practice and experience with Hypervisors. During my day job, I have access or our Vmware ESXi infrastructure but there really isn’t a whole lot to do in our environment. We do have two other Hypervisor’s in use (Microsoft Hyper-V and Xenserver), which will be decommissioned over the span of a few months and the servers moved onto ESXi.
Building a home network would help me work on skills that I lack in and need to improve on. Working on a proper firewall, such as PFsense or Sophos for home would allow me to step away from the typical consumer grade software/hardware and deal with it on a daily basis at home.
Hosting a game server or two for friends is important for me.
Lastly, I will be preparing to write my CCNA so I’d like to create some kind of working lab (GNS3 or physical) in home home office.
Now as this is my first homelab, I don’t have high standards for the hardware. I know I don’t want a rack or a rack mounted server. I don’t have the space for it. My house is old and small and I need something much smaller. A tower server would suite me well.
Tower server’s tend to be a bit quieter as there is much more air flow, thus the fan’s don’t necessarily need to be extremely fast, powerful nor loud.
I have a friend that was selling a tower server I helped him acquire a year ago. It’s an HP ML150 G6. This is a pretty basic server for me but looks like it will work fine. Looking at the specifications from HP, it was an entry modelunit, so it doesn’t have all the higher end components on it. Not a problem.
HP states that this server can take up to 48GB of memory, with both CPU’s occupied. This is a bit of a bummer as I do plan on having a bunch of Virtual Machines and I don’t like being limited by such an amount. Reading up on the forums regarding this server, many people have been able to surpass the 48GB limit. Reading this, I test installed 6 sticks of DDR3 ECC server memory. I currently only have one processor (Intel Xeon E5504 but I have two E5540’s on the way!) installed so I can only use 6 memory slots of the 12 available.
With 48GB of memory installed in the 6 memory slots, I turned on the server and it fired up as normal. Checking BIOS, it reads the memory just fine. WUNDERBAR!
So now for me to utilize 96GB of memory, I need the following:
2x Intel Xeon E5540 CPU’s
Second HP ML150 G6 Heatsink
Third system fan for the second CPU installation
I ordered all the components and now I’m playing the waiting game for all the items to arrive.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten with the server. With a hectic personal life and a busy work schedule, I don’t have a whole lot of time. This will change soon!
The HP ML150 G6 comes with SATA 2 (3Gbps) speeds. As I would like to run an enterprise Samsunsg SSD or possibly a few SAS drives, I will need to look into a RAID controller which will give me faster drive speeds. This server came with the built in HP Smart array B110i SATA Raid controller, which can do RAID 0, 1, and 10.
So the next step is to look into a storage solution. I don’t want to run an external data store. I need to keep power consumption as limited as possible for the server. I plan to have a few hard drives in a raid fashion, stored inside the server.
For personal data, I do have an older HP EX490 server (not stock) that I use for storing images, videos and personal data. The data is saved and replicated to a total of 4, 2TB drives. It’s a older server but it’s worked great for my needs at home.
That’s about it. It’s time to sign off and get some sleep before digging into deploying Bit Locker at my workplace.
Once the components arrive, I’ll create a follow-up post and will document my journey from start to finish.
I’m a huge ThinkPad supporter. Ever since the purchase of my X220, I’ve fallen in love with these black, basic looking laptops with their red trackpoint.
What’s so great about them? well, let me give you a quick rundown…
Excellent hardware maintenance manuals and support
Easily upgradeable and serviceable
Now they do have some cons about them, but in my opinion the worst one being screen resolution.
I’m writing this in 2018 and some laptops are still deigned and sold with 1366×768 resolution.
I have a few ThinkPads but we will focus on my T430s for the purpose of this post.
The T430s doesn’t have a terrible resolution, being 1600×900 but it could be better. A well known user on ThinkPads.com forum, by the name of RMSMajestic and a partner (Javi-Jie) created a WQHD upgrade kit for the T420s/T430s ThinkPad model.
This upgrade kit does not require any soldering, which is fantastic news and one of the main reasons I was sold on it. The kit arrived a few weeks ago and I’ve been on the hunt for a reasonably priced screen to use.
Just a few nights ago, I pulled the trigger on a AUO B140QAN01.5 display panel. This is the same panel that was sold on the ThinkPad T470s line not long ago. The review’s were pretty good for the WQHD display and based on the panel specs, seems to be a bit better than the LG LP140QH1-SPB1 panel.
The LG panel uses IPS technology while the AUO uses AHVA and the brightness is a bit better on the AUO panel but will use slightly more power (5.49W vs 3.76W).
IPS (In Plance Switching) are generally considered the best overall LCD Technology for image quality, color accuracy and viewing angles.
AHVA (Developed by AUO, Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle) also considered one of the best all around panel type.
Regardless of that, either panel would be a complete upgrade over what was planned and installed by Lenovo initially.
The panel is on it’s way and I’m eagerly waiting to get it and install it. I can’t wait for the laptop to be transformed and have a much better display and resolution to experience.