Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The man who washed an AS400 with water

I found this story in Facebook, liked it, and wanted to share it. I thank Vincent Lin for giving me permission to publish it on this blog.

Vincent Lin

I was an IBM CSR in Taiwan. Here’s my story why I fixed an AS/400 with water...

One day in 2000, there's a powerful typhoon hit the area, one of my clients had an AS/400 (9402-200) was totally flooded in the company basement. They sent the machine back to headquarter and called IBM at the next day.

As the account CSR, I went there shortly, but I was really astonished by what I was seeing, cause not just the appearance but also inside the machine was full of sticky mud.

The first step that I could think about to "FIX" it was to "wash" it with "water". I then moved it outside and grabbed a hose to wash it and began to disassemble all the FRUs. After that, all the components were put on the computer room floor to get air-dry for one week.

I went back again on the following week; I found all the hard drives still contain water inside, so I decided to replace all of them, when the new hard drives came I proceeded to assemble the machine back to what it was. Then the important moment came, we prayed and plugged the power, how amazing it was! The panel light was on and was operational, I selected 01 D M and put an micro code tape into the tape driver to install micro code to load source....and finally I saw the DST menu....IBM AS/400 is a super machine....and I probably am the only person in the world who ever washed AS/400 with WATER...


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  1. When I was customer engineer at IBM, I found a customer that called customer services asking for someone that disassemble the server to clean it with a vacuum cleaner ...


  2. I am not surprised about this story, as I have also seen an iSeries machine (Power 5 model 520) that was totally submerged in water for 2 hours. There was no mud involved, so washing was not necessary, but after a thorough drying with a hair dryer, the machine worked fine. I have seen many IBM AS/400-iSeries-System i machines that were so dusty on the inside that a good bath might have been called for.

  3. What's wrong with the vacuum cleaner? Did this many times with all our AS/400. Already did it with S/38.
    Never any problem.

  4. I worked for a small consulting firm. We were moving to another building across the parking lot. I told the person in charge of the move to make sure they got a company that is experienced in moving hardware.

    Apparently they weren't. Our B35 came crashing off the back of the truck. The entire back panel of the box was destroyed. I told him bring it inside, call IBM. They came by the same day, took a quick look, and plugged it in. It IPL'd and started humming like nothing had happened.

  5. Back in the day when the baby AS400s were the size of a filing cabinet and before the internet IP addresses let you connect to any 400 out there, I had a sales person come into town to demo some software we were looking at buying. He carried his as400 on the plane with him. I went to pick him up at the airport, was waiting in baggage claim for him to come down the escalator. He had the 400 on wheels somehow, and when he got on the escalator, lost control of it and the machine tumbled head over heels, all the way down the escalator. We picked it up and put it back on his dolly, went back to the office, and it started right up without a single hitch!

  6. Our office was quite badly damaged in one of the London IRA bombings in the early 1990s. When we were eventually allowed into the ruin to extricate the AS400 and move it to our relocated office, there was the AS400 covered is dust, glass, and a ceiling debris. At the new office we just plugged it in and powered it up. Ran perfectly ok. As Pat previously said - built like a tank.

  7. Years ago, I heard a story about a man in my home state of NC, USA, who when learning that a hurricane was on the way, set the AS/400 up on the highest table he could find and unplugged it. The water level reached above the AS/400. He set it out in the sun to dry out, never took it apart like you did, but simply opened the doors. There was no mud. But after he was sure it was dry, he powered it on and had not lost a thing...no restore necessary. I also personally worked with an AS/400 which was kept in a closet once. When I walked into the closet, it was over 98 degrees Far, with a fan blowing in there. I was scared the thing was going to drop while I was working on it...but it never did...it kept chugging along...serving the company.

  8. Built like a tank....was it the AS/400 or the iSeries when it first came out that the CEs had a special class on just how to get the back door on? LOL Remember how if you actually got the door on, everybody said don't ever touch it again?? Again, LOL

  9. I guess my favorite anecdote is the story of a Security Guard who decided he was going to fire a bullet through an AS/400....It kept running despite that.

  10. A company I worked for in the early 90's had a chain of locations around the country. Each one had its own box (B-10s, C-10s, D-10s). We had several locations in Florida. A major hurricane hit south Florida around '92 or '93, and subsequently one of our locations was in its path. The building was completely flooded, and the box was completely submerged in water for a couple days. After everything subsided, IBM emptied the box of the water and let it sit for several days with fans on it to help it dry. After more than a week, it was decided to give it a shot. Everything was connected, everyone crossed their fingers, then the box was turned on.

    It came up without a hitch. Even the hard drives were functioning. I've been a fan ever since.

  11. A few years ago I was given 3 AS\400's, a couple 9404's and a 9402. Since I didn't have any place to conveniently store them, I set them outside. They sat there for almost a year, all through the winter snow, spring rains and then the summer heat. Then a customer lost a hard drive so I brought them in, cleaned off the dust, dirt and spider webs, and fired them up. Every one of them came right up, with 10 disk drives between them. I reloaded them from tape, reconfigured them, and they've all been running great ever since. I was quite impressed. I knew IBM made good hardware, but I didn't realize just how good until then.

  12. I'm curious if the current crop of IBM Power servers is as durable. I'm not about to torture test my employer's server, but does anyone know of some more recent IBM i survival stories? (They would be ideal for us IBM i fans if the Intel box right next to it didn't do as well.) I fear that to be more cost competitive that they're not as tough as they used to be.


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