Dell PowerEdge 860

In my previous post, I mentioned things I found at a flea market. I decided I would dedicate an entire post to this because it has a bit of a story. Anyway, I was at the flea market and I noticed someone selling server computers and was amazed to find he was selling one, a PowerEdge 860, for only 10 bucks! Of course I had to jump on that offer and buy it.

The server sitting on my desk.
The back of the server, revealing the ports. Note: I know there is no PSU in this picture. When I took this picture, I had removed the old PSU and was waiting for a new one to arrive.

When I tried to fire up the server for the first time, I found that it shut off soon after booting.

So, I started troubleshooting the server. The first thing I did was take it apart and test the memory modules by putting only one into the first DIMM slot. That didn’t work, so I figured it might be a thermal issue. I stripped off the old thermal paste using alcohol and applied a fresh batch. That didn’t work either. Another thing I tried was disconnecting the hard drives and the RAID card, but the server was still shutting off in approximately 15 seconds.

The server opened up (again, no PSU. This wasn’t the case when I was testing it, obviously).

So at this point, I had narrowed the issue down to three main components: the power supply unit (PSU), the processora (CPU), or the motherboard. The cheapest thing to replace was the power supply. I was able to track one down on eBay for about 6 USD. At the time of the writing of this article, I am waiting for the PSU to arrive. Once I get it, I will try it and hope that the old PSU was just not putting out enough power (or too much), causing the server to shut off.