Custom kernels causing Promise ATA RAID to go down

Allan Fields bsd at
Tue Jun 8 05:56:25 GMT 2004

On Sun, Jun 06, 2004 at 07:40:15PM +1000, Alastair G. Hogge wrote:
> For a couple of weeks now I've been having problems with my custom kernel 
> crashing the system. I've re-cvsup'd and nuked /usr/obj and rebuild worlds 
> The problem is that my kernel keeps causing ATA DMA READ/WRITE
> errors and then eventually causing my RAID array to go down, thus
> needing a deletation and re-definition thru the BIOS. Plus uncountable
> fsck run thru.

Yup, it sucks.. basically if your RAID goes bad, with most Promise
controllers you need to reboot into BIOS and wait a long time for
it to rebuild.  I found the Promise BIOS a little lacking.  I'm not
a fan of oblique menu-based tools, especially when working w/ disks.

Online rebuild is available on some ATA controllers but can also be

> I don't know how to capture and store the output. As the system just basicly 
> hangs and freezes the keyboard. Most of the time I've been X, which can only 
> be solved with a hard reboot.

Also, just curious, but are you swapping off the RAID?

If your RAID has read/write errors and you use it for swap, it is
likely that it will cause the system to lock, possibly including
the console.

Do you have a second machine to use as a serial console?

Another thing to try: try pinging the host and see if it responds.

I use a null-modem cable and tip(1): When I was having problems w/
my Promise controller, I'd typically capture the output using
script(1) or screen(1).

> Running a GENERIC kernel is (with debuging things removed) is so slow.  X/KDE 
> performs so poorly now.

What's interesting is why this only happens w/ your custom kernels.

I've also experienced instability with Promise RAID controllers in
the past but didn't ever use a GENERIC kernel.  I'm interested in
this issue, but don't know if it's related.

Also: Perhaps your Promise controller or drives are overheating?

 Allan Fields, AFRSL -
 2D4F 6806 D307 0889 6125  C31D F745 0D72 39B4 5541

More information about the freebsd-current mailing list