It's Just A Simple Motherboard Swap Right????

"In my pursuit of resurrecting my server, I faced unexpected hurdles and a lifesaving eBay seller. From bricked iDrac to a heartwarming twist, this is the story of resilience and luck. Stay tuned for the technical documentation to come

It's Just A Simple Motherboard Swap Right????

As I spoke about on the previous blog, my server had a bricked iDrac. The eBay seller was sending me a new motherboard, but until then, the server would still boot. But to keep things moving while I waited for the replacement motherboard from the absolutely wonderful eBay seller, I started to plan out more of what I wanted to do. I belong to several Discord servers, and The F0xhunt was the one I found the most helpful. I encourage anyone trying to get into IT or cyber security to click the button below and join the hunt, introduce yourself, and look around.

I will go into detail about the plan in a different post, but let's just say I had grandiose ideas. Back to the subject of the post, the Dell R820 motherboard Swap.

I received a message from the eBay seller that the board had been shipped, and once it got here, I was pumped! The seller did a great job shipping it with the expanding foam packs, and everything appeared to be good. I set in on the task of pulling the old motherboard. Which, to my surprise was ridiculously easy. Four or five connectors pull up lift out. No need for any tools. There was a note in the replacement motherboard box that it had been a while since the seller had pulled a 12-gen board, so he had probably removed things that did not have to be. After my ease of pulling the board, I thought, how much did the seller remove...It was a lot of things. From plastic guides on the side of the board to the cages that protected the pins for the expansion board. There was no need to pull that much off the board, but hey, it was a free replacement to the board that I bricked so I couldn't complain too much. Replacing all the pieces on the board took me the better part of 3 hours just to make sure everything was the same.

A good idea on my part was that I took a picture of what the board looked like before pulling it and looked for things missing on the replacement. Pulled them off the bricked board and put them back on the replacement. Everything was either 1 of 2 different screw heads a star torx or a phillips. These are easy tools for an ex-mechanic who is now an IT nerd. With everything replaced, I slid in the replacement board and plugged reconnected everything. To my dismay, the server didn't boot. I had a voltage error on one of the CPU sockets. I swapped the CPUs around, and the problem stayed with the socket. I inspected the socket for bent pins and found none. I called it a night and decided to tackle the problem in the morning.

I spent all morning pouring over the replacement motherboard, and then I saw it a capacitor near the CPU socket that was no longer fully connected. Well, shoot, what do I do now. I wasn't working in that area at all the night before and was super careful about the parts I replaced. I went to the packaging material and "repacked" the board, and it all made sense. The expanding foam had expanded right into said capacitor, and there was an imprint on the expanding foam to prove it. I felt guilty, but I again contacted the eBay seller to inform them that the board would not boot and why. They apologized and said at this point, they only had 3 r820 left, and they were all on active bids on eBay and could not take them down for a board, but they would happily let me return the server for a full refund. I accepted this and got ready to ship everything back across the US to the seller.

Great this meant I didn't have a server and would have to start all over. My plans for my own home lab were in the toilet......But wait, the eBay seller said he had three more r820s up for auction maybe lucky could strike twice. And it did, for less than my original server that I had spent hours laboring over, I won another one. This time, I won it for only $40 dollars. Ten dollars less than the first one, shipping was still expensive, but score!

This is where the eBay seller came through again for me. Upon seeing how much they would have to pay for the return shipping, they asked if they could just refund my original purchase and I keep the bricked server. Absolutely I will have a parts server and a working server for less than I originally started at Heck Yeah.

Getting my new server, there were no hitches, no bricking the iDrac, and no unplanned power outages. The server is up and running flawlessly, and it's mainly due to an eBay seller with a heart of gold.

Now that the story of physically getting my server and the trials that I went through is complete, I am going to start posting more technical documentation on setting up my server, and hopefully those can help the community I love being in.