Author Topic: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case  (Read 319475 times)

knightcrusader

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #120 on: May 18, 2015, 12:37:35 pm »
So after a week of not being able to find any info, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  :o

I found a front panel connector from a Z600 on eBay (they seem to share the same headers) and am going to use it to decode the firewire pin out.

I also bought various size headers, 0.1mm terminals, and a crimper to build my own adapter cables for the firewire, USB, as well as back and cpu fans. The only thing I have yet to order (but have located on Digikey) is the plug for the memory fans, as well as male 4-pin fan sockets. I want my cables to look professional so I am sparing no expense... that and I want the damn BIOS to shut up about the missing connectors.  ::)

I'll update when I get them done. If anyone is interested in some adapters for themselves, let me know and I can probably make some up for other people as well (once I get the hang of what I am doing of course).  8)

tangram

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #121 on: May 28, 2015, 04:38:12 am »
Hello,

I'm having really bad issues with a Z800 mobo. It's taken out of a working system so I'm sure the parts are ok.
Board revision is A02, it has 24Gb in 6x4gb modules. CPUs are X5550s. I've bought the adapter cable from the chinese guys :D
PSU is a 485W Enermax. I know it's low but I wanted to see it go into BIOS before investing in a new PSU.

My problem is that after connecting everything and starting the PSU, the board powers up(by itself, no pins or buttons), psu fans start spinning and it just hangs. No signal on video. Heatsinks, gpu, memory start to get warm but nothing else happens.

I've tried using only one cpu, one ram stick, with gpu, without gpu, nothing. I really don't know if it's the low power of the psu or it's the adapter cable or something else.

Andy Brown

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #122 on: May 28, 2015, 06:55:51 am »
Hello,

I'm having really bad issues with a Z800 mobo. It's taken out of a working system so I'm sure the parts are ok.
Board revision is A02, it has 24Gb in 6x4gb modules. CPUs are X5550s. I've bought the adapter cable from the chinese guys :D
PSU is a 485W Enermax. I know it's low but I wanted to see it go into BIOS before investing in a new PSU.

My problem is that after connecting everything and starting the PSU, the board powers up(by itself, no pins or buttons), psu fans start spinning and it just hangs. No signal on video. Heatsinks, gpu, memory start to get warm but nothing else happens.

I've tried using only one cpu, one ram stick, with gpu, without gpu, nothing. I really don't know if it's the low power of the psu or it's the adapter cable or something else.

I suspect the power supply. The total wattage is far too low and how are the amp limits distributed across the rails? I reprinted HPs minimum limits for amps on each V12 line in my main article.

The PSU should not come on at all unless the ATX PS_ON_L signal is grounded and the front panel power switch normally does that. You say, "no pins or buttons". Does that include the front panel power switch?

I don't think you're going to get anywhere until you've got a PSU that's well within the minimum spec.
It's worse than that, it's physics Jim!

tangram

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #123 on: May 28, 2015, 07:07:16 am »
Yes, no front panel switch. On the board I have the cpus, ram and video card. No fans, usb headers, nothing. The mobo isn't mounted inside a case. I don't know why it starts when i flip the switch on the psu.


The psu is this one:

http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/17-194-009-05.JPG



knightcrusader

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #124 on: May 28, 2015, 08:23:54 am »
Yes, no front panel switch. On the board I have the cpus, ram and video card. No fans, usb headers, nothing. The mobo isn't mounted inside a case. I don't know why it starts when i flip the switch on the psu.


The psu is this one:

http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/17-194-009-05.JPG

There is a setting in the BIOS for the board to power up if power has been restored to it, which is what you are doing when you flip the PSU switch. Mine does the same thing, which is what I prefer since I like to have it available to remote in from work when I need to.

As for the wattage, you definitely need more. I thought my spare 500W gold PSU I had on hand would be enough to power just the board and processors to test the core system, but boy was I wrong with that. It would keep rebooting when trying to power up because of the board was trying to pull too much power. It wasn't until I put in my 750W PSU that everything was peachy. I still would feel more comfortable getting a 1000W+ model PSU, but for now the 750W is doing just fine even with all my hard drives, fans, and peripherals connected.

BenGman

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #125 on: May 28, 2015, 04:17:12 pm »
Its been a while since I wrote about my progress so here goes....

PWM Fans:
I swapped out all the fans for all PWM fans (Artic Cooler: 2x140mm, 1x120mm, 4x92mm).
Front Fan 1: 140mm
Front Fan 2: 140mm+92mm using a splitter (92mm on the chipset)
System Fan: 120mm+92mm using a splitter and breadboard wires
Memory Fans: 2x92mm using a splitter and audio wires (breadboard wires were to large for the Memory pins on the MB)
Side case fan: Non PWM molex LED fan that came with the case

The system is much quieter now, insomuch I do not hear it anymore when I am out of the room and it sounds like a regular desktop when I'm near it. If I had the computer on the ground under the desk instead of to the right of my monitor on the desk I doubt I will hear the fans at all. Cooling is the same or slightly less (I figure because the previous non-PWM fans were always blowing at max while the new fans just blow what is required).

Serial Number:
I made up my own serial number in the form of yyyy-mm-dd-<my_initials>-01 with the date being the date I bought the motherboard, and it worked!

Front Panel:
I caved and bought the HPZ800 front panel connectors. I tried and tried with the schematics that were posted, and the front USB ports DID work, but the main thing was I was still getting those BIOS errors. I wanted the BIOS errors to go away more than I wanted use of those front panel ports.

Full boot up/restart without any intervention, success!

Power Consumption:
A (generic) kilowatt meter says that the system alone uses 300W to boot, 250W on no load and 475W on load (Prime95). It is an 80+ Bronze 1000W Power supply. With a single 19" LCD monitor, USB Powered Hub, IR Blaster, 1 externally powered TV Tuner (plus another internal), 2 cable boxes and DSL Router, total power consumption on load reached 520W max. Over a 24 hour period the system uses 30kWh. That does not include 2xCRT monitors I use with the computer that is not connected to the meter (and that I would not connect to a UPS, if/when I do get a UPS). Electricity costs US$0.06 to US$0.20 per kWh right now so the overall power bill is not bad.

Other issues:
Every other hot restart recently I get an error at CPU0 DIMM3. If I pull the plug, let it rest for 5 seconds and power on it boots with no errors. I exchanged a stick from another location and I still get that error at the same location.. (so its location rather than the RAM stick). The 92mm fans are resting on the CPU heatsink (not tied down to anything) and are blowing right on the sticks. Temperature of the RAM never cross 52degC under load so I am thinking my power supply might need to be upped again. I previously got memory errors with underpowered power supplies.... or is it really that the memory is bad? Soon I will disconnect everything and run full memory tests.. I am dreading it because my RAM is no longer under warranty.

Again if I knew now about what it takes to do this hack I would skip it and just buy something already put together, even used. Sky box (Freight forwarder) charges for this build were US$350 with the total cost being US$1670 for only 24GB, Dual 5550s, 256GBSSD, 2x3TB HD, 2GB GT730 Video Card. A proper case, Monitor, KB+Mouse, and UPS is still not included in the cost. I can't resell unless I get a proper case. My fastest computer before this was a 4GB Core i3 Laptop that could barely handle a single SDR trunking decoding session. Before I had 3 dual core computers and a laptop running continuously. Now I only have this one so I could prepare the others for sale. The HP Z800 hasn't failed in any operation I have thrown at it. I use it mostly remotely for several VMware Workstations and dual TV streaming when I am away from home.

No pictures of most of these updates because I have no camera... I sold my phone to my dad to pay for the additions so all I have now is a non touch VGA camera phone with no flash!! I'll post more pics when I could get the phone borrowed.
My HP Z800 photo build log: http://tinyurl.com/pwsg9wx

knightcrusader

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #126 on: May 28, 2015, 04:36:56 pm »
Serial Number:
I made up my own serial number in the form of yyyy-mm-dd-<my_initials>-01 with the date being the date I bought the motherboard, and it worked!

I don't think the serial number format even matters. Since my system hostname follows my convention of US state capitals, I just entered Z800_CONCORD and it took it and stopped complaining.

Quote
Front Panel:
I caved and bought the HPZ800 front panel connectors. I tried and tried with the schematics that were posted, and the front USB ports DID work, but the main thing was I was still getting those BIOS errors. I wanted the BIOS errors to go away more than I wanted use of those front panel ports.

Full boot up/restart without any intervention, success!
I did the same, but got the Z600 front panel since I could find one cheaper. Come to find out, the firewire pins are pretty much standard, except two pins are duplicated for ground and power. I assume that is what it uses to figure out if its connected or not. I made an adapter that plugs into that and then the standard firewire plugs into that, and it shut it up after one reboot.

Quote
Power Consumption:
A (generic) kilowatt meter says that the system alone uses 300W to boot, 250W on no load and 475W on load (Prime95). It is an 80+ Bronze 1000W Power supply. With a single 19" LCD monitor, USB Powered Hub, IR Blaster, 1 externally powered TV Tuner (plus another internal), 2 cable boxes and DSL Router, total power consumption on load reached 520W max. Over a 24 hour period the system uses 30kWh. That does not include 2xCRT monitors I use with the computer that is not connected to the meter (and that I would not connect to a UPS, if/when I do get a UPS). Electricity costs US$0.06 to US$0.20 per kWh right now so the overall power bill is not bad.

I am assuming that its not the total wattage that is killing the PSU but one of the rails is being overloaded at startup. I noticed that the 500W I used was a normal multi-rail PSU while my 750W was a single rail 12V, so I am not sure if that is helping it or not.

Quote
Other issues:
Every other hot restart recently I get an error at CPU0 DIMM3. If I pull the plug, let it rest for 5 seconds and power on it boots with no errors. I exchanged a stick from another location and I still get that error at the same location.. (so its location rather than the RAM stick). The 92mm fans are resting on the CPU heatsink (not tied down to anything) and are blowing right on the sticks. Temperature of the RAM never cross 52degC under load so I am thinking my power supply might need to be upped again. I previously got memory errors with underpowered power supplies.... or is it really that the memory is bad? Soon I will disconnect everything and run full memory tests.. I am dreading it because my RAM is no longer under warranty.

Again if I knew now about what it takes to do this hack I would skip it and just buy something already put together, even used. Sky box (Freight forwarder) charges for this build were US$350 with the total cost being US$1670 for only 24GB, Dual 5550s, 256GBSSD, 2x3TB HD, 2GB GT730 Video Card. A proper case, Monitor, KB+Mouse, and UPS is still not included in the cost. I can't resell unless I get a proper case. My fastest computer before this was a 4GB Core i3 Laptop that could barely handle a single SDR trunking decoding session. Before I had 3 dual core computers and a laptop running continuously. Now I only have this one so I could prepare the others for sale. The HP Z800 hasn't failed in any operation I have thrown at it. I use it mostly remotely for several VMware Workstations and dual TV streaming when I am away from home.

No pictures of most of these updates because I have no camera... I sold my phone to my dad to pay for the additions so all I have now is a non touch VGA camera phone with no flash!! I'll post more pics when I could get the phone borrowed.

Would be awesome to see what other people's builds look like. I got the proper molex connectors (even the memory fan connector) today from Digikey so I am going to redo my fan adapters to fit better and not be so "hacky", and in the process I am probably going to take it completely apart to try to get rid of the rat's nest of wires at the bottom of the case.

I still think it was worth the build for me, even with the custom parts. I learned quite a lot about motherboard power distribution and how fans interact with the computer that I never knew before.

BenGman

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #127 on: May 28, 2015, 08:11:19 pm »
Come to find out, the firewire pins are pretty much standard, except two pins are duplicated for ground and power. I assume that is what it uses to figure out if its connected or not. I made an adapter that plugs into that and then the standard firewire plugs into that, and it shut it up after one reboot.

Which two pins? I had a new 5.25" front panel with firewire purchased 8 years ago, 2 different firewire MB adapters (which were underwater for sometime in a 3ft flood I had home) that didn't work... so because of age and possible water damage I still went and bought a new 5.25" front panel to try the firewire (and the new one had USB 3) and it still did not work. The case's front audio didn't work and neither did the audio on both front panels (still got the BIOS message). USB front ports worked but I still got the BIOS error. So all three USB, Firewire and Audio messages still appeared in the BIOS for me so that's why I got HPZ800 front headers. I purchased it from the UK (had it half the price as US) and I had it shipped straight to me instead of going through my US skybox. Purchases from the UK used to arrive within 1 week... this time it took 4 weeks. So to reach the no F1 prompt took 3.5 months!

If I lived in the US/UK it would have been cheaper. If I want to ship a paper clip it costs me US$10 + 3 weeks. I have to pay different freight+VAT+Tax on each small package. So all the different shipments from different suppliers that I needed to get parts.. plus the time to get them here cost too much time and money. If one supplier had the MB, RAM, CPU, MB power cable etc... then it would have been a lot cheaper. So for this project I should have just bought the refurbished 24GB, Dual 5550, in a proper HP case with everything in one package (MB, case, PS, front connectors, fans, etc)... that would have been US$400 for the unit then ~only US$220 freight+tax&vat.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 08:22:56 pm by BenGman »
My HP Z800 photo build log: http://tinyurl.com/pwsg9wx

knightcrusader

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #128 on: May 28, 2015, 11:26:05 pm »
Which two pins? I had a new 5.25" front panel with firewire purchased 8 years ago, 2 different firewire MB adapters (which were underwater for sometime in a 3ft flood I had home) that didn't work... so because of age and possible water damage I still went and bought a new 5.25" front panel to try the firewire (and the new one had USB 3) and it still did not work. The case's front audio didn't work and neither did the audio on both front panels (still got the BIOS message). USB front ports worked but I still got the BIOS error. So all three USB, Firewire and Audio messages still appeared in the BIOS for me so that's why I got HPZ800 front headers. I purchased it from the UK (had it half the price as US) and I had it shipped straight to me instead of going through my US skybox. Purchases from the UK used to arrive within 1 week... this time it took 4 weeks. So to reach the no F1 prompt took 3.5 months!

If I lived in the US/UK it would have been cheaper. If I want to ship a paper clip it costs me US$10 + 3 weeks. I have to pay different freight+VAT+Tax on each small package. So all the different shipments from different suppliers that I needed to get parts.. plus the time to get them here cost too much time and money. If one supplier had the MB, RAM, CPU, MB power cable etc... then it would have been a lot cheaper. So for this project I should have just bought the refurbished 24GB, Dual 5550, in a proper HP case with everything in one package (MB, case, PS, front connectors, fans, etc)... that would have been US$400 for the unit then ~only US$220 freight+tax&vat.

Wow, that is horrible. I forget about things costing so much to ship overseas.

As for the firewire, reference this picture I found on the internet:

Disregarding the key holes being blocked, If you were able to plug this into the 2x7 header on the motherboard with the RED-to-GRAY side up, it would fit directly center leaving a pin exposed on each side and the right connectors would be lined up. What would be missing is an extra ground in the row next to the BLACK wire (which my case's wire actually had populated), and the WHITE wire had a split off to a pin the row under it, and the GRAY wire had a split off to the pin under it (which is usually the blocked key hole on the standard plug).

I ordered a 2x7 header and crimped the wires to match this layout on one end and the standard firewire layout on the other, and the adapter was created. Plugged it in, rebooted once and it complained the first time, but after that it was fine with it (not sure why it complained the first time it was connected).

As for the audio, I connected the HD Audio directly to the motherboard and it stopped complaining, but it didn't work until the Realtek drivers were installed. I thought that was odd, but whatever.

As for the 3-port front-usb connector, I also made an adapter for that too that splits it off into a standard 2 port usb plug and a standard 1 port with the shield ground.

When I take the system down to make better adapters for the fans I am going to take some pictures of my build as I rewire it and share them. I would make some mockups of the pin outs but I haven't reinstalled Photoshop yet.

tangram

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #129 on: May 30, 2015, 03:17:50 am »
Hello,

I tried using another psu I had around. Same result, no video signal :(
The psu is from a server: Chenbro 820W Power Supply Module C2W-5820V
Output: +3.3V @ 32A, +5V @ 32A, +12V @ 67A, -12V @ 0.8A, +5Vsb @ 3.5A
I also noticed that the board no longer powers up by itself, I need to short the pins.

I'll try to borrow a 1000W PSU from a friend but I'm thinking something else might be wrong.

alfamate89

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #130 on: May 30, 2015, 07:31:30 am »
What do You think about this case?
http://www.codegenworld.com/showDetails.asp?max_id_search=20&min_id_search=&pro_id_search=203
Will the motherboard fit in this case if I remove the internal stuffs and mount the PSU somewhere on the front side?

Andy Brown

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #131 on: May 31, 2015, 10:01:04 am »
What do You think about this case?
http://www.codegenworld.com/showDetails.asp?max_id_search=20&min_id_search=&pro_id_search=203
Will the motherboard fit in this case if I remove the internal stuffs and mount the PSU somewhere on the front side?

The motherboard won't fit, it's quite a bit larger than the maximum size quoted in the linked advert.
It's worse than that, it's physics Jim!

Andy Brown

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #132 on: May 31, 2015, 10:02:17 am »
I tried using another psu I had around. Same result, no video signal :(

Do you have another graphics card that you could try? Your symptoms sound vaguely like what happened in my early tests with the 7970 though that card is now working perfectly.
It's worse than that, it's physics Jim!

alfamate89

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #133 on: May 31, 2015, 02:05:12 pm »
What do You think about this case?
http://www.codegenworld.com/showDetails.asp?max_id_search=20&min_id_search=&pro_id_search=203
Will the motherboard fit in this case if I remove the internal stuffs and mount the PSU somewhere on the front side?

The motherboard won't fit, it's quite a bit larger than the maximum size quoted in the linked advert.

Than I need to search an alternative cheap case. Thanks for the quick reply!

tangram

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Re: Hacking an HP Z800 motherboard into a standard PC case
« Reply #134 on: June 02, 2015, 08:03:15 am »
I tried using another psu I had around. Same result, no video signal :(

Do you have another graphics card that you could try? Your symptoms sound vaguely like what happened in my early tests with the 7970 though that card is now working perfectly.

I tried yesterday with another card taken from a dell t5500, same thing. Could you please tell me a bit more clearly how to connect a speaker to the board. Maybe I can get some beeps to figure out where it's getting stuck.

I tested again the components on a server i got, board is a intel 5520UR and all worked perfect.
Maybe it's something wrong with the adapter cable for the PSU. It looks just like this:



There's purple wire between the 24p conversion and the 10p for the memory. I think that's for the 5V since I've seen it takes from molex only 12v and ground.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 08:05:16 am by tangram »