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Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

(OP)
Hi:
I’m an experienced computer systems programmer and hardware engineer but a complete newbie when it comes to Avaya Partner systems.

My home office has a venerable Partner 103H system that we bought back at the end of the 20th Century (I did say it was venerable!) that has been working flawlessly up until now.

The system configuration is, left to right:

308EC Module R3.0
Partner Mail VS R5.0 (with Partner Mail 2 Port Card with Backup & Restore)
ACS Proc. R3.0 (with Remote Access PC Card)
308EC Module R3.0
308EC Module R3.0

But for the past week, it’s developed a problem: there is random crackling (it sounds like a Geiger Counter with a low radiation level) on all handsets when making either (a) intercom calls or (b) making or receiving outside calls. I’ve tested the CO POTS lines with a butt handset and they’re clean.

When I took the enclosure cover off, I also saw what might be a second problem: the Mail VS R5.0 has a flashing red LED, flashing with a one second duty cycle (one second on, one second off).

What I’m thinking of doing (and would appreciate any advice on) is:

1. Put new AAA batteries in the AC Proc R3.0 card.
2. Power down the system.
3. Insert a recently purchased PCMCIA Partner Backup/Restore PC Card into slot 2 of the ACS Proc R3.0 board.
4. Power up the system.
5. Back up the system configuration to the PCMCIA card.
6. Power down the system.
7. Remove each module in turn and re-insert it —repeating several times to clean the back-plane and power contacts.
8. Power up the system and see if the crackling has gone away.
9. Test to see if I broke anything else!

If the crackling still persists, then I was planning on purchasing “matching” modules, starting with the ACS Proc R3.0 and systematically swapping them out, making sure that (a) there are no empty slots in the backplane (which I understands changes the configuration) and (b) keeping all the boards in their original slots (for the same reason).

Does the above make sense, or am I going to mess things up big time — and then have to reprogram the whole system from scratch??

Thanks in advance for any wisdom!
Andy

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

Sounds like a good plan of attack. How many phones do you have? If you only have phones plugged into the PACS processor maybe try plugging a phone directly into a port on one of the 308EC modules to see if there is static on those ports as well. It could be the PACS processor that has static on the extension ports. Reseating the modules (as you have planned) can potentially fix the issue if the module isn't seated properly. It could just be old age as well though.

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

(OP)
Thanks, Telecomboy. There's about 30 phone handsets spread out across the ACS and the 308EC modules.

"It could just be old age as well though." Ha! Yeah, my body's telling me the same thing! ponder

I found (in our storage facility) that we have a spare 308EC R3.0 module, but the spare ACS module I found is designated 103G13(28)R5, so I doubt it is a straight swappable component given it's R5.

I wish I knew what the flashing red LED on the VMS module meant -- I'm pretty sure it is not A Good Thing. But the documentation I have only speaks of solid green or solid red, not flashing. I suspect that it's putting noise back onto the bus given that that LED is power-supply status and something bad has happened.

Cheers
Andy

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

(OP)
Aha....to answer my question, Mrs. Google to the rescue:

https://sundance-communications.com/forum/ubbthrea...

Message #76084 (mdaniel)
Flash red LED: Sounds like the hard drive bit the dust.
But you can replace just the hard drive.
R.5's are famus [sic] for that.

Looks like the easiest approach is to just purchased a refurb module though as the HDD would need to be formatted and have the MVS software on it.

Andy.

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

The Vs mail is probably busted if it is flashing red, but I doubt that is what is causing the noise on the phones. You could remove the VS mail (with the power off) and see if the noise is still there after powering it back up, but I bet it is. You could also try a power cycle/reseat on the vs mail as well. It's possible that will kick it back into gear. When it powers up, listen to it. Bad drives make a lot of noise. VS mail's that are bad also make crazy beeping noises (like an old school arcade game). If either of those happen on a reboot you can bet the vs mail is bad.

Is it possible the system took a power hit? With both the vs mail going out and static happening it sounds like something damaged the whole system.

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

(OP)
Thanks for the advice....I thought that if I powered the system down and removed the VS Mail module, and then powered it back up (and thus left a gap on the backplane) that the configuration would get all muddled up? I was certainly tempted to do that.

There's no beeping or bad HDD bearing noises, just a flashing red LED.

Thanks
Andy

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

It's not recommended to do so, but you can for testing purposes. If the light remains red or flashing red the unit is probably bad. It should be green if it is good.

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

(OP)
Thanks! I'll try it -- just have to wait for the PCMCIA memory card to show up now so I can backup the system configuration...

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

(OP)
Well, I tried the procedure I identified above and it looks like one cannot backup one Processor's configuration and move it over to a different processor -- you just get the MAN-**** shown on the display on the "destination" processor.

To try and remove the crackling, I've tried numerous different things to isolate it, but nothing fixed it.

As I was experimenting with the system, I discovered that occasionally, I would get continuous hissing/white noise on all the ports of the original processor, even though the EC ports were working fine. The problem was described precisely in this posting: http://www.iaug.org/p/fo/et/thread=24607. The most relevant part of the description is: "extensions on the control unit (ext.'s 10-17) no longer have dial or intercom tone (just white noise/hissing). The extensions on the 308EC all work fine (as does voice mail from those extension)."

However, by pulling the AC cord out of the UPS (not just switching the chassis off), I managed to coax the system back to working (albeit with crackling on all POTS lines and the intercom).

But today, after experimenting some more, the original "old" processor is permanently giving hissing on all outside lines and intercom lines (you can hear the POTS dial tone "behind" the hissing).

Fortunately, several years ago, I had the opportunity to acquire a five-slot Partner 103H system from a company that was upgrading, so I had a spare Processor and one 308EC Module both of which are the same revision level as the current "old" processor and the three 803EC's in the carrier.

Initially I simply tried replacing the "old" processor with the spare processor. Same thing. Hissing on all outside lines and intercom lines BUT, the handsets on the 803EC in slot 1 of the carrier worked fine without any white noise (as the posting referenced above described.

I figured therefore it was time for more drastic measures so I replaced the entire five slot carrier. The current configuration I first tried was:

A replacement 5 slot chassis.
Slot 1 308EC Module R3.0 (effectively a "refurbed" unit)
Slot 2 Processor
Slot 3 308EC Module R3.0 (see note below)
Slot 4 308EC Module R3.0 (see note below)
Slot 5 Empty

On power-up, when I originally had Slot 2 empty and the 308EC's in slot 4 and 5, the green LEDs on the two 308's came on for about three seconds and then go off, but the replacement 308EC and replacement processor both stay powered up with Green LEDs. On hunch, I don't think the carrier backplane like any intermediate empty slots. I say this because when moved everything to the left, leaving Slot 5 empty all the modules powered up. Of course, this alters the extension numbers assigned to the 308EC modules.

And that brings me to the problem I currently have: There is no previous programming in the processor (I deliberately left it without any backup AAA batteries for several days). As I said above "extensions on the control unit (ext.'s 10-17) no longer have dial or intercom tone (just white noise/hissing). The extensions on the 308EC all work fine (as does voice mail from those extension). It is also still possible to program from any of the "toneless" control unit ports, so they are obviously not totally dead."

Contrary to the suggestions posted in response to the linked-to posting (the processor has been damaged, replace it), it seems very odd that two processors have developed identical problems on the same day.

Is there some absolutely basic programming of the processor that must be done? I've set the number of lines, even programmed up the Doorphone and that all works -- just the hissing noise on all the extensions on the outside lines and the intercom.

Any wisdom would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Andy

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

The processor needs to be in the middle of the 5 slot carrier to work so put the processor in slot 3. Then put the 308ECs from left to right starting in slot one.
Mike

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

You can plug the processor in directly to power (no 5-slot). Then plug the 3 lines in and test the extension ports. If there is hissing, it is the processor. If it goes away, it is not the processor. If it does go away, put just the processor back into the 5-slot (no other cards) and see if the problem exists. If it is clear, keep going. Power it down and add (1) 308EC. If the hissing comes back it is possible the expansion 308EC is bad and shorting out the processor.

FYI, the Partner ACS 308 Processors are at least 12 years old at this point so it is definitely possible to have 2 bad processors. I wouldn't say it would be common, but you never know. you are dealing with 12+ year old electronics.

Also, you can restore programming from one processor to another, but they have to be the same release. If not, it won't allow it.

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

(OP)
Thanks for the replies teletechman and Telecomboy.

I screwed up. The first configuration I tried was not as I described:

Slot 1 308EC Module R3.0 (effectively a "refurbed" unit)
Slot 2 Processor
Slot 3 308EC Module R3.0 (see note below)
Slot 4 308EC Module R3.0 (see note below)
Slot 5 Empty

As teletechman quite rightly points out, the edge connectors on the carrier backplane will not allow that to happen. The actual configuration I tried was:

Slot 1 308EC Module R3.0 (effectively a "refurbed" unit)
Slot 2 308EC Module R3.0 (see note below)
Slot 3 Processor R3.0 (sorry...I'm really confused!)
Slot 4 308EC Module R3.0 (see note below)
Slot 5 Empty

The only reason I correct this is in case someone with the same problem finds this thread (I'm a forum administrator on a professional "drone" web forum and I know how frustrating it can be when you read a thread that has erroneous information in it! Sorry about that folks.)

@Telecomboy: Aha! I hadn't realized until you pointed it out that the processor can be plugged in directly to the AC. That's an excellent diagnostic strategy -- and should quickly tell me the health of the processors. I agree with you -- given the age of this kit it's not impossible that both processors will have gone to processor heaven....bigsmile. I've been in the computer hardware/software industry for decades and in my experience what tends to go first are the electrolytic capacitors -- assuming that the chips don't get fried. Of course, the electro-mechanical stuff is close to the top of the list too.

Understood re: backup/restore portability too -- I had hoped that that might not be the case, but I guess not.

I have a funny feeling that I'll need to purchase a refurbed Processor. While there are quite a few processors on eBay, I'm leaning towards refurbed units with a warranty from the likes of comtalkinc.com.

I'll try the processor-in-isolation test this morning once the caffeine has kicked in.

Thanks again for taking the time to read my tale of woe and responding!
Cheers
Andy

RE: Problems with Avaya Partner 103H : crackling on lines/MVS LED flashing red

(OP)
Well, it gets a bit weirder.

My replacement Processor, by itself with the AC cord plugged directly into it, almost works flawlessly. By that I mean extensions 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 all work with the three CO lines. But extension 17 has the white noise on it.

When I plug it into the carrier (in the middle slot) with a single 308EC in slot 1, the processor's state remains the same -- everything works except for ext 17.

But, and this is where it gets slightly weird, the single 308EC provides for extensions 18 to 25 -- and all of the those extensions EXCEPT 24, have white noise on them. Extension 24 works flawlessly.
I tried switching the RJ-45 plugs around on the 308EC and even the Processor just to eliminate the actual home runs out to the handsets and the wiring is all good. I have no idea why extension 24 would work when all the others on that 308EC will not. ponder

Anyway, I'm going to order up a refurb Processor and some spare 308ECs and just rebuild the entire system from refurbed modules. If the 308EC's that I have now prove to be OK, I'll keep them as spares.

Thanks again Telecomboy -- I now know far more about the Avaya Partner and its programming than I knew before I started!

Cheers
Andy

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