Fun Facts about the PowerEdge 12th Generation LCD info screen and LED alert panel.

by Anshul Simlote, Shine K A, and Meghna Taneja

For more information, visit our PowerEdge 12th Generation Wiki

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to the LCD Front Panel Display of Dell 12G PowerEdge Servers
  2. LCD features
  3. Setting and Viewing iDRAC and System Properties via the LCD control panel through LCD
  4. Configuring iDRAC properties using the LCD panel
  5. Errors and Alerts via the LCD
  6. Securing the LCD panel controls
  7. Using the LCD panel to display component status
  8. Configuring the LCD panel using remote software tools

 

1. Introduction to the LCD Front Panel Display of Dell 12G PowerEdge Servers

Dell offers a distinctive range of LCD front panel display options on 12G PowerEdge servers. The LCD front panel can be used to configure the Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC7) without accessing a server’s console. This permits customers to use Internet Protocol to configure the iDRAC7 remotely and easily manage and monitor the server. Also, this LCD panel makes it easy to identify a given server in the data center.

There’s a wealth of system and health information available inside your new PowerEdge server, and depending on which model server you own, the following display configurations are available:

Dell PowerEdge Server

Indicator Type

R720

LCD panel

R720xd

6 icon LEDs

R620(4/6/8 HDD)

LCD panel

R620(10 HDD)

Quad icon LEDs

T620

LCD panel

M620

Single icon LEDs

R820

LCD panel

R520

LCD panel

R320(4 HDD )

6 icon LEDs

R320(4 hot pluggable HDD/8 HDD)

LCD panel

R420 (4 HDD ) 

6 icon LEDs

R420 (4 hot pluggable HDD/8 HDD)

LCD panel

 

2. LCD Features

The LCD front panel allows a user to view and change the network settings of the Dell Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC7). In fact, most of the iDRAC7 configuration can be done using this screen, and quite a bit of the iDRAC7’s features can be accessed here as well, and, of course, system-level error messages will be displayed on the LCD. Another convenient feature offered by the LCD Front Panel, is the ability to setup a user-defined message on the LCD. In this document, we will discuss these features in greater detail.

About the LCD Front Panel navigation menus

There are several navigation menus available on the display panel offering different functions.

 

  • The left arrow “<”moves the cursor back in one-step increments.
  • The select button “✓” selects the currently highlighted menu item.
  • The left arrow “>” moves the cursor forward in one-step increments.
  • Screen

The LCD front panel displays user-configurable information about the system. The screen displays  system information and error messages, depending on the condition of the system.

    • The LCD backlight will be blue during normal operating conditions and only turns amber if there is  an error condition.
    • The LCD backlight will be off when the system is in standby mode, but it can be turned on by pressing any of the buttons on the LCD front panel.
    • However, the LCD backlight will remain off if LCD messaging is turned off; this can be done via the  web-based graphical interface, IPMITOOL, Open Manage System Administrator, or a command line tool such as RACADM.

 

LEDs explained

The number of LEDs on a particular server depends on the amount of physical space available on the front of the chassis. There are four different LED configurations: one with six icons, two others with four icons each, and one with a single LED icon. An example of one such LED panel, from a PowerEdge R720xd is shown below. It will display alerts for general status, hard drive, electrical, thermal, memory and PCI alerts. As with the LCD panel, if trouble arises, an amber indicator will illuminate.

 

System ID:

In addition to the panels, every Dell PowerEdge 12G server has a System ID button and indicator LED to assist in identifying a particular system.

 


 The identification buttons on the front and back panels can be used to locate a particular system within a rack. This is especially helpful with a densely populated rack when a single system needs to be identified, from either the front or back. If you push one of these buttons, then both the front and rear system status indicators will flash until one of the buttons is pressed again. As a side note, this flashing can also be activated or deactivated remotely with various Open Manage tools.

 

The rear System ID button contains two LEDs; one is blue and the other is amber.

LED State

System State

Error state on LCD

LED OFF

System is OFF

No Active Error

Solid Blue

System is ON

No Active Error

Blinking Amber (2 second on ,1 second off)¥

System is ON or OFF

There are active errors present; this mode

supersedes LED OFF and Solid Blue above

 and can be active when the system is on 

OR off 

Blinking Blue (1 second on ,1 second off)*

System is ON or OFF

System ID Mode is active; this mode

supersedes all states listed above and

can be active when the system is on

 OR off 

3. Setting and Viewing Home Panel, iDRAC and System Properties via the LCD control panel

 

First, let’s start by setting the default message on the LCD panel. Follow these steps on the panel keys to select the desired default display:

Home > Setup > Set home ->IDRAC | Name | Number | Power | Temperature | None

It is easy to use the LCD panel to configure network settings and check other system properties. The chart (below) shows the different possible actions and settings available through this panel:

For example, to view network settings, start from the initial (home) display screen and then follow this path:

Home > View > iDRAC IP > IPv4 | IPv6

Then Select IPv4

From this point, most of the networking settings can be viewed:

Home > View > DRAC IP > IPv4 > IP | Subnet | Gateway | DNS

Home > View > DRAC IP > IPv4 > DNS > Primary | Secondary

Home > View > DRAC IP > IPv4 > Gateway > 192.168.2.1

Home > View > DRAC IP > IPv4> IP >192.168.2.12

  

Similarly, IPv6subnet and gateways can be viewed through

Home > View > DRAC IP > IPv6 > IP | Subnet | Gateway | DNS

Home > View > DRAC IP > IPv6 > DNS > Primary | Secondary

Home > View > DRAC IP > IPv6 > Gateway >

Home > View > DRAC IP > IPv6> IP

 

And the same holds true for MAC or iSCSI addresses:

  Home > View > MAC >iDRAC| iSCSI1 | iSCSI2 | iSCSIn | NET1 | NET2 …NETn

  Home > View > MAC > iDRAC -> xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx

 

4. Configuring iDRAC properties using the LCD panel

 

Through the LCD front panel, you can configure the iDRAC7’s network settings.

iDRAC Setup Paths:

Configuring a static IP address through the LCD

Navigate from home screen to setup screen and then to the Static IP tab.

Home > Setup ->iDRAC -> DHCP | Static IP -> IP: 192.168.2.12

After IP v4 configuration from the same screen we can configure sub network mask and gate as well.

Home > Setup > IDRAC > Static IP - >Sub: 255.255.255.0

Home > Setup > IDRAC > Static IP - >Gtw: 192.168.2.1

Other network settings such as DNS servers and DHCP settings are also available through the LCD Front Panel:

Setting domain name server 1 and domain name server 2

Home > Setup > IDRAC > Static IP -> DNS : Yes | No

                 Domain Name server 1

                 Home > Setup > IDRAC > Static IP - >D1 :192.168.2.10

                 Domain Name server 2

                 Home > Setup > IDRAC > Static IP - >D2 : 192.168.2.1

 

How to configure Dynamic Host Configuration Internet Protocol (DHCP):

From the LCD Home screen navigate to setup screen and then DHCP tab.

Home > Setup ->iDRAC -> DHCP | Static IP -> Yes | No

5. Errors and Alerts via the LCD

  •  The front panel gives alerts  by displaying system error messages. These alerts will cause the LCD backlight color from blue to amber and depending on the nature of the alert, different indicators, depending on the type of panel, will illuminate. Using the front panel, the way system alerts are displayed (or not displayed) can also be changed. The types of alerts covered are as follows:
    • Cable and board presence
    • Temperature
    • Voltages
    • Fans
    • Processors
    • Memory
    • Power Supplies
    • BIOS
    • Hard drives

In all, up to 20 different  error messages can be displayed through the LCD front panel. In the event that there are multiple error messages, the most recent error will be displayed.

 

6. Securing the LCD panel controls

It is important to note that the front panel buttons, by default, have the ability to both view and modify the values that are shown. Using the iDRAC tools, it is possible to limit the panel and buttons to either a view-only state or disable the menu completely, allowing a user to only view the system description and any existing error messages.

 

7. Using the LCD panel to display component status

Virtual console status on LCD

Through  iDRAC7’s  software tool or another remote command line tool, a user can enable front-panel notification that a vKVM is attached.  If this is enabled and a vKVM session is active on the unit, then the text “virtual console active” will be displayed.  If an error occurs, the LCD will enter Error Mode and the “virtual console” message can only be viewed only by navigating up the menu tree to Home Mode. There the  “virtual console active” message will display for ~45 seconds before returning to the Error Mode.

Displaying BIOS progress on LCD

The BIOS progress including recent POST messages will display after pressing and holding System ID button for more than 5 seconds.

Status of server boot-up

During system boot, the LCD displays “System booting…” until video is available. This is to give the user indication that the system is booting and video is unavailable at this time. Shortly after power-on or reset, "System booting…" appears on the LCD, with periods appearing for each progress code in the pre-video sequence as they are received from BIOS. Once full memory initialization is complete, the LCD returns to its normal mode

Displaying iDRAC’s reset mode

If the system ID button is held down for more than 15 seconds, then the iDRAC will reset. This will cause the LCD panel to go blank until the iDRAC is once again fully functional. At that point, the display will show the current state of the server.

8.  Configuring the LCD panel using remote software tools

One last point worth noting: the LCD panel can be configured remotely by the iDRAC’s software suite as well as through RACADM (command-line) or IPMITOOL software packages.