This is the week in the world when the loss of an hour must be weathered in IT, as Daylight Savings time ends. (The UK lost its hour last weekend; the US does so Saturday night.) The HP 3000 does time shifting of its system clock automatically, thanks to patches HP built during 2007. But what about the internal clock of a computer that might be 15 years old? Components fail after awhile.
The 3000's internal time is preserved using a small battery, according to the experts out on the 3000 newsgroup. This came to light in a discussion about fixing a clock gone slow. A few MPE/iX commands and a trip to Radio Shack maintains a 3000's sense of time.
"I thought the internal clock could not be altered," said Paul English. "Our server was powered off for many months, and maybe the CMOS battery went flat." The result was that English's 3000 showed Greenwich Mean Time as being four years off reality. CTIME reported for his server:
* Greenwich Mean Time : THU, JUN 17, 2004, 11:30 AM *
* GMT/MPE offset : +-19670:30:00 *
* MPE System Time : THU, SEP 10, 2009, 2:00 PM *
Yup, that's a bad battery, said Pro 3k consultant Mark Ranft. "It is cheap at a specialty battery store," he said, "and can be replaced easily, if you have some hardware skills and a grounding strap." Radio Shack offers the battery.
But you can also alter the 3000's clock which tracks GMT, he added.
"The internal clock can be set or reset at bootup (the method varies depending on the hardware), or by using the MPE SETCLOCK date=xx/xx/xx;time;NOW command, in conjuction with SETCLOCK ;CANCEL. Follow these by the SHOWCLKS command. It usually takes me a couple of attempts to get it, but you should be able to straighten this out without even having to reboot."
A few customers warned that utility software will sometimes fail to start up if a bad battery has pulled the internal clock too far off the system clock. Tracy Johnson of OpenMPE explained:
Collateral damage may include some third party software going non-operational. I have at least one software package whose license goes bad when the offset gets too large (think years). When I fix the offset to a reasonable number (within a day or two), then the software works again.