Swarmanoid: Hand-bot with foot-bots

Swarmanoid: Hand-bot with foot-bots

Artificial intelligence researcher (swarm robotics) that likes to tinker with everything he gets into his hands. I enjoy repairing broken stuff, collecting things others throw away and creating new things out of it.

I profit tremendously from what all the other tinkerers out there publish, so I thought it’s only fair that I give something back. So this is intended as a loose collection of “projects”.

All posts published before 2011/07/31 is content I moved from my old site – so don’t be surprised about bad formatting and the like.

9 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi,

    I read your notes on how you successfully managed to reduce the noise on your server and let me tell your that I am impressed. I know how difficult this “reverse engineering” can get. My server is a PowerEdge 1750 and the fans are surely very loud. Unfortunately, your Python program does not know how to handle the BMC firmware for the 1750. I bet the file structure is also different. I did take a look at the file (SMFLSH2.DAT) with a hex editor, but was not able to locate any of the preset threshold values that I found using the ipmitool. I believe I found the code name for 1750: “JAG”. Would you be interested to give me more information that will help me do a similar patch for the 1750? I guess I could also try to decipher your code…

    Thank you,

    BTW, I am a bit familiar with the Swarmanoid as I also did swarm robotics research. My research was focused on developing swarm control algorithms, but I was also actively involved with developing the robotic platform (Maxelbot) I tested my algorithms on.

    • Hey Paul,

      sorry for the late reply. For generation 8 and 9 servers, the file structure is as follows: you have a single file that contains multiple other files (I called them “blocks” in my code). The name and sizes, checksum etc of these blocks are described in a header early in the firmware. Some of these blocks itself are present for multiple systems. So for example, there is a block that describes the fan control. It might exists for a 2850 and a 2800 in the same firmware. The flash tool automatically selects which blocks to use depending on the system.

      If you look at your file, you should be able to identify a table-like structure at the beginning of the file. If you can’t see anything like this, the firmware does not seem to be compatible. If yes, try to figure out at which part my script fails. If you look at my code, there’s the definition of the file header and the block header. Try to decipher this first table using this information.

      Let me know how it goes

      PS: are you still in swarm robotics research?

  2. Hey,

    first of all thanks for the great guide about the server noise reduction.
    I think you helped many people with that.

    But I have only one question, do I have to replace the fans to use your BMC version or is that just optional and I can install the firmware right away with the stock ones?

  3. Hi Arnuschky,

    First of all, thanks for all of your work, and thanks for contributing it back to the community. I’ve done a fair amount of OSS work, and know that it can feel thankless at times — know that it’s appreciated.

    I was wondering if you were interested in trying to redo your reverse engineering work on the more recent generations of PowerEdge servers? I have a T710 that I would pay money for someone to give me the ability to set the low threshold to 500 RPM.

    Do you have any interest in doing something like that? I’d be more than willing to pay a couple hundred dollars for it, but I know that’s probably not even close to paying for your time. There’s a huge amount of people on the internet with the same problem on the T710, and quite simply, there is no solution. I’ve been researching for weeks (google for ‘dell t710 fan noise’), and can’t find a way to achieve some noise level < 50 dbA. Perhaps a kickstarter would be a good option? I'd certainly pledge.

    Feel free to email me if you'd rather discuss in private.


    • Hey Justin,

      I am sorry, but I don’t think that I can’t help you. My first analysis of types of firmwares that Dell started to use after generation 9 yielded no similarities to the old firmwares. I am simply not sure if it’s even possible to do what you’re asking. Other than that, I would need to have time and a T710 here – both not available at the moment.


  4. Hello!

    Is there any chance on beeing able to to the fan-mod to a PE 2600? Dont seem to be the same type of firmware though..

    Any help is appreciated!

  5. hi
    i have some questions about my Pe2950
    i want a quiet server too but i stuck @ flashing the modified fw…
    pls add me in Skype if U want:
    thank you

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