Admin Alert: All About the System i Attention Light
June 11, 2008 Joe Hertvik
In this week’s article, I’m presenting a high-level overview of the Power i, System i, and the iSeries system attention indicator light, which is activated when the system detects a problem. While it may be mundane to concentrate on how the system alerts you when something goes wrong, this information can come in handy when that little amber light blinks on and you’re not sure what to do.
Where Is the System Attention Light?
You can generally find the system attention indicator light (SA light) on the System Unit panel near the green power light, although the location varies by model. The indicator is usually a square(ish) amber or yellow light with a black exclamation point (!, the bang character) painted on its plastic surface. In addition to the system attention light, you may also need to check the Function/Data Display LED on the panel for system error codes that can help explain what problems are occurring on your system.
What Causes the SA Light To Come On?
The indicator light usually comes on when the system thinks that a problem exists. In my experience, the light turns on following these system events:
You may find additional system reference codes on the Function/Display Data LED. These codes can help you or your service provider determine the source of the problem. The Function/Display Data LED is also located on the system panel.
What’s a White Error?
A white error is a critical system message that appears in white text in the QSYSOPR message queue (as opposed to other QSYSOPR messages, which appear in green text, or the standard text field color of your 5250 display). White errors denote more serious system-related problems that IBM wants you to deal with right away. A white error is usually preceded in QSYSOPR by one of the following CPF messages.
CPPEA13 - *Attention* Contact your hardware service provider CPPEA14 - *Attention* Contact your hardware service provider
Although these messages look the same, they have different system severity levels. The CPPEA13 message is a severity 70 error, while the CPPEA14 is a severity 99 error. I’m not sure why IBM needs duplicate message IDs with different severity levels, but if some IBMer reading this column has an explanation, I’ll print their reply in a future column.
What’s the Drill for Turning Off the SA Light?
Before turning off the SA light, it’s vitally important to understand why it was turned on in the first place. A good rule of thumb is to never turn off the attention light before your problem is solved. As mentioned before, the problem might be easy to fix (the power went out and now it’s back on again) or more difficult (replacing a failed disk drive). If it’s serious enough, you may need to call IBM or a third-party contractor to take care of the issue. In most cases, they’ll turn off the indicator after fixing the problem, but sometimes they’ll forget and you’ll want to do it yourself.
How Can I Turn Off the Light?
After you’ve received the all clear on your problem, there are two ways to turn off the SA light. You can turn it off from either the green screen or inside your system’s Hardware Management Console (HMC).
To turn it off from the green screen, you’ll need to clear the error either in i5/OS’ Dedicated Service Tools (DST) or System Service Tools (SST) function. For this example, I’ll show you how to turn it off in SST, but the same concepts and options apply when turning it off in DST.
You can enter SST by running the following Start System Service Tools (STRSST) command from a command line.
The system will ask you for an authorized SST user ID and password. After you use these to sign on, it will display the System Service Tools menu. Take the following options off this menu.
If you prefer to turn off the system attention indicator from the Hardware Management Console (HMC), you can use the following instructions.
Finally, it’s important to note that if you’re trying to turn off the System Attention LED from either environment (green screen SST/DST or the HMC) and the light remains on, you should call IBM or your service provider for more information.
About Our Testing Environment
Configurations described in this article were tested on two i5 550 boxes running i5/OS V5R4 and V5R3. If a command is present in earlier versions of the i5/OS or OS/400 operating systems, you may notice some variations in the pre-V5R3 copies of these commands. These differences may be due to command improvements that have occurred from release to release.