IBM Support

Lift Tool and decommissioning our Power E870

How To


Using the Lift Tool to add a heavy E870 in or out of the 19 inch Rack. In this case removal but can easily imagine the process in reverse for installing say the POWER9 E950 or E980. Especially if being placed high in the rack.


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This is a story board about the mystical POWER8 or POWER9 Lift Tool and (in this case) decommissioning our Power Systems Enterprise E870. The EMEA Advanced Technology Support machine was a temporary loan from the Power Development team in the USA as part of the Early Ship Program for beta testing, skills development, usability testing and feedback plus social media like the YouTube videos, Tweets and this blog. We have certain enjoyed learning about and using the machine although I must say it was hard work to use up all the 4 TB's of memory!!

Well, regrettably it came to the time to send it back. The E870 2 CEC and 2 I/O Drawers was supplied as "field integrated" it had to go back in a large set of boxes that we saved and stored  (rather than the recommended by me "factory Integrated" where it is shipped already build and cabled in a T42 Rack). As the machine is now generally available we ordered the mysterious POWER Lift Tool to use while removing it from our T42 rack. This is used to add, remove or move the POWER Enterprise machine Central Electronics Complex (CEC), which contains the CPUs, memory and 8 adapter slots along with the usual fans and power supplies with combined makes the unit pretty heavy.

So below the sequence is in reverse of the more typical adding a CEC in to a rack.

Before the machine was touched we did the following:

  • Used Live Partition Mobility to move the virtual machines (LPAR) to other physical servers - some to a Power 770 and most to other smaller POWER Scale-out machines. The virtual machine disks were from the VIOS Shared Storage Pool which made life simple.  This to about 30 minutes elapsed time in total for the 20 virtual machines.
  • Just before the power down the system outputs one final message on the screen: 
    "Goodbye cruel world!"
  • image
  • Then we shut down the VIO Servers and then powered off the whole machine hardware.
  • We removed the eight adapters that belonged to us and did not come with the machine. This was simple too:
    • Unplug the Fibre channel cables or Ethernet cables,
    • Then release the adapter cassette, raise the terracotta handle and withdraw the cassette with the adapter inside.
    • An easy catch on one end of the cassette releases the whole side of the adapter cassette,
    • Then 3 flip over adapter holding catches releases the adapter can be removed.
    • Then you place the side back on the cassette and slide it back into the machine.
  • Roughly 2 minutes an adapter.

Below is the back of the machine showing all the cables before we touched them


Below is the POWER Lifting Tool being delivered to the loading bay. It is a large heavy crate.


Below you can see the front end of the crate is actually a ramp for extracting the POWER Lift  Tool. Believe me, you don't want to lift the POWER Lift Tool itself.image

Below, you un-clip the front / ramp and lower it to the ground.image

Below, we see the back of the Lift Tool.  You release the POWER Lift Tool brake with the green pedal and then roll it gentle down the ramp.  The hinged wooden blocks at the bottom just move out the way. Stepping on the red pedal applies the break.


Inside, on the shelf, is the "fork extenders that allow you to place the lowest CEC in the rack. 

The Lift Tool platform for the CEC can't get that low due to its front feet and the tilt shelf.image

Below the POWER Lift Tool - its very solid. You can see the mail table (aluminium coloured) near its lowest position.  The cable that lifts the main shelf can be seen in the middle and above the red label. It has four red, rotating and very strong wheels with excellent barrings. The crank handle is behind the main black upright and can be just be seen in front of the blue waste bin.  The upright chrome handles are used to push the Lift tool. You can also lock the front wheels to make steering easier.image

Below is the tilt shelf - this allows you to tilt the CEC before lowering it on to the T42 rack rails and allows you to make sure that the "nail heads on which is sits go into the slots on the rail - each in turn as you lower it flat. You can see the handle used to crank up the tilt table on the left end - it folds away when not in use.  The tilt table is bolted to the main Lift Tool table with the supplied bolts.image

Below you can see the tilt table bolted on to the main table.  We stopped to measure the size of the POWER Lift Tool.


Below it is 68 inches or 173 cm tall. It should go through most doors.


Below is the Power E870 with all the main power cables, POWER I/O Drawer cables, SAS disk Drawer cables, Ethernet cables and Fibre Channel cables removed. Its looking rather bare. Inter CEC SMP cables and clock cables are still there at the bottom.


Below the SAS Drawer at the top and the two POWER I/O Drawers have been removed - these are not so heavy so our Customer Engineer (CE) Martin Wells, just removed them with a three man lift out of the front of the rack.  The POWER I/O Drawers sit on "L" brackets bolted to the rack on each side. There is no pull out the front rails for them. The cable support arms (top one in the up position and the bottom one in the down position) are still in place in this picture and need removing next.  Also the rest of the rear cables were removed as we are about to remove the actual CECs.


Below our CE has removed the System Control Unit which sits between the two CECs. Once released, it slides out the front on rails and is not so heavy to lift out of the way. So its just the two heavy CECs to go.  As we have the Lift Tool, we don't have to remove any further components or units from the CEC to reduce the weight.


The CEC is unbolted from the T42 rack and then pulled carefully out at the front of the rack on its supporting rails - we had previously removed the rack front door. If you look carefully, you can see the rails are slightly down at the left hand side do to the weight.  If you push down on the handle marked by the red arrow the main table can be moved left and right (in this picture) as indicated but the green arrow.  When adding a CEC to the rack this makes it simple to align the "nail heads" to the slots on the rails.

We are removing the CECs, so it is simply a job to raise the main table so the flat tilt table on top of it (you can't see the tilt table in this picture - its under the CEC) starts taking the weight of the CEC.


Next we crank the handle on the tilt table (marked in red) to start tipping the tilt table and disengage the "nail heads" at the front (left) end first.


Below you can see that we are tilted up even more and the front (left in the picture) "nail heads" are no longer engaged. Finally, you raise the whole CEC by cranking the main table up an inch or two to fully disengage the rear most "nail head". It is reluctant but a little shimmy does the trick.


Below the rails are being pushed back into the T42 rack and then the CEC is completely free and the Lift Tool can then be rolled away with the CEC AFTER the height has been reduced.  Particularly, worth being careful when the machine is a 4 CEC E880 where the top most CEC is at least half way up the rack.  We don't want any incidents of people turning a sharp corner and the CEC falling off or the whole lot falling over. Not with a top spec. CEC at something like $200,000 list price!!!

I have "red arrowed" the nail heads on which the CEC rests while on the rails but not sure if there is one right at the front or not!image

We rolled these away to the placed back in the carefully stored shipping boxes which are on crates to be shipped back to the USA.

Below we are just left with then lower half of the T42 rack totally empty.  It looks a bit sad . . . but it is all ready for the next ESP machine in a few weeks time :-)


 - - - The End - - -

Additional Information

If you find errors or have question, email me: 

  • Subject: POWER Lift Tool
  • E-mail: n a g @ u k . i b m . c o m  

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Document Location


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Document Information

Modified date:
27 November 2019