iTCO_wdt watchdog on Asus P10S-WS motherboard FREEZES MOTHERBOARD COMPLETELY

From: David Madore
Date: Thu Sep 08 2016 - 13:01:18 EST

TL;DR: the iTCO_wdt watchdog on the Asus P10S-WS motherboard, instead
of rebooting the machine, places the motherboard in a completely
nonfunctional state, from which it can be revived only by a hard power
cycle. I suspect this is a BIOS bug: seeking advice on how/where to
report this, and what to do generally. Maybe Linux can work around?

Dear list,

I have an Asus P10S-WS motherboard (Intel C236 chipset). I have been
trying to get the iTCO_wdt hardware watchdog to work (I have been
successfully using this driver with similar Intel chipset based Asus
motherboards before, and I know it to work reliably). I am using
Linux 4.7.3.

I trigger a reboot by killing (with kill -9) the wd_keepalive daemon
once it has opened the watchdog device.

Sadly, it appears that on this motherboard, the watchdog does not
reboot the machine (or at least, does not successfully reboot it).
Instead, the machine enters a "frozen" state (fans spinning, screen
black, all peripherals unresponsive) from which it cannot be woken up
by pressing the reset button, or even the power button twice (the
first press does turn the machine off, but it returns to the same
nonfunctional state after power on). Instead, power has to be cut
completely, at the power supply level.

In this nonfunctional state, the Asus POST status display shows the
number "62", which according to the motherboard manual is the code for
"installation of the PCH runtime services" (I have no idea of what
that means).

I suspect that this is a BIOS ^W UEFI bug and in no way Linux's fault.
It could also be a hardware problem, a chipset bug, or something else.
And even if it is a firmware bug, it is conceivable that there is a
way to work around the problem from Linux. So I ask for guidance from
the wisdom of this list:

* Is there something Linux can do about the problem?

* Is there a chance some kernel developer knows someone at Asus and
can bring this problem to their attention?

* Can someone report success using the iTCO_wdt watchdog with other
motherboards having the same Intel C236 chipset? (Note: for it to
work, the i2c_smbus module needs to be loaded: it took me a long
time to figure out.)

* Is all hope lost for my motherboard? (I badly need a hardware
watchdog: if there is no way to get it to work on this motherboard,
I will need to buy a new one.)

Any suggestions are welcome (or even words of comfort :-).

David A. Madore
( )