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Article ID: KB32144 KB Last Updated: 11 Oct 2021Version: 3.0

The "SECONDARY_TIMEOUT or PRIMARY_TIMEOUT" message is likely caused due to transient Hardware or Software defects

This is a Troubleshooting Article for a PFE ASIC Syslog Event.
To view other documented syslog events related to XMCHIP, XLCHIP, MQCHIP, LUCHIP, EACHIP, and PECHIP, see KB31893 - Index of Articles for Troubleshooting PFE ASIC Syslog Events.



When a "SECONDARY_TIMEOUT or PRIMARY_TIMEOUT" event occurs, messages similar to the following are reported and are never on its own:


Aug 23 16:52:53 router fpc0 EA[1:0].disp[2] PRIMARY_TIMEOUT (PPE0 Zone 27).
Aug 23 16:52:53 router fpc0 EA[1:0]_PPE 24 Errors thread timeouterror
Aug 23 16:52:53 router fpc0 EA[1:0]_PPE 25 Errors thread timeouterror
Aug 23 16:53:01 router fpc0 EA[1:0].disp[1] SECONDARY_TIMEOUT (PPE 23 Zone 31).


Oct 7 21:16:54.898 router fpc3 XL[1:0].disp[2] PRIMARY_TIMEOUT (PPE 3 Zone 3).
Oct 7 21:16:56.898 router fpc3 XL[1:0]_PPE 32 Errors thread timeout error
Oct 7 21:16:56.898 router fpc3 XL[1:0].disp[2] SECONDARY_TIMEOUT (PPE 0 Zone 6).


  • PFE wedge might be detected and traffic forwarding is compromised


This error is caused by transient hardware or software defects. Each parcel during the lookup processing is checked for lookup loops, and if the time threshold is reached, a thread timeout error is reported in syslog to terminate the processing. If the termination is not successful, a secondary timeout is reported. Usually, a signature or something external to the lookup chip is stalling the termination and other syslog entries are reported.


Perform these steps to determine the cause and resolve the problem (if any).  Continue through each step until the problem is resolved.

  1. Collect the show command output.

    Capture the output to a file (in case you have to open a technical support case). To do this, configure each SSH client/terminal emulator to log your session.

    show log messages
    show log chassisd
    start shell network pfe <fpc#>
    show nvram
    show syslog messages

  2. Analyze the show command output.

    In the 'show log messages', review the events that occurred at or just before the appearance of the "SECONDARY_TIMEOUT or PRIMARY_TIMEOUT" message. Frequently these events help identify the cause.

This article is indexed in KB31893 - Primary Index of Articles for Troubleshooting PFE ASIC Syslog Events; tag EACHIPTSG XLCHIPTSG

Tip: When looking at an event in the logs, it is important to focus on the first error message in a collection of syslog messages. The first error message is usually the cause of all the follow-on error messages. The follow-on collateral damage error messages can be ignored.


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