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Xenix - Unix I.P.B. 3187 9th March 1995 (JE)
Department Category Implementation
Unix Hardware Advisory
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Specialix RIO configuration under SCO Unix in FT//ex

See also IPB 3195

Apricot has added Specialix XIO and RIO products to its range of I/O connectivity options. See IPB 3186 for configuration of XIO.

Specialix RIO uses a different host card from the SI and XIO products. The card has four PS/2 keyboard style connectors at the rear for connections to the RIO Terminal Adapter (RTA) boxes over dedicated twisted pair cable. The standard link cable supplied is 5 metres, but the RIO manual gives instructions for making link cables up to 75 metres in length. Longer distances are possible via fibre-optic converters. RTA's are available from Apricot in their eight port form and we are offering one of the parallel port versions of the RTA in addition to the standard eight port RS-232 model. The RIO product provides higher performance than the original SI product, having a maximum baud rate of 115.2Kb, and greater I/O flexibility.

The RIO driver supports up to four cards giving a total of 512 ports. However, if more than 128 ports are required you should check the configuration with Unix Support.

A single RIO card can support up to 128 ports; this being 16 eight port RTA's. Each RTA has four link cable connectors for interconnection to other RTA's; this gives a very flexible connectivity scheme with the host card, allowing triangulation of connections between RTA's and the host card for fault tolerance of link cable failures.

The current RIO product requires the RIO driver release 3.00 or above.

We are supplying the EISA version of the RIO card - product code XB54613. The card should be configured into the machine with the ECU floppy as for any EISA card. The card occupies a 64k address range. However the card can be placed at several addresses above 1Mb as well as addresses below 1Mb, taking into account the following limitations of the FT//ex. Because the card requires a large address range it is best to locate it at an address above the RAM installed and this should be done whenever possible to eliminate clashes with other cards:

Machine type Valid addresses offered by ECU Invalid addresses offered by ECU Note
FT//ex 486 (VESA bus - UB product code) D0000
16Mb + 64k
64Mb + 256k
FT//ex Pentium (VESA bus - UC product code) D0000
16Mb + 64k
64Mb + 256k
FT//ex 1000 (PCI bus - UD product code) Any except E0000 E0000 3


  1. Installed RAM must be maximum 64Mb as maximum address for card is 64Mb + 256k. Card is not addressable at 1Gb or 2Gb range in this machine. If more than 64Mb RAM then card MUST be at D0000 - likely that other cards will clash though. The E000 address is unavailable. If D0000 has to be used disable the shadow option for this range in the Advanced Configuration menu within the CMOS setup utility (<cntrl><alt><escape> at power up).

  2. Card is not addressable at 1Gb or 2Gb range in this machine. If D0000 is used then see note 1 above. The E0000 address is unavailable. If installed RAM is more than 64Mb and D0000 is not suitable then a hole will have to be defined in the RAM by using the Advanced Configuration menu within the CMOS setup utility. Under the Memory Block Configuration option set the Block Size to 64k for one card, 128k for two cards, and set the Starting Address to the binary values for address lines A31-A16 to represent the starting address of the hole. Examples follow:
    Example 1. One card set to an address of 16Mb + 64k. This will need a 64k hole set to start at 16Mb + 64k. The settings for these address lines will be:
    0000 0001 0000 0001
    Set the Block Size to 64k and set the Reserved For option to Memory Hole.
    Example 2. Two cards, one set to 64Mb + 64k, the other set to 64Mb + 128k. This will need a 128k hole set to start at 64Mb + 64k and end immediately before 64Mb + 192k:
    0000 0100 0000 0001
    Set the Block Size to 128k to accommodate two cards each requiring 64k. Set the Reserved For option to Memory Hole.
    To set the Starting Address (A31-A16) do the following:
    i. Cursor down to the Starting Address (A31-A16) option.
    ii. The first four bits will be highlighted, cursor down again.
    iii. The next four bits are now highlighted, use the left and right arrows to set the required bits. Here the bits refer to 128Mb, 64Mb, 32Mb, 16Mb respectively.
    iv. Cursor down again, the next four bits are highlighted.
    v. Cursor down again, the right most four bits are highlighted. Use the left and right arrows to set the required bits. Here the bits refer to 512k, 256k, 128k, and 64k respectively.
  3. The E0000 address is unavailable. However the card is addressable at the 1Gb and 2Gb ranges offered in the ECU with this PCI motherboard, the highest address being 2052Mb. Use these high address settings to eliminate the need to enable the 15Mb-16Mb hole available with this motherboard.

The card can be set to a range of IRQ's - 3,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,12,14, and 15. It can also be set to polled mode. IRQ's 5 and 9 have been used with the card.

Parallel port RTA

We are also offering the seven RS-232 + one parallel port version of the RTA, Product Code XB54615 as well as the eight RS-232 port version, product code XB54614.

This provides a means of attaching a parallel printer to an intelligent I/O adapter thus eliminating the need to use the mother board parallel port which is a Unix overhead and can cause slow system performance when in use.

For this parallel port version of the RTA the three serial ports below the parallel port are marked as "RS 232 *" indicating a reduced pin out. The RI and DTR pins are not implemented. For this reason do not connect modems to these three ports.

The parallel port is treated by the driver in the same way as if the port were serial. For an RTA attached to the host card using ports in the range /dev/ttyr001 - /dev/ttyr008 the parallel port would be /dev/ttyr001. To configure a printer on this port define the device as /dev/ttyr001 when setting up the printer in sysadmsh in the normal way. An stty setting is needed in the interface script to define line settings. An stty entry exists in the crnlmap model script and the tab3 entry should be added to it, as below. No baud rate is required though:

stty onlcr tab3 opost 0<&1

Error message after installation

It has been noted that when using release 3.00 of the RIO driver the following error is produced when first logging in on RIO attached terminals:

Cannot obtain database information on this terminal

The RIO installation does not create the terminal control database entries for the ports. When Unix is installed a security level is requested, and for "traditional" or lower then this error will only be seen when first logging in. For higher security levels the error will persist and logging in is not possible. The file that contains the terminal control database entries is /etc/auth/system/ttys and can be updated by running the command:


This will add entries to /etc/auth/system/ttys that do not exist there but do exist in /etc/inittab.



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