[TRLog] Serial port esoterica

jfeustle jfeustle@uoft02.utoledo.edu
Tue, 14 Oct 1997 08:14:20 -0400

For what it's worth, I've been battling serial port problems for the last
month or so, ever since deciding to put together a new contest computer.
What I now have running is an AMD 90 mHz. K5-based computer with 4 serial
(two on the motherboard and two on an add-in card) and 3 parallel ports
(one's the W9XT card). The motherboard uses the most current release of
Award BIOS, much of which is predicated on the automatic configuration of
peripherals in the style of "plug and play." I wonder what "award" it won.

Once up and running, the computer automaticallyconfigured itself by putting
COM-1 at 02F8 and COM-2 at O3E8 addresses. With this configuration, NONE of
my contest (WF1B, TR-Log) or loging (Log-EQF) programs would communicate
with my 1000MP or TNC even though I did specify the COM port address, in
addition to the  baud, bit, and parity settings in two of the three
programs (WF1B and Log-EQF), and despite TR-Log's recognizing exactly where
the port addresses were (TR PORT command).

Further investigation in the poorly written and even more poorly translated
manual that came with the motherboard showed only two options for setting
the COM port addresses: disable (very useful!), or autorconfigure (that
consistently assigned COM1 and 2 to 02F8 and 03E8 respectively, which
refused to work). What the manual did NOT show was that by using the PageUp
and PageDown keys in the SutUp menu (press Del while booting up), I gained
access to options other than "Autoconfigure" and "Disable," namely the
appearantly more traditional address 3F8H and 2F8H for COM 1 and 2. 

Once I specified these addresses for COM 1 and COM 2, everything else fell
into place. The computer established a connection to the 1000MP, to the TNC
for packet, and to my 850S. The moral of this story is: poke around! I had
assumed that "autoconfigure" and "disable" were my only two options. Well,
as that word [assume] is said to do, it sure made an ass out of me; don't
let it do that to you. I'm going to write "mother's" maker and suggest that
they at least let Lo Wang, the Shadow Warrior, proof their next manual.
Geez, I hope it doesn't get any worse.

Oh, I still wonder why the programs where I specified the autoconfigured
addresses would not communicate and why, when using autoconfiguration, COM
1 became COM 2 and viceversa. WTH, "mother"cost well below $100, so I guess
I got what I paid for.

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