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Sad RBEM56G-100 & Tosibha 2655XDVD machines... whacky stuff 

Forum: Xircom PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter Issues
Date: 1999, Dec 05
From: Eric Malkowski <malk@ultranet.com>

Hi all-

We just got 4 laptops and w/Xircom RBEM56G-100 cards for business use. I've been able to use the card perfectly under only one specific set of conditions--during a Slackware 7.0 install via NFS. Slack 7.0 comes with kernel 2.2.13 and PCMCIA 3.0.14. I used the bare.i bootdisk, color.gz rootdisk, and supplemental pcmcia.dsk (a new thing Pat Volkerding has been doing) to get things up and going.

The laptops are Toshiba 2655 XDVD models w/ the software configurable BIOS via "tsetup.exe" program. The pcmcia bios selection was set to "AUTO" for the above slack 7.0 case.

When starting pcmcia.dsk, the modules get loaded from floppy (introducing some "delay" due to slowness of a floppy). The ususal beeps would be heard (with some delay between them) and the card comes up fine. The slack 7.0 setup mounts NFS without a problem and installation is flawless.

However... after install and reboot, no beeps are heard from PCMCIA startup, and the keyboard doesn't work (typing anything at the login prompt reveals nothing!) 3 fingered salute (CTRL-ALT-DEL) doesn't work...

power off and boot to single user, disable PCMCIA, and the system comes up.

Starting PCMCIA after boot-up manually... Cardcage is detected (PCIC I think -- I'll verify), but cardmgr comes back after a few seconds with "Socket 0: timed out on reset". No keyboard hang luckily...

Ok ... So I changed to Redhat because that's what we want to use when we deliver these to our customer... Redhat 6.1 comes w/kernel 2.2.12(20) w/ same PCMCIA version. Same behavior.

So I started messing with CARDMGR_OPTS in /etc/sysconfig/pcmcia file... I kept doubling every delay parameter available (the reset-related ones etc). After a while of trial and error and pretty large numbers in there, the card was detected and drivers loaded... couldn't test w/ a network cuz it was late and I was at home...

So next day I booted (w/ params left untouched) and no card detection ... Tried tweaking params some more... no dice.

Noticed that PCMCIA 3.1.5 was put up on December 2nd... grabbed it, built it fine, no 32 bit cardbus support. Same socket 0 timeout stuff... bummer.

So I changed the BIOS to "Cardbus-16" forced, rebooted and everything detected nicely and drivers loaded -- (I'm in ToPIC mode now) Thought I was all set!

Went into the lab and tried it out on the network... seemingly "random" ping packets would be received... telnet wouldn't work... I think RX or TX errors were going up in ifconfig report -- didn't look at netstat -i or anything... frustrated.

Tried booting slack 7.0 bare.i, color.gz, and pcmcia.dsk as a control... no card detection. Changed BIOS to "PCIC forced", no card detection. Changed BIOS to "Auto"... card works like a dream again (just like NFS install above)!!! ...

So -- the question is why the heck does this only seem to work when booted from slackware floppies w/ BIOS in "auto" mode... It works aweseome... If I can reproduce those conditions under a boot from harddisk environment, I'm all set (I suppose I could stick with 3.0.14 and 2.1.13 kernel).

BTW -- the post-install kernel from the slack 7.0 install I did is exactly the same as bare.i disk... 2.1.13, pcmcia 3.0.14 ... only the timeouts occur in that case.

I guess I haven't tried kernel 2.1.13 w/ 3.1.5 pcmcia stuff.

I'm going to try to simulate (when booted from hard disk) exactly what Pat Volkerding's pcmcia.dsk does w/ kernel 2.1.13 and PCMCIA 3.0.14... I'll try to post findings ... I'm open for any suggestions... I'm gonna also try kernel 2.1.13 w/ 3.1.5 PCMCIA stuff. I'll try all combinations of BIOS setting with these too....

The wierd thing is--I know it will work (from slack 7.0 install experience), so I'm not going to give up.

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1. Ok More tinkering with this... Some success! by Eric Malkowski, 1999, Dec 06

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