[rescue] Scoop on IBM Dials and Buttons boxes?

Eric Webb ttlchaos at randomc.com
Fri Feb 22 20:42:11 CST 2002

On Thursday 21 February 2002 04:03 pm, you wrote:
> I just finished tracing the interface out, and I believe I can say
> with certainty that it's capable of RS232.  The units I came
> across have a 9-pin mini-din connector on the back. 

What?  Try 8-pin.  The tablet ports and the ports on the Graphics Input 
Adapter all have 8 pins, not 9.

> I traced out the wiring, and pins 2 and 3 of the DB25 go to the
> appropriate I/O pins on the Max232 chip. DCD, CTS, and DSR are
> tied high via 2k resistors, so they apparently don't use any
> sort of hardware handshake.

No offense, but I wonder why you went through so much trouble when I've so 
far found the tablet port and the GIA port listed in the IBM manuals.  For 
anyone who doesn't know, the "Adapters, Devices and Cable Information" book 
for MCA devices is a wonderful reference.  I found tablet port pinouts for my 
7012 in the service guide at work, though I never did that one book through 
digging on the web.  This is what I have:

Tablet port on 7012
1   GND
2   dc return (Gnd)
3  +5Vdc
4   Reserved
5   RX from device
6  TX to device
7   Reserved
8   Reserved

Graphics Input Adapter MCA card (Type 6-1, FRU 22F9758)
1   Signal Return
2   DC return
3   +5Vdc
4   Selective reset to device
5   RX data from device
6   TX data to device
7   Diagnostic selective reset from device
8   Reserved

The GIA runs at 9600 bps, either 5,6,7 or 8 bits per character.

> I suspect that
> they could probably plug into a "special" mini-din port on the
> back of an RS6000 which may have supplied power along with data,
> or they could be used with other IBM systems via the RS232 cable
> and a power brick adaptor.

Precisely.  There was a feature that came out after these things had been out 
that has an 8-pin mini-DIN on one end and a DB-25 on the other.  There is a 
six-pin header, presumably for +5Vdc.  Supposedly, there was a monitor (6091 
or 6093, can't remember) that had a power output for these kinds of devices.  
The tablet port provides +5Vdc as well.

> Again, any info would be appreciated on the command set for this
> critter. I'll know if it responds to "h", "?" or any other typable
> character :-) in a day or so, soon as I rig up a power supply.

I'm still digging this up.  In fact, I found my Dials at work and hooked it 
up to a 7012-390's tablet port, loaded tons of filesets, but could never get 
it to be found.  I also tried the serial adapter but of course I didn't have 
the +5vdc input, so it would likely have failed anyway.

My goal is to get the device working under an old copy of Catia and start 
tracing RS-232 perhaps....  I am also looking for support directly under 
graPHIGS, so tracing could be made easier.

Sridhar -- you might be able to help a little here.  I first loaded fileset 
devices.mca.edd5.com (Dials/Lighted Program Function Keyboard), but then 
found several others that looked useful:
Selected Filesets
devices.mca.edd5.X11                # AIXwindows Graphics Input Ad...
devices.mca.edd5.diag               # Graphics Input Adapter and D...
devices.mca.edd5.rte                # Graphics Input Adapter Softw...
devices.serial.tablet1.X11          # AIXwindows Serial Tablet Inp...
(being installed automatically;  required by filesets listed above) 
devices.serial.gio.diag             # Serial Graphics Input Adapte...
devices.serial.gio.rte              # Serial Graphics Input Adapte...

I'm going to check my cables and then try another machine and see if it 
detects the dials device.  I fear that you may need the LPFK before it'll 
work, though.


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