Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I'm trying to start building my ipcop machine.

I found a disk to use for it, a 40gb disk I found spare.

I did a basic install of ipcop on it, using the machine I use for imaging tivo disks, but I only had 1 network card in the machine at the time.

I decided to collect all the NICs together, I want to use 4 Intel NICS I've got.

The only problem with this, is that 2 of them are in machines. 1 of these is the machine that will be the ipcop machine, so that's fine, but the other is in one of my servers.

I shut the server down, grabbed the card out of it, and put in a different card, in the same slot.

I powered the machine back up, but it didn't detect the new card. Strange.

I tried running up the software I needed on the machine, since it only uses the serial ports, and the machine doesn't really need network access, but I discovered that I couldn't do that.

The software is some crappy VB app, and it seems to require a network interface, because it just kept coming up saying something about "address type not supported".

I tried again, forcing an update of the ESCD data in the BIOS, but that didn't work.

I tried booting the machine with no network card, and then again with the card in, because I've had machines before, that won't notice a card swapped, or moved between slots, unless it's booted without the card in at all.

This didn't work either. I began to wonder about the NIC.

I had a few different ones, so I tried another, still no good.

I wondered if there was something wrong with the slot I was trying to use, so I popped out another backplane cover, and tried a different slot.

I still didn't have any luck. I was getting a bit annoyed by now.

I tried yet another card, and in both slots, and forcing updates of the ESCD data, but had no luck. In desperation I set the BIOS to "PnP OS: Yes", because I usually rely on the BIOS to configure PnP cards, not windows.

This didn't help either.

I put the original card back in, the Intel I wanted, and it detected it without issue. I tried having both the Intel, and one of the other cards in the machine, but it only detected the Intel still.

At one point I got close, I used a different card again (I had a few to try), and windows detected it, but the video had changed to 640x480x16 colours.

I looked, and apparently there weren't enough IRQs, so the video card was conflicting with the NIC.

I realised that the USB controller was enabled, so I disabled it in the BIOS, hoping to get another couple of IRQs, but it didn't achieve anything.

I pulled the serial card out of the machine (it's got 4 serial ports, between the 2 onboard, and the 2 on the serial card), and then put a NIC in.

Now the machine wouldn't even power on. I tried it without the NIC again, just the video card, but it still wouldn't boot.

I was getting really annoyed now.

I mucked around with the machine a bit, checked all the connections, even took the video card out and put it back, but it still wouldn't boot.

I put the serial card back, in, and now the machine booted. I don't know what was going on there.

I tried it with a a NIC again, still didn't work. I managed to get the machine to boot without the serial card after that.

Even though the BIOS wouldn't detect the cards, windows would. I don't know what the story was there.

I installed one of the cards, which windows detected, but then I realised I couldn't install the drivers, because the machine has no floppy drive, and I didn't have the drivers for it anyway.

I put in a different card, windows detected it, had a driver for it, and set it all up. Good, I'm getting somewhere.

I put the serial card back into the machine, in the slot where the NIC had been originally, booted up the machine.

When windows came up, it told me that the NIC wasn't working properly. ARGH.

I wondered if it was an IRQ issue. I recalled that one of the cards I was trying to use, an old 10Mb PCI card, could be configured, and I thought the IRQ was one of the things that could be configured.

I found the driver floppy, and then realised the machine didn't have a floppy drive. Argh.

I took the card out, installed it in another machine, and booted it up, and ran up the install program. I found that all that could be configured was the medium type, duplex setting, and something to do with the boot rom.

I couldn't change the IRQ or anything, that must have all been PnP.

I put the card back in the machine, it still didn't work.

In desperation, I put in an old ISA card, but windows didn't detect it. I didn't even know what it was, an Intel something or other, with 8/16 written on the PCB.

I installed a 16 Bit card that I saw windows had a driver for, but I needed to tell it the address and IRQ the card were on.

I had no idea, didn't have a setup program, so figured I was wasting my time.

I put another card in there, and when windows came back up, it claimed it found the 16 bit adapter I'd installed (which was clever, since I'd taken it out of the machine).

It also identified the PCI card I'd put in there, a Realtek 100Mbit card, but it was 8139 based, and windows only had drivers for 8129 cards.

I tried using that, but it didn't work.

I gave up. I put the serial card back in the slot it came from, and I put the Intel NIC back in the slot it was in.

I booted the machine it, it sorted itself out, and I was able to start up the software again.

I ended up wasting almost 2 hours in the end, and achieved nothing.

Oh, actually, not nothing, because I realised that machine has 512MB of ram in it, and doesn't need it, so I pinched out a 256MB stick, that I'll put in the IPCop box.

I'll have to get another card going in the IPCop box, probably not too much of a worry, I could live with a 10Mb card even, on the WAN interface, connected to the ADSL modem.

I decided to put the 3 Intel NICs, and one other card into the machine I use for imaging tivo disks, to fully build/configure/test the IPCop box, before I pull apart my DNS server.

When I went to do this, I discovered that the machine only has 3 PCI slots in it.

I gave up at that point. I think tomorrow I will back up the stuff I need off the DNS server, and rebuild it. Hopefully it's got 4 PCI slots in it.

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