Re: Itanium serial ports

Stephen Hoffman wrote:
Jeffrey H. Coffield wrote:

I am setting up an OpenVMS Itanium cluster and would like to use the serial port on an RX2620 (DB9) to connect to the MSA1000 serial console. The cable supplied (RJ45 to DB9) works on a laptop but when I plug it in to the Itanium and do a SET HOST/DTE TTA0:, all I get is the characters I type echoed back to me. I have already checked the baud rate, bits, parity & stop bits.

Any clues?

A short is unlikely; this sounds like something weird with the port.

Have you confirmed TT0: is the port you expect it to be? Have you tried connecting into that port using a terminal and terminal emulator, and logged in? Half the battle with serial ports on the Integrity involved sorting out which one was the console (as it varied, based on several factors), and which one wasn't. Once you have something connected, you can SET HOST/DTE into the terminal or the emulator, and you should see characters arriving in the terminal or emulator display window.

The Integrity serial connector I was using with the BD25 port on the rx2600 was the H8575-E, and the pinout for most DECconnect adapters is available at

I don't know that the pinout from the MSA1000 is posted anywhere, but you can use a multimeter to probe the adapter wiring and figure that out. From that and from the DECconnect stuff, you can confirm the wiring. (An RJ45 for serial communications? Shudder. Never liked to see that approach, no matter who used it.)

The RJ45 connector is at the MSA1000 end and it isn't actually an RJ45;
IIRC it has 10 pins!

I plugged the one that came with my customer's MSA1000 directly into a
serial port on their Alpha ES40, and it worked fine. The HP guys setting
it up also used it to plug into a laptop for configuring, and I think we
had it plugged into a terminal for a while.

The cable wasn't really long enough, so I scooted over to the near-by
Radio Shack and got the only 9-pin extension cable they had, which was
only a 6 footer. It worked fine, but still wasn't long enough! We
were able to duct-tape it to the floor instead of going across an aisle
in mid-air though :-( (Why does Radio Shack always have something very
close to what you need, but *never* exactly what you need? A 10-foot
cable or longer we could have run under the floor and with plenty of
slack at the back of the Alpha to pull it out on its slides easily,
but they only had one 6-foot cable...)

So it worked fine on an Alpha. Don't know if it will work on
an rx2600, but the two serial ports on the back of my rx2620
look like normal 9-pin ports, so it *ought* to work. I did

$ set term/perm tta0:/form/lowercase/nobroadcast/dma/noautobaud -

in sys$

The speed obviously has to match. Nobroadcast prevents the MSA
from seeing reply/all (e.g. system shutdown messages).

/Notypeahead prevents chattering, but you have to turn it off
before using the port. So I

$ allocate tta0:
$ set term/type tta0: ! without the /perm
$ set host/dte tta0:

When done, I deallocate tta0: (or just log off), and it reverts
to notypeahead.

I don't know how important the other settings are, lost in the
mists of time...


More info, including DB9 pinout of the MSA1000 cable:

Anyway the cust. actually had 2 dual-controller MSA1000s, but the
reseller only shipped one cable. Eventually they shipped the other
3, but there was only one available port on the Alpha... (The other
was being used for a printer or something.) But they did have a
DS90 with a bunch of spare ports (RJ45, this time, real RJ45), so
I made them some adapters (RJ45 to DB9) and they hooked up all the
MSA consoles using:

MSA1000 <RJnot45----DB9F> <DB9M-RJ45> <RJ45----RJ45> DS90

After cleaning out MicroCenter's limited supply of RJ45 to DB9M
adapters, and busting one of them, I got a bag of 10 of them from
a local electronics store, wired them up, and shipped them off to
the customer.

I had to experiment a bit to discover the correct wiring pattern,
and it was hard because I had to wire two of the DB9 pins together.

Since I didn't have either a DS90 or an MSA1000 to test with, I had
to mess around some with some stand-ins, a DS700 and a couple of modems
with DB9 to DB25 adapters. First I checked that a PC with a standard
9-pin port could talk to the modems (or maybe I used a 9-pin serial
port on one of my Alphas, I can't remember which) and then used a
standard Cat5 patch cable to connect the DS700 to my adapter. It
turned out the 2 modems demanded slightly different signals, but I
was able to build an adapter that worked with both!

Anyway the pinning was:

RJ45 DB9

1 Rcv Gnd----+--5 Gnd
3 Tx Gnd-----|

(Tie the two grounds together)

2 Rcv-----------2 Rcv
4 CTS-----------8 CTS
5 RTS-----------7 RTS
6 Tx------------3 Tx
7 DTR-----------4 DTR
8 DSR-----------6 DSR

1 DCD (No connection)
9 ??? (No connection)

Except for stripping pin 3 and soldering the wire to pin 1,
assembling these things was easy, just snap the pins into the
appropriate holes in the DB9 shell.

Curiously, the two different brands of RJ-DB adapters had the
exact same color code for the 8 wires on the RJ side... I
wonder if this is standardized?

John Santos
Evans Griffiths & Hart, Inc.
781-861-0670 ext 539