Comtrol-Hostess multiport cards

Comtrol-Hostess multiport cards

Post by Christian Schroed » Tue, 20 Jun 1995 04:00:00


at work we have a 486 with a Comtrol-Hostess multiport card with four ports.
We`ve ben using it with SCO and the drivers shiped by Comtrol.

Since my fellow workers and me all use Linux and want to force it`s use in
our company, we would like to use all our hardware with it.

The multiport card we are using, has four 16550 UARTS, which, when I use
setserial with autoconfig, are detected as 16550A. I`ve set up the rc.local
file to invoke rc.serial, in which I have four lines :

setserial /dev/cua4 uart 16550 port 0x500 irq 10
setserial /dev/cua5 uart 16550 port 0x508 irq 10
setserial /dev/cua6 uart 16550 port 0x510 irq 10
setserial /dev/cua7 uart 16550 port 0x518 irq 10

I`ve tried all of this with 16550, 16540 and 16550A.
When the system comes up, they are all recognised as part of a
fourport device. I hope it is ok to change the port-adress for each port.

There are also four devices in /dev cua[4567]. There were allready there,
after the installation, and their major and minor numbers correspond to the
statements made in the Serial-HOWTO. I think it was 65 + number, where
number is the number after cua*.

After I logged in as root, I made two tests. First I used setserial again:

setserial -a /dev/cua4

The output was IMHO the same as during the bootup.

stty </dev/cua4

It told me, that the device had 9600 bps, and some other stuff. Well,
so I thought I could let agetty work with cua4, since there is a terminal
connected to it. So I started :

agetty 19200 ttyS4

Normaly, if there is no hardware for a created device, agetty should return
after some time. In my case, it worked on happy, but there was no login on the

Then I connected a serial tester between the terminal and the multiport. I
realized, that when I started agetty, there was a change on the port. (I`m
not at work now, so I`ll have to look later, for which lines were changing.)
But still no output.

Then I just made:

cat /var/adm/messages >/dev/cua4

The lights changed as before, but there was no change on RD nor on TD. This
tells me, that maybe only some parts of the functionality of the multiport
is working, but no data is transmitted! Too bad.

Could anyone tell me, if I`m doing something wrong, or if the linux
serial driver just ins`t able to use this card, since it uses a completely
different communication protokoll than the normal multiport cards.

I hope, this was not too annoying, and my english could be read be
english nativ speaking users. -)

Thank you anyway.
cu Christian
Christian Schroeder, TU-Berlin, FB13  


1. HOSTESS (TM) Products (Comtrol Corporation) multiport serial

I'm not sure the 2 HOSTESS 8 port cards I have are identical to yours, but
all I needed to do was use setserial to get them identified. The two systems
I have them installed in are down right now, so I can't get at the rc.serial
file. E-mail me if you want the info, I may not be able to get to it for a
day or 2.

The cards I have are 8*16550A UARTS on 2 boards sandwiched together with 2
cables running out to a large box with 8 25 pin connectors. There is no
visible P/N on mine (or I missed it when I took a quick look) but the date
is 1987.

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