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Computer too fast for a old RS422 serial card

Posted on 2010-08-22
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Last Modified: 2013-12-10
I have a  2.80GHZ Pentium 4 - 533FSB Processor running a legacy hardware and software system.  This application is SCO Unix and has an old RS422 Serial Card communicating with upto 100 devices on a shop floor for monitoring processes.  This client is phasing out this product to replace it with a wireless solution but this needs to run for at least 12 -18 months.   The application does not seem to work on this new PC but runs like a charm on an older, slower PC.  The problem is when the RS422 card goes out to the devices it only shows the last few devices.  It appears that something is timing out or not getting the messages back fast enough for the processor speed.   Is there  a way to slow the processor down through the BIOS settings (or any other method) to see if this applicatiion will run?  
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Question by:mikeplastic
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13 Comments
 
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:rfc1180
ID: 33497707
> Is there  a way to slow the processor down through the BIOS settings (or any other method) to see if this applicatiion will run?

I would not even waste time doing that, slowing the processor down is not going to have no affect; there could be an issue with some incompatibility with hardware/memory/interrupt allocation, possibly conflicts that you will need to troubleshoot.

Is this RS422 card a proprietary card; does it come with some type of diagnostic utility. I am not going to pretend like I know SCO Unix, but as this is a new system, I imagine that you are running an updated version/kernel of that of the old version, correct? So what does the vendor say about the issues that you are having?

Billy
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 33497772
Programs that did that were often using a polling process to communicate with the serial port devices, whereas interrupt driven processes are all that is available today (so far as I know). Ask your vendor about whether there is an update for newer serial ports and newer PC's.

One thing you might look at is in the properties of the serial port, try the different flow control settings. It may want XON / XOFF and your port may have defaulted to none or hardware.

It may (in the end) be necessary to source older PC's (eBay).     ... Thinkpads_User
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:mikelfritz
ID: 33500629
Sounds like hardware compatablity or a driver issue with the serial card.  Do you have the manufacturer and model number of the 422 card?

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Author Comment

by:mikeplastic
ID: 33500747
I have an engineer coming in on the RS422 card.  My question is mostle based on is there any way to slow down the processor through BIOSW or other method.  This would be a less costly faster solution!
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

by:
mikelfritz earned 167 total points
ID: 33500832
I would think that depends on the motherboard manufacturer.  Do a goole search for underclocking with regard to your motherboard/bios.  Most people out there overclock but pleanty have tried underclocking on various machines mostly to save power.
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LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Callandor
Callandor earned 167 total points
ID: 33502164
For a 2.80GHZ Pentium 4 - 533FSB cpu, you can typically slow it down by changing the FSB from 133 to 100 - that will give you a 2.1GHz cpu. The multiplier is locked, so that can't be changed, but your RAM should be okay running slower.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:already_used
ID: 33510897
I have the same problem with a DOS program (that uses a RS422 card)  that will only run on a 486.  
I have tried upgrading this system for almost two years.  The issues that I have found, are not so much with processor speed, but with serial buffer size and overflow control.
What version of SCO are you running.  It may be possible to modify the serial driver.  Also versions of SCO prior to 5.0.6 will not run on a P4 system.
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Author Comment

by:mikeplastic
ID: 33511133
I am running SCO 5.0.7
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:already_used
ID: 33516831
Mike, do you have the source code for the application?
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LVL 38

Assisted Solution

by:yuzh
yuzh earned 166 total points
ID: 33517334
You can try to force the serial port run on lower speed, eg set each port's baud rate to 9600 to see if it works (try to set it to all ports in the card)
please have a look at:
http://osr600doc.sco.com/en/HW_io/config_trigger_level.html 
PS: I remember high baud rate can cause buffer over run in SCO 5.06 or older.
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Author Comment

by:mikeplastic
ID: 33522633
Yes - we do have source code!
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 33522995
Way back here - have you checked flow control (as that can have a decided impact on serial communications.  ... Thinkpads_User
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Author Closing Comment

by:mikeplastic
ID: 33559311
I have used a little of the 3 solutiona.  I have also sent the computer back to get it clocked down.  WQhen it gets back i will test and re-open the question if i have not resolved the issue.
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