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hp712, HP 9000/712 model


Changing to Serial Console

Serial Cable

To connect your PA-RISC machine to your PC so you can boot the system using a console, you need a 9 pin-to-9 pin female null-modem cable.


Unfortunately, HP decided that the 712 should be hard to configure for headless use. Improper setting of the console path may cause the system to become inoperable. Beware.

do it

Briefly, you must get to the HP-UX bootloader prompt (which they call the ISL) which will allow you to permanently set your preferred console location to the first serial port at 9600 8N1.

The original source of this information is http://lists.parisc-linux.org/pipermail/parisc-linux/1999-December/008117.html.

To change to a serial console, you need:

  • a PS/2 style keyboard
  • a monitor with VGA style interface
  • the HP-UX ISL (either an HP-UX bootable hard drive or netboot)

First, you need to get to the BootROM prompt. When your system prints the following on screen, press and hold ESC until you get the BOOT_ADMIN> prompt:

Press <ESCAPE> to stop boot sequence.

Setting monitor type

If your display doesn't show properly, the frequency may be out-of-range. You can select the monitor type suitable to your display.

If your 712 has the add-in VRAM board, normal VGA 680x480 mode is monitor type 7. Without the VRAM board, the number may be different (possibly 5?).

BOOT_ADMIN> monitor 7
        Monitor Choices
Type     Resolution     Frequency
----     ----------     ---------
  1      1280x1024        72Hz
  2      1024x768         75Hz
  3      1024x768         70Hz
  4      1024x768         75Hz     Flat Panel
  5      1280x1024        60Hz
  6      1024x768         60Hz
  7       640x480         60Hz
  8      1280x1024        75Hz     VESA
  9      1024x768         75Hz     VESA
 10       800x600         75Hz     VESA
 11       640x480         75Hz     VESA
 12      1280x1024        72Hz     Greyscale
 13      1280x1024        50Hz

Current Monitor Type is
  7       640x480         60Hz


If you have HP-UX installed on local disk

BOOT_ADMIN> boot pri isl


ISL Revision A.00.38  OCT 26, 1994 


Boot 712 from LAN

BOOT_ADMIN> boot lan isl


ISL Revision A.00.25 November 18, 1992


Setting console

Run the following command to set your 712 to use a serial RS-232 console with 9600 Baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, and no parity:

         ISL> conspath 2/0/4.0x283

To set your 712 to use the local console (i.e. keyboard and screen), run the following command:

         ISL> conspath 1/0/0.0

You can use the display and information commands to verify that your settings have been stored properly. Once you're sure everything looks right, power cycle your workstation to start using your serial console.

Additionally, you can temporarily use the local console by pressing the “Esc” key on the PS/2 keyboard while resetting. This is setting only affects the console location temporarily and only works with firmware rev 1.6 and later.


BootRom Version    1.6  

Memory Size:  192 MB

(c) Copyright 1990-1993, Hewlett-Packard Company.
All rights reserved

Press <ESCAPE> to stop boot sequence.
Selecting a system to boot.
Command                             Description
-------                             -----------
Auto [boot|search] [on|off]         Display or set auto flag
Boot [pri|alt|scsi.addr] [isl]      Boot from primary, alternate or SCSI
Boot lan[.lan_addr] [install] [isl] Boot from LAN
Chassis [on|off]                    Enable chassis codes
Diagnostic [on|off]                 Enable/disable diagnostic boot mode
Fastboot [on|off]                   Display or set fast boot flag
Help                                Display the command menu
Information                         Display system information
LanAddress                          Display LAN station addresses
Monitor [type]                      Select monitor type
Path [pri|alt] [lan.id|SCSI.addr]   Change boot path
Pim [hpmc|toc|lpmc]                 Display PIM info
Search [ipl] [scsi|lan [install]]   Display potential boot devices
Secure [on|off]                     Display or set security mode

BOOT_ADMIN> boot lan isl


ISL Revision A.00.25 November 18, 1992 

ISL> display

    Fastsize value is 0000000F

    Autoboot is ON (enabled)

    Autosearch is ON (enabled)

    Primary boot path is 2/0/
    Primary boot path is (hex) 2/0/

    Alternate boot path is 2/0/
    Alternate boot path is (hex) 2/0/

    System console path is
    System console path is (hex)

ISL> conspath 2/0/4.0x283

ISL> display

    Fastsize value is 0000000F

    Autoboot is ON (enabled)

    Autosearch is ON (enabled)

    Primary boot path is 2/0/
    Primary boot path is (hex) 2/0/

    Alternate boot path is 2/0/
    Alternate boot path is (hex) 2/0/

    System console path is 2/0/4.643.
    System console path is (hex) 2/0/


gram form the original message

Matthew Wilcox writes...

>On Thu, Dec 23, 1999 at 07:45:00AM -0800, Bill Katz William" wrote:
>> |How do I set the console on my 712 to be the serial port, not the 


>> |display?
>> |
>> |Thanks
>> |
>> Boot to ISL and use the conspath
>> command to change the console back to rs232.  The command to use is:
>> serial
>>         conspath 2/0/4.643
>> graphics
>>         conspath 1/0/0.0
>This contradicts the PA-RISC Booting HOWTO:
> How can I change the boot console to serial on a 712?
>Unfortunately, you can't. Although 712s are configured for in-house HP
>development to use serial console, this configuration isn't supported
>in the field. You have to use a graphics console for 712s.
>I'd like to know if this needs to be corrected.

The above statement about serial console not being "supported" on 712 is correct. That doesn't mean you can't do it. Here are the instructions,


An RS-232 console is not a supported feature in the 712 products. For this reason users cannot select the RS-232 port as a console from the BOOT_ADMIN prompt.

These instructions will configure an RS-232 console with 9600 Baud, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, and no parity.


NOTE: If the following instructions are not entered correctly, your system may be left in an un-usable state. Contact support to "dagger" your system in this case.

    Power up the 712 system. 
    Press (ESCAPE) during boot to abort auto booting the system. 
    At the BOOT_ADMIN> prompt, use the boot command and the isl keyword.
       This will stop the boot sequence at ISL instead of booting to the 


    For example: 'boot scsi.6 isl' 
    At the ISL> prompt, type 'conspath 2/0/4.0x283' 
    At the ISL> prompt, type 'disp' and verify console path is:
       (hex) 2/0/ 
    If necessary re-type the conspath command above. 
    Connect an RS-232 terminal to the system. 
    Power cycle the system to bring it up on an RS-232 console. 

As it indicates above, *BE VERY CAREFUL* or you can hose your system. If you do, I have one of the "dagger" cards that can be loaned out to fix it.

-- Matt Taggart taggart@fc.hp.com

X-From-Line: hppa-linux@thepuffingroup.com Thu Mar 11 15:54:36 1999 Return-Path: <hppa-linux@thepuffingroup.com> Received: from merlin.pcj.primenet.com (pcj@merlin.pcj.primenet.com []) by merlin.pcj.primenet.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with ESMTP id PAA14261 for <pcj@merlin.pcj.primenet.com>; Thu, 11 Mar 1999 15:54:32 -0800 Resent-From: hppa-linux@thepuffingroup.com Received: from pop.primenet.com by merlin.pcj.primenet.com (fetchmail-4.4.7 POP3) for <pcj/merlin.pcj.primenet.com> (single-drop); Thu, 11 Mar 1999 15:54:36 PST Received: from smtp01.primenet.com (daemon@smtp01.primenet.com []) by primenet.com (8.8.8/8.8.5) with ESMTP id PAA14177 for <pcj@smtp-local.primenet.com>; Thu, 11 Mar 1999 15:32:44 -0700 (MST) Received: (from daemon@localhost) by smtp01.primenet.com (8.8.8/8.8.8) id PAA26870 for <pcj@primenet.com>; Thu, 11 Mar 1999 15:32:42 -0700 (MST) Received: from SOD.RES.CMU.EDU(

via SMTP by smtp01.primenet.com, id smtpd026771; Thu Mar 11 15:32:32 1999

Received: (from listserv@localhost) by sod.res.cmu.edu (8.8.7/8.8.7) id RAA06933; Thu, 11 Mar 1999 17:32:02 -0500 Resent-Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 17:32:02 -0500 X-Authentication-Warning: sod.res.cmu.edu: listserv set sender to hppa-linux-request@thepuffingroup.com using -f Delivered-To: thepuffi-hppa-linux@thepuffingroup.com Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 16:35:15 -0600 From: Jason Eckhardt <jason@equator.com> Message-Id: <199903112235.QAA05851@equator.com> To: hppa-linux@thepuffingroup.com Subject: [hppa-linux] Boot #4 and source on ftp site Resent-Message-ID: <"3RIsy2.0.Ei1.XH4ws"@sod.res.cmu.edu> Reply-To: hppa-linux@thepuffingroup.com X-Mailing-List: <hppa-linux@thepuffingroup.com> archive/latest/171 X-Loop: hppa-linux@thepuffingroup.com Precedence: list Resent-Sender: hppa-linux-request@thepuffingroup.com X-UIDL: 9ce996d3976fbc9addd3c92c1b564e49 Lines: 25 Xref: merlin.pcj.primenet.com palinux:142

Boot test #4: This is essentially the same code as #3 but I have taken out some delays, modified the cache flush routines, and turned verbose (debug) mode back on. I want to make sure that not having the delays makes no difference and that no characters get dropped when there is a lot of text (as in debug mode). Please let me know if the test still passes as before. Hopefully this will be the last test for a while. Kernel work comes next.

I have uploaded the binary as well as a new source drop to the ftp site. The source is now GPL'd and a detailed README is included which gives an overview of the boot code operation. This source supersedes any previous source you may have laying around.

ftp from sod.res.cmu.edu:/pub/parisc/hilo

 boot_rel_0.2.tar.gz        The latest source code and documentation.
 bootstrap_4.bin.gz         Bootstrap binary #4. 

Regards, Jason Eckhardt.