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How do I resolve resource contention issues when installing ISA or EISA cards?

The most common problem experienced when installing Digi ISA cards is memory contention. This might consist of conflict with some other card/resource already present in the server and/or ensuring that BIOS allocates the memory resources needed by the card.

Due to the number of different types of BIOS, the following are general guidelines only. It may be necessary to consult with the BIOS vendor or the motherboard/system manufacturer to determine the appropriate procedure to follow.

Before Installing the Async adapter card

  • Determine the Memory Address, I/O address, and IRQ for each card already installed.
  • Determine the Memory and I/O Address settings you will use for your Digi board(s) (Many Digi boards are capable of sharing the same Memory Address):
    • All ISA Xem, C/X, EPC/X, and Xr cards can share with each other and require a 32k memory window.
    • PC/Xi cards come in several configurations from 64K to 512K -- cards with identical Memory Address ranges can share with each other.
    • Xe cards come in two configurations, 8K and 64K (older full length card). Each type can share with itself, but not the other.
      • Note: ISA cards require manual setting of an I/O address via on-board DIP switches. Some cards also require the memory address be set via DIPs and/or jumpers as well.
  • Configure the I/O addresss DIP switches for settings that will not conflict with anything else in the system (when installing only one ISA card, the default I/O address (all DIP switches on) is usually the best setting to try first).
  • Intelligent Digi boards do not use IRQs when installed in Unix systems. If the card has DIP switches for IRQ, they should be left in the off position.

After Installing the Async adapter card

  • Boot into BIOS.
  • If the system has any EISA slots, (even if you aren't using them) it is necessary to load a cfg file for the ISA card. cfg files are available HERE.
  • Configure the BIOS to disable cacheing for the memory address you have selected for the card.
    • There are frequently several steps involved in doing this. Some of the things to look for are:
      • System BIOS: Non-Cacheable
      • ISA Shared Memory: Enabled (AMI BIOS)
      • Adapter BIOS Shadow Cacheable: Disabled (AMI BIOS)
      • PCI Memory Window: Enabled (for at least the range used by the Digi board)
        This is sometimes called something like ISA Base Memory Address and ISA Window Size.
      • Disable Cacheing on the specific memory range(s) -- i.e. D0000-D7FFF -- or whatever address the card will be using.

When all hardware issues have been resolved, the async card will be seen by the Operating System environment the card is being installing into. All that's left is to install the appropriate driver for that Operating System from the Digi Tech Support Website (Note:  It may be necessary to search within the ftp website within either the driver area or legacy support area for the appropriate driver for your product.)
Last updated: May 29, 2019

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