PIP6-1/2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Question #247: My MPL SBC does not [boot|start] up. What can I do?
Answer: First of all, what precisely is meant by "does not [boot|start] up"?

Is the system not powering up at all or is there some reaction / output from the BIOS/bootloader, but no operating system is loaded or started?

If it is the former, please do the following:
  • check the status indicators (LEDs) if any.
  • press the power button if available.
  • check the power supply, cabling and fuse.
If it is the latter, please do the following:
  • try to boot the system from a known good bootable media (CD/DVD, USB, network, ...).
  • check the integrity and status of the default boot media. Replace the boot media if necessary.
  • if the software and/or hardware has been changed recently, retract the change(s).
  • recover the system from a backup.


Please note that the above is just a rough list of things to check and try. Please use the corresponding manual for detailed information and precise instructions for a particular MPL product.


Question #325: How can I reset the BIOS settings to factory defaults?
Answer: There is a special menu entry in the BIOS setup screen, which will reset all BIOS settings to their factory defaults.
If entering the BIOS setup screen is not possible, the recommended way is to switch off the CMOS backup power (either by removing the CMOS battery completely from its holder or by using the corresponding DIP switch as described in the product "User Manual"). That way, the BIOS settings are gone and the default ones are loaded at next system boot. After the system has booted successfully, don't forget to switch on the CMOS backup power again.

Question #345: I'm having trouble to get an USB device to work with one of your SBC. Either the USB device is not working reliable (or not at all) or the MPL SBC is even being reset if I insert the plug into the USB port or if the device is activated. The same USB device works without problem if I connect it to my laptop/desktop.
Answer: Is the USB device powered from the USB port only (no external power supply is being used)? If yes, your USB device most probably needs more power than it is allowed to do. The USB standard specifies that an USB device must not consume more than 500mA for USB2.0 / 900mA for USB3.0 (even not more than 100mA before being successfully initialized). For all USB peripherals with higher power requirements than the values mentioned above, the use of an external power supply is mandatory.
So please make sure that you use an external power supply or try to find another, standard conforming USB device.

Please note that the use of an "Y" shaped USB cable to "steal" power from a second, unused USB port is NOT a solution!

Question #329: I have attached a PC/104 or PC/104-Plus card to the [PIP | MIP] and I am sure that the card is configured correctly both from the hardware and the software side. Nevertheless the card does not work as expected, but shows erratic behaviour.
Answer: Does the card need +12V, -12V or -5V from the PC104/PC104-Plus bus? If the answer is yes, chances are that the I/O drivers and/or some A/D or D/A circuitry are not properly powered.
By default the [PIP | MIP] does NOT provide the voltages mentioned above on the PC/104 or PC/104-Plus bus.
Please check the corresponding "User Manual" and/or "Technical Reference Manual" for details.

Question #250: I want to use the watchdog on the PIP. I programmed it according to the example in the user manual. If I test my program, the system resets immediately, freezes after disabling and reenabling the watchdog, or shows some other strange behaviour. What's the problem?
Answer: Unfortunatly there are two race conditions in the example code published in the PIPx user manual.
In the procedure "Start WDT with 30 second timeout", the Watchdog Control Register (Addr. 808h) in the PLD must be written (Data 01h) after configuring the SIO chip as shown below:

...
_outp(0x3F1,0x1E); /* start counting down 30 secondes */
_outp(0x3F0,0xAA); /* exit configuration state, return to run mode */
_outp(0x808,0x01); /* enable reset generation on IRQ15 */

In the procedure "Stop and disable WDT", the Watchdog Control Register (Addr. 808h) in the PLD must be written (Data 00h) prior to configuring the SIO chip as shown below:

_outp(0x808,0x00); /* disable reset generation on IRQ15 */
_outp(0x3F0,0x55); /* enter FDC37C672 configuration state */
_outp(0x3F0,0x07); /* point to logical device number register */
...

Question #328: I'm trying to install [Windows NT | Windows 2K | Windows XP] on a CF card, but the installation fails or the OS does not work as expected. Does the PIP/MIP/IDE2CF not support this application?
Answer: Please make sure that you use a CF card which is configured to report itself as "fixed disk" device to the host system.
Basically there are two "different kind" of CF cards. Most CF cards for the "consumer market" report themselves as "removable" devices, while CF cards for the "industrial market" are normally configured to report a "fixed disk" device.
Although a successful installation of [Windows NT | Windows 2K | Windows XP] is theoretically possible on both kind of CF cards, there may be some tricky problems when using a "removable" CF card.
Our recommendation is to use "fixed disk" CF cards for this purpose.

Question #241: Why have you not migrated to the next generation processors, but are still using 700Mhz, P3 processor? Will the performance not improve with more advanced processors?
Answer: There are several reasons for this:
  • MPL AG does only use components that are in an embedded program of the respective manfufacturer. This makes sure we can guarantee the long-term availability our industrial customers require.
  • We do not believe that systems that require fans are suitable for industrial use. This and the fact that we provide extended temperature versions of our systems limits the range of suitable processors.
  • In industrial environments, the most common method to interact with the outside world is done using PC/104 interface cards that provide analog and digitial inputs and outputs. Because the timing to access these cards is defined by the bus specification, faster processors are not helping here at all.

You can be sure that we are working on systems with a faster processor already. However, due to the fact that we mostly deliver to customers in the industrial area, our products have some more requirements to satisfy than normal desktop machines and this takes its time.


Question #301: I would like to "communicate" with a PC104 card installed in a PIP, but it does not work.
Answer: First please check what ISA resources (MEM, IO, IRQ) the PC104 card supports and/or uses at the moment. Take a closer look at the PCI summery screen shown during BIOS POST to see which IRQ are currently in use by PCI devices. Also check the BIOS settings in the "PNP/PCI CONFIGURATION", "INTEGRATED PERIPHERALS" and "SPECIAL FEATURES SETUP" setup screen and use the information therein about already used ISA resources on the PIP to figure out a conflict free set of values for the various ISA resources. Make the necessary adjustments to the card configuration and / or the BIOS settings.

Question #297: What's the MTBF of your PIP products?
Answer: Based on the experience of the past few years, the typical MTBF is above 100'000 hours.

Question #146: Does the IDE Flash Disk/Module require any special drivers?
Answer: No, the IDE Flash is seen by the OS like a standard IDE hard disk.

Question #281: I wanted to use Norton Ghost to build an image of my PIP. However, Norton Ghost does not see the hard disk even though FDISK can see the NTFS partition fine.
Answer: Use the -fnx switch of Ghost to disable the extended INT13 functionality as the Ghost and the PIP BIOS have some discrepancies of the extended INT13 functionality.

Question #266: How many PC/104-Plus cards can I use on a PIP?
Answer: Without using one of the PIPPCI Extensions, two PC/104-Plus slots can be used on a PIP.

Question #252: What type of power supply connector is used for the PIP?
Answer: All PIPs will be delivered with a power connector. If you need additional connectors, MPL AG will supply them as well upon request. If you insist on buying them yourself or if you need technical information, here are the purchase details:
ManufacturerPhoenix Contact
Order Number1827729
TypeMC 1,5/ 4-STF-3,81
Wire gauge diameter1.5 mm2
 
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