Racore PCMCIA Tech Notes

Support Bulletin: 3080 Revision F

Abstract: This document contains information on basic steps that should be taken to make sure your PCMCIA card is operating correctly. These steps can then be followed with a complete installation of your network software. Following these steps are some suggestions on specific installations.

Getting started:

Before putting your Racore PCMCIA Token Ring adapter to work on the network, it is recommended that you first run diagnostics. This will give you the assurance that your adapter is properly configured for your particular notebook computer before proceeding with the complex process of network installation.

Today's notebook computers come in a wide variety of hardware configurations and implementations of the PCMCIA specification. This can present some compatibility and resource management issues that need consideration in order to obtain optimum performance.

The Racore PCMCIA Token Ring adapter is a very versatile unit that can accommodate virtually all of the notebook computers on the market today. In order to provide compatibility with a wide variety of machines, the Racore PCMCIA software has been designed with several configuration switches that are explained in detail in your operating manual.

Chances are, your adapter will function properly right out of the box. However, with some notebook computers, it may be necessary to employ one or more of the software configuration switches. The procedure explained below will assist you in getting off to a good start.

1. BOOT to a plain DOS environment. Your CONFIG.SYS file should have only one line as shown below. Do not use any memory managers, card & socket services, TSR programs or other software. Do not use any other PCMCIA devices at this point. EXAMPLE: DEVICE=C:\PCMDRI.DOS

2. OBSERVE the Racore enabler messages as the machine boots. In most cases, if the adapter's 12 digit node address is displayed, the adapter has enabled properly. The address will be reported on the line following the I/O Port address and Interrupt message. An example is shown below. If the enable process succeeded, you may now attempt to run diagnostics. If the node address line does not appear, the adapter did not enable properly and some adjustments will be needed. EXAMPLE: The LAN Node Address: 00 00 1A 00 12 34

3. ADJUST, if needed. This is generally the traditional exercise of assigning the correct resources so that no conflicts exist. You will be editing the enabler line in the CONFIG.SYS file and rebooting. Start by trying a different INT or PORT from default. These are explained below. In most cases, only a single adjustment is needed. Other switches to be tried are also explained below, i.e., WAB and VD.

  • SLOT: Make sure that your adapter is inserted into the first logical PCMCIA slot (0 or A). This varies from machine to machine; sometimes slot 0 is below slot 1 and vice versa. Try moving the adapter to the other slot.

  • INT: Default is 2/9. Try using another INT such as A (10). This is done on the enabler line in the CONFIG.SYS file. EXAMPLE: DEVICE=PCMDRI.DOS -iA

  • PORT: Default is A20. Try using other port addresses such as 1a20, 1a40, 0200, 0300, 0320 etc. See manual for valid addresses. EXAMPLE: DEVICE=PCMDRI.DOS -p3A20 NOTE: Some older SoundBlaster cards, when set to default 220, will conflict with any device set to A20 because the SoundBlaster doesn't decode the 2 most-significant-bits(MSB) of the address, i.e., 2XX appears the same as 6XX, AXX, EXX. The solution is to either move the SoundBlaster card to 240 or set the PCMCIA adapter to something other than 620, A20 or E20; PORT 300 has been a good choice.

  • WAB: This is a temporary 4K block of upper memory used by the adapter, default is D000. If you are using a memory manager or other devices that use the UMB, try moving the window to DC00. EXAMPLE: DEVICE=PCMDRI.DOS -wDC

  • VD: Required for notebook computers that employ the DATABOOK brand PCMCIA controller chipset. EXAMPLE: PCMDRI.DOS -vd


4. DIAGNOSTICS. Once the adapter enables properly, run diagnostics. Be sure to have your adapter connected to the ring via the proper cable. If diagnostics passes, you may proceed to completing the system's configuration, i.e., adding other PCMCIA devices, card & socket services and network installation. If you receive an error message during diagnostics, try the following:

  • ADJUST the resource assignments as in step 3 above.

  • CABLE: The adapter must be attached to a functional MAU via proper cables in good condition. Check all connections. Try a different cable or MAU port.

  • BIT ENABLER SWITCH: It may be necessary to use the 8 bit enabler switch. EXAMPLE: DEVICE=PCMDRI.DOS -e


If you are still unable to get diagnostics to pass, you will need to contact the Technical Support department.

5. COMPLETE THE SYSTEM. After you are able to run diagnostics successfully, you may add the rest of your system's components such as other PCMCIA adapters, card and socket services, and network software. As always, as you add additional components, you may need to make some adjustments to accommodate each component. For example, you may be directly enabling two PCMCIA devices that are both using the same INT.

The final objective is to get the network adapter driver to load, and to communicate on the network. As your network software loads, watch for error messages that indicate the adapter driver did not load. For NetWare, you may see a message that indicates that no PCMCIA device was found; for Windows, you may get a message that says a network service failed to start.

If you should receive an error message when the adapter driver loads, the specifics of the error message should give some indication as to what needs to be changed. The most effective method of troubleshooting is to account for all components of the system and eliminate conflicts, then double check the network software configuration. Again, it may be necessary to adjust the resource assignments as in step 3 above.

Windows 95 install tips:

  • Rev B and earlier Racore PCMCIA adapters need to be re-flashed for Windows 95 functionality. The program used for this procedure is called UPD8CIS.EXE. These steps should be followed to ensure proper configuration of the Racore PCMCIA adapter. Rev C and newer boards which were manufactured after 8/1/95 do not require this procedure.

    1. Boot the machine to DOS. Do not use a CONFIG.SYS, i.e. do not enable the adapter.

    2. Run the flash program: UPD8CIS.EXE NOTE: It may be necessary to use a command line switch, see UPD8CIS.DOC.

  • Do not install any adapter driver during the initial installation of Windows 95. Ensure that Windows 95 identified your notebook's PCMCIA slot and enabled PCMCIA support. This is evident by the presence of the PCMCIA icon. If the PCMCIA icon is not present, add PCMCIA support via Control Panel, Add New Hardware.

  • With the PCMCIA adapter installed, boot Windows 95. Windows 95 should detect the Racore PCMCIA adapter and ask for a driver diskette. During the driver is installation, you will be asked to choose a memory window and your networks ring speed. Usually the default of CC00 is a good choice for the MEM window, although in some notebooks this is already used. If you encounter an error upon startup after installation is complete you may need to choose a different memory window or input a network address via the Racore adapters Advanced properties tab in the Network section of the Control Panel. If you manually enter the adapters address the MEM window is not needed. A valid address consists of a unique 12 digit number not used by any other device on the network. Example: 00001a001234.

Windows NT Install Tips:

For Windows NT version 3.x, in the Configuration dialogue box, select the PCMCIA option. This dialogue box opens automatically if you add the adapter during initial install of NT, otherwise you must manually open it if you add the adapter after NT has been installed.

For Windows NT version 4.x, see Support Document 7070.

IBM OS/2 Warp Version 3.x Tips:

When using the Racore PCMCIA card with IBM OS/2 Warp version 3.x, make sure the most current Racore OS/2 Enabler is used, PCMDRI.ADD and not PCMDRI.DOS.

Data Book Chipset Tips:

When using the Racore PCMCIA card with Lap Tops that employ the Data Book chip set, the -vd option must be added to the enabler line: DEVICE=PCMDRI.DOS -vd.

Machine Compatibility:

Refer to the most current Notebook Compatibility List, Support Document 3060 compiled by Racore for additional configuration suggestions when using the Racore PCMCIA card.