DCA IRMAtrac MCA/ISA Token Ring Adapter

Gosh I sure felt bad opening the sealed box to reveal this adapter...oh well, it's all in the name of science. (And I do have a few other boxed up units. I picked the one with the most banged up box for research purposes.)

Digital Communications Associates, Inc. (DCA) was swallowed up by Attachmate Corporate a long time ago. There doesn't appear to be anything left of the DCA web site at this time.

Drivers & Files
Getting Started
Adapter Outline

Drivers & Files

You can download images of the Version 2.0.2 Revision C disks here.
Disk 1 - Installation, Diagnostics, IBM OS/2 EE & IBM LAN Server Drivers (1.4MB)
Disk 2 - Microsoft LAN Manager, 3+Open, IBM, DOS, Novell (LAN-DRV-323)
Drivers and Config Utility (1.4MB)
ZIP File - contents of both diskettes in one ZIP file. (958KB)
PDF Manual (coming soon)

Both disk images are in a raw format that should be writeable by most any disk imaging program. If you don't wish to use a disk imaging program or haven't got a floppy drive handy, download the ZIP file above instead.

Getting Started

Assuming you are lucky enough to have found an adapter new in the box, it will not yet be configured for usage in any computer. Even if your adapter is not new, you can use this parts guide to make sure you have all that is required to use the adapter with a different type of system bus.

DCA Parts Overview

Assemble The Adapter

For ISA computers, check here. (Link coming soon. So are pictures...)

(from the manual except where noted)

What Do You Need For A Microchannel Installation?

Which RIM Do You Have?

The IRMAtrac adapter comes with one of three RIMs--the 4/16 software selectable RIM, the 4MBPS RIM, or the 4/16 Fiber RIM. If you have the 4/16 Fiber RIM, skip to the section "Updating the Backup Copy of the Reference Diskette." Otherwise, read the information in this section that applies to you.

4/16 Software Selectable RIM - The 4/16 Software Selectable RIM has a jumper that must remain in its default position. Make sure the jumper is set to STP. This ensures that you can set the cable type through software. If the jumper is set to STP, continue with the next section, "Updating the Backup Copy of the Reference Diskette."

(Ed. If you're wondering as to why there is a jumper for selecting cable type on the software-controlled RIM, yes, there is a reason. Later on in the manual it says that if you use the new RIM with an earlier revision level card (which revision level?) then you must set the jumper for the type of cable you are using!)

4 MBPS RIM - If you have the 4 MBPS RIM, you may need to reset the four jumpers shown. These jumpers determine the cable type--STP or UTP. The default setting is for STP cable. If the STP setting applies to your environment, skip to the next section, "Updating The Backup Copy of the Reference Diskette."

To reset the jumper to UTP, carefully pull up each jumper and place it in the UTP position.

Note: Setting the 4 MBPS RIM jumpers to the STP position disables the RJ-11 (Ed. RJ-11?) connector (UTP); setting them to the UTP position disables the DB-9 connector (STP).

Updating The Backup Copy Of The Reference Diskette

Before you install IRMAtrac, you must update your working copy of the Reference Diskette. Read the IRMAtrac READ.ME file to find out which IRMAtrac diskette contains the ADF file. (Ed. For mine, it's Disk 1, which also contains an EISA .CFG file.)

Follow these steps:

1. Insert the backup copy of your PC Reference Diskette in drive A on turn on the PC power.
2. Choose the item from the main menu that allows you to copy an option diskette. This copies the ADF file from the IRMAtrac diskette to the backup copy of the Reference Diskette.

Note: Do not use the DOS copy command.

3. Store the original IRMAtrac diskette in a safe place. Continue with the next section, installing the adapter.

Installing The Adapter

Installing IRMAtrac in a Microchannel system involves assembling the adapter and installing it in your PC. If you ordered the IRMAtrac Remote Boot ROM, make sure it is installed before you install the adapter.

WARNING: As with any other computer adapter or component, parts on this adapter are static sensitive. Perform all work in a static-safe workstation or exercise care if working in a normal environment. Remember to discharge any static electricity in your body by touching an unpainted metal surface in the computer.

To install the adapter in a Microchannel system, follow these steps:

1. Turn the IRMAtrac adapter so the side facing you reads "RIM this side for Micro Channel bus".
2. Snap the small blue plastic Microchannel card guide "A" into the top left corner of the adapter.
3. Hold the RIM so you can see the connector pins and two white support pins.
4. Seat the RIM on the adapter by aligning the RIM connector pins with the connector on the adapter. Then gently press down until the RIM connector is secure and the white support pins snap into place. The RIM should easily attach to the adapter if the pins and connectors are properly aligned. (Ed. Work slowly and carefully. Don't force things. Check pins for correct alignment. This isn't difficult...just take it easy and you'll do fine.)
5. Fit the two metal prongs of the Microchannel backplate under the hooks of the small Microchannel card guide "A". Then slip the backplate over the end of the adapter so the rails straddle the connectors.
6. Secure the Microchannel backplate with the two thumbscrews.
7. Fit the left end of the adapter into the groove on the large Microchannel card guide "C" and press the white support pins into the adapter. (Ed. Mine are blue as this is made of molded blue plastic. Yours may differ.) Move the top edge of the card guide onto the adapter and lock it into place.
8. Write the adapter data rate (4 or 16 MBPS) and hardware revision level on the backplate label. The hardware revision level is located on the backplate edge of the adapter. (For example, 017015 Rev A.) Then attach the label to the blackplate.
9. Install the adapter in your PC. Refer to your PC documentation for instructions.
10. Connect the PC to the MAU. Refer to your MAU documentation for instructions.

You are now ready to configure the adapter in your PC.

Changing The Configuration

Power on and autoconfigure unless you have a good reason not to do so. Either way, save your configuration and restart. When you do, the following (as per the manual) are the configuration defaults for the IRMAtrac adapter:

Adapter Data Rate: 4 MBPS
Cable Type: Shielded Twisted Pair (STP)
Interrupt Level: 3
DMA Arbitration Level: 4
Fairness For Bus Master DMA: On
Bus Release For Bus Master DMA: Delay
Adapter I/O Address: X`0A20`
Boot ROM Address Range/Disable: Disabled

If you need to change IRMAtrac's configuration or learn more about options, follow these steps:

1. Insert your backup copy of the reference diskette in drive A and turn on the PC power. Follow the instructions that appear on the panels until you see the main menu.
2. Choose the item from the main menu that lets you set the configuration.
3. Choose the item that allows you to change the configuration.
4. Make sure the slot number and adapter name (DCA IRMAtrac Token Ring Adapter/Convertible) are correct.
5. Choose the options you need to change. To learn more about an option, press F1 to display on-line help.
6. Use the function keys to choose the next or previous setting for each option.
7. Save the new configuration and exit the Change Configuration menu.
8. Exit the Set Configuration menu.

Adapter Outline - DCA IRMAtrac Token Ring Adapter/Convertible
Card-ID 5C1D

Unassembled Base Card:
DCA Base Card

Sorry, folks, I couldn't see any component IDs on this:

1 - 010357A
2-5 Unknown Maker - V53C464AP10L
6 - Pads
7 - Valpey-Fisher 64.000000MHz OSC
8. DIP BOOT ROM socket
9. Texas Instruments TMS380C16PQL
10 . DCA VP16515-2 "Victor 2"

Unassembled Software Selectable 4/16 RIM:
DCA 4/16 MBPS software selectable RIM

U1 - Texas Instruments TMS38054FNL
Orange - NEC EA2-5NJ
Black - Fil-Mag 78Z027SM

Assembled Card:

DCA IRMAtrac Token Ring Adapter/Convertible Assembled for MCA

11, 12: Connectors for RIM - one MCA, one ISA.

Experiences So Far

After putting this page up, I assembled the card for good and popped it into a Reply 32. The system configured the adapter without incident using the DCA-supplied option diskette and "Copy an options diskette". Upon connecting this card to my North Hills MAU, I could hear relays on the RIM click every time I restarted the computer. I don't have any hard disk or operating system on this computer, so I had to settle for a functionality test with the DCA diagnostics software. Unfortunately, diagnostics fail, stating that either the logic on the card has failed or that there is a resource conflict (meaning that it can't share interrupts?).

I can't see any obvious resource conflict in the Reply refdisk. Since the adapter does click and clack on each reset of the computer, I doubt there is any logic failure. Perhaps the DCA diagnostic does not like non-IBM MCA boxen.

Copyright 2005 by William R. Walsh. Permission is granted to reproduce this page and all images so long as all copyright notices remain intact and no fees are charged for access to this information, other than those needed to cover access, media or copying expenses. All Rights Reserved. Software and Manual Copyright 1990-92 by DCA Corporation/Attachmate. All Rights Reserved. Manuals and software are supplied as a courtesy to owners of this hardware. They are provided as-is, subject to the terms of the included license agreements and without any warranty or liability. You use this software at your own risk.