Ultra-X PHD PCI Diagnostics Card Evaluation

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Overview of the P.H.D. Card

The P.H.D. PCI product is a PCI plug in card that is equipped with a vast array of visual indicators and switches. There are a number of dipswitches to configure the card for operation in a variety of modes, controlled mainly by the boards integrated firmware. Most of the IC chips on the board are socketed to make the board easy to repair by Ultra-X, or even the user, in case something fails onboard. Also the firmware embedded on the board is socketed to allow for easy upgrading if new tests or modes are developed. In fact, the board used in this evaluation had only recently been sent back to Ultra-X for an upgrade to the latest software revision. The revision of this particular board is version 5.02 Rev. C.

Visual Indicators Include:

  1. Three LED’s showing overall POST status. Red for Fail, Green for Pass and Yellow for Skip.
  2. Two 7 Segment displays for showing the current diagnostic test being run
  3. One 10 LED bar display that shows the presence of voltages (+5V, +3.3V, +12V and –12V), the video mode set on SW1 (mono, on-board video, VGA and EGA), P.H.D. diagnostic mode and the reset condition of the board.

Configuration switches include two 10 position dip switches that allow the following configurations:

  1. Video mode selection (mono, on-board video, VGA or EGA)
  2. Testing speed (slow to fast in 4 increments)
  3. Run all tests, run all tests except one in particular or run only one test
  4. Diagnostic mode (P.H.D., Post mode, Extended Diagnostic mode)

A discrete pushbutton is also available, called the PORT button. This allows the user to monitor the offset addresses when running the P.H.D. PCI in the POST mode. Essentially the P.H.D. card allows the monitoring of 8-bit POST data written to ports 80h, 84h, and 680h. By pushing the PORT button, the user can monitor 16-bit POST data written to the offset address of 81h, 85h and 681h. This function also allows programmers the ability to debug their firmware code. Programmers can simply program breakpoints to output to one of these addresses to allow them to monitor their program’s status.

Hummer IP

A companion card, called the Hummer IP, is available for the P.H.D. PCI card to allow for the full testing of the ISA bus. The P.H.D. card can test all of the PCI bus interfaces but does not have access to the ISA bus. The Hummer IP card acts as a load on the ISA bus that the P.H.D. card can use to fully test the ISA bridge and ISA subsystem. By plugging in the Hummer IP card, the P.H.D. card automatically detects it and enables this portion of the software diagnostic tests.

The Hummer IP card has a single power LED on it to show that power is applied. A single 84-pin PLCC programmable logic device is the board’s major component, outside a couple of discrete ICs, a crystal and a buffer chip. Since the two main chips are socketed, this allows for easy upgrading or repair.


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