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Using linux laptop as HP serial console

 
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Doug O'Leary
Honored Contributor

Using linux laptop as HP serial console

Hey, all;

I had this working once about three years ago and now can't remember how to do it.

I'm currently supporting a fair number of HP systems in a datacenter about .75 miles from where I do most of my work. Periodically, I have to hike over there for work that requires console - initial configuration, single user mode, etc.

The network consoles are the obvious right answer and those are slowly (very slowly) coming. I have a HP 700/96 green screen terminal that I have been lugging back and forth; however, the client's just improved the process of equipment transfers to the point that the paperwork to cart this thing from one building to the next is an absolute unbelieveable nightmare.

I've tried connecting the HP serial cable directly to my laptop. No go (didn't figure it would, but worth a try)

I've tried connecting the HP serial cable to a null modem cable to my laptop. no go.

I've tried connecting the null modem cable directly to the HP and to my laptop. Once again, no go.

My linux laptop is mandrake 10.0, standard 9-pin serial port. HPs are variety: 8420s, 4440s 3440s, L300s, and 2 itaniums that I haven't tried yet. I'm using minicom as the comm s/w.

If someone could let me know what combination of cables, s/w, and config I need to use my laptop you would save me an unbelievable amount of paperwork..

Thanks.

Doug

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Senior UNIX Admin
O'Leary Computers Inc
linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/dkoleary
Resume: http://www.olearycomputers.com/resume.html
6 REPLIES 6
Florian Heigl (new acc)
Honored Contributor

Re: Using linux laptop as HP serial console

It's been a year, but it worked, so I'll try to recall it:

I used kermit and a crossover cable, at 9600/8/N/1 with XON/XOFF

My system was an A180, which has no GSP 1to3 cable, but this should hopefully be irrelevant.
;)
yesterday I stood at the edge. Today I'm one step ahead.
Bill Hassell
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: Using linux laptop as HP serial console

Your laptop will work fine. Start with a 9pin-to-9pin straight through cable. Then buy a null modem adapter and perhaps a male-male and female-female adapter. Now you you're all set for any connection. Set your Minicomm software to 9600 8N1 and XON/XOFF software handshake. Turn off any modem options including hardware handshake, DSR/DTR and RTS/CTS sensing. This should get you a system prompt. To verify that the computer is actually talking, bring both your laptop and the HP 700/9x terminal and swap back and forth.

Since you have so many systems, I would strongly recommend a serial console concentrator so you can access the consoles remotely, especially if you have to monitor other devices like routers, VPNs, etc. The LAN console ports are OK but older machines do not have them and many of the concenttrators allow modem access, SSH access and a number of security and sysadmin features like port logging. Check out Raritan, Cyclades, MRV, Lantronix, Logical Solutions and Opengear. Make sure you look at serial console servers and not KVM servers.


Bill Hassell, sysadmin
Rick Garland
Honored Contributor

Re: Using linux laptop as HP serial console

We installed Secure Web Consoles to the older servers. I can sit at my desk and connect to the console of a server. Just like being there...

The new systems have this built in. The 'Lights Out' cards.

Do everything as if you are sitting in from of the system. Single user mode, watching the boot messages, etc.

My biggest benefit. Every so ofter when booting a system it get hung. I am able to invoke GSP and do a reset (RS) or transfer of control (TOC) if I want a crash dump.
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Using linux laptop as HP serial console

Windows hyperterminal works, and I've done it with Linux.

A standard connector will do the trick 9 pin to 9 pin

connecting to console is like dialing with no number.

you dial, connect and are prompted for the user and password.

SEP
Steven E Protter
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Matti_Kurkela
Honored Contributor

Re: Using linux laptop as HP serial console

When you refer to "HP serial cable", do you mean the 9pin-to-25pin cable that usually goes with the terminal? Connect the 25-pin end to the 900/76 terminal and never take it off: that's the proper place for that cable.

I prefer Cisco's console cables: those flat cables which have a RJ-45 connectors at both ends, with a set of adapters labeled "terminal" (female plug, DTE wiring) or "modem" (male plug, DCE wiring), in both 25-pin and 9-pin versions. The flat cable is *not* wired the same as a typical LAN cable.

For the laptop side, always put a 9-pin "terminal" adapter.

For the server side, it's usually a 9-pin "terminal" adapter for HP-UX, though some old servers might need the 25-pin version.
This combination should be exactly the same as a normal null-modem cable.

This connects to the "W" cable (one 25-pin connector to the server side splits into three 9-pin connectors labeled "console", "remote" and "UPS") on L3000s/rp54xx's or rp24xx's. On rp4440s and some others there is a 9-pin console connector in the hardware, so the "W" cable is not needed.

Some equipment (low-profile Sun hardware) accept the RJ-45 end directly with no adapter necessary.

If you want to connect to some older Sun hardware, you will need to add a 25-pin gender-changer for your kit, to change your 25-pin female "terminal" plug to a male version with the same pinout.

Minicom is a great program for this use. However, often its default speed setting is 38400 or so, which is way too high. Change the "Bps/Par/Bits" setting to "9600 8N1" and disable both software and hardware flow control.

Be sure to use the correct serial port device: the "COM1" is usually /dev/ttyS0 in Linux-speak. Also check that you have the necessary permissions to use the port: on Debian, you have to belong to the "dialout" group to be able to use the serial ports.
MK
Doug O'Leary
Honored Contributor

Re: Using linux laptop as HP serial console

Hey;

Thanks all for the responses. Sorry for the delay inn assigning points; however, I was hoping to have had a chance to try this before doing that. Hopefully, I'll get that chance today.

Thanks again for the info; I appreciate it.

Doug

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Senior UNIX Admin
O'Leary Computers Inc
linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/dkoleary
Resume: http://www.olearycomputers.com/resume.html