monitor won't wakeup

APM/ACPI BIOS questions
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montreal
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monitor won't wakeup

Post by montreal » Thu Oct 13, 2005 11:02 pm

Hello, this is my first post.

I recently was given a single board computer that connects to an active ISA bus, and I have spent the last 3 weeks bringing it back to life.

While this robust industrial computer has a slow 386DX cpu, it has many other features on it that make me prefer it to a PCI bus Pentium for my home automation.

This computer has a custom written BIOS (QUADTEL/PHOENIX) and requires a setup disket to access the CMOS parameters.

I was unable to locate the original BIOS setup disket but I found two generic utilities on the WEB that let me examine and change the main BIOS features which are universal to many BIOS. The second utility disket lets me access some of the extended CMOS features, but probably not all of them, as they tend to be unique to each manufacturer.

My current problem is that the monitor goes blank exactly 60 minutes after booting up the computer, even if the computer is busy doing a task and I am moving the mouse around the screen. Once the monitor goes blank, no amount of keyboard strokes or mouse movement will wake it up. Control-Alt-Delete will reboot the computer.

Even when the screen goes blank, the disk light keeps flashing as the already started Windows 95 process continues to its logical end (example, a Windows 95 build that takes over an hour to complete).

An exception to this rule occurrs if I boot up the computer with a DOS disket and the screen offers the DOS prompt and waits for a keyboard response. 60 minutes later the screen will go blank, but if I press a key, the screen comes back to life. If I boot up Windows 95 and open a DOS window, then my screen will go blank after 60 minutes, and no keystrokes can bring the monitor back to life.

The green power light on the monitor stays green and does not change to yellow when the screen goes blank, indicating that VIDEO OFF METHOD = "Blank Screen" is being outputed.

In Windows 95, I have disabled all Power Management options.

My conclusion is that there is a video power management feature on the computer that has a 60 minute timer that begins counting down the moment the computer is booted up and once the timer is expired, the screen goes blank. There is some code in DOS that gets activated whenever a keyboard entry takes place which will reset this timer and if necessary, refresh the screen if already blank.

My Windows 95 is not to be able to reset the timer and refresh the blank screen when I press a key or move the mouse.

My mouse is a serial mouse via COM1 and not a PS/2 mouse via a mouse port (no available port), so my mouse may be associated with a different IRQ, that of the COM1 serial port. This would be a problem if DOS uses the keyboard to wake itself up and Windows 95 uses the mouse movement to wake itself up, and if the mouse IRQ is different from the standard, then that could explain why Windows doesn't wake up.

I am assuming that my BIOS has a "VIDEO OFF OPTION" which I need to set to "ALWAYS ON".

I can't get deep enough into my BIOS to confirm this because I do not have the original BIOS utility disket. The BIOS is an unflashable 128 KB. EPROM.

Does anyone know if there is a workaround to get Windows 95 to refresh the timer and refresh the monitor the way DOS is able to do?

Thanks

KachiWachi
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Post by KachiWachi » Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:57 pm

What machine/motherboard is this?

Can you post any BIOS ID information?

montreal
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Post by montreal » Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:00 pm

KachiWachi wrote:What machine/motherboard is this?

Can you post any BIOS ID information?
The board is a SBC (Single Board Computer) that plugs into an empty ISA backplane which is fed from the power supply. The manufacturer is TEKNOR (Now KONTRON), and the model is AT3L. This is an INTEL 80836DX cpu.

To get around the fact that my generic BIOS configuration disket does not allow me to access all the extended CMOS parameters, I was able to determine that the key Power Management parameters are located at address 50h (80 decimal) in the CMOS.

Using a CMOS copy routine, I was able to read the value located at address 50h as "BF".

The 'F' means that POWER MANAGEMENT CONTROL BY APM is "ENABLED", and that the POWER MANAGEMENT SETUP is "MAXIMUM" (shortest delay before triggering event).

The 'B' means that the VIDEO OFF METHOD is "BLANK SCREEN", and that the VIDEO OFF OPTION is "ALL MODES -> OFF".

With a HEX editor, I replaced the "BF" with "8F", so that VIDEO OFF OPTION would be "ALWAYS ON".

I then copied the modified CMOS table back into the computer and left it for 60 minutes with Windows 95 running. Unfortunately, the screen went blank again as before, and I could not get the computer to refresh the blank screen by using the keyboard and mouse.

So I have re-edited the value "8F" to "85" so that in addition to the above change, the PM CONTROLLED BY APM changes from "ENABLE" to "DISABLE", and POWER MANAGEMENT SETUP changes from "MAXIMUM" to "DISABLED".

I am rather supprised that when I did a cold boot after reloading the new CMOS table, I did not get a BIOS checksum error.

I will need another 40 minutes wait to determine if this combination works.

UPDATE: This combination doesn't work either. I will search for another combination.
Last edited by montreal on Sun Oct 16, 2005 12:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

KachiWachi
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Post by KachiWachi » Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:58 pm

The place I used to work at used KONTRON machines for their "notebooks", though they were more like "field workstations". I recall using a BIOS Configuration Disk on one of them at one time to check something out on a malfunctioning field return unit.

Did you go to the KONTRON/TEKNOR site to see if they had the BIOS Configuration Disk for your model available for download?

It sounds like you manually turned everything off OK...assuming there isn't some other "key" that you missed.

montreal
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Post by montreal » Sun Oct 16, 2005 12:06 am

KachiWachi wrote:Did you go to the KONTRON/TEKNOR site to see if they had the BIOS Configuration Disk for your model available for download?

It sounds like you manually turned everything off OK...assuming there isn't some other "key" that you missed.
Thank you for your response.

First, I have been in contact with the manufacturer, but since the BIOS (a non flashable EPROM) was ordered custom built for the original purchaser of the computer (my ex-employer who gave me the computer), KONTRON says that they cannot release a copy of the critical disket (assuming that an original still exists).

I contacted a person who works for my former employer about the disket. He searched for a copy in vain. The sub-contractor who built the original chassis failed to answer my inquiry.

What I did was look at how my Pentium 2 manipulates the Power Management bits in its COS and I patched the CMOS from the TEKNOR to match. I assumed, perhaps incorrectly that both machines use the same address (50h, 80 decimal) in their respective CMOS in the same way.

My test has proved that this is not the case.

What we know is that the TEKNOR has a Power Management mechanism that starts a 60 minute timer at boot time which when expired will cause the monitor to go blank while maintaining the horizontal and vertical sync.

This takes place even if there are no hard and soft disks connected to the system. Pressing any key will wake up the monitor and reset the timer. I assume that the software routine that manages this timer resides in the BIOS, as there is no other software loaded into the computer. If I load DOS from a disket, then this software routine continues to work in the same way.

My Pentium also behaves in a similar manner, but it has a hardware Power Management device on its mother board which is detected by the Windows 9x device manager during scan and shows up in the device list.

It appears that whenever Windows 9x is loaded on the TEKNOR, the same software routine in the BIOS that looks after the 60 minute timer, no longer functions exactly as before. It can still time out, but can't be reset by a key-stroke.

It is as if WINDOWS has stopped some of the code in the BIOS from functioning, whereas DOS allows it to run as usual.

It is possible that the Power Management routine is not in the BIOS at all, but in the 80386 cpu itself and that this routine no longer behaves in the same way when the Windows 95 OS takes charge.

When this TEKNOR computer was invented in the early 1990's, Windows 95 had not yet arrived. So it is hard to say how well the OS and the CPU can co-operate.

I am hoping to discover more about how Power Management works.

I hate having to reboot my TEKNOR every hour just to see what is going on behind the blank screen.

KachiWachi
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Post by KachiWachi » Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:13 pm

montreal wrote:It is possible that the Power Management routine is not in the BIOS at all, but in the 80386 cpu itself and that this routine no longer behaves in the same way when the Windows 95 OS takes charge.
Nope...it's either the BIOS running the show, APM in Windows (if selected), or a combination of both...depending on how you set things up in the BIOS to begin with. For example...if you have the BIOS set to blank the screen in 15 mins, but APM set for 30, the BIOS will win. That's why you disable everything in the BIOS so Windows can have "full" control, or set the BIOS timeouts longer so that Windows APM will "get there first". DOS has no APM, so PM relies on the BIOS calls for that function.

Sounds like you are on the right track...you just have to figure out the correct settings to make the PM work as you desire.

montreal
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Post by montreal » Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:31 pm

KachiWachi wrote:
montreal wrote:It is possible that the Power Management routine is not in the BIOS at all, but in the 80386 cpu itself and that this routine no longer behaves in the same way when the Windows 95 OS takes charge.
Nope...it's either the BIOS running the show, APM in Windows (if selected), or a combination of both...depending on how you set things up in the BIOS to begin with. For example...if you have the BIOS set to blank the screen in 15 mins, but APM set for 30, the BIOS will win. That's why you disable everything in the BIOS so Windows can have "full" control, or set the BIOS timeouts longer so that Windows APM will "get there first". DOS has no APM, so PM relies on the BIOS calls for that function.

Sounds like you are on the right track...you just have to figure out the correct settings to make the PM work as you desire.
Thanks for your update.

You say it is either the BIOS running the show or the APM running the show. From what I have observed, there appears to be two different power management routines operating independantly when Windows 95 is running. There is the APM which operates under Windows and behaves exactly as expected, and there is this second routine that runs in the BIOS, with or without Windows. Without Windows, the BIOS routine behaves perfectly. This BIOS routine will blank out the monitor after 60 minutes and refresh the screen if I press a key.

If Windows 95 (or 98 for that matter) is present, then the screen will go blank and the monitor will reduce power according to the APM timers set by the user. The keyboard and/or mouse will always be able to reset the power in the monitor and the screen will refresh as well, but only if 60 minutes has not yet expired since bootup. After 60 minutes, I can only get the monitor back to full power, but the screen remains blank permanently.

KachiWachi
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Post by KachiWachi » Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:30 pm

First, I'm no APM expert. :oops:

Yes, both will run at the same time. I should have said that either the BIOS runs the show, or the APM runs the show, for things to work successfully. When they are in competition, things can foul up.

Just for the heck of it, did you try one of the KONTRON Setup Disks? Maybe they will get you far enough into the settings to set then BIOS PM...

montreal
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Post by montreal » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:00 pm

KachiWachi wrote:First, I'm no APM expert. :oops:

Yes, both will run at the same time. I should have said that either the BIOS runs the show, or the APM runs the show, for things to work successfully. When they are in competition, things can foul up.

Just for the heck of it, did you try one of the KONTRON Setup Disks? Maybe they will get you far enough into the settings to set then BIOS PM...
If only I could get a KONTRON setup disk.

The problem is that there are public AT3L boards with universal 128 KB BIOS, and then there are the boards that I was given by my ex-employer as a gift. The BIOS on these boards was custom written and it is against the policy of KONTRON to provide any tools for accessing this BIOS unless the request comes from the original purchaser of the machine, that would be the contractor who bought these boards and sold them as a turn key system to my ex-employer. The contractor has not answered my e-mails.

In any case, I have taken one of my boards and cleard the CMOS just to see what bits the BIOS would set by default. From what I can see, this BIOS does not set any of the bytes located in the extended area (above 3Fh). So my feeling is that whatever Power Management routine that runs on the BIOS, it can't be configured via a setup diskette. It may be that when this BIOS was written in 1992, Windows style APM had not been invented, so all the original designer was interested in doing was blanking the screen under DOS or QNX after 60 minutes and letting any keystroke wake it up.

If only I knew how Windows interferes with the way the BIOS usually becomes aware under DOS that a key has been pressed.

Or if I could teach Windows to use the same address in RAM for the APM timer that the BIOS uses.

Thanks for your suggestions.

KachiWachi
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Post by KachiWachi » Tue Oct 18, 2005 1:47 pm

I meant to type one of the "public" KONTRON disks...

OK...good luck to you. I hope the original contractor eventually responds to your hail. :)

montreal
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Post by montreal » Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:34 pm

KachiWachi wrote:I meant to type one of the "public" KONTRON disks...

OK...good luck to you. I hope the original contractor eventually responds to your hail. :)
Thanks for your good wishes.

I'll post back if I have any luck.

Update: OCTOBER 24, 2005.

I hit a second snag with this computer board. Because it is a 386, Windows 95 is the highest OS that can be built. When I tried to add the Microsoft database, MDAC, it blew up. the Windows 95 was missing some files normally found in Windows 98.

I fortunately found a more recent computer in a single-board-computer format, and that solved both the power management problem and the MDAC problem.

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