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Wiring Hosts to Cyclades Console Servers

Overview:

This Doc is to help understand all the things needed in setting up and working with the Cyclades console servers.

The Basic Setup:

The basic setup includes the server, a standard Ethernet cable, and (normally) some kind of adapter that converts the Ethernet RJ45 plug into a DB9 or DB25 head.


The cable shown leaving the console server, while it is an ethernet cable, is not carrying any ethernet data, instead it is carrying console data, like the cable between your computer and your modem. We use ethernet cables instead of modem cables, because they are cheaper and easer to come by.

The far end of the cable (shown above with the gray DB9-RJ45 adapter) connects into which ever host you want console access to. Unfortunately, there are no real "standards" for how the wiring should be done, so you need to either make an adapter (like above), or, you need to make sure that the adapter that you have is the correct one.

While there is no "official" standard, the one I like to use (and the one Cyclades uses) is to let the terminal side (console server side) be wired in a "straight through" fashion. Thus, if you take a cable out of the console server, you could plug it into your laptop, with a "straight" DB9f-RJ45f adapter.


If you wire this way, then you will make adaptors as neccessary at the host end, not the console server end. Then, if you ever think there is a problem with the console server, all you have to do is take the cable out of the console server, and plug it into the back of you laptop. (as shown above.)

The Host Side:

So in this section, we are looking at how to make adapters on the host side so that they all are pined-out to work with the Cyclades or a laptop with a straight through adapter.

You will need to do a little research here, and find out how to make the correct pin-out. Different hosts have different physical ports for their serial consoles, as well as different wiring on those ports. For example, normal Intel hosts use DB9m sockets, while many Suns us DB25m sockets, and some Cisco gear uses RJ45f sockets. What ever the type of socket, or it's pin-out, you will need to make an adapter that converts the wiring so that it will work with the Cyclades.

As far as making the correct adapter, see the following links for reference:

Checking My Adapters:

Go ahead, pop the hood and take a look. This is really the only way to know for sure. The good news is that the wiring colors are always the same, but the bad news is it's not always easy to remove the pins and rewire them.

To check your adapters wiring, jam a small screwdriver in it and pry it open. Don't worry to much if you scuff it a bit.


Once you open it, pull out the head, and look at the wiring. The color coding should match with what the doc says.


If it's not correct, then you will need to either make a new one, or more difficultly, we wire the current adapter. Really, you should cough up the bucks and buy new adapters, rewiring is a pain unless you have the correct tool, which is shown below.


Adapters For Different Hosts

This section goes through how to make the correct adapter, and where they go on the back of the server.

As noted above, If your already have a made adapter that might be the problem, don't be shy to crack them open and look inside. Normally this is really the only way to know for sure if you have a dud or not.

Sun E4x0R

Use a DB25m-RJ45 Adapter. You can wire it two different ways, the completely correct way, is to make a sun null modem adapter, but that is a total pain in the butt, because it normally includes soldering. You can also make a sun straight adapter, it will wire some of the pins incorrectly, (DSR, DCD, DTR, etc.) but the send and receives will be correct, so the console will work properly.

If you make a straight adapter, take a sharpie, or other permanent marker and write "SUN //" on the adapter. If you make a cross over adapter (null-modem), the write "SUN X". Its really, really important to mark up the adapters. If you don't, you'll never forgive yourself a year from now when you are troubleshooting.


Sun T1 & V120

Use the RJ45m-RJ45f Dongle, and wire them in the "standard rolled" pin-out.

You will want to take a permanent marker (like a sharpie) and draw a "rolled arrow" on the dongle. It's not a bad idea to write the markings on the socket side and the plug side. The rolled arrow looks like a "G", but it's really an arrow going around in a circle.


HP N-Class

Use the DB9f-RJ45f adapter, and wire them in the "standard rolled" pin-out.

You will want to take a permanent marker (like a sharpie) and draw a "rolled arrow" on the adapter. The rolled arrow looks like a "G", but it's really an arrow going around in a circle.


HP A-Class

Use the DB25M-RJ45F adapter, and wire them with the sun straight adapter pin-out.

You will want to take a sharpie, or other permanent marker and write "SUN //" on the adapter, specifying its internal wiring.


Net App's

Use the DB9f-RJ45f adapter, and wire them in the "standard rolled" pin-out.

You will want to take a permanent marker (like a sharpie) and draw a "rolled arrow" on the adapter. The rolled arrow looks like a "G", but it's really an arrow going around in a circle.


Cisco Routers & Switches with RJ45 Console Ports

Use the RJ45m-RJ45f Dongle, and wire them in the "standard rolled" pin-out.

You will want to take a permanent marker (like a sharpie) and draw a "rolled arrow" on the dongle. It's not a bad idea to write the markings on the socket side and the plug side. The rolled arrow looks like a "G", but it's really an arrow going around in a circle.




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Chuck M,
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