Linux

Quick Tip: Avoid these common SCSI mistakes in Linux

Take a look at some of the common issues involved in troubleshooting SCSI devices in Linux systems.

If you’re running into problems installing a SCSI adapter and SCSI peripherals in your Linux system, use this checklist to make sure you’re not making any of these common mistakes.
  • Is the equipment you’re installing compatible with the version of Linux you’re using? Check out hardware compatibility resources, such as the Linux Hardware Compatibility HOWTO to find out.
  • Are you using the right module? The best place to look may be right on your hard drive; check out the module documentation in the kernel source tree. If you deleted the documentation to save disk space, you can access the documents online at the Linux Source Driver.
  • Have you configured the module parameters correctly? Module parameters are additional statements that are given on the command line when a module is loaded. Sometimes they are necessary—particularly for older peripherals. To get an old ISA Zip Zoom SCSI adapter working, you’ll need to add specific configuration instructions to conf.modules (Red Hat distros) or modules.conf (certain other distros). You’ll need to read the module’s documentation to figure out how to specify module parameters correctly.

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  • Is there an interrupt or I/O conflict between the SCSI adapter you’re installing and the cards already present in your system’s expansion bus? To see the current IRQ ports in use, type cat /proc/interrupts followed by cat /proc/pci. To see the I/O addresses currently in use[0], type cat /proc/ioports. If you’re using an older ISA adapter, you may need to experiment with alternative IRQ and I/O jumper settings in order to get the card working.
  • Have you terminated the SCSI bus properly? The last device on the bus may need to have a jumper changed so that it terminates the bus. Intermediate devices should not be terminated. Check the device’s documentation to find out how termination is handled.
  • Are there two or more devices attempting to claim the same device number? SCSI devices are numbered 0 through 7, with 0 and 7 reserved for special uses. Make sure each device has a unique number between 1 and 6.

A final note: Don’t spend days trying to get an old, incompatible peripheral working when you could purchase a new, highly compatible one for a few dozen bucks.

Hardware compatibility resources
If you’re wondering whether a given peripheral works with your Linux distribution, check out the Linux Hardware Database. You’ll find hundreds of tips from Linux users about hardware compatibility issues, including CD burners, digital cameras, graphics cards, extra-large hard drives, motherboards, printers, scanners, and more. Recent user-contributed reports include several describing drivers that “saved the life” of the contributor—a bit of hyperbole that is quite understandable by any Linux user who has spent several hours (or days) in a succeed-or-die quest to get an ancient expansion board working.

Additional (and equally important) hardware resources include the vendor-specific pages you’ll find at your Linux distribution’s home page. Arguably, the best in the business are Red Hat’s compatibility guides, which rank peripherals according to varying degrees of compatibility and ease of installation.

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If you’re running into problems installing a SCSI adapter and SCSI peripherals in your Linux system, use this checklist to make sure you’re not making any of these common mistakes.
  • Is the equipment you’re installing compatible with the version of Linux you’re using? Check out hardware compatibility resources, such as the Linux Hardware Compatibility HOWTO to find out.
  • Are you using the right module? The best place to look may be right on your hard drive; check out the module documentation in the kernel source tree. If you deleted the documentation to save disk space, you can access the documents online at the Linux Source Driver.
  • Have you configured the module parameters correctly? Module parameters are additional statements that are given on the command line when a module is loaded. Sometimes they are necessary—particularly for older peripherals. To get an old ISA Zip Zoom SCSI adapter working, you’ll need to add specific configuration instructions to conf.modules (Red Hat distros) or modules.conf (certain other distros). You’ll need to read the module’s documentation to figure out how to specify module parameters correctly.

  • Free Linux help
    Are you looking for a simple way to improve your Linux skills? Our Linux TechMail is the answer, containing valuable information that can save you time and effort. This article offers a good example of what this TechMail has to offer. Get tips on printing, networking, security, and much more, all delivered straight to your inbox—absolutely free! Sign up for the Linux TechMail today!
  • Is there an interrupt or I/O conflict between the SCSI adapter you’re installing and the cards already present in your system’s expansion bus? To see the current IRQ ports in use, type cat /proc/interrupts followed by cat /proc/pci. To see the I/O addresses currently in use[0], type cat /proc/ioports. If you’re using an older ISA adapter, you may need to experiment with alternative IRQ and I/O jumper settings in order to get the card working.
  • Have you terminated the SCSI bus properly? The last device on the bus may need to have a jumper changed so that it terminates the bus. Intermediate devices should not be terminated. Check the device’s documentation to find out how termination is handled.
  • Are there two or more devices attempting to claim the same device number? SCSI devices are numbered 0 through 7, with 0 and 7 reserved for special uses. Make sure each device has a unique number between 1 and 6.

A final note: Don’t spend days trying to get an old, incompatible peripheral working when you could purchase a new, highly compatible one for a few dozen bucks.

Hardware compatibility resources
If you’re wondering whether a given peripheral works with your Linux distribution, check out the Linux Hardware Database. You’ll find hundreds of tips from Linux users about hardware compatibility issues, including CD burners, digital cameras, graphics cards, extra-large hard drives, motherboards, printers, scanners, and more. Recent user-contributed reports include several describing drivers that “saved the life” of the contributor—a bit of hyperbole that is quite understandable by any Linux user who has spent several hours (or days) in a succeed-or-die quest to get an ancient expansion board working.

Additional (and equally important) hardware resources include the vendor-specific pages you’ll find at your Linux distribution’s home page. Arguably, the best in the business are Red Hat’s compatibility guides, which rank peripherals according to varying degrees of compatibility and ease of installation.

Read more about Linux at TechRepublic
Besides receiving the Linux TechMail, remember to also stay current with TechRepublic, as we bring you more and more Linux articles like these:

Handy Linux tips sent directly to your inbox
If you would like to receive more Linux tips, sign up for the Linux TechMail. Let us know what you think about this article and the Linux TechMail. Post a comment or send us a note.

 

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Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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