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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOTING?

    Well I was going to try this myself but figured I should first ask in case someone already tried and it blew up or something!

    Basically am curious if anyone else was curious to stick an old PCI VGA graphics cards in one of the 3 PCI slots and connect it to a computer monitor and see if you're then able to see the complete BOOTING procedure on the monitor. As you know the mainboard PCA is basically a regular mPGA478b Pentium motherboard with 3 PCI slots and 2 USB ports under the Ethernet port. I assume the Control Panel at front of printer is basically getting its display over Serial Console (RS232 db9 serial port). According to the Service Manual of HP L25500 it is actually running a version of Linux called Montavista Linux. So anyone tried this already??

    If not, I'll see when I gather enough courage to try it

  2. #2
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    Cool Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    OK cool! Maybe the admin/aneurysm "whitelisted" me or something, not sure how but now my new thread ( Is there difference between TECHNICIAN Manual versus Service Manual? ) seems to get published without going into "moderation queue"!
    So thanks!

    EDIT: Weird, sorry my aplogy I thought I posted this in reply in Site-Feedback forum, not sure how it got here. It was supposed to be a followup post to "your message will be posted after approving by admin"

  3. #3
    Not a service manager 2,500+ Posts Iowatech's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    Well, I haven't tried that, for two reasons:
    Mainly that was never an issue for me while working on HP equipment,
    And to a lesser extent, the video cards used would have to be totally compatible with HP printer based equipment, which as far as I know don't exist.
    In conclusion, I'm a particularly bad source of information for this Sorry.

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    Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    Hi Iowatech,
    Thanks for replying, maybe you can see my other question at Is there difference between TECHNICIAN Manual versus Service Manual?

    Now about the HP Designjet Z-series or Latex printers like L25500, I'm not sure if you worked on these type specifically or not but the motherboard looks pretty "Standard" and according to HP Service Manual for L25500 it says that it runs "MontaVista LINUX" and not some kind of HP proprietary operating system but Open Source Linux.

    So because these printers use a regular motherboard, regardless if they call it different names like PCA or formatter bla bla, its an Intel chipset Pentium "motherboard".

    Now I'm not saying you are incorrect that this should work, because HP could have "hacked/modified" the usual motherboard BIOS flash chips to disable video from working.

    But any older PCI VGA card will fit and should work fine "if" HP didn't purposefully do something to "break things" so that it would not work.

    So if anyone plugged in some old PCI VGA video graphics card in one of those 3 PCI slots I'd love to know if you got any signal at all on the computer monitor

    If nobody was ever curious to try it then probably i'll have to risk it and try it myself If it works we would be able to see the entire BOOTING UP process on monitor.

  5. #5
    Service Manager 1,000+ Posts
    Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOTING?


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    Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    There is open source software called Putty. (putty.org). It's main purpose is to console into routers and switches for network engineers. But you can use a USB-to-Serial cable to watch the boot procedure of copiers. We did this during Xerox training, I'm not sure why it wouldn't work on other machines.

  6. #6
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    Question Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    Hi JR2,

    Thanks yea actually I did try the USBtoSerial and also direct HP serial port by disconnecting it from the plotter's "Control Panel" and connecting it to putty etc but the problem is I don't have the info as to the port speed and parameters to use for the Serial communication, perhaps this info is in the "TECHNICIAN Manual"? I only have the "Service Manual".

    Basically currently the printer's "control panel" talks through the serial port and lets the user interact with the software running on the printer operating system.
    If I knew more about that communication link between the front control panel and the formatter/PCA/motherboard's serial port I may be able to tap into serial.

    That's pretty cool that you did that with Xerox copiers, if anyone has watched HP designjet bootup procedure through Serial port I'd love to know

    thanks!

  7. #7
    Service Manager 1,000+ Posts
    Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOTING?


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    Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    We did nothing at the machine, just turned it on. As for the computer you need to configure the serial cable in device management to com1,com2 or com3.
    In Putty, set speed to 9600 and choose appropriate com port from last step.

    Hope it helps.

  8. #8
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    Question Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    Thanks, but actually I tried 9600 baud and even 115200 and neither worked so I am not sure if its because some of the other parity or stop bit or other COM port settings are wrong or maybe speed is something different, or it could be that the "Control Panel" acts like a "hardware dongle" that the operating system on the HP designjet looks for on bootup and since I removed that to connect to the serial port directly, then the system may have simply not started the boot process to the point that it outputs to serial port. That's why I thought it would be much easier if plugging in a PCI VGA graphics card into on of those 3 PCI slots on the HP designjet PCA/formatter/motherboard would work and show the boot process and even BIOS access screen perhaps on the monitor. So I think I'll look up the Intel Chipset on the motherboard to see if it supports PCI version/revision 2.0 or 2.2 and then get an old PCI VGA graphics card like old NVidia GeForce or S3 or other and give it a try when I muster up enough guts

    Now one interesting way to get MORE INFORMATION is to contact HP and request the OPEN SOURCE CODE they use inside these printers. Because for example, even the HP Service Manual for the HP L25500 (which is basically same as z6100 and similar to others also), says that it uses "MontaVista LINUX" and well as you know, LINUX is an "Open Source" operating system with a GPL License which means that HP "MUST" release the SOURCE CODE to the Operating System that is running inside their L25500 printer and any other printer using LINUX or otherwise they are not complying and could be sued for breach of license. I think maybe I should post this as a separate forum thread, to ask if anyone who has purchased HP designjet printers first hand, if they received a CD or link to download the "OPEN SOURCE CODE" to the Operating System etc that the printer runs on. If they did NOT provide "SOURCE CODE", then they have violated the GPL license.

    If anyone has the TECHNICIAN MANUALS for the HP Designjets I'd love to hear what they say in them about Linux or MontaVista Linux or the Operating System that the printer runs.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Field Supervisor 500+ Posts
    Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOTING?

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    Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    Just out of curiosity, why are you trying to do this? What do you think can be gained by it?

    Kiran

  10. #10
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    Re: Anyone tried plugging a VGA graphics card in PCI slot on HP Designjet to see BOOT

    Hi Kiran,

    I've got many reasons, one of which is also "curiosity".

    But there are "many" things to gain, mainly a better "Understanding" of the entire system which will I'm sure help in Diagnosing/Troubleshooting and even fixing issues.

    If you "care" about GPL software and don't like when it is abused/violated and illegally used, then these things can also help you "discover" GPL software that is used by "proprietary" systems that hide everything, and once discovered the companies can be forced to release the "source code" that they used in their products which violated the GPL license which "REQUIRES" that if GPL code is used, then the product seller "must" also give the exact source code to the GPL code they used along with any modification.

    Many commercial companies basically "steal" from GPL by violating the license and not releasing the source code, yet they want others to respect their "own" licenses.

    I will start a separate thread on the GPL issue, let's keep this one about a method to VIEW the INITIAL BOOTUP procedure on HP Designjets, by VGA or serial port etc.

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