Obtaining console on RS/6000

This often throws people for a loop. There are all sorts of reasons you won't get console from your rs6k. Make sure you are using a fully wired Laplink-style null modem cable. Often, cables designed for i.e. Cisco router consoles omit connections. Open up a connection with 9600/8-N-1 and see what happens. If you get boot messages, but no login prompt, the system either doesn't have the correct getty settings for serial login or it doesn't like your console cable.

I've found the installation media to be more resilient and forgiving with console selection. If you are doing a fresh install, proceed with the installation but keep the key in service mode for reboot. If you have an existing AIX install, turn the key to service and boot the installation media. Get a maintenance console and run 'smit'. Either configure your network (best option so you can telnet in) or play around with the serial settings and getty.

It is often helpful to set the environment variable TERM=vt100 whether you are using a terminal emulator or telenetting in for keys like backspace to map correctly and Curses based applications like SMIT to work. I've found that the terminal type is often set to unknown if it can't detect your environment.

RickE offers sage advice on obtaining a console on RS/6000 below.

To: comp.sys.ibm.ps2.hardware (NNTP)
Subject: Re: RS/6000 220
From: Rick Ekblaw
Date: Tue, 25 May 2010 19:56:55 -0400

If you have the appropriate getty lines in /etc/inittab, you can get a
console through the serial port(s).  If you installed AIX from a serial
console, you would get a login prompt from the serial port by default.
If AIX was installed using the graphics console, then you don't get
serial port login prompts by default (actually, this has varied a bit by
AIX release, so the real answer is "muddy").

In a pinch, you can attach to a serial port and come up in service mode
with bootable AIX media (tape, CD-ROM, or even diskettes under AIX
3.x.y), as the bootable diagnostics or install media supports both
serial and graphics consoles.

Getting the "Crazy Eights" on the early RS/6000 models is depressingly
common.  Sometimes it will clear itself as it "warms up" and you retry
the boot sequence several times, other times it needs to have components
reseated to clear the problem. 

Advice from RickE on serial cables and terminal emulation

To: comp.unix.aix (NNTP)
Subject: Re: IBM RS/6000 boot problem
From: Rick Ekblaw
Date: 30 Mar 2006 17:16:06 -0800

Hook up a serial terminal (or a PC emulating a serial terminal) to
the first serial port. A "LapLink" or "Serial Data Transfer" cable is
a good choice to make the connection, since each end of the cable has
both 9-pin and 25-pin connectors, and the "null modem" wiring
configuration is correct for the RS/6000. IBM 3151 emulation would be
ideal, but the more common VT52/VT100 emulation will work almost as
well -- it's more than adequate for the task at hand.
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