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AIC7xxx Driver for Linux
The AIC7xxx SCSI driver adds support for Adaptec (
SCSI controllers and chipsets. Major portions of the driver and driver
development are shared between both Linux and FreeBSD. Support for the
AIC-7xxx chipsets have been in the default Linux kernel since approximately
linux-1.1.x and fairly stable since linux-1.2.x, and are also in FreeBSD
2.1.0 or later.
Supported cards/chipsets
Adaptec Cards
Motherboard Chipsets
Bus Types
W - Wide SCSI, SCSI-3, 16bit bus, 68pin connector, will also support
SCSI-1/SCSI-2 50pin devices, transfer rates up to 20MB/s.
U - Ultra SCSI, transfer rates up to 40MB/s.
U2- Ultra 2 SCSI, transfer rates up to 80MB/s.
D - Differential SCSI.
T - Twin Channel SCSI. Up to 14 SCSI devices.
AHA-274x - EISA SCSI controller
AHA-284x - VLB SCSI controller
AHA-29xx - PCI SCSI controller
AHA-394x - PCI controllers with two separate SCSI controllers on-board.
AHA-398x - PCI RAID controllers with three separate SCSI controllers
Not Supported Devices
Adaptec Cards
AHA-2920 (Only the cards that use the Future Domain chipset are not
supported, any 2920 cards based on Adaptec AIC chipsets,
such as the 2920C, are supported)
AAA-13x Raid Adapters
AAA-113x Raid Port Card
Motherboard Chipsets
Bus Types
R - Raid Port busses are not supported.
The hardware RAID devices sold by Adaptec are *NOT* supported by this
driver (and will people please stop emailing me about them, they are
a totally separate beast from the bare SCSI controllers and this driver
cannot be retrofitted in any sane manner to support the hardware RAID
features on those cards - Doug Ledford).
Justin T Gibbs
(BSD Driver Author)
Dan Eischen
(Original Linux Driver Co-maintainer)
Dean Gehnert
(Original Linux FTP/patch maintainer)
Jess Johnson
(AIC7xxx FAQ author)
Doug Ledford
(Current Linux aic7xxx-5.x.x Driver/Patch/FTP maintainer)
Special thanks go to John Aycock (, the original
author of the driver. John has since retired from the project. Thanks
again for all his work!
Mailing list
There is a mailing list available for users who want to track development
and converse with other users and developers. This list is for both
FreeBSD and Linux support of the AIC7xxx chipsets.
To subscribe to the AIC7xxx mailing list send mail to the list server,
with "subscribe AIC7xxx" in the body (no Subject: required):
To: majordomo@FreeBSD.ORG
subscribe AIC7xxx
To unsubscribe from the list, send mail to the list server with:
To: majordomo@FreeBSD.ORG
unsubscribe AIC7xxx
Send regular messages and replies to: AIC7xxx@FreeBSD.ORG
Boot Command line options
"aic7xxx=no_reset" - Eliminate the SCSI bus reset during startup.
Some SCSI devices need the initial reset that this option disables
in order to work. If you have problems at bootup, please make sure
you aren't using this option.
"aic7xxx=reverse_scan" - Certain PCI motherboards scan for devices at
bootup by scanning from the highest numbered PCI device to the
lowest numbered PCI device, others do just the opposite and scan
from lowest to highest numbered PCI device. There is no reliable
way to autodetect this ordering. So, we default to the most common
order, which is lowest to highest. Then, in case your motherboard
scans from highest to lowest, we have this option. If your BIOS
finds the drives on controller A before controller B but the linux
kernel finds your drives on controller B before A, then you should
use this option.
"aic7xxx=extended" - Force the driver to detect extended drive translation
on your controller. This helps those people who have cards without
a SEEPROM make sure that linux and all other operating systems think
the same way about your hard drives.
"aic7xxx=scbram" - Some cards have external SCB RAM that can be used to
give the card more hardware SCB slots. This allows the driver to use
that SCB RAM. Without this option, the driver won't touch the SCB
RAM because it is known to cause problems on a few cards out there
(such as 3985 class cards).
"aic7xxx=irq_trigger:x" - Replace x with either 0 or 1 to force the kernel
to use the correct IRQ type for your card. This only applies to EISA
based controllers. On these controllers, 0 is for Edge triggered
interrupts, and 1 is for Level triggered interrupts. If you aren't
sure or don't know which IRQ trigger type your EISA card uses, then
let the kernel autodetect the trigger type.
"aic7xxx=verbose" - This option can be used in one of two ways. If you
simply specify aic7xxx=verbose, then the kernel will automatically
pick the default set of verbose messages for you to see.
Alternatively, you can specify the command as
"aic7xxx=verbose:0xXXXX" where the X entries are replaced with
hexadecimal digits. This option is a bit field type option. For
a full listing of the available options, search for the
#define VERBOSE_xxxxxx lines in the aic7xxx.c file. If you want
verbose messages, then it is recommended that you simply use the
aic7xxx=verbose variant of this command.
"aic7xxx=pci_parity:x" - This option controls whether or not the driver
enables PCI parity error checking on the PCI bus. By default, this
checking is disabled. To enable the checks, simply specify pci_parity
with no value afterwords. To reverse the parity from even to odd,
supply any number other than 0 or 255. In short:
pci_parity - Even parity checking (even is the normal PCI parity)
pci_parity:x - Where x > 0, Odd parity checking
pci_parity:0 - No check (default)
NOTE: In order to get Even PCI parity checking, you must use the
version of the option that does not include the : and a number at
the end (unless you want to enter exactly 2^32 - 1 as the number).
"aic7xxx=no_probe" - This option will disable the probing for any VLB
based 2842 controllers and any EISA based controllers. This is
needed on certain newer motherboards where the normal EISA I/O ranges
have been claimed by other PCI devices. Probing on those machines
will often result in the machine crashing or spontaneously rebooting
during startup. Examples of machines that need this are the
Dell PowerEdge 6300 machines.
"aic7xxx=seltime:2" - This option controls how long the card waits
during a device selection sequence for the device to respond.
The original SCSI spec says that this "should be" 256ms. This
is generally not required with modern devices. However, some
very old SCSI I devices need the full 256ms. Most modern devices
can run fine with only 64ms. The default for this option is
64ms. If you need to change this option, then use the following
table to set the proper value in the example above:
0 - 256ms
1 - 128ms
2 - 64ms
3 - 32ms
"aic7xxx=panic_on_abort" - This option is for debugging and will cause
the driver to panic the linux kernel and freeze the system the first
time the drivers abort or reset routines are called. This is most
helpful when some problem causes infinite reset loops that scroll too
fast to see. By using this option, you can write down what the errors
actually are and send that information to me so it can be fixed.
"aic7xxx=dump_card" - This option will print out the *entire* set of
configuration registers on the card during the init sequence. This
is a debugging aid used to see exactly what state the card is in
when we finally finish our initialization routines. If you don't
have documentation on the chipsets, this will do you absolutely
no good unless you are simply trying to write all the information
down in order to send it to me.
"aic7xxx=dump_sequencer" - This is the same as the above options except
that instead of dumping the register contents on the card, this
option dumps the contents of the sequencer program RAM. This gives
the ability to verify that the instructions downloaded to the
card's sequencer are indeed what they are supposed to be. Again,
unless you have documentation to tell you how to interpret these
numbers, then it is totally useless.
"aic7xxx=override_term:0xffffffff" - This option is used to force the
termination on your SCSI controllers to a particular setting. This
is a bit mask variable that applies for up to 8 aic7xxx SCSI channels.
Each channel gets 4 bits, divided as follows:
bit 3 2 1 0
| | | Enable/Disable Single Ended Low Byte Termination
| | En/Disable Single Ended High Byte Termination
| En/Disable Low Byte LVD Termination
En/Disable High Byte LVD Termination
The upper 2 bits that deal with LVD termination only apply to Ultra2
controllers. Furthermore, due to the current Ultra2 controller
designs, these bits are tied together such that setting either bit
enables both low and high byte LVD termination. It is not possible
to only set high or low byte LVD termination in this manner. This is
an artifact of the BIOS definition on Ultra2 controllers. For other
controllers, the only important bits are the two lowest bits. Setting
the higher bits on non-Ultra2 controllers has no effect. A few
examples of how to use this option:
Enable low and high byte termination on a non-ultra2 controller that
is the first aic7xxx controller (the correct bits are 0011),
Enable all termination on the third aic7xxx controller, high byte
termination on the second aic7xxx controller, and low and high byte
SE termination on the first aic7xxx controller
(bits are 1111 0010 0011),
No attempt has been made to make this option non-cryptic. It really
shouldn't be used except in dire circumstances, and if that happens,
I'm probably going to be telling you what to set this to anyway :)
"aic7xxx=stpwlev:0xffffffff" - This option is used to control the STPWLEV
bit in the DEVCONFIG PCI register. Currently, this is one of the
very few registers that we have absolutely *no* way of detecting
what the variable should be. It depends entirely on how the chipset
and external terminators were coupled by the card/motherboard maker.
Further, a chip reset (at power up) always sets this bit to 0. If
there is no BIOS to run on the chipset/card (such as with a 2910C
or a motherboard controller with the BIOS totally disabled) then
the variable may not get set properly. Of course, if the proper
setting was 0, then that's what it would be after the reset, but if
the proper setting is actually get the picture. Now, since
we can't detect this at all, I've added this option to force the
setting. If you have a BIOS on your controller then you should never
need to use this option. However, if you are having lots of SCSI
reset problems and can't seem to get them knocked out, this may help.
Here's a test to know for certain if you need this option. Make
a boot floppy that you can use to boot your computer up and that
will detect the aic7xxx controller. Next, power down your computer.
While it's down, unplug all SCSI cables from your Adaptec SCSI
controller. Boot the system back up to the Adaptec EZ-SCSI BIOS
and then make sure that termination is enabled on your adapter (if
you have an Adaptec BIOS of course). Next, boot up the floppy you
made and wait for it to detect the aic7xxx controller. If the kernel
finds the controller fine, says scsi : x hosts and then tries to
detect your devices like normal, up to the point where it fails to
mount your root file system and panics, then you're fine. If, on
the other hand, the system goes into an infinite reset loop, then
you need to use this option and/or the previous option to force the
proper termination settings on your controller. If this happens,
then you next need to figure out what your settings should be.
To find the correct settings, power your machine back down, connect
back up the SCSI cables, and boot back into your machine like normal.
However, boot with the aic7xxx=verbose:0x39 option. Record the
initial DEVCONFIG values for each of your aic7xxx controllers as
they are listed, and also record what the machine is detecting as
the proper termination on your controllers. NOTE: the order in
which the initial DEVCONFIG values are printed out is not guaranteed
to be the same order as the SCSI controllers are registered. The
above option and this option both work on the order of the SCSI
controllers as they are registered, so make sure you match the right
DEVCONFIG values with the right controllers if you have more than
one aic7xxx controller.
Once you have the detected termination settings and the initial
DEVCONFIG values for each controller, then figure out what the
termination on each of the controllers *should* be. Hopefully, that
part is correct, but it could possibly be wrong if there is
bogus cable detection logic on your controller or something similar.
If all the controllers have the correct termination settings, then
don't set the aic7xxx=override_term variable at all, leave it alone.
Next, on any controllers that go into an infinite reset loop when
you unplug all the SCSI cables, get the starting DEVCONFIG value.
If the initial DEVCONFIG value is divisible by 2, then the correct
setting for that controller is 0. If it's an odd number, then
the correct setting for that controller is 1. For any other
controllers that didn't have an infinite reset problem, then reverse
the above options. If DEVCONFIG was even, then the correct setting
is 1, if not then the correct setting is 0.
Now that you know what the correct setting was for each controller,
we need to encode that into the aic7xxx=stpwlev:0x... variable.
This variable is a bit field encoded variable. Bit 0 is for the first
aic7xxx controller, bit 1 for the next, etc. Put all these bits
together and you get a number. For example, if the third aic7xxx
needed a 1, but the second and first both needed a 0, then the bits
would be 100 in binary. This then translates to 0x04. You would
therefore set aic7xxx=stpwlev:0x04. This is fairly standard binary
to hexadecimal conversions here. If you aren't up to speed on the
binary->hex conversion then send an email to the aic7xxx mailing
list and someone can help you out.
"aic7xxx=tag_info:{{8,8..},{8,8..},..}" - This option is used to disable
or enable Tagged Command Queueing (TCQ) on specific devices. As of
driver version 5.1.11, TCQ is now either on or off by default
according to the setting you choose during the make config process.
In order to en/disable TCQ for certain devices at boot time, a user
may use this boot param. The driver will then parse this message out
and en/disable the specific device entries that are present based upon
the value given. The param line is parsed in the following manner:
{ - first instance indicates the start of this parameter values
second instance is the start of entries for a particular
device entry
} - end the entries for a particular host adapter, or end the entire
set of parameter entries
, - move to next entry. Inside of a set of device entries, this
moves us to the next device on the list. Outside of device
entries, this moves us to the next host adapter
. - Same effect as , but is safe to use with insmod.
x - the number to enter into the array at this position.
0 = Enable tagged queueing on this device and use the default
queue depth
1-254 = Enable tagged queueing on this device and use this
number as the queue depth
255 = Disable tagged queueing on this device.
Note: anything above 32 for an actual queue depth is wasteful
and not recommended.
A few examples of how this can be used:
This line will only effect the first aic7xxx card registered. It
will set scsi id 0 to a queue depth of 8, id 1 to 12, leave id 2
at the default, set id 3 to tagged queueing enabled and use the
default queue depth, id 4 default, id 5 disabled, and id 6 to 4.
Any not specified entries stay at the default value, repeated
commas with no value specified will simply increment to the next id
without changing anything for the missing values.
First, second, and third adapters at default values. Fourth
adapter, id 3 is disabled. Notice that leading commas simply
increment what the first number effects, and there are no need
for trailing commas. When you close out an adapter, or the
entire entry, anything not explicitly set stays at the default
A final note on this option. The scanner I used for this isn't
perfect or highly robust. If you mess the line up, the worst that
should happen is that the line will get ignored. If you don't
close out the entire entry with the final bracket, then any other
aic7xxx options after this will get ignored. So, in general, be
sure of what you are entering, and after you have it right, just
add it to the lilo.conf file so there won't be any mistakes. As
a means of checking this parser, the entire tag_info array for
each card is now printed out in the /proc/scsi/aic7xxx/x file. You
can use that to verify that your options were parsed correctly.
Boot command line options may be combined to form the proper set of options
a user might need. For example, the following is valid:
The only requirement is that individual options be separated by a comma or
a period on the command line.
Module Loading command options
When loading the aic7xxx driver as a module, the exact same options are
available to the user. However, the syntax to specify the options changes
slightly. For insmod, you need to wrap the aic7xxx= argument in quotes
and replace all ',' with '.'. So, for example, a valid insmod line
would be:
insmod aic7xxx aic7xxx='verbose.irq_trigger:1.extended'
This line should result in the *exact* same behaviour as if you typed
it in at the lilo prompt and the driver was compiled into the kernel
instead of being a module. The reason for the single quote is so that
the shell won't try to interpret anything in the line, such as {.
Insmod assumes any options starting with a letter instead of a number
is a character string (which is what we want) and by switching all of
the commas to periods, insmod won't interpret this as more than one
string and write junk into our binary image. I consider it a bug in
the insmod program that even if you wrap your string in quotes (quotes
that pass the shell mind you and that insmod sees) it still treats
a comma inside of those quotes as starting a new variable, resulting
in memory scribbles if you don't switch the commas to periods.
Kernel Compile options
The various kernel compile time options for this driver are now fairly
well documented in the file Documentation/ In order to
see this documentation, you need to use one of the advanced configuration
programs (menuconfig and xconfig). If you are using the "make menuconfig"
method of configuring your kernel, then you would simply highlight the
option in question and hit the ? key. If you are using the "make xconfig"
method of configuring your kernel, then simply click on the help button
next to the option you have questions about. The help information from
the file will then get automatically displayed.
/proc support
The /proc support for the AIC7xxx can be found in the /proc/scsi/aic7xxx/
directory. That directory contains a file for each SCSI controller in
the system. Each file presents the current configuration and transfer
statistics (enabled with #define in aic7xxx.c) for each controller.
Thanks to Michael Neuffer for his upper-level SCSI help, and
Matthew Jacob for statistics support.
Debugging the driver
Should you have problems with this driver, and would like some help in
getting them solved, there are a couple debugging items built into
the driver to facilitate getting the needed information from the system.
In general, I need a complete description of the problem, with as many
logs as possible concerning what happens. To help with this, there is
a command option aic7xxx=panic_on_abort. This option, when set, forces
the driver to panic the kernel on the first SCSI abort issued by the
mid level SCSI code. If your system is going to reset loops and you
can't read the screen, then this is what you need. Not only will it
stop the system, but it also prints out a large amount of state
information in the process. Second, if you specify the option
"aic7xxx=verbose:0x1ffff", the system will print out *SOOOO* much
information as it runs that you won't be able to see anything.
However, this can actually be very useful if your machine simply
locks up when trying to boot, since it will pin-point what was last
happening (in regards to the aic7xxx driver) immediately prior to
the lockup. This is really only useful if your machine simply can
not boot up successfully. If you can get your machine to run, then
this will produce far too much information.
FTP sites
- Out of date. I used to keep stuff here, but too many people
complained about having a hard time getting into Red Hat's ftp
server. So use the web site below instead.
- Dan Eischen's driver distribution area
- European Linux mirror of Teleport site
Web sites
- My web site, also the primary aic7xxx site with several related
Dean W. Gehnert
$Revision: 3.0 $
Modified by Doug Ledford 1998-2000