This section describes some of the most common failure modes for the PCMCIA subsystem. Try to match your symptoms against the examples. This section only describes general failures that are not specific to a particular client driver or type of card.
Before trying to diagnose a problem, you have to know where your
system log is kept (see
Notes about specific Linux distributions). You should also be familiar with
basic diagnostic tools like
lsmod. Also, be aware
that most driver components (including all the kernel modules) have
their own individual man pages.
In 3.1.15 and later releases, the
debug-tools subdirectory of the
PCMCIA source tree has a few scripts to help diagnose some of the most
common configuration problems. The
test_setup script checks your
PCMCIA installation for completeness. The
test_modem scripts will try to diagnose problems with PCMCIA
network and modem cards. These scripts can be particularly helpful if
you are unfamiliar with Linux and are not sure how to approach a
Try to define your problem as narrowly as possible. If you have several cards, try each card in isolation, and in different combinations. Try cold Linux boots, versus warm boots from Windows. Compare booting with cards inserted, versus inserting cards after boot. If you normally use your laptop docked, try it undocked. And sometimes, two sockets will behave differently.
For debugging problems in the device configuration scripts, it may be
useful to start
cardmgr with the ``
-v'' option. With a
3.1.23 or later PCMCIA package, this will cause most important script
actions to be recorded in the system log.
It is nearly impossible to debug driver problems encountered when attempting to install Linux via a PCMCIA device. Even if you can identify the problem based on its symptoms, installation disks are difficult to modify, especially without access to a running Linux system. Customization of installation disks is completely dependent on the choice of Linux distribution, and is beyond the scope of this document. In general, the best course of action is to install Linux using some other means, obtain the latest drivers, and then debug the problem if it persists.
lsmoddoes not show any PCMCIA modules.
no pcmcia driver in /proc/devices'' in the system log.
Kernel modules contain version information that is checked against the
current kernel when a module is loaded. The type of checking depends
on the setting of the
CONFIG_MODVERSIONS kernel option. If this
is false, then the kernel version number is compiled into each module,
insmod checks this for a match with the running kernel. If
CONFIG_MODVERSIONS is true, then each symbol exported by the
kernel is given a sort of checksum. These codes are all compared
against the corresponding codes compiled into a module. The intent
was for this to make modules less version-dependent, because the
checksums would only change if a kernel interface changed, and would
generally stay the same across minor kernel updates. In practice, the
checksums have turned out to be even more restrictive, because many
kernel interfaces depend on compile-time kernel option settings.
Also, the checksums turned out to be an excessively pessimistic judge
The practical upshot of this is that kernel modules are closely tied to both the kernel version, and the setting of many kernel configuration options. Generally, a set of modules compiled for one 2.2.19 kernel will not load against some other 2.2.19 kernel unless special care is taken to ensure that the two were built with similar configurations. This makes distribution of precompiled kernel modules a tricky business.
You have several options:
Documentation/Changesfile in the kernel source code tree.
i82365) load correctly.
cardmgrreports version mismatch errors in the system log.
Some of the driver modules require kernel services that may or may not
be present, depending on kernel configuration. For instance, the SCSI
card drivers require that the kernel be configured with SCSI support,
and the network drivers require a networking kernel. If a kernel
lacks a necessary feature,
insmod may report undefined symbols
and refuse to load a particular module. Note that
messages do not distinguish between version mismatch errors and
missing symbol errors.
serial_csrequires the kernel serial driver to be enabled with
CONFIG_SERIAL. This driver may be built as a module.
CONFIG_SERIAL_SHARE_IRQto be enabled.
CONFIG_SCSIbe enabled, along with the appropriate top level driver options (
CONFIG_BLK_DEV_SR, etc for 2.2 and later kernels). These may be built as modules.
CONFIG_INETis enabled. Kernel networking support cannot be compiled as a module.
There are two ways to proceed:
/etc/pcmcia/configto preload these modules.
/etc/pcmcia/config file can specify that additional
modules need to be loaded for a particular client. For example, for
the serial driver, one would use:
device "serial_cs" class "serial" module "misc/serial", "serial_cs"
Module paths are specified relative to the top-level module directory
for the current kernel version; if no relative path is given, then the
path defaults to the
After identifying the host controller type, the socket driver probes for free ISA bus interrupts. The probe involves programming the controller for each apparently free interrupt, then generating a ``soft'' interrupt, to see if the interrupt can be detected correctly. In some cases, probing a particular interrupt can interfere with another system device.
The reason for the probe is to identify interrupts which appear to be free (i.e., are not reserved by any other Linux device driver), yet are either not physically wired to the host controller, or are connected to another device that does not have a driver.
In the system log, a successful probe might look like:
Intel PCIC probe: TI 1130 CardBus at mem 0x10211000, 2 sockets ... ISA irqs (scanned) = 5,7,9,10 status change on irq 10
There are two ways to proceed:
irq_listparameter for the socket drivers. For example, ``
irq_list=5,9,10'' would limit the scan to three interrupts. All 16-bit PCMCIA devices will be restricted to using these interrupts (assuming they pass the probe). You may need to use trial and error to find out which interrupts can be safely probed.
In either case, the probe options can be specified using the
PCIC_OPTS definition in the PCMCIA startup script, for example:
It should be noted that
/proc/interrupts is completely
useless when it comes to diagnosing interrupt probe problems. The
probe is sensible enough to never attempt to use an interrupt that is
already in use by another Linux driver. So, the PCMCIA drivers are
already using all the information in
Depending on system design, an inactive device can still occupy an
interrupt and cause trouble if it is probed for PCMCIA.
cardmgris first started. For 3.1.24, the lockup happens even with no cards present; for 3.1.25, a card must be inserted.
cardmgr processes IO port ranges listed in
/etc/pcmcia/config.opts, the kernel probes these ranges to
detect latent devices that occupy IO space but are not associated
with a Linux driver. The probe is read-only, but in rare cases,
reading from a device may interfere with an important system function,
resulting in a lock-up.
Your system user's guide may include a map of system devices, showing
their IO and memory ranges. These can be explicitly excluded in
Alternatively, if the probe is unreliable on your system, it can be
disabled by setting
CORE_OPTS to ``
probe_io=0''. In this
case, you should be very careful to specify only genuinely available
ranges of ports in
config.opts, instead of using the default
The core modules perform a memory scan at the time of first 16-bit
card insertion. This scan can potentially interfere with other memory
mapped devices. Also, pre-3.0.0 driver packages perform a more
aggressive scan than more recent drivers. The memory window is
/etc/pcmcia/config.opts. The default window is
large, so it may help to restrict the scan to a narrower range.
Reasonable ranges to try include 0xd0000-0xdffff, 0xc0000-0xcffff,
0xc8000-0xcffff, or 0xd8000-0xdffff.
If you have DOS or Windows PCMCIA drivers, you may be able to deduce
what memory region those drivers use. Note that DOS memory addresses
are often specified in ``segment'' form, which leaves off the final
hex digit (so an absolute address of 0xd0000 might be given as
0xd000). Be sure to add the extra digit back when making changes to
Changing BIOS settings affecting how devices are mapped can sometimes be useful. Try changing settings for BIOS shadowing, or "Plug and Play OS support".
In unusual cases, a memory probe failure can indicate a timing register setup problem with the host controller. See the Startup options section for information about dealing with common timing problems. This really only applies to ISA-to-PCMCIA bus bridges.
cs: warning: no high memory space available!
CardBus bridges can allocate memory windows outside of the 640KB-1MB
``memory hole'' in the ISA bus architecture. It is generally a good
idea to configure CardBus bridges to use high memory windows, because
these are unlikely to conflict with other devices. Also, CardBus
cards may require large memory windows, which may be difficult or
impossible to fit into low memory. Card Services will preferentially
allocate windows in high memory for CardBus bridges, if both low and
high memory windows are defined in
config.opts. The default
config.opts includes several candidate high memory windows, one
of which will work in most cases.
In most cases, the socket driver (
automatically probe and select an appropriate interrupt to signal card
status changes. The automatic interrupt probe doesn't work on some
Intel-compatible controllers, including Cirrus chips and the chips
used in some IBM ThinkPads. If a device is inactive at probe time,
its interrupt may also appear to be available. In these cases, the
socket driver may pick an interrupt that is used by another device.
tcic drivers, the
can be used to limit the interrupts that will be tested. This list
limits the set of interrupts that can be used by PCMCIA cards as well
as for monitoring card status changes. The
cs_irq option can
also be used to explicitly set the interrupt to be used for monitoring
card status changes.
If you can't find an interrupt number that works, there is also a
polled status mode: both
tcic will accept a
poll_interval=100 option, to poll for card status changes once
per second. This option should also be used if your system has a
shortage of interrupts available for use by PCMCIA cards. Especially
for systems with more than one host controller, there is little
point in dedicating interrupts for monitoring card status changes.
All these options should be set in the
PCIC_OPTS= line in either
depending on your site setup.
The most simple interrupt delivery problems are due to conflicts with
other system devices. These can generally be resolved by excluding
problem interrupts in
/etc/pcmcia/config.opts. To test, just
exclude interrupts one by one until either the problem is fixed or you
run out of interrupts. If no interrupts work, then device conflicts
are probably not the problem.
For CardBus bridges, a variety of other interrupt delivery issues may come into play. For a complete discussion, see PCI interrupt delivery problems.
RequestIO: Resource in use RequestIRQ: Resource in use RequestWindow: Resource in use GetNextTuple: No more items could not allocate nn IO ports for CardBus socket n could not allocate nnK memory for CardBus socket n could not allocate interrupt for CardBus socket n
Interrupt starvation often indicates a problem with the interrupt probe (see Interrupt scan failures). In some cases, the probe will seem to work, but only report one or two available interrupts. Check your system log to see if the scan results look sensible. Disabling the probe and selecting interrupts manually should help.
If the interrupt probe is not working properly, the socket driver may
allocate an interrupt for monitoring card insertions, even when
interrupts are too scarce for this to be a good idea. You can switch
the controller to polled mode by setting
poll_interval=100'. Or, if you have a CardBus controller and
an older version of the PCMCIA drivers, try ``
selects a PCI interrupt (if available) for card status changes.
In some cases, kernel misconfiguration can also produce an apparent
interrupt shortage. On 2.4 and later kernels, if
is not enabled, then the PCMCIA drivers will assume no ISA bus
interrupts are available.
IO port starvation is fairly uncommon, but sometimes happens with
cards that require large, contiguous, aligned regions of IO port
space, or that only recognize a few specific IO port positions. The
default IO port ranges in
normally sufficient, but may be extended. If this is the problem,
try uncommenting the ``
include port 0x1000-0x17ff'' line in
config.opts. In rare cases, starvation may indicate that the IO
port probe failed (see
IO port scan failures).
Memory starvation is also uncommon with the default memory window
config.opts. CardBus cards may require larger memory
regions than typical 16-bit cards. Since CardBus memory windows can
be mapped anywhere in the host's PCI address space (rather than just
in the 640K-1MB ``hole'' in PC systems), it is helpful to specify
large memory windows in high memory, such as 0xa0000000-0xa0ffffff.
This usually indicates a resource conflict with a system device that Linux does not know about. PCMCIA devices are dynamically configured, so, for example, interrupts are allocated as needed, rather than specifically assigned to particular cards or sockets. Given a list of resources that appear to be available, cards are assigned resources in the order they are configured. In this case, the card configured last is being assigned a resource that in fact is not free.
Check the system log to see what resources are used by the non-working
card. Exclude these in
/etc/pcmcia/config.opts, and restart
cardmgr daemon to reload the resource database.
This indicates that the card was identified successfully, however,
cardmgr has been unable to complete the configuration process for
some reason. The most likely reason is that a step in the card setup
script has blocked. A good example would be the network script
blocking if a network card is inserted with no actual network hookup
To pinpoint the problem, you can manually run a setup script to see
where it is blocking. The scripts are in the
directory. They take two parameters: a device name, and an action.
cardmgr daemon records the configuration commands in the
system log. For example, if the system log shows that the command
``./network start eth0'' was the last command executed by
cardmgr, the following command would trace the script:
sh -x /etc/pcmcia/network start eth0