SUMMARY: Using terminal as console on SunOS4

From: Lisa Henry (
Date: Sat Jul 29 1995 - 11:57:26 CDT


My original question was:

>> Because of network room space restrictions, I need to attach a dumb
>> terminal as the console for a SunOS4 Sparc 10 system. I've read
>> the section in the manual on adding a terminal to your system,
>> but that doesn't talk about using the terminal as your console,
>> and I'm having trouble getting that to work, too.
>> Does anyone have a description of how to do this? Or done it
>> themselves and can give me some pointers?
>> Here's what I've done so far:
>> - attached a null modem cables between the server, a data
>> switch, and the terminal (I have 2 servers that need a
>> console)
>> - edited /etc/ttytab to include the following for serial
>> port A:
>> ttya "/usr/etc/getty std.9600" dl on local
>> The terminal is a Wyse-85, but its in vt200 mode, so I used the 'dl'
>> type.
>> - Checked the terminal configuration
>> When I reboot (still using the Sun monitor as the console) I get no output
>> to the terminal. The manual doesn't say much more, and its the only one
>> I have. Would some kind soul take pity on me and point me in the right
>> direction? (Its been a long week already.)

I received many useful replies, and have finally got both terminals running.
Unfortunately I couldn't get them running with the switch box, so I'm using
2 terminals. Many of the replies mentioned setting the eeprom values from
the command line, which was great. I didn't know you could do that. And
I ended up keeping the Sun keyboard attached and using the terminal as the
output device only. I was having trouble with one of the terminal's keyboards
and the Sun doesn't have any problem with its own keyboard. So here's what
I ended up as settings for the monitor on ttyb:

In /etc/ttytab:

        console "/usr/etc/getty cons8" sun on local secure
        ttya "/usr/etc/getty std.9600" unknown off local secure
        ttyb "/usr/etc/getty std.9600" unknown off local secure

which is really curious. I didn't change this after I had removed the Sun
monitor but it doesn't seem to mind.

eeprom | grep tty


The terminal is in vt100 mode, with 7E1 for settings. I didn't remove the
graphics card from the Sun, but probably will to use in another machine to
give it two monitors.

Brian L. Plante replied with the following procedure:

>What you need to do:
>On the running system:
>edit /etc/ttytab to have the following lines: (replace vt100 with your term
>console "/usr/etc/getty cons8" vt100 on local
>ttya "/usr/etc/getty std.9600" unknown off local secure
>Yes, you do want to turn ttya off, it will use the console entry.
>This is for SunOS 4.1.3, from a SS10/40 using a terminal as
>Halt the system.
>In prom mode:
>setenv input-device ttya
>setenv output-device ttya
>Then power off (to be safe) and unplug the keyboard.
>Now your console should become ttya when you power up and boot.
>Note that the break key will act as a L1-a, as will powering off the
>terminal. If you use a switch to control two machines you must
>either disable this feature (by modifying the kernel), or change your
>wiring so that you look like you are powered up even when the terminal
>is switched. I do not remember which signal being absent causes the
>escape to prom mode.
>Hope this helps,
>Brian L. Plante

Thanks to everyone who replied with all the very useful information.

Lisa Henry

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