Nortel contivity 100 mainboard header info

  • picked up a lot of 3 spanking-new-in-original-box contivity 100 last week, and my boss and I had some fun with them… here are a few bits that I have not previously seen in all the good work people have already done identifying parts of the hardware:

    1. the 8-pin solder pad at the back (where there is a notch cut out of the CF-IDE card) is definitely usb -- we desoldered a standard 2-port usb off the back of a dead S370 board and soldered it into the contivity, now usb works just fine. however the BIOS (*more on this later) does not allow enable legacy usb device, so your e.g. keyboard will work in BIOS and will work in OS but not in between then.

    2. J20 controls how the board powers on, default is power on when PSU switched on. removing this, you can add a regular 2-pin power switch to the ATX panel header in back. (NB: none of the pins of ATX header marked for LED seem to work -- custom diagnostics in the front of the machine override it or something?)

    3. J16 video works fine, we are using standard(ish?) IDC16 adapter ( )\

    4. J12 is definitely PS/2 keyboard, probably mouse too (will be testing mouse later this week) --

    (pin 1 is at the back of the case, basically it is the closest corner of J12 to the CF-IDE; square pin if you look at board bottom, naturally)

    2 == DAT
    8 == +5V
    0 == CLK (and yes I mean 10 not 0, but that would screw up my pitiful diagram)
    5 == GND

    5. K6-2 works fine in this board, but I think everyone already knew that. no problem either with 256MB double-sided, but it does seem picky about chips and may only see 64 or 128 in some instances.

    6. the BIOS cheerfully ignores more than a few settings, e.g. boot from CD-ROM (grrrr). speaking of BIOS, we soldered a DIP socket at U10 to give us more flexibility trying various other MVP4 BIOS images, but no luck DIP or PLCC so far. so, we will try to dump the BIOS and see if we can't fix up some stuff and then re-flash it.

    7. J13 is CMOS clear, but I think everyone knows that too. J14 the infamous watchdog of course.

    8. the manual describes some function of the Configure  switch on the back panel, mainly it is setting serial speed to 9600 by turning on switch 4 (default is sw4 off -- 115200) and resetting of the admin password of the default DOS routing software, stuff like that. I can post in detail if anyone is interested, but the manual does not seem terribly useful.

    probably more that I forgot, but this is a good start.... fun little device!!

    ( p/n DM1401E68 made oct 2003 )

  • 1. Yep, regular usb1.1 ports

    2. Could but haven't found a decent use for it

    3. Why not make your own?…..takes about 20 minutes with a soldering iron

    4. Yes they are but since you can still manage vi the RS232 port this is more for convienence

    5. I've used a k6-2 380 oc'd to 400 w/out a problem

    6. Good luck with the bios flashing, didn't find anything decent

    7. Yep

    8. Some of the dip switches set the RS232 configuration while other sequences offer a similar function to holding certain keys on a keyboard down while it boots to reset the device's configuration while it is running the OS from Nortel.

    BTW, this has been discussed awhile ago on the FAQ's:

    Also, if you look around online there's a thread somewhere if you lookup the motherboard model you'll find some more information that has come across over the years.

    My only gripe with the series is that there is no real mention between the different the "contivity 100" has been around for over 10 years with many different hardware configurations but yet they still keep the same model number....the only key for use with pfsense is any of the original "Bay Networks" variants are too old for use as they had a soldered on AMD 486 series CPU. I haven't seen any 1st generation Nortel branded ones but from what I have seen the hardware seems to work pretty well for at home or in a small a larger setup the CPU tends to be the limiting factor when you want to setup site-to-site VPN links.

    Your best bet for bios flashing would be to extract the current bios and see what features are disabled on the current bios and then attempt to reload it later.

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