Many of the original I-opener users have moved from the SA Plus
setup described below to a setup using UI-View and Precision
Mapping. I have not made the conversion yet. Reports
are that UI-View is more user-friendy for mobile operation and
causes fewer "blue-screen-of-death" incidents. Your
mileage may vary.
The I-Opener FAQ
Here is what I did to get my i-opener running. Thanks to Jim -
IYT for helping with this project.
1. First thing is to get an I-Opener from somewhere. I got
mine brand new from ebay for $51.00 + shipping. I have heard
that the Austin Goodwill store has them from time-to-time.
2. You will need to order an updated BIOS chip from
http://www.badflash.com/iopenerframe.html They are
currently running at $16.00.
3. Order an "All-In-One" drive adapter from
http://www.wizztronics.com/ and it is currently $39.95 which
4. You will need a CPU cooling fan since you will be removing
the heatsink to make room for the hard drive.
Ok. Those are the specialty items that you will have to order.
Now here is a the remainder of the parts list that you can get
at your favorite electronics store/website:
- A hard drive of no greater than 9.5mm in size. I am
running a 10GB drive.
- A replacement windows compatible keyboard (PS/2). The
stock i-opener keyboard works, but it doesn't have an escape
- A PS/2 mouse.
- A PS/2 splitter cable. The i-opener has one PS/2 port so
if you want to use a keyboard and mouse you will need the
- A USB-to-serial port adapter. You may need a 2-port
version if you have a separate GPS and TNC input. 2 is
always better than one anyway. You never know what you might
want to plug in.
- A USB ethernet device for connecting to a network and
loading updates, new software, etc.
Ok. That does it for the parts. Stayed tuned for part two
which includes installing WINDOWS (no flames) on the i-opener.
1. Remove the back desktop stand and the back cover of the i-opener.
2. Remove the silver heatshield.
3. Remove the black heatsink. You should now see the connector
where the hard drive adapter will plug in.
4. Remove the old BIOS chip and put in the new one.
I was able to GENTLY use a screwdriver to do this.
5. Remove and replace the memory board if you chose to upgrade
6. Install the Lasagna cooler. I had to modify the clip on
mine because it wouldn't fit. I am not sure why. It may have
gotten bent during shipping or something. Otherwise it would
have put a ton of pressure on the CPU. You'll plug it into the
power plug on the drive adapter later.
Part 2b - These are almost verbatim of the instructions Jim
(WD5IYT) sent me. This assumes you want to install windows (no
flames) and SA PLUS.
1. Install the drive on the drive adapter
2. Plug the drive adapter into the second IDE port on a standard
computer. Boot with a Win98 boot floppy. Fdisk and format the
iopener drive. Make sure to format /s so the drive will boot.s
3. Copy the entire contents of the WIN98 directory off the
windows98 cdrom to the drive.
4. Copy all the driver files from the zip file I sent you.
(Send me email if you want the drivers). This will be the video
and chipset drivers. Make sure they are unzipped on the i-opener
drive so you can access them later.
5. Copy all the drivers for your USB network adapter, serial
port adapter, etc to the drive. Make sure they are unzipped so
you can access them.
6. If you have the street atlas files extracted on another
machine, extract them to the same path on the iopener drive.
This step can be done later if you want. They are very large,
so I would recommend you do them over the IDE interface and not
7. Copy your aprsplus files to the iopener drive.
8. Install the drive adapter in the I-opener.
9. Boot up the I-opener and go into the BIOS screen. You'll
need a standard keyboard to do this. Set the i-opener boot
order to D instead of C. The drive will show up as C in
windows, but you have to set it to D to get it to boot from the
hard drive. The i-opener should boot to a DOS prompt at this
point. Some of you may not have to do this. I didn't need to.
10. CD to the win98 directory and run setup. Let windows
install. It will set up in standard VGA mode.
11. Once it boots into windows, right click the desktop and
change the video driver to the new one. The i-opener can do
800x600 16bit color. Windows will complain that this is the
wrong driver, but it works fine.
12. Open the device manager. You will notice the PCI controller
has a yellow exclamation. Using the device manager, update the
driver from the 4in1 chipset driver file in the ZIP I sent you.
Once it's installed, go back into the device driver and set the
IDE controller to only use the primary IDE channel. This is in
the "advanced" tab. Otherwise, it will soak up an extra IRQ
needlessly. I had to fumble with this for a bit, but it finally
13. Install your USB ethernet and get it on the network so you
can install street atlas from another computer's CDROM.
14. Once you have Street Atlas working, install the USB serial
15. Now install APRS+SA and it should look for COM3 as the USB
From this point it will be up to you to connect it to your
favorite flavor of TNC/GPS. I am using a Kenwood D700 and a
Garmin GPS III Plus. I use it in MODE7 to get my GPS data from
the same serial port as the TNC.
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