See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
GammaLink Frequently Asked Questions v4.0.5, 25 Sep 1995. This is a list over common problems and questions about GammaLink's products. It is based on my experiences with technical support on GammaLink products and information from others, support engineers as well as customers. I currently work in technical support at Traffic Software, Iceland, and has therefore no connection to GammaLink other than they are one of the boards supported by our LAN fax software, Object-Fax. I will not be held responsible for any errors in or misuse of the information contained in this document, nor will any one else. I also have an Object-Fax FAQ that can be of interest to Object-Fax users. Copyright 1993-1995, Lennart Regebro. You may copy this document for personal use. If you want to redistribute this FAQ, please contact me first. This is so make sure that everyone that wants to redistribute this document always has access to the latest version. Keepers of Usenet FAQ archives do NOT need to ask me for permission. I do not view that as redistribution, as it is a part of the Usenet distribution apparatus. If you want the latest version, you can get it with World Wide Web in http://www.traffic.is/faqs/gffaq.htm or with FTP from ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/. If you do not have direct access by FTP or WWW, the rtfm.mit.edu site supports FTP by mail; send a message to email@example.com with the following lines: send usenet/news.answers/fax-faq/GammaFax quit If you don't have Internet access I can add you to a list of people that get this FAQ faxed directly to them whenever I update it. I may (or may not) be reached at: Traffic Software PO Box 12445, IS-132 Reykjavik, Iceland Tel: +354-587 7150, Fax: +354-587 7155 Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.traffic.is/~lennart/ For more information about GammaLink products and a pointer to your nearest dealer, you should contact: GammaLink 1314 Chesapeake Terrace Sunnyvale, CA 94089 Phone: +1(408) 744-1400 Facsimile: +1(408) 744-1900 http://www.gammalink.com/ Contents Part 1. Comparisons with other products .........................3 1.1 What is GammaFax? .......................................3 1.2 What is GammaLink? ......................................3 1.3 Ophh, isn't that very expensive? ........................3 1.4 So, what's the difference? ..............................3 1.5 Does GammaFax have a CAS interface? .....................3 1.6 What's the difference between the GammaFax boards? ......4 1.7 Can I mix and match GammaFax boards? ....................5 1.8 Short summary of features ...............................5 Part 2. GammaFax XP/CP ..........................................5 2.1 Install crashes on my new fast 486! ....................5 2.2 Install worked fine, but the software doesn't. .........5 2.3 Problems with sending and receiving .....................6 2.4 How can I prevent queue-file fragmentation? ............7 2.5 National character problems .............................7 2.6 I can't start the dispatcher ............................7 2.7 I get strange non-reproducible errors ...................7 2.8 Error status 3500 .......................................8 2.9 Only one page will be sent ..............................8 2.10 Does GammaFax work with Windows? .......................8 Part 3. GammaNet/Networks .......................................8 3.1 How can I use my GammaFax board from a network? ........8 3.2 My fax board doesn't send when my network is started ....9 3.3 Sending from another computer in the network. ..........9 3.4 Problems with LAN Manager or LAN Server .................9 3.5 Problems with Banyan Vines ..............................10 Part 4. GammaFax development ....................................10 4.1 GPI vs. CAS .............................................10 4.2 GPI and XP boards .......................................10 4.3 What is the real-time interface? ........................11 Part 1. Comparisons with other products 1.1 What is GammaFax? GammaFax is a high-end intelligent fax board for PC compatible computers with ISA or MC bus. The GammaFax boards are the most used intelligent fax board on the market (according to GammaLink). 1.2 What is GammaLink? GammaLink is the company who makes the GammaFax boards. They also have other products related to faxing. GammaLink is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dialogic, who makes other equipment for computerised telephony like voice boards. 1.3 Ophh, isn't that very expensive? Yes. The GammaFax board IS expensive compared to fax modems. That is because it is an intelligent fax BOARD, not a fax MODEM. 1.4 So, what's the difference? Why can't I just use a much cheaper fax modem? Maybe you can, but if you want your fax communications to be fast, reliable and easily expandable, you should really consider intelligent fax solutions instead of fax modems. For example, don't try to use more than four fax modems on the same PC-computer simultaneously. Since fax modems are interrupt driven, there will be an enormous amount of interrupts choking the computer. GammaLink has support for up to 30 lines in a single computer. It works too, and 24 lines send faxes with only 17% processor usage on a 33 MHz 486. This is because intelligent fax boards have their own processor and memory, which does all the hard work. I know of only three intelligent fax board makers, GammaLink, Brooktrout and PureData. The Intel SatisFAXion line of boards has been sold to PureData, who also makes its own line, Faxination. SatisFAXion boards are not necessarily intelligent boards. Some of them are, but the rest of them are simply internal fax modems with CAS drivers. So, if you buy SatisFAXion, be sure that you get the intelligent boards. You might also want to check out the I3 third- party drivers for SatisFAXion. At least if you are doing multiboard faxing. Since I haven't had any experience using Brooktrout, I can't say much about these boards. 1.5 Does GammaFax have a CAS interface? Yes. There is a file called GCAS.EXE that gives you CAS interface support for GammaFax boards. GCAS.EXE is not officially supported by GammaLink. It also has a couple of problems. The first one is that there is only one official version (1.0), but I have found three different EXE files. Microsoft call one of these 1.02, but I'm not sure which one. The other problem is that GammaFax boards don't support DCX files, which many applications use. You need to use PCX files instead, which are supported by both GCAS and other CAS implementations. The I3CAS driver is a third-party driver that works much better. It is available from GammaLinks BBS. 1.6 What's the difference between the GammaFax boards? There are three basic types of GammaFax boards, XP/CP, XPi/CPi and MLCP boards. The XPi and CPi can be viewed as newer versions of the XP and CP. The biggest differences are that the XPi/CPi boards use a removable sub-board for the line interface, to simplify manufacturing of international versions. The CPi has a couple of extras, like support for V.17, the 14.400 BPS fax standard, Error Correction Mode, Group 4 compression and built-in DTMF support. The XP/CP line is still there because the XPi/CPi line isn't approved in all the countries that the XP/CP line is. With the XP and XPi you can have up to four boards in the same computer, but with the CP/CPi you can have up to 16. Also the CP/CPi can be used with the real-time interface (see 4.3). The CP and CPi boards are available in MicroChannel versions. There is also the CPD-board, a version of the CP board made for DID circuits. The MLCP (MultiLine CP) boards, usually called CP-4, CP-6 or CP-12, has four, six or twelve fax channels on each board. The CP-4, come in four versions, CP-4/AEB, CP-4/MVIP, CP-4/SC and CP-4/LSI. The AEB, MVIP and SC versions have no line interface, instead they use a telephony interface (either AEB, MVIP, PEB or SCSA) to talk to other boards that have a line interface. This can be used of you have voice boards, or if you have a T1 line that you want to use for faxing. They can also be used with DID line interfaces. Because of this not all combinations of multiline boards and interface boards are compatible with the normal CPi board, however if you use one of the SC boards together with Dialogics SCSA line interface boards you should be able to get full compatibility. I haven't tried this myself yet. The PEB interface is compatible with the SCSA interface, so if you are using PEB boards, you should get the SC fax boards. The CP-4/PEB board mentioned in some GammaLink version is from my understanding just an old name for the CP-4/SC. The board was renamed when SCSA accepted PEB as the standard. The CP-6/SC and the CP-12/SC are like the CP-4/SC, only with 6 or 12 lines instead of four. The CP-4/LSI is simply four CPi boards in one, and are fully compatible with CPi. It will not be approved in countries requiring hardware modifications from the US standards. If you want multiline boards with approval in your country, then use the CP-4/SC together with the Dialogic LSI line of boards. They are approved in many countries. The newest addition to the GammaFax family is the CP/100 board. It is a cute half length board that seems to be exactly like a CPi except that it is much smaller and has no speaker. It also has the switches and LED's accessible without opening the computer. 1.7 Can I mix and match GammaFax boards? No. I have been told that you can mix XP with XPi, and CP with CPi boards. You also can mix XPi with CPi, but then you can't use more than four channels. You couldn't mix XP with CP boards earlier, but that may have changed, but you would still have a four channel limitation. If you have XP boards and need to use more than four channels you can upgrade your XP/XPi to a CP/CPi. You should be able to mix any kind of CP and CPi boards, including the multiline boards. You can have up to six multiline CP boards in one computer. Two CP-12 and one CP-6 would then give you the maximum of 30 lines! 1.8 Short summary of features - Latest version of the GammaFax software is 5.3 - Intelligent, reliable sending - Support for DOS, OS/2 and Unix (SCO or Interactive) - Intelligent queue-handling - Application transparent expanding of fax lines - Tool kit for DOS, OS/2 and Unix available - Up to 30 lines per chassis - Most boards support V.17, ECM, MMR & DTMF - Network transparency Part 2. GammaFax XP/CP 2.1 Install crashes on my 486! Don't worry. When starting install there's this snazzy graphics part that doesn't work on fast computers. Just lower the speed during install (by releasing the Turbo button if there is one, otherwise you should be able to do it with the BIOS setup), and it will be fine. Version 5.2 and later uses a different installation program, and doesn't have this problem. 2.2 Install worked fine, but the software doesn't. I have a fast 486 with Micro Channel bus. You'll need a special version of the dispatcher, made for 486's with MC-bus. Call your distributor. I BELIEVE, but I'm not sure, that this is fixed in versions 5.0 and later. 2.3 Problems with sending and receiving 2.3.1 I can't send and/or receive faxes, and I can't find anything that's wrong. What should I check? Start with this: 1. Check that the wall socket is working by connecting a telephone to it and dial somewhere. Please note that in some countries, like Norway and Sweden, you can't use the same cord for the telephone and the fax modem. The telephones there have often a different pin-out than the normal American. 2. Check that the cord between the wall and the board is connected to the upper socket on the fax board, and that the active cords are connected to the two connectors in the middle. 3. In the file GFAX.$DC there is a line 'GFXSHUTDOWN 1 0'. Be sure that it really ends with 0. Otherwise the board will just send or just receive faxes. 2.3.2 When I start the GammaFax dispatcher everything seems to be OK. However, when I send a fax or try to send one to the GammaFax board, the card will pick up the phone but it will not try to connect. After that the board seems to 'get stuck', and won't respond. Is the card broken? No, probably not. The most frequent cause for this is that you have loaded the wrong binary file to the board. There is two binary files, GFXCP.BIN and GFXCX.BIN. GFXCP.BIN are used for ordinary XP- and CP-boards, GFXCX.BIN are used for CPi, MLCP and CP boards that has a DFX daughter board installed. I would guess XPi uses GFXCP.BIN. 2.3.3 When I look at the queue with the FAX menus the sending fax is marked BUSY, but when the board dialled the number I heard that it wasn't BUSY. It sounded as the board made a normal connection to the receiving fax machine. What's wrong? Nothing. BUSY doesn't mean that the answering end was busy, that is status 3931. BUSY means that the queue record is busy, i.e. being processed. It's the normal state for faxes being sent. 2.3.4 One or several of the faxes in the Queue are 'BUSY' but nothing happens. What to do? This could have several causes. Firstly, the view of the pending queue in the fax menus will not be updated unless you exit the view and enter it again. If that doesn't help you probably haven't loaded the dispatcher. If you have, then the dispatcher may have stopped working. Try to reset the queue file with GFQRESET. Now the faxes in the queue shouldn't be marked BUSY any longer. If the faxes become BUSY again, the dispatcher is up and running, otherwise you have to start the dispatcher, or restart you computer. If that STILL doesn't help, try to defragment your queue-file. If the record in the queue-file that is marked BUSY isn't a fax, but a font file, defragmentation of the queue-file is the hottest tips I have. 2.4 How can I prevent queue-file fragmentation? First you should restart the computer without starting the dispatcher. Then delete the queue-file. Defragment you hard disk with a disk defragmentation utility like Norton's Speedisk. Then create a new queue-file with 'GFQRESET -p3 -q2 -rn', where 'n' is the number of record you want, say 50. Then run GFQRESET with the same parameters every time you restart the computer. If the queue file still become fragmented, try increasing the number of records. 2.5 National character problems When I'm sending text files my national characters won't appear or there will be strange characters instead. Why? GammaFax will remove all non ASCII characters from text files. That way some older and simpler word-processing formats could be sent without modification. This means that all characters with ASCII- value 127 and above will be removed, as well as all lower than 32. Include the line 'GFXEXTEND x y' in your GFAX.$DC file. 'x' is the number of the fax board, usually 1, and 'y' should be 1 to include characters above 127 or 2 to include all characters. This will make your national characters appear. If you are using a code page other than 437, they will indeed appear, but not correctly. The default fax board font is code page 437, and you have to load a new font to the fax board to yield the correct results with other code pages. You should be able to receive those fonts from you dealer. I have fonts for code pages 437, 850, 862 and 865. There are also fonts that use Windows code page, so you can send text files created in Windows, and still get your national characters right. If you need other code pages than these there are also utilities available for creating fonts of your own. 2.6 I can't start the dispatcher I received an error message looking like this: ERROR: Sent 4096 bytes in message, but -3 were consumed by driver 13:11:18:1: gfdFlushBoard+++ Board has died 1 What's wrong? Your fax board has too little memory. Starting with v4.4 the GammaFax software needs 512KB memory on the GammaFax boards, and many older boards only have 256KB. Upgrades are available from your dealer. 2.7 I get strange non-reproducible errors Any ideas what to do? Errors that are hard to reproduce might be caused by having a too old ROM revision on you GammaFax board. If the ROM is marked with a year earlier that 1990 you should contact your retailer to upgrade. 2.8 Error status 3500 When I send faxes the faxes will get the error status 3500, ``GFX_NOTCOMPATIBLE, Queue record ID/ROM ID mismatch.'' What kind of stupid status is that? Some applications demand CP boards, for example Lotus Notes. Using those software's with XP boards usually results in this error status. There are XP to CP upgrades available from your dealer. 2.9 Only one page will be sent When I try to send to a specific fax I always get an error status. The recipient says that he receives the first page sent, but not the rest. Why can't I send to this fax? I have experienced this problem with some Swedish fax machines of the brand Teli or Televerket. These fax machines do something wrong in the handshake between pages. Insert the line 'MODEMCTRL x 1076 1' where 'x' is the fax board number, into your GFAX.$DC. It causes the fax board to ignore that protocol error and continue. Since I don't know of any problem with having that command in the GFAX.$DC file I recommend it to everyone in Sweden. 2.10 Does GammaFax work with Windows? Yes, and no. Windows is an inherently unstable environment in some ways. Amongst all the things it does is a lot of so called 'context- switches'. Occasionally a context-switch may not be advertised properly by Windows, and which will cause the GammaFax dispatcher (and much other software) to crash. The result of this is that if you start the GammaFax dispatcher, Windows will crash somewhat more often, about once a week according to people who tried this. A normal Windows installation would crash a couple of times a week in any case, so the difference might not be that big. Best way to get rid of this problem is to put the board in a PC not running Windows and move the queue-file to the network. If you have to run Windows on the computer with the GammaFax boards, exit Windows when you're not using it. Otherwise, it works fine. Using a fax modem is not a solution, since this will cause more trouble that the GammaFax boards would, just different trouble. My limited testing of GammaFax and Windows 95 indicates that the GammaFax dispatcher doesn't work if you load it from AUTOEXEC.BAT. Loading it in a DOS-box seems to work though. If you only run the dispatcher you can run it in foreground mode in a DOS-box. If you also run some other DOS-software you could probably load the dispatcher in background mode in the same DOS-box as the other software. Part 3. GammaNet/Networks 3.1 How can I use my GammaFax board from a network? Since the GammaFax boards work well on networks, you don't actually need anything extra. But the GammaFax software included with the boards don't have any support for sending faxes from inside applications. That is what most people want from their network fax. There are lots of different software to do this, both for DOS, Windows and OS/2. A good bet is to use the software of a GammaLink Fax Server partner. GammaLink knows who these are, so call them or call your GammaLink distributor. 3.2 My fax board doesn't send when my network is started What can I do? You probably are using Novell NetWare, right? Be sure that you start the network software before the GammaFax dispatcher, GFDCP.EXE. NetWares NETX.EXE does much great magic when it starts, but that magic will unfortunately disrupt the GammaFax software. Although I only know about this kind of problem with NetWare, It is recommended for all networks to load the network before the GammaFax software. 3.3 Sending from another computer in the network. The dispatcher will work with the network software loaded, but I put the GammaFax queue file GFAX.$QU on a network server, so I can reach it from other network stations, or use it with network software (cc:Mail, GammaNet, Object-Fax, etc.). It works if I send a fax from the computer with the fax board, but not if I send it from somewhere else. This ought to work, isn't GammaFax network transparent? Yes, it is. Just make sure that you have set the time correctly on all the computers that are using GammaFax. Every fax sent will be marked with a time and date so you can delay sending to later. If you don't set a time and date, it will be marked with the current time and date. So, if the computer used as a fax gateway is a week behind the computer from where the fax was put into the queue, the fax will not be sent until next week. Utilities for time synchronising are usually included with your network. Also, don't forget that the file that you send has to be available from the fax gateway with the same path and name as from your computer. You can't send the file C:\FOOBAR\FROTZ.TXT, since C: is your local hard disk. The fax gateway will then look for the file on its own local hard disk. You have to copy the file to a network drive that is common for both your computer and the gateway. If you have GammaNet, it includes a utility called FAXN. It is a modified FAXM that will do the necessary copying automatically. 3.4 Problems with LAN Manager or LAN Server I have set up a fax gateway on my LAN Manager or LAN Server network, but the dispatcher will stop working very often. What should I do? There has been some problem with using the GammaFax DOS dispatcher on LAN Manager and LAN Manager derivatives. This is fixed in version 5.0 and later of the dispatcher, but if you still experience this problem there's an easy way out. Get the OS/2 version of the dispatcher from your dealer, and install the fax board in your LAN Manager server. Since the OS/2 version doesn't have this problem the system should now be more stable. If not, then the GammaFax software wasn't the problem. You might also want to try the GFDSHIELD command used to fix problems with Banyan Vines. 3.5 Problems with Banyan Vines I have problems similar to the LAN Manager problem above, but I have Banyan Vines. Will 5.1 fix those problems? Yes, with version 5.1 features a new undocumented configuration command, GFDSHIELD. Try to insert a line first in the GFAX.$DC file like this: GFDSHIELD 0xnn Where nn is the software vector for the hardware interrupt your network card is using, according to this table: IRQ Vector IRQ Vector 2 0A 9 71 3 0B 10 72 4 0C 11 73 5 0D 12 74 6 0E 13 75 7 0F 14 76 8 70 15 77 Part 4. GammaFax development 4.1 GPI vs. CAS GammaFax supports two interfaces, the GammaFax GPI and Intel CAS. Which should I use? It depends on what you're after. The GPI is a much better API and gives you much better control over the faxes and the fax sending. Using the GPI will also lessen the overhead needed since there will be no CAS to GammaFax queue conversion. CAS, on the other hand, doesn't restrain you to use only GammaLink boards. In a way it is a choice between high and low end. CAS enables your customers to use cheaper boards, the GPI gives you the high performance and reliability you want. However, the GammaFax CAS interface isn't officially supported by GammaLink. See also 1.5 4.2 GPI and XP boards It says that applications developed with the GPI can't use the cheaper XP boards. Why not? Actually you CAN use the XP board with GPI developed applications, but it wasn't officially supported before version 5.1 of the GammaFax software. Since both the XP and CP boards talks to the queue file in the same manner, the application putting records into the queue file aren't aware of what kind of card that is actually used. Therefore you can use XP boards without any problems, as long as you are only communicating with the boards through the queue file. That is the normal way to do things, so don't worry. However, with the GPI you have another option, you can use the real-time interface to talk to the boards. This didn't work with XP and XPi boards before version 5.1. 4.3 What is the real-time interface? Usually you communicate with the fax boards via the queue file using the GFD functions. This usually causes a couple of seconds of delays. With the real time interface you get closer control over the sending through real-time status information. This might be useful in certain situations, but it does make things more complicated, and using the real time interface might prevent you from using the cheaper XP boards. It also means that you have to run your software in the same computer as the GammaFax dispatcher. Usually not a problem, but it is one of the nice features of the GammaLink API that you have complete transparency of OS, networks and number of boards, which you will lose when using the real-time interface. The real-time interface is made up by the GFD and GFV functions. You should also beware that the real-time interface changed between 5.0 and 5.1. Applications using the real-time interface compiled with the 5.0 GPI will not work with the 5.1 dispatcher, and vice versa.