THE AOPEN FM56-ITU/2 FAX/MODEM
Last updated: 4/12/02
just released a new version of FM56-ITU FAX/MODEM,
my all-time favorite MODEM. Like its predecessor, this new version,
the FM56-ITU/2, is economical, works well, and is one I can control. By
control I mean this is an ISA MODEM with jumpers and a wide selection of
IRQ and port address options.
According to AOpen's web site, this version
of the MODEM uses a two chip Rockwell chipset, the RP56D/SP and L2800-38,
versus the single chip RCVDL56ACFW/SP used in the original, to increase "stable
capacity" (whatever that is) and to reduce the error rate of mass production. They
further state that the specs are the same, but they use a different driver
and firmware. Frankly, if I hadn't read the note and looked carefully
at the board, I wouldn't have noticed the difference. The two MODEMs
work equally well.
This MODEM has the appearance of high quality
board. I counted 14 105°C electrolytic, two tear-drop tantalum, four
ceramic, and two mylar capacitors. And there are plenty surface-mount
caps to boot. Layout and silk-screening are quite good.
One does not have to have a PCI MODEM to have
a fast MODEM. The ISA bus runs at 12 Mhz. It is far faster than
any demand that a 56K MODEM can impose. Also, an ISA MODEM can be used
in a wider variety of computers.
I prefer the FM56-ITU/2's jumpers to Plug
'n Play WinMODEMs, especially when installing a MODEM in a computer with
a motherboard with misbehaved COM ports (ports disabled in the CMOS Setup,
but still detected by Windows 95/98), and machines in which there are so
many expansion boards that Interrupts have to shared. If you can't
get one of these MODEMs working in one of those incorrigible Packard-Bells
or with one of those ancient and fussy DOS programs, than I know of no other
generic MODEM which will work.
The Windows 95/98 installation is quite forward
and simple. Install the MODEM in your computer; double-click Modems
in the Control Panel; let Windows detect the Modem COM port; after it tests
the COM ports detects the MODEM, stop it from installing a Standard MODEM,
click Have Disk, and point it twice to the \WINDOWS\DRIVER DIRECTORY on the
AOpen CD which came with the MODEM.
V.90/K56Flex standard. This MODEM will work with Internet Service
Providers (ISPs) running V.90, K56Flex, and X2. Of course, it can only
run at 33.6 KBS when talking to an X2 MODEM. In my locations it runs
46 to 48K when connecting to V.90 or K56Flex MODEMs. These are typical
speeds for 56K MODEMs, which can connect at a max speed of 53K in the U.S.A.
in very ideal conditions--the FCC limits the maximum speed of voice telephone
lines to 53K.
has the Rockwell two chip Rockwell chipset, the RP56D/SP and L2800-38, and
a 16550/A Compatible Enhanced UART.
MODEM is easily jumpered for COM1: through COM4: and IRQs 3, 4, 5, 7, 9,
10, 11, 12, and 15. All of the COM and IRQ jumpers are on a single
header. All of the combinations of COM ports and IRQs are silk-screened
on the back of the board and are easily understood. (I would be happier
if the jumper header were located near the top of the board where it could
be jumpered without removing the board from the computer.)
speaker is no wimp. It can be clearly heard outside of a closed computer
are connectors (and cables) to connect the MODEM to an Acer motherboard for
wake-up on ring and to pipe the speaker sound to a sound card. The
sound cable plugs right into the AOpen FX-3D sound card. I have
made it work, with some finagling, with other sound boards as well.
Windows 95/98 the MODEM shows the actual connect speed (some show 115,200
BPS regardless of the true speed).
works well with DOS applications.
answering machine (TAM), voice mail, caller
ID and distinctive ring detection functions are supported.
has two RJ-11 and two audio jacks (speaker and mike).
Micro Software's QuickLink MessageCenter III software is included.
of course, you can use it as a 14.4 send/receive FAX.
Overall, a very good product and I prefer it, although
it costs a little more than controller less WinMODEMs.
4/12/02 From our forums...
Yes I have that "manual" but it does not show
how to apply the shunts for pnp mode; or even how to apply the shunts with
examples in the first place.
JP16 is to the right in your picture and has no pins. That
and the jumper settings on the back of the board (and the manual) are not
uncommon. The MODEM does not have the PnP feature. As I recall, the ones
I installed did not have it either. Anyway, I would not set it to PnP even
if the MODEM could do it. I would disable COM2 and assign IRQ 3 to Legacy/ISA
in the motherboard CMOS Setup and plug the mouse into COM1: (please let me
know if that is a problem and why it is).
jumper setting for COM2:, IRQ 3 are: JP1 ON, JP3 ON and all other jumpers
on the COM/IRQ header OFF, JP16 OFF (which it is if there are no pins and
no trace connecting the spots where they would be on the board), and put
the jumper on pins 1 and 2 on JP17.