This is from the "Your're the first one to ever have this problem" department.


(this page:)
Selected Newsgroup Postings
Selected Newsgroup Articles

(other pages at this site)

Newsgroup Postings

The following are several newsgroup downloads from 31st Mar 98. The purpose is to provide help to people trying to work around their problems.
See also US Robotics Sportster 56k Voice External - Disconnect Problems, at Christian Wagner's Hong Kong website. That article lists several possible patches.


          Re: Modem lock up (the continuing saga) -- USR X2 Sporster

Organization   DND/CF - MDN/FC
Date           Sat, 28 Feb 1998 10:04:19 GMT
Newsgroups     comp.dcom.modems
Message-ID     <>
References     1 2

On 27 Feb 98 21:38:59 -0600, "Gary Peake"  wrote:

>> Remove all the special strings from Extra Settings.  Then add
>> S15.7=1.
>Where are all you guys getting these weird S settings from? I have an
>external Sportster X2 and there is no mention of any .X settings in
>the S setting section. They are all whole numbers.
>Just curious ... my Sportster works fine.
S15.7=1 sets bit 7 of S15, leaving all other bits unchanged.  If S15
were 0, then S15.7=1 and S15=128 would result in the same thing - S15
would end up = 128.

But what if S15 were already = 1?  Then the two commands would have
different results:

S15.7=1 would result in S15=129 (128 + 1) while
S15=128 would result in 128 - the previous setting would be lost.

Using the "decimal notation" to set or clear an individual bit ensures
that _only_ that particular bit is changed, and that's a good idea
when advising someone to disable or enable a particular feature in a
bit-mapped register when the "advisor" (me) has no idea what other
selections in that register have already been made.

In this particular case, I'm suggesting V.42 be disabled, and I don't
want to change any other settings that register may already hold.

It's a handy variation on the command set. :)


                     Re: Spiral Death Syndrome on USR 28.8

Organization   DND/CF - MDN/FC
Date           Wed, 14 Jan 1998 04:37:11 GMT
Newsgroups     comp.dcom.modems
Message-ID     <>
References     1

On Fri, 09 Jan 1998 23:34:44 GMT, (Buha) wrote:

>Anyone heard/know how to get rid of this (so called) Spiral Death
It's _not_ SDS - that was an earlier problem corrected some years ago.
Try S15.7=1.

>Is there an earlier ROM version for the Sportster?

Sure.  Lots of them.  You don't want them, though.

Rick (remove X from e-mail address)


                Re: USR Sportster 33.6 EXT Unexpected Hangups?

From  (Dale Botkin)
Organization   Probe Technology Inc.
Date           7 Dec 1997 06:59:37 GMT
Newsgroups     comp.dcom.modems,comp.modems
Message-ID     <66dhgp$q8n$>
References     1

Matt Jenkins ( wrote:
: I am running a USR Sportster 33.6 EXT under Win95.  I am connecting to my ISP
 using the Win95 DUN v1.2 with
: the PPP protocol.  Before I was getting high numbers of CRC errors and then w
as being disconnected.  I have
: resolved the CRC problem, however am being dropped unexpectdly.  I have tried
 everything in my knowledge to
: resolve this problem, and my ISP is proving no help.  They keep blaming it on
 quote "line conditions" yet it
: seems that in the same house I can use a USR Sportster 56K modem to connect t
o AOL's USR modems and connect at
: 44.Kbs and keep the connection with absoutly no problem.  They refuse to help
 me out and I am one step away
: from not paying this months bill .

: 11-15-1997 14:48:52.55 - Recv: CONNECT 33600/ARQ/V34/LAPM/V42BIS<

Try S15=128 to disable V.42bis, which is known broken in many Sportsters.
If your ISP is running Ascend Maxen with K56felx cards, updating to
software release 5.0Ap36 includes a workaround from Rockwell to fix it on
their end, since USR doesn't seem to care if their modems work properly or
Dale Botkin, President            | Voice: (402) 593-9800
Probe Technology Inc.             | FAX:   (402) 593-8748
Omaha, NE                         | Email:


       Re: Help, Sportster Voice Ext, Volume Control=Retrain=Disconnect?

From           Weidong 
Organization   crtc
Date           Mon, 29 Dec 1997 10:12:29 +0800
Newsgroups     comp.dcom.modems
Message-ID     <>
References     1 2

JP wrote:
>Definitely a "DOA" modem.  I have the same model and could not duplicate that.
>I would take it back for an exchange.
>This is probably caused by a defective switch, solder joint or something
>generating noise in the circuit. Introduction of noise will definitely cause a

I don't think so because both UP and DN button have the same problem.

These are some old posts just FYI:

Subject:      Re: USR V34 external Throttle Control!!!
From:         Arthur Sorkin 
Date:         1995/03/30
Message-ID:   <3ldoa5$>
Newsgroups:   comp.dcom.modems

In article  , writes:
> writes:
>> [v34 sportsters]
>> ....I couldnt beleive the short thread earlier about the Volume
>> control having anything to do with carrier rate.  TRY IT YOURSELF!
>> its downright hillarious!!  dial up another v34, (I have never gotten
>> over 24000, except to USR themselves,,and I only call my other
>> sportster on campus (11/30 roms))   hit +++ and keep hitting ati6
>> to show the current connect rate. Now turn the volume up and hit a/
>> to redo the ati6.  keep doing /a while juggling the volume.

I can confirm the same behavior with my Sportster.  Turn the volume knob
up and speed drops to 16.8 or below.  Turn volume knob down and the speed
goes back up to 24.0 or above.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't
tried it myself.

Pathetic doesn't begin to describe it. I'd say that the Sportster has one
or more serious analog design problems.

Subject:      Re: USR Sportster V.34 # 1! According to Computer Shopper???
From: (John Navas)
Date:         1995/04/17
Message-ID:   <3mu9v3$>

  Article Segment 2 of 3
  (Get Previous Segment)
  (Get All 3 Segments)

Another possibly related problem that some have reported with the
external Sportster 28800 (not the internal Sportster, and not either
type of the Courier) is that adjusting the speaker volume control
while on-line causes the modem to fall back. Anecdotal reports suggest
that higher connection speeds may be possible if the volume control is
turned all the way down before the initial negotiation (and left
there). Turning off the speaker with M0 is apparently not effective.

Subject:      A Sportster Voice update (was: USR RESPONDS: kind of)
From:         Mariusz Stanczak 
Date:         1996/07/19
Message-ID:   <4sor6u$>
Newsgroups:   comp.dcom.modems

- I tend to keep the modem's speaker on all the time, and it turned out
that now, whenever I try to turn it down a glich somwhere causes the
modem to retrain... how convinient for testing, but really an anoying
bug, especially since the volume control on the Voice model is this
braindead digital control that gets reset on every call, and it's way
to loud.

> Weidong  wrote:
> >Hi,
> >
> >I am using Sportster Voice External (178400) on X2 line. I fund I can
> >make the modem to retrain or disconnect by pressing the volume UP/DN
> >button on the modem.
> >
> >No matter the speaker is on (atm2) or off (atm0), a single press on
> >volume button will make the modem to retrain, mutiple press or hold on
> >the button will make the modem to disconnect. For V.34, press on the
> >volume button will make the modem shift down the speed. For example I
> >can make the modem to shift down speed from 33.6k to 4800 by several
> >button press, the modem will stay at 4800 until I press button again to
> >make it retrain.
> >
> >I only have one Sportster 178400. Please help me to identify if this is
> >a generic problem of this model.
> >
> >I realized I bought a great toy from USR. It at least have 3 advantages:
> >
> >1) The famouse pause because the USR guys made a special implement on
> >ITU V.42.
> >
> >2) It can shift to a very low speed and stay there for a very long time.
> >
> >3) The volume control buttons also control retrain and disconnect
> >although I only paid for volume control. The volume DN button not only
> >controls volume in one direction, but also can make volume lower,
> >lower... and then louder, louder...
> >
> >What a great USR product!!!
> >
> >Regards,
> >weidong


         Need help: USR Sportster 56k X2, extreme lag and disconnects

From  (Mike Zimmerman)
Organization   Alcatel Network Systems, Inc Raleigh, NC
Date           21 Jan 1998 13:56:31 GMT
Newsgroups     comp.dcom.modems
Message-ID     <6a4uqf$9ks$>

The problem (s):

USR Sportster Modem external, connected to a Powermac 6500.
I did buy the "Mac" version, but am not sure how much
of a difference there is.  Purchased approx 12/15/97.

Initial problems: (as configured out of box)

a- not connecting above 33000.  Calls to USR test site are
  showing 52000.

b- VERY "squishy" connection to ISP.  5-10 second lag
  in all typing being echoed back to me, ie type something
  and you don't see it for 5-10 seconds.  VERY annoying.

c- slow xfer rates, ~ 300cps

d- random disconnects after only a few minutes

My debug process was to first dial USR and I did connect
there at 5200, so I figure a) is a local problem
with a CO btw me and my ISP (that sucks).

Then I went after b.  My Supra 33.6 was showing none of
these troubles, so I dug thru the manual and turned off
X2 on the USR (S32=34 I think).  Voila, no echo lag, xfer
speeds ~ 3000cps and no random disconnects.

So great, but gee, I just spent all this cash on a new modem...
I already had one that did 33.6....

In talking to a co-worker, who bought one at the same time,
but the "PC" flavor, he had the same trouble.  Our support
dept said USR had told them there was a flash update we needed
that solved this problem.

Super, go to USR web site, download the appopriate flavor
of the "Update Wizard".

My friend got his to work, no problems.  He now reports
a flash version of 4.5.1 and a date of October 97.

I fired up the Update Wizard (UW), it reported a flash version
of 4.1.55 and a date of 3/8/97.  So it looked indeed
as if I needed an upgrade.  [I've worked with modem code
before, a piece of code that was stable for 10 months
is probably out of date.]

The UW ran and called USR.  On the web site they show a
1-888 phone #, but it calls a 1-847 (toll) # instead.
Oh well.  The UW connected and flashed a fwe windows
around then went to a file xfer screen.  At this
point the connection was lost and an ERROR window
popped up stating as much, something like "Error -XYZ, connection
lost".  So I tried again... 5 times.  No dice.  Kind of
looks like the random disconnect problem mentioned above.

So I looked for tech supports #.  Great, no 1-800 #.  Sigh,
so much for service.  So I call it up.  It takes 10 minutes
for the first support person to figure out that my problem
is not in getting the UW but in having it work.  She tells
me that according to my serial #, I have the latest flash, but
she doesn't know why the UW is erroring and bumps me up to
level 2.  So I get the new hold music, and a message
saying my approx wait time is 2 minutes.  20 minutes later
(literally), I get level 2.

I ask what the latest flash version is (I've had time to think of
what is likely the fastest way to resolve this, while on hold).
He doesn't tell me, but asks what I ahve instead... oh that's
the most current he says... sigh.  I mention the ERROR message.
He says oh, that means you have the latest version.  Uh-huh,
Of course the UW made that perfectly clear.  I ask why for the love
of christ these flash upgrades aren;t available via ftp or
the web (like Supra/Diamond does).  I ask him to relay this complaint
to a place where it might matter.  He says he won't.

I ask him to send me the latest driver, just to indulge me.  he
says they can;t.  I mention to him that the UW documentaion very
clearly states that it can run off of a flash file sent to
the customer by USR support.  He says they don't do that.

At this point I'm rather fed up (can ya tell?) ? :-)
I've been on the phone for 45 minutes, and had to be somewhere
in 10 minutes.  He mentions that the random disconnect problem
is being solved by tweaking S15.  I say fine I'll try it, I
gotta run.  But before I hang up I push one point.
I say, wait there is a problem with the S15 reg?  Ok, but
how am I supposed to use this to update my modem (if there
ever is a flash upgrade newer than 3/8/97) when the UW
wizard doesn't have anywhere to enter an init string????
ie I cannot fix my modem with this fix in order to call USR
to get fixes for my modem... uh-huh.  We didn't get anywhere
with that.

I get home later and try it.  Partial dice, but no solution.
I only tried it once, and it _seems_ to fix the random
disconnect problem (d), but the echo lag and HORRRIBLE
xfer rate persist (b,c).  So I went back to where I
started and turned off X2 (S32).

so has anyone had these problems and gotten them solved
(the modem problems, not my attitude problems)?

If I get my co-worker to flash my modem via his UW on
his PC, will it work with my Mac?  What are the differences?
Are the bloody flash files avilable anywhere other than USR?


Mike Zimmerman < >   Alcatel Network Sytems, Ral, NC
*My opinions, not Alcatel's*    [\] NC Diving:
A is A.    Man who say it cannot be done should not interrupt man doing it.

                                        Re: help with an X2 Sportster (p1  f 7)

                         Re: help with an X2 Sportster

From           "Bill @ Crisp" 
Date           Thu, 5 Feb 1998 02:56:00 GMT
Newsgroups     comp.dcom.modems
Message-ID     <>
References     1


Don't despair. You're not alone!!! My experience with a USR Sportster 56K
Voice/Data/Fax internal
modem was less than desirable and started at installation time when the
setup program claimed it couldn't
find the files on the CD ROM.

I have yet to find any useful information on their web site pertaining to
a dropped connection problem
when connected to my work Remote Access Server. I finally solved this
problem today (after two months)
when I posted a message here yesterday and someone was kind enough to
offer a suggestion. So much for
their technical support.

I, like yourself, am very disappointed and would not consider purchasing
another USR product. I'll take my
chances with a another brand. If nothing else is gained, the aggravation
will come at a cheaper price.

Regards and Good Luck,


Adam M wrote:

>  Thank you in advance for taking time to read this and if you care to
> share your opinion or advice I'd really appriciate it. Last March I
> bought a USR X2 Sportster int. to replace my 28k Sportster and have
> had problems with it ever since. The modem drops carrier a lot and
> sometimes I have to wait up to a minute or so before it will allow me
> to redial (no, not being nuked). I have done multiple reinstalls of
> Win95, even tried OSR2, changing motherboards, power supply, DUN 1.2,
> different COM/IRQs, MTU tweek and several ISP's. I have flashed it
> twice and the last flash helps in that it lets me reconnet sonner
> after a droppped carrier. After I got a firmware upgrade from the
> spiral death syndrome on the 28k modem things were great and I have
> been using the same phone line all along so I think the phone lines
> are OK. My connect speeds are fine (42666-44k) although I put a new
> Sportster in my system and got 3 48k connects in a row, something this
> one has never done (model # 00178700) but I'm happy with the connect
> speeds I get anyways.
>  My retailer won't RMA it for me, they just hooked it up and checked
> thier E-mail and said "looks fine to me, can't leave it hooked up any
> longer, besides dropped carriers are normal even during a downlaod".
> USR/3COM E-mailed me back and listed several reasons for a dropped
> carrier but many of the things they listed are way over my head and
> didn't say anything like 'here try this'. I'll paste the email
> response below.
>  Anyways I'm pretty fed up with this modem and am hoping that a
> replacement may be a solution but don't want to throw money away for
> nothing if I'm likely to have the same experirence. I'm olny offered
> X2 service around here so I was thinking of picking up a X2 Courier, I
> see them priced for less than I paid for the Sportster. If any knows
> what rev. of the Courier to look for please let me know.
> Adam M
> here's the email for USR......
> Disconnect Reason:
> Possible reasons the modem hung up are as follows:
> *   DTR dropped  The DTE dropped the Data Terminal Ready signal,
>     terminating the call.
> *   Escape code  You sent the modem the +++ escape code.
> *   Loss of carrier  The modem detected loss of the remote modems
>     carrier and waited the duration specified in Register S10
>     (default is 0.7 seconds).
> *   Inactivity timeout  The modem detected no activity on the line for
>     the duration specified in Register S19 (default is 0, timer disabled).
> *   MNP incompatibility  The modem is set to &M5 and the remote modem
>     does not have MNP compatibility, or there was an MNP negotiation
>     procedure error.
> *   Retransmit limit  The modems reached the maximum of 12 attempts to
>     transfer a data frame without error.
> *   LD received  The remote modem sent an MNP error control link
>     disconnect request.
> *   DISC  The remote modem sent a V.42 disconnect frame.
> *   Loop loss disconnect  The modem detected a loss of current on the
>     loop connecting it with the telephone company central office.  This
>     usually occurs because the remote modem has hung up.  The central
>     office drops current momentarily when there is a disconnect at the
>     other end of a call.  Unless Register S38 is set higher than 0, the
>     modem immediately hangs up at loop loss.
> *   Unable to retrain  After several attempts, disturbances on the
>     phone line prevented the modems from retraining (re synchronizing),
>     and they could no longer transmit or receive data.
> *   Invalid speed  The modem is set to &N1 or higher, for a fixed link
>     rate, and the remote modem is not operating at the same rate.
> *   XID timeout  The modems failed to negotiate the V.42 detection (XID
>     exchange phase.
> *   SABME (Set asynchronous balance mode extended) timeout  The modems
>     failed this part of V.42 link negotiation.
> *   Break timeout  Incompatible processing of a Break signal occurred.
> *   Invalid codeword  The modem received an invalid V.42 bis
>     (compression) frame.
> *   A rootless tree  The modem received an invalid V.42 bis
>     (compression) frame.
> *   Illegal command code  The modem received an invalid V.42 bis
>     (compression) frame.
> *   Extra step up  The modem received an invalid V.42 bis (compression)
>     frame.
> If you are still having problems with your modem contact us again and we
> will further assist you until your problem is resolved.


                            Sportster Voice problem

From           Michael Donner 
Organization   Freie Universitaet Berlin
Date           Wed, 21 Jan 1998 22:36:27 -0800
Newsgroups     comp.dcom.modems
Message-ID     <>


I got a problem with my US Robotics Sportster Voice modem.

After some weeks my first modem of that type got an error. It do no
disconnect. I mean it do not hook down to get a high resitance between
the lines to signal the telephone company that the last connection has
to be breaked by them.

I got a another modem of the same type in january, the 6. but now after
about 14 days it has the same error.

Has anyone the same problem ? Maybe it only applies to german ones!
Has anyone a solution to this problem? Do anyone have a curcuit diagram
for that modem? I may fix the problem myself.

I am very uncontent with the support. German support simply do not
answer my emails and the us support told me in december they will
correct the problem with german support but did nothing till now.




               Re: Modem won't hang up fast enough for call back

From           Dop Ganger 
Date           Thu, 11 Dec 1997 21:48:27 GMT
Newsgroups     comp.dcom.modems
References     1 2 3

Simon Pinches TOK  wrote:
> Dop Ganger  writes:

> > Looks like it *is* hanging up, but because you've got &C0 set (CD always
> > high) Win95 think it's still online.

> I've already tried many short initialisation strings such as AT&F0S0=1
> (without the &C0) with no improvement.

What does the log say when you're just using &F1? Is it any different?

> If I look closely at the timings in the modem log file then it really
> appears as if my modem specifically doesn't hang up until the other
> modem has stopped calling me back.

Hmmmm... There's a fairly obscure bug I've found in my Courier (which is,
admittedly, running beta firmware); I'm not sure if it's in the Sportster,
if it's an new bug, whatever. If you drop DTR before the remote end
completes hangup, the local modem never hangs up and seems to get stuck in a
retrain. As soon as DTR is raised again, the modem detects the remote hangup
and hangs up as usual. I see this under Linux when I kill the ppp daemon,
which sends the LCP disconnect frame and the drops the line (and DTR);
because I've got &D2 set to drop the modem into command mode, that isn't
interpreted as a hangup, and the remote end's DISC frame is ignored, as is
the GSTN cleardown. If you lift the receiver, you can hear the modem sending
out a tone overlaid on dial tone. Like I said, a fairly obscure bug.

If this bug exists in the Sportster, you'll have to either toggle DTR after
hangup to get it to acknowledge hangup, or use software hangup (+++ then

> Since I'm in Germany do I need to
> tell my modem what the dial tone sounds like here or anything?

That shouldn't be necessary. I suppose it's theoretically possible that the
cable/converter for your (I presume non-German) modem might have a glitch in
it that's holding the line open, but I'd put that at the far end of
probability. If you want to cancel this out, I'd recommend either getting a
converter from somewhere like Teleadapt (, or getting a
suitable cable from USR (I guess would be a starting point, if it
exists, if not I know there's a pointer for the European operations on

> I certainly know that in the UK if I ring someone and they then hang up
> I don't hear anything, and that if they then lift the receiver again
> I can still talk to them.  Can anything like that be happening to my
> modem especially if the call-back modem hangs up and then tries to
> dail me back very quickly.

Yes, that's quite possibly what's happening, but the modem should still hang
up properly.

Cheers... Dop.



From           [1]
Organization   Deja News - The Leader in Internet Discussion
Date           Wed, 04 Mar 1998 14:44:36 -0600
Newsgroups     [2]comp.dcom.modems
Message-ID     <6dkeeb$u4k$>

Does anybody still have a document addressing lockups occuring
in the (troubled) early productions of USR 28.8K Sportster modems ?

The document contained information on identifying these modems by
their Supervisory Date codes...

This document was (at one time) on back when the 28.8K
modems were popular.

I tried contacting USR (3Com) Tech Support about this,
but the idiots (including supervisors) have no clue about this
problem of the past...


From           [1] (Phil Leonard)
Date           Thu, 05 Mar 1998 00:31:22 GMT
Newsgroups     [2]comp.dcom.modems
Message-ID     <>
References     [3]1

In article ID <6dkeeb$u4k$>, writes:

>Does anybody still have a document addressing lockups occuring
>in the (troubled) early productions of USR 28.8K Sportster modems ?

SDS? Is that what you are talking about?

USR has received many comments about a condition identified by some users as
Spiraling Death Syndrome.  The conditions stated are that the Sportster v.34
modem degrades it's throughput speed as the product heats up.

Although we have been unable to duplicate the problem on a large scale, we
have duplicated these symptoms on a very intermittent basis.  However, the
current release of v.34 code (dated 4/18/95) has allowed for greater variances
in ambient temperature swings in addition to greater compatibility to non-USR
products.  USR is offering a code upgrade and fulfillment program at no cost
to our customers.  Customers simply need to contact USR at 708-982-5151 and
prompt for Technical Support to validate the symptoms.  Upon validation, USR's
Customer Service Department will process the replacement code order.

We thank our customers for continued support of USRobotics products and it is
our wish to maintain customer support and loyalty.

 ====  ====

Specific Problems found with U.S. Robotics Modems

The following problems with U.S. Robotics Sportster Modems have either been discovered by us, or have been reported. Not all of them affect us and not all of them apply to our specific modems:

That said, U.S. Robotics chose an excellent design for the case. The wedge shape turns out to be very handy.

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