You are correct in assuming that the Ops Console needs to be powered up all the time whilst the iSeries is on. I had this same problem with a laptop back 2003.
I tried everything – reinstalling iSeries Access & trying other versions as well; then uninstalling and reinstalling the AOC modem drivers – several times. I also disconnected another Ops Console (desktop PC) from a working iSeries – that did not connect either. However, when I connected the PC back to working iSeries it didn’t reconnect! I had to IPL the working iSeries to get the connection back.
On the original iSeries, I had to schedule an IPL out of working hours to see if it cures the issue. I believed it would, because the symptoms when I disconnected and reconnected the desktop PC on the working iSeries were the same.
After the IPL, the system detected the Ops Console on the laptop and all was well.
I put a note in our company’s call log:
Lesson learnt: If the system console is an Ops Console via a PC (or laptop), the connection cannot be re-established if the PC is disconnected and changes made – the system requires an IPL to re-establish communications.
I always said it was a mistake when IBM moved away from twinax, I can understand the rational, but do not understand the horrible nightmare just to get a simple connection.
You shouldn’t have to IPL the box to be able to access the system console. What happens if you are in the middle of an upgrade and the Ops Console “blue screens”!? IBM have a lot to answer for, for this error of judgement!