What retro activity did you get up to today?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby appiah4 » 2017-12-27 @ 21:26

Upgraded my P3 from a Lucky Star 6P2BX2 to an ABIT 6BE-II, but the board turned out to be pretty much gone.. Won't POST with any RAM in DIMM slot 2, PS/2 mouse sometimes work and sometimes doesn't, irregular crashes in Wİndows, can not boot Linux images.. I know it's a good board but mine is getting trashed. I'll install my recapped GA-BX2000 in its place instead. Hopefully it's already BIOS updated to take Coppermine CPUs.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|U5SX-33F|8M|CL-GD5428/2M|CT2290/S2
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64/4M|V1/4M|CT3980/2M
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|VirgeDX/4M|SLI:V2/12M|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS/32M|MX300
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2017-12-27 @ 21:35

^^^ Bad RAM?

I popped into my local thrift store and scored a PS/2 mouse (MS!) and some blank CD media, as well as old school CD audio cabling (CDROM to soundcard) and the latter has me wishing I was able to find the source of these cables.

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I was also able to repair an older (early 90s) MS serial mouse (the POT needed cleaning, I took it apart and put some isopropyl in there, rotated it a whole bunch, then blew it out with air, then greased up the rollers - Very good quality mouse that, it appeared to be made with pride) and now it tracks straight and true. I also repaired a 101 DIN5 keyboard (d and . characters would randomly appear when typing - dirty membrane and oxidized contacts) as well as replace the clear plastic panel on the top of an external ZIP100 drive that fell into the drive and prevented operation by way of some crazy glue.

All in all, a pretty successful 2.5 hrs ;)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby appiah4 » 2017-12-27 @ 21:39

I've tried over a dozen sticks of RAM with this board, none of them resolved the stability issues. I know half of those to be good and work with other boards. It's not an issue of high/low density RAM either. It's just plain unstable, for whatever reason.. Sadface.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|U5SX-33F|8M|CL-GD5428/2M|CT2290/S2
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64/4M|V1/4M|CT3980/2M
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|VirgeDX/4M|SLI:V2/12M|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS/32M|MX300
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2017-12-27 @ 21:56

Did you try underclocking the CPU?

It could be a bad contact: I had some issues with an older VLB board doing random things like this (albeit if it managed to warm up - that is, be powered on for 20 minutes first, it would then work fine as long as it didn't cool off) - I pulled all the chips I could off it and stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes at 400F. That was 2 years ago, board still works fine.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby appiah4 » 2017-12-27 @ 22:01

Did not underclock and I dont feel up to baking a motherboard it is too much hassle for a socket type Ican still semi readily find boards for locally. I actually have a GA-6BXC V2 in the mail.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|U5SX-33F|8M|CL-GD5428/2M|CT2290/S2
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64/4M|V1/4M|CT3980/2M
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|VirgeDX/4M|SLI:V2/12M|CT4500/32M
2000:GA-BX2000|PIII-700E|512M|GF2GTS/32M|MX300
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2017-12-27 @ 22:06

That's alright then. Wish 286 boards were as easy to come by.

Gonna just have to repair mine I guess... :D
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby TheAbandonwareGuy » 2017-12-27 @ 23:37

Just putting everyone on notice that all my current projects here are on hold and my activity levels will be dropping due to me getting my first job as a temporary IT Associate at Jackson Hewitt (and if I do well I become a permanent employee and get bumped up to IT Manager since there's is leaving the company). Not many 18 year olds can say there first job was there dream job working on computers for $10 an hour.

Wish me luck.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-12-28 @ 00:56

Good luck, man. I got my first IT job 3 months ago as a Help Desk specialist.

I managed to upgrade my Packard Bell's BIOS from 4.03 to 4.05, but it won't POST for the first time until I reset the system (maybe a loose cable or something). It now detects the HDD with the full size.

I believe the reason why it's acting strange is because it requires the ISA/PCI riser card.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-12-28 @ 03:05

Just tested some old computer parts:

Epson SD-600 1.2MB 5.25" Floppy Drive works beautifully... this is a really nice drive! I now have four working 5.25" drives after struggling to find one that worked for a long time.

Chinon FZ-357 floppy drive wouldn't work, but it was a really nice looking solid feeling drive and I noticed it had jumpers so I looked it up online. Turns out it is often used for Amigas or KORG synthesizers and is a sought-after drive... who knew? I'm just glad I didn't throw it in the scrap box as soon as it didn't work. :lol: I wish I could find some information about the jumper settings for IBM\PC compatibility, as I'd like to test the drive.

Mitsumi LU005S single speed CDROM drive works flawlessly on my new (old) 386sx! Very happy about this one. Its a crazy flip-open tray loading drive from ~1993. I can read data CDs with no problems and I listened to a music CD (Queensryche - Hear In the Now Frontier) using nothing but the playcd application and my headphones plugged into the front of the drive... I can even exit the program and keep listening with nothing else running in DOS, since the drive does all the work. It's kind of amazing that such a modern perk of computers (using a computer while listening to CD quality music on it) was possible 24 years ago. :) I love the look and feel of this drive. I have a couple of them with their controller cards and they really look like they need to go into a little compact AT tower along with my tiny little 386 board. :D

Also managed to fix the cache jumpers being set incorrectly on my 386sx 33Mhz board. The jumpers were all totally wrong but thanks to TH99 I found the proper settings and the system is now plugging along with 64K of cache. The difference was noticeable and the benchmark numbers shot up dramatically. :)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Kamerat » 2017-12-28 @ 03:11

bjwil1991 wrote:Good luck, man. I got my first IT job 3 months ago as a Help Desk specialist.

I managed to upgrade my Packard Bell's BIOS from 4.03 to 4.05, but it won't POST for the first time until I reset the system (maybe a loose cable or something). It now detects the HDD with the full size.

I believe the reason why it's acting strange is because it requires the ISA/PCI riser card.

Have you ever seen such a riser card? I know it got an VLB/PCI bridge chip (from the manual of a Packard Bell Legend 486 machine), but never seen one myself or any pictures of it on the net.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2017-12-28 @ 04:54

TheAbandonwareGuy wrote:Just putting everyone on notice that all my current projects here are on hold and my activity levels will be dropping due to me getting my first job as a temporary IT Associate at Jackson Hewitt (and if I do well I become a permanent employee and get bumped up to IT Manager since there's is leaving the company). Not many 18 year olds can say there first job was there dream job working on computers for $10 an hour.

Wish me luck.


Not too bad, but isn't that under min. wage? Not one to point, I worked for $4 an hour at a local computer store when I was 13 (of course, under the table, because local computer store Indian boss) but the boss noticed I was spending all my money at his store to buy components, so he gave me a "raise" to $6.50 an hour in store credit just as I turned 14. It wasn't long before I was hauling monitors and entire cases on the back of my bike every week for the 5 kilometers home and assembling systems there, taking ads out in the paper to sell the systems from home. I must have went through probably 50 or so systems a year. I was making hand over fist at that time (compared to, say, other teenagers?) I even got my first car (a Honda CRX) at 15, but I was forced to sell it when I almost crashed it into a neighbour's car because I had no plates for it and could not leave the property, and, you know, 1st to 2nd is all you can do along the alleyway between the buildings... Could’ve ended worse I guess!

Funny that almost 20 years later, there's a huge resurgence of X86 computers in my home ;) And curiously, I paid the same amount of money for the CRX as I did for a Matiz just 5 years ago :D

Good luck mate, always do what interests you, and try to get away with as much as you can, otherwise life is boring :D
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby TheAbandonwareGuy » 2017-12-28 @ 05:49

Jed118 wrote:
TheAbandonwareGuy wrote:Just putting everyone on notice that all my current projects here are on hold and my activity levels will be dropping due to me getting my first job as a temporary IT Associate at Jackson Hewitt (and if I do well I become a permanent employee and get bumped up to IT Manager since there's is leaving the company). Not many 18 year olds can say there first job was there dream job working on computers for $10 an hour.

Wish me luck.


Not too bad, but isn't that under min. wage? Not one to point, I worked for $4 an hour at a local computer store when I was 13 (of course, under the table, because local computer store Indian boss) but the boss noticed I was spending all my money at his store to buy components, so he gave me a "raise" to $6.50 an hour in store credit just as I turned 14. It wasn't long before I was hauling monitors and entire cases on the back of my bike every week for the 5 kilometers home and assembling systems there, taking ads out in the paper to sell the systems from home. I must have went through probably 50 or so systems a year. I was making hand over fist at that time (compared to, say, other teenagers?) I even got my first car (a Honda CRX) at 15, but I was forced to sell it when I almost crashed it into a neighbour's car because I had no plates for it and could not leave the property, and, you know, 1st to 2nd is all you can do along the alleyway between the buildings... Could’ve ended worse I guess!

Funny that almost 20 years later, there's a huge resurgence of X86 computers in my home ;) And curiously, I paid the same amount of money for the CRX as I did for a Matiz just 5 years ago :D

Good luck mate, always do what interests you, and try to get away with as much as you can, otherwise life is boring :D


IL minimum wage is 8.25 so its actually an ok bit above.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2017-12-28 @ 06:33

Wow they just bumped it up to $14 here (CDN) taking in the exchange rate, it's probably on par. If at all possible, try to join a post-secondary IT helpdesk: Best (and 3rd best job on this continent) thing I ever did, in the long run.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby TheAbandonwareGuy » 2017-12-28 @ 06:36

Jed118 wrote:Wow they just bumped it up to $14 here (CDN) taking in the exchange rate, it's probably on par. If at all possible, try to join a post-secondary IT helpdesk: Best (and 3rd best job on this continent) thing I ever did, in the long run.


Considering I'm looking at 50-60 hour weeks I think one job is enough. This is my passion and I'm still pretty sure the seasonal grind is going to burn me out.

On the bright side ill probably be able to poach some decommissioned old equipment at some point since I'm sure used equipment disposal will occur at some point.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby andrewreader » 2017-12-28 @ 09:18

Well done TheAbandonWareGuy. I'm pleased for you. Do a good job first. Build a rapport with your colleagues and boss and then work out what you can poach.

My 'end of year' self-retro-appraisal has been positive.

Yesterday evening, (with Phil's YouTube video guide) I installed the OnTrack Disk Manager and instead of using the 40 MB hard drive in my 386, it's now a whopping 4GB on a Compact Flash Card. (Thanks once again Phil). I put some games on it.

I'll do the same with my 486 which is nearly full on it's 500 MB hard drive.

In the new year, I'll do something with the WinChip 180 machine. I think I'll install Windows 95.

I nabbed a Playstation 1, which was sitting around at my parents house.

And the P3 tower (from my last set of photographs); I re-installed Windows XP, installed a working USB2.0 PCI and Firewire card with 5.25" bay adapter. I installed some games from GoG. Found a £2 USB Trust Gamepad from B&M Family Bargains store.

I tried the Slotket 370 adapter, but the 1Ghz CPU wasn't recognised. I think this board is limited to 700 Mhz. And I'm awaiting on some more RAM.

I ordered a Creative DXr2 for nostalgia's sake and will probably use that in the WinChip machine.

There's a UK Ebay auction which ends today for the same P3 tower and same 17" monitor that I've got. I want it (as a backup), but can't justify it.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby PcBytes » 2017-12-28 @ 12:47

Well, fixed and improved a no-name "ATX-400W P4" PSU. It turned out to have some pretty good components, just the switching transistors and the ATX wires had to be replaced. I managed to install some D209L switching transistors, rated at 12A in place of the old and weak 13007 transistors, and replaced all the old wires (20pin main ATX cable,12v P4 cable and the other molex cables) with newer ones from a broken 2014 Floston PSU I had around, which resulted in now having a 24 pin detachable main cable, 12v P4 cable, 2x Molex, 2x SATA and 1 Berg/Floppy connector.

While at it I also recapped the unit with newer caps (AsiaX made in 2014 - not the best but at least better than the "JEE" brand that was in there originally - other caps are OST and Panasonic) and replaced the fan with a cleaned and lubed Xinruilian ZP fan that doesn't blow my ears. (strangely, any other 80mm fan would run insanely loud on this PSU, but on other PSUs they run at normal speed and quiet)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby TheAbandonwareGuy » 2017-12-29 @ 00:20

TheAbandonwareGuy wrote:
Jed118 wrote:Wow they just bumped it up to $14 here (CDN) taking in the exchange rate, it's probably on par. If at all possible, try to join a post-secondary IT helpdesk: Best (and 3rd best job on this continent) thing I ever did, in the long run.


Considering I'm looking at 50-60 hour weeks I think one job is enough. This is my passion and I'm still pretty sure the seasonal grind is going to burn me out.

On the bright side ill probably be able to poach some decommissioned old equipment at some point since I'm sure used equipment disposal will occur at some point.


Well we had some down time today. Wasting no time, I immediatly commandeered a decomissioned Dell PowerEdge 600SC server to put under my desk (which I can get away with since I put Legacy IT and data retrieval on my resume). They also have massive tech graveyard and my boss is willing to sell me stuff from it. Win win. And I have a PowerEdge 600SC to use during my breaks (Quake III anyone?)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby probnot » 2017-12-29 @ 00:43

Gave my new find a good scrub-down. Removed the leaky battery from the mobo, and cleaned up the remaining corrosion, then washed the whole board(it was filthy). Once dry, it powered on beautifully! Also found out why it was so filthy - was a mechanics PC with some old troubleshooting software in the CD-ROM. Once it was back together I discovered the PSU is dead (just squeals) so that's probably the only reason it was retired. For now, I'm running it on my bench PSU.
ImageImage


My other, more daunting task is re-arranging the computer closet so that I can fit everything. I may have to build custom shelves... :neutral:
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2017-12-29 @ 03:52

That's really surpring how well that came out. Glad you got it working, man.

Also, I installed the jumper for the PC Speaker on my Packard Bell to do some diagnostics on the computer why it wasn't POSTing at all. It had a series of beep codes that was continuous, and I thought it was the RAM that caused the issue. I believe the laptop HDD is causing problems of why it's not booting in the first place. Sometimes, it'll turn on just in a flash after pressing the power button, sometimes it won't POST for a while, or just throws beep codes. Also, when the beep codes are being produced, the HDD indicator light stays solid (which might be a crappy cable, but I digress). Am I doing something wrong here? I upgraded the BIOS from Phoenix 4.03 to 4.05 for higher capacity HDDs past the 2GB marker.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-12-29 @ 06:54

Since I don't have any small AT towers, I just attempted to get my tiny little 386sx board installed in an old "Power Spec" micro-ATX tower I have had for more than 15 years. It has housed a Pentium II 266 system (ECS P6EX-ME, 440EX with agp, 2 pci, 2 isa and built in ESS 1869F audio) since I got it. It was a backup system for a long time and was my sister's PC for a while (had a V3 2k PCI at the time). It has a crazy plastic handle that somehow hasn't broken off after all these years. Its a really unusual case with a solid steel frame but 100% plastic panels all around. The side and top panels have (had) these horribly sharp tin sheets as some kind of EMI shielding that I'd injured myself on so many times that I eventually threw all but one of them away over the years.

Anyway, things started off rocky with this attempt because my AT to ATX backplate does not attach to this case. I'd have to drill holes in steel, which I wasn't up to doing until I knew the rest of it would work out. This case must have had a really unusual motherboard standoff style as well. I couldn't find anything in my arsenal that fit it and was also the correct height. I had to cobble something with a short standoff and a nut. Once I got every screw hole (all 5) populated in this old motherboard I was very happy... but the ultimate test was the alignment of the ISA slots, which I'm sorry to say didn't pan out. They are off by at least 1/16th of an inch the whole way across. I actually got the board quite level considering the standoff issue, but I can't even get cards to slot in because when the card is flush with the back the contacts line up with the upper edge of the ISA slot. Between this and the little "helpful" ridges near the slots to keep the back plates aligned, there's simply no way ISA cards are going in without damaging the cards or the slots. Bummer!

So, this sadly won't work out... big surprise there! This is the reason this case has ended up with its original motherboard reinstalled every time after all these years. The bottom of the case even has a nicely printed label that says "SYS-MT5220-PII266-P6EX/32MB/4.3-230W", which is exactly the specs it always had (I still have the 4.3GB drive that was in it) so I know its original. I guess I'll have to find something else to house my 386... :(

I'm not too torn up about it though. There's something neat about this little system that always made me keep it together. Besides, I'd have only had access to a maximum of 3 (out of 6) ISA slots if the 386 board had actually lined up, and I still had to convert the power switch to an AT type. :lol:
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