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 cyclone3d » 2018-2-09 @ 06:18

It's alive, It's alive! :evil:

Swapped out the 18GB 4200RPM drive in my Sony Vaio PCG-XG29 for a 32GB SATA SSD after trimming the SSD case so it would fit in there with the IDE to SATA adapter.

Installed Windows 98SE, tried installing the AOPEN branded YMF744 drivers and got no sound.

Found the sony ftp site:
ftp://ftp.vaio-link.com/pub/
Spent a few hours combing through all the different DS-XG driver packs and finally found one or two that actually work properly with this laptop. Only the VXD drivers work properly. The WDM ones only have software buffer and no 3D with directsound.

Then I set up the real mode DOS software (initialization program) and it worked. At first I couldn't get the "Native 16-bit" sound to work, but then I disabled PnP OS in the BIOS and it came to life.
And to top the awesomeness off, they wired this sucker up with a PC-PCI/SBLink connection so it should absolutely work with whatever I throw at it in DOS.

This is one of those super giddy moments! :happy: :lol: :happy: :lol: :happy: :lol: :happy: :happy: :happy: :happy:

Oh yeah, I also used some clear epoxy to fix the crack in the support/ventilation assembly. Looks as good as new. Can't even tell that it was ever broken unless you look very closely.

Going to have to reinstall 98SE from scratch as the testing of the many different driver versions has left a big mess. Any time I change the driver version now, I have to go to 5-6 different directories because it tries to find files from a bunch of different versions.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2018-2-09 @ 06:21

While not retro computing. I did a test run with one (out of 6) of my 1940's garage shop lights. I forgot to take pictures, but these lamps hold three 4ft T12 40w fluorescent bulbs. The ballasts were 15 lb of copper, steel, and tar, with cloth covered wires. (hopefully not asbestos) The tombstones were ceramic/porcelain. Hell, even the wire nuts were porcelain. You know, basic shop lights from the 40's. The ballasts are just starting go. Eating bulbs, leaking tar, causing lung cancer, etc. The worst offender will kill a bulb in about a month or two. So I bought these on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DJ ... UTF8&psc=1

OMFG are they bright. Even though I only re-did the one over my workstation, I feel like a cave troll stepping out of his cave. Easy to re-wire too! The porcelain tombstones used actuall brass screws to connect wires. Screw those flimsy ass plastic things.

It's not going to be cheap, but I will do the remaining 5 fixtures. It's only 15 more bulbs.

Overall savings: ((((40x3)+(17x2))x6)-(6(3(18))= 600W in power savings. ((0.6(8x365))x.1)=175.2 So I will save about $175 a year on the electric bill. And the bulbs will cost $200. Now If I replaced the ballasts (and the bulbs) I save very little on power. Ballasts haven't changed much. New electronic ones are about twice as efficient as the old magnetic ones. My current lights take TWO at 17W and I can replace them with ONE electronic for 15W. Save may 20W per light (x6). They cost $15 each. So I pay $90 and a set of 18 T12's are another $82 (2 packs are $9) Grand total of $172, with a negligible savings in power.

The math is there. LED is the future. ALL HAIL OUR DIODE OVERLORDS!
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby dionb » 2018-2-09 @ 14:32

Yeehaa!

Received my MIDI cable in the post today. So hooked up my retroPC to my partner's Roland FP-7 electric piano and fired up a game. Nothing. Then checked whether "out" and "in" on the cables referred to the PC or the peripheral. Switched them round and had General MIDI blasting at me out of the piano :)

SNR and clarity are off the scale of course, completely out of normal PC league. My first tests were with Tyrian and Doom II and I'm not entirely convinced about the sounds though. On paper, this should sound the same as an SC-55, so will be checking with some recordings of known soundtracks this evening.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby kaputnik » 2018-2-09 @ 15:24

CkRtech wrote:
kaputnik wrote:Also, have you looked into VGA modding the Xbox?

Man. Reading all this original Xbox talk has me wanting to dive back into mine and maybe even get away with a thread on vogons (if possible).

That VGA mod sounds appealing. I last did a mod in... 2005? Xecuter 2 chip. I have noticed that quite a few alternative methods and various "other things" have come about over the last 13 years, but I am overall in the dark compared to 2005.


Hehe, you should, it's just as fun now as it was back then, and the reward once you're done is of course reliving the KotOR games. They're still totally awesome :)
Still using the same old methods as back then, it's mostly the softmods that got better, and those aren't all that interesting anyways. And yes, a thread here would be nice :D


KCompRoom2000 wrote:
kaputnik wrote:
TheAbandonwareGuy wrote:Currently upgrading my Xbox 1.1 to a 160GB WD with 8MB cache from a 60GB Maxtor with no cache.


Early Xboxes has an aerogel cap instead of a CMOS battery, that tends to fail and start leaking. You can simply remove it without replacing it, and you should before it's too late, if you haven't done so already :)

Good thing I looked this up, I've removed the aerogel CMOS capacitor from my original XBOX just now, thank god it hasn't leaked. Once I find another XBOX at a thrift store or something, I'll dive into the wonderful world of softmodding and hard drive replacement, I don't want to risk messing up my only XBOX any further just in case. :lol:


Well, if you got an Xbox old enough to have an CMOS aerogel cap, you should really look into doing a "TSOP mod" instead of softmodding, i. e. flashing a modded/hacked BIOS image to the original BIOS TSOP.

As mentioned, you can "split" the 1MB BIOS chip on 1.0 and 1.1 Xboxes, to hold up to four different BIOS images (personally I went for 2x512 kB though, the VGA BIOS image I wanted to use is a 512 kB one). 1.2:s and newer only got a 256kB chip, so you can't do the split mod on them. You'll have to solder a couple of bridges on the mobo to enable writing to the BIOS chip anyways, so you should consider adding a splitting switch while you're at it if your Xbox is an 1.0 or 1.1.

Once the TSOP mod is done, there's almost no way to mess the Xbox up. It's far more robust than a softmod, and since there's no requirement use a lockable hard drive with a TSOP modded box, you can use whatever drive you like, it's just a question of installing the drive and running "Slayers Evox auto installer CD" or equivalent. Not harder than installing Windows on a computer :)

The VGA mod is simple and can easily be done at some other point if you're interested; flash a VGA BIOS, and do the hardware mod some way. I went for a breakout box that connects to the A/V port, to avoid further HW mods on the Xbox itself.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-09 @ 19:41

Finished fixing the PC Chips M321 mainboard that had damage by battery leakage and put it into storage.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-2-09 @ 19:50

Nice battery mod. The resistor the positive (red) lead is glued on prevents the charging when using a regular battery, right?
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-09 @ 19:56

Yes. I could have used the ext. battery connector, but the cables of the battery holder kind of screamed for soldering it directly to the board. :D
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby AlaricD » 2018-2-09 @ 19:57

bjwil1991 wrote:Nice battery mod. The resistor the positive (red) lead is glued on prevents the charging when using a regular battery, right?

It's a diode.

For one, it's a diode just by sight alone, but for another, D1 is screened on the board itself.
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But, yes, that would allow the cell to discharge (power the RTC, keep settings in CMOS) but not be charged.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-2-09 @ 20:15

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

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-2-10 @ 08:02

Testing the PS/2 to Serial adapter, and Windows states the mouse isn't detected (code 24) on both my Windows 98SE (Socket 370) and Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus machines. In MS-DOS, however, as soon as I'm done typing in CTMOUSE /S14, and after removing and plugging the mouse back in, it works. After a reset, it doesn't work anymore. The mouse I have is a Precision Instruments Universal PS/2 and Serial mouse by a flick of the switch underneath the mouse. It works as a PS/2 mouse, but, if I'm planning on building another 486, I need a working mouse. Would the PS/2 to Serial adapter be to blame for this? I attempted to clean the contacts with DeoxIt and other contact cleaner to no avail.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby dionb » 2018-2-10 @ 09:59

Just discovered it's *much* better to put MPU401 MIDI on address 330 than on 300. Not only does it let stuff designed for MT-32/LACP (hardcoded to 330) work - which was expected - but it also solved a host of other issues, from odd instability to Ultima 6 running impossibly slowly (on a 486DX-33 :roll: ). Still not getting any MIDI out of Ultima 6 but at least it runs. Next step sorting that out... and this afternoon I'm off for a little road trip in a friend's new car, which will not entirely coincidentally lead past a thrift shop 125kms away. Unexpected finds would be great, but I'm mainly hoping for some boring but useful cables (PS/2 mouse bracket in particular - and maybe a MIDI extension cable).
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-10 @ 11:11

Just tested my new Voodoo 2000, that is in really factory state, as like was back in the days of 3Dfx no problems on the cosmetic look of the card. I did have x2 more Voodoo 200 before, but the look of them was not factory, so i just remove them...


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derSammler wrote:Finished fixing the PC Chips M321 mainboard that had damage by battery leakage and put it into storage.


Seems you have the same board as me, only i have AMD DX one. That board look very well build no matter is PCchips (ECS today..), 8 SIMM slots are very nice to have instead of only 4...

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

Postby derSammler » 2018-2-10 @ 11:31

Radical Vision wrote:Seems you have the same board as me, only i have AMD DX one. That board look very well build no matter is PCchips (ECS today..), 8 SIMM slots are very nice to have instead of only 4...

Thought that as well. Quality was ok back then, even no fake labels on the chipset. ;) The PSU connector is crap, however. Very thin metal and wobbles like hell...

ps: mine had a Ti486DLC installed originally, but I swapped it with that Intel 386 and replaced the 80 MHz crystal with a 66 MHz one. I rather have a real 386DX-33 than a fake 486-40.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-10 @ 11:51

Yeah the power AT connector seems like crap, but at least is gold plated... Still while you install one time that board for 386 build you will not remove every day the PSU power plug, so is not a big of a deal. Most important thing is the overall quality of the board seems very solid, no matter the brand is proven crap.. I need to find some COcpu for that build but that will be on other time, now i need some nice case with LED and turbo button, but i lack proper cases under slot 1...
The PSU is some great unit from AOpen AT 200W, very good quality, the cables are very well made, also inside i did found that the x2 big caps are Nippon loool....
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby PcBytes » 2018-2-10 @ 12:12

Fixed a Avance Logic ALG2302A GPU.

Apparently one of the Hyundai/Hynix HY534256AJ-70 RAM chips was FUBAR (dark dot in the middle) causing a short.

Carefully snapped the pins from it and removed the chip, and the card went back to life! It reported 512KB of VRAM, so I'll take a guess and say it had 1MB of RAM. There are (including the bad chip) 8 RAM chips.

Might try and scavenge some RAM chips from dead PS1 motherboards and see if it makes a difference, since the GPU does have two RAM expansion slots.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby DeafPK » 2018-2-10 @ 14:56

Kidding around with an adjustable step-down hooked up to the pins where a VRM module would go on my 486-VIP-IO.

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I am curious on getting a DX4 stable at 120 with a little overvolting.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2018-2-10 @ 19:21

After extensive (3hs) worth of troubleshooting and replacing EVERYTHING on the motherboard, then the motherboard itself, I was able to finally access the contents of the Syquest 88Mb disks I got for $2 - Both report no bad sectors and are full of Star Trek fan fiction and other goodies. I would consider myself a moderate trekkie, but this person here - wow. Here's a sample of some of the stuff, all dated from about 1990-1996:



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The drive has a novel's worth of data on there. Both drives are about 80% full, so I'd say there's about 130-140Mb's worth of Trek stuff on here.

Here's the drive itself:

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There's also TNG fonts, which is great because I need to redo my car's badging, which was originally done on the STTNG font. :D
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby creepingnet » 2018-2-11 @ 03:22

Went out after work yesterday, bought 2 hard disks (20GB and 40GB - the last ones Computer Surplus in Redmond had), one for the 486 to replace the 3 drives killed (as I did not use 2 of them very much), and the other to setup a retro-gaming rig out of the Gateway 2000 P5-100 for one of my wife's colleagues. Also bought 4 of what I thought were IDE to SATA converters - nope, got IDE to small laptop IDE converters instead. Looks like I need to return visit later for one of those, want to experiment with those converters in my 486. Might open up the number of availible replacement hard disks I can get.

Today was spent formatting, DDO-ing, and setting up the drives for both systems. Right now the 486 is doing a MASSIVE file transfer to put all the crap I had on the old drive back on this one. However, I have double the space I had before with my Windows 95 drive so at least now I can start doing some CD drive emulation and Digital Audio experiments on this thing (last time I got 3 tracks of audio to record - on a Pre PCI 486 - pretty sweet - thinking about doing a music project called "DX4" based around it if things get good enough I can do enough tracks).
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby shyember » 2018-2-11 @ 03:45

shamino wrote:
shyember wrote:It's a 386SX-16 with 387 FPU and 4 MB of RAM. Since it runs, I ordered some parts for it: a 512MB disk-on-module, Dos 6 on 5.25" floppies, and an ESS-1869 soundcard.

Looking forward to discovering just how pathetic this little cacheless, 16-bit-bus 386 really is. :lol:


Those CPU and RAM specs are exactly like the computer I had in the early 90s.
I dare you to play Ultima 7 on it.



Oohh.. 1992? That's looks like it's going to be painful. :lol:

Today, I attempted to read the old 80meg Maxtor hard drive via an IDE -> USB adapter. No dice. "It's dead, Jim."

I considered leaving it connected to power just so it'd make some authentic noises when I turn on and use the old Dolch, but my migraine today reminded me that I value silence over authenticity when it comes to my computers, so disk-on-module it is.

Tested the 5.25" floppy drive. It works! Booted up the MS-DOS 6 Setup disk straight away. So tantalizingly close to being operational... just a few more days, now.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Jed118 » 2018-2-11 @ 06:53

creepingnet wrote:
Today was spent formatting, DDO-ing, and setting up the drives for both systems.


Replace with *all* and you're me ;)
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