VOGONS


First post, by kanecvr

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Hello Vogons!

So I almost finished my 386 build. Still have a few issues to hammer out, but it runs and it's usable!

Configuration:

CPU: Intel 386DX 25MHz
Math Co-Procesor: Intel 387 25MHz
Mainboard: MORSE KP-386C-25 - no cache - expansion board for cache is missing.
RAM: 8x1MB Siemens single sided 30 pin simm
Drive Controller: Adaptec AHA 1542C ISA
Video Card: TSENG ET4000ax ISA 1MB VRAM
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster PRO 2.0 CT2600
HDD: Toshiba MK537FB 3,5" Full-Height 1,06GB SCSI Drive with 2MB cache
FDD: 3.5" Samsung 1.44MB and 5.25" Teac 1.2MB
CD-ROM: Sony 52x IDE (not yet working - see below)
Case: Baby-AT case with two digit display and 150W PSU.

I picked up the motherboard from a guy who works at a recycling center, together with a Voodoo 2 and some other stuff. Most of it was damaged, including the 386 mb witch has some components missing (RTC Oscillator and corresponding capacitor). Despite that, the MB is functional. Battery hasn't leaked, and it now holds a charge (3.1v) and correctly stores CMOS information. Pics of the motherboard damage linked below.

download/file.php?id=17872&mode=view

download/file.php?id=17875&mode=view

Here are some more pics of the testing and assembly process the machine went trough:

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As you can see, two of the SIMM slots are broken - the clips securing the modules in place have been snapped off. Either someone tried to force the ram out, or it had something heavy stacked on top.

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^^ Notice the rubber band holding two of the SIMMs in place 😀 - could think no other way to fix it since the plastic clips are broken. ^^

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I successful installed MS-DOS 6.22, Norton Commander and the CT2600 + dos drivers. No issues whatsoever.

Last edited by kanecvr on 2015-05-23, 13:49. Edited 11 times in total.

Reply 1 of 10, by kanecvr

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The SCSI HDD is off a 486 I got recently and it came with win95 installed and some other stuff. I could not boot into 95, the machine would hang.

I did boot into Command Prompt and ran Norton Commander and Prince of Persia witch were on it.

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specs.jpg
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Speedsys hangs on "Year 2000 bug" detection, but I believe that is because of the non functional real time clock - however, when pushing the turbo button, the machine completes the speedsys CPU test successfully and scores a whopping 1.08! It seems the turbo button downclocks the CPU to 8MHz.

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The 386 seems to run lots of games just fine, some better than others. Jazz is a little sluggish, but playable. Commander Keen has some weird graphical artefacting going on, but it sort of stays in one place in the level - really weird - maybe you guys can help - I'll upload a short video later.

The gray teac 3.5" FDD doesn't work (won't read) so I had to replace it... I also replaced the fake FDD 3.5" bay cover. I don't like those for some reason.

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assambled.jpg
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^^ Right next to it is my Pentium MMX / Voodoo 2 build. I used it to transfer stuff on the 386 via 1.44MB FDDs. You can imagine how long that took... ^^

Current unresolved issues - maybe some of you can help with these:

1. NO MOUSE! The only serial controllers I have are an ACER based multi-IO controller that doesn't work or most likely is incorrectly configured (can't find any documentation for it) and it doesn't have a PS/2 port... 🙁 And I really wanted to play lemmings, space quest and goblins 2 on it... Please take a look at this thread Jumper settings needed for ACER M5105 IDE/COM/LPT Multi-I/O board... - maybe you own something similar?

2. CD-ROM isn't installed. I have no IDE controller ^ and no SCSI CD-ROM to use. I'll try to connect it to the sound blaster, but that comes with a Mitsumi controller and the drive is Sony. Not sure it will work. How do I go about setting up the CD-ROM via the SB pro's IDE? What driver do I use? Will it show up as a regular CD drive in DOS?

3. The 5.25" FDD is not connected. I use the Adaptec SCSI controller for FDD because I have no working FDD / IDE controller and it apparently only supports one FDD. When I connect them both, the computer accesses them both at the same time and neither read. Does anyone know if it's possible to set up two FDDs on said AHA1542 controller?

4. RTC doesn't count up and this causes Speedsys to crash. I'm not sure I will be able to install windows 3.1 on it either. Does anyone know the frequency for the small cylindrical RTC oscillator (marked Y1 like on many other boards)? What about the ceramic capacitor that goes with it? More about this (with pictures) here: Help identify 2 missing components on MORSE KP-386C 25MHz 386 maiboard

This is my FIRST 386 build, and in fact the first 386 computer I've ever used. I had a lot of fun building and troubleshooting it (especially XCMOS CPU configuration). Also my first machine to use SCSI (I attempted to use a connor 1GB drive on my 486 but it died within 2 days - head crash).

Last edited by kanecvr on 2015-05-23, 16:41. Edited 9 times in total.

Reply 3 of 10, by kanecvr

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philscomputerlab wrote:

Nicely done 😀

A proper 386 is always something special.

Thank you! It's quite special to me since it's my first 386 😀

Here are some benches and system info readouts from PC-CONFIG (since speedsys hangs):

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bench1.jpg
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bench2.jpg
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Next up I'd like to built an IBM PC/XT clone - or find a Japanese clone - the ones built into a keyboard with cartridge and FDD support - I found lots of great games that run on those and are picky about having a 8 or 10MHz cpu. Will test them on my 386 too. At 8MHz they might just work but I'm not keeping my hopes up.

Last edited by kanecvr on 2015-05-23, 16:35. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 4 of 10, by j^aws

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From my experience, If you're getting a Speedsys score of around 1.08 at the slowest settings, that is around an 8-10 MHz IBM XT running an 8088. Or roughly equivalent of twice an original IBM XT speed. That should be fine unless the game is speed sensitive, and even then you might prefer the faster speed...

Reply 5 of 10, by kanecvr

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j^aws wrote:

From my experience, If you're getting a Speedsys score of around 1.08 at the slowest settings, that is around an 8-10 MHz IBM XT running an 8088. Or roughly equivalent of twice an original IBM XT speed. That should be fine unless the game is speed sensitive, and even then you might prefer the faster speed...

Thanks for the advice, I'll try some older games and see what happens.

Reply 6 of 10, by kanecvr

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I finally got around to ordering the missing parts for the RTC - one 32.768 kHz crystal oscilator, one "104" ceramic capacitor and one 2ko resistor. Soldered them onto the motherboard and RTC now works correctly.

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Unable to find the manual for the motherboard, I ordered a new 3.6V barrel battery and replaced the dead one it came with. I tried an external battery but w/o a manual or jumper settings the MB would not store CMOS settings.

Also, the first two memory banks were damaged - the plastic retention clips were sheared off and I replaced them with 30-pin slots off a dead MB:

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The old socket did not survive the procedure.

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Some of my nicest work 😁 and it only took a couple of hours.

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Last edited by kanecvr on 2015-06-22, 01:26. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 7 of 10, by chinny22

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Just seeing this for the 1st time. Really like the case. I actually liked the fake FDD covers, I only had one and it didn't fit any of my cases back in the day.
Also like the classic case design with the panel with the Mhz display, Power button, etc all in a line that's a different colour, "go faster lines" and keyboard lock.

Only question I can help with is the CD-Rom. According to creative http://support.creative.com/kb/ShowArticle.aspx?sid=10846 the 2600 is a Mitsumi interface so will use the sbcd.sys driver rather then say vide-cdd.sys BUT you will need a Mitsumi drive which are hard to find. IDE drives wont work even thought the cable is the same. Its much easier finding a soundcard with an IDE port.
Once you get a soundcard with IDE on it you need to use the sbide.sys driver but will show up in dos as a standard IDE Drive (as would a Mitsumi drive fi you are lucky enough to find one)

As your having problems with your mouse, maybe it would be easier getting an I/O card with IDE and serial ports you can wok out how to get working, but that's also taking the easy way out 😉

Very good job on the M/B restore by the way, Good luck with the rest

Reply 8 of 10, by kanecvr

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Thanks. I do have Mitsumi CD-ROMs - two of them - none of them work. I did solve the CD-ROM and mouse issue by using a Winbond multi I/O card, everything works fine now 😁 - currently playing some Dune 2 on it (gets really slow when ordering around more then 5 units.

I had serious trouble finding a good multi I/O card - i bought two acer based cards - none of them work correctly - both make all my PCs fail to post regardless of jumper settings. Stay away from these things. Last week I found four I/o cards, one based on Winbond, one Goldstar and one UMC. The fourth is VERY old (1987 stamped on it) - no large chips and no serial / parallel interface, but I tested it on a 286 board and it worked flawlessly with a 130mb-ish Connor HDD.

I also love the look of the case - I used to have 486 based machines with these exact cases in my school's IT lab back when I was in 3th grade ( '94-95 - aah the memories 😁) played a lot of Keen, Ski for windows 3.11 and Descent on them. Back then you were lucky to catch a faster 486 to play Doom and Descent on after school hours - since most were 33MHz DX models. The attendant used to stay late and let us play 😁

Last edited by kanecvr on 2015-06-22, 01:16. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 10, by matze79

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I recommend using a Nullmodem Cable for transfering Data. (10kb/s)
I use a pl2303 USB to Serial Converter and the Nullmodem Cable to Transfer Data between my 386/286 and DOSBox on my AMD APU Rig running Linux/Windows 8.

If you use the Pentium 200MMX as Host a Laplink LPT Cable would do it too. (100-300Kb/s).

You can use FX Link Software (fx.exe) or Interlnk/Intersvr Stuff.
First one is more Comfortable.
Or Use any Terminal Software and do zmodem Transfers over nullmodem cable.
(Banacom / Telix )

Sure ? RTC - one 32MHz crystal oscilator
I'm sure a 32Khz Crystal is required.

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 10 of 10, by kanecvr

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matze79 wrote:
I recommend using a Nullmodem Cable for transfering Data. (10kb/s) I use a pl2303 USB to Serial Converter and the Nullmodem Cabl […]
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I recommend using a Nullmodem Cable for transfering Data. (10kb/s)
I use a pl2303 USB to Serial Converter and the Nullmodem Cable to Transfer Data between my 386/286 and DOSBox on my AMD APU Rig running Linux/Windows 8.

If you use the Pentium 200MMX as Host a Laplink LPT Cable would do it too. (100-300Kb/s).

You can use FX Link Software (fx.exe) or Interlnk/Intersvr Stuff.
First one is more Comfortable.
Or Use any Terminal Software and do zmodem Transfers over nullmodem cable.
(Banacom / Telix )

Thanks for the advice, I'll give it a shot. Right now I'm transferring data to the 386 using re-writable CD's. The 52x sony CD drive I installed via a Winbond I/O card reads these without fail.

matze79 wrote:

I'm sure a 32Khz Crystal is required.

I wrote MHz by mistake 😁 - the crystal I installed is a 32.768 kHz cylindrical crystal oscillator