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Attic find - 286-16, that's right

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First post, by Godlike

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I recently find an old personnal computer an 286-16Mhz.
What I discover it is equipped with nice hardware so I decided to clen up and refresh the case.
All parts has been clean form dust (lovely dust...), CMOS battery has been changed on the motherboard too.
After first boot up, It seems to be functional hardware!
I did diagnostic test on graphics with possitive outcome.
There is no HDD, 5,25" and 3,5"floppy drives got detected by BIOS, not tested yet.
I discover that 4 sticks of 30-pin SIMM memory where placed in sockets, every boot up motherboard count memory as TOTAL 1024kB, even if modules are removed from sockets (any ideas?)
Probably motherboard got build-in 1MB of RAM memory onboard.

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Quck specs of the system:

Seasonic 200Watt AT power supply, still sealed
Motherboard with AMD N80L286-16/S 16Mhz CPU, 287 coprocessor empty socket
Windbond controller (COM, FDD, HDD)
ATI STEREO F/X audio/video with YAMAHA YM3812 OPL2
Tseng ET3000AX 512kB VGA card (!)
Chinon 3,5"
Mitsumi 5'25"

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Reply 1 of 68, by Jo22

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sweet system! Esp. the ATI Stereo F/X is cool (go, get some Philips chips for it!)! ^^
I've also got a 286 with Headland chip set. For some reason, it can't use both DIL RAM and SIMMs at once.
Speaking under correction, but I think a jumper setting is necessary to enable the SIMM sockets.

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Reply 2 of 68, by Godlike

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I never use before such as wired graphics/audio card, especially from ATI 😀
Philips chips for ATI Stereo F/X ? Can you say some more about it ?
I try to look for jumpers on motherboard to switch to SIMM mode, SIMM modules are Mitsubishi, 256kB each? 4 x 256kB = 1MB on SIMM sockets? Do you know what brand is that motherboard? I can't find any manual to it.
I would like to get to know how much RAM memory can be placed in SIMM banks.

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Reply 3 of 68, by kixs

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For SIMM memory try removing the DIL chips first (8 + 4 chips - they total 1MB). I think Headland12 supports max 4MB of memory - enough for 286.

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Reply 4 of 68, by brostenen

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Wow..... That is a sweet system you found there... Congrats. 😀
Parts do indeed look clean and nice, and in working state. 😜

The part I think is the most awesomme, is that 8-bit ISA soundcard.

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Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 5 of 68, by jesolo

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Godlike wrote:
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I never use before such as wired graphics/audio card, especially from ATI 😀
Philips chips for ATI Stereo F/X ? Can you say some more about it ?
I try to look for jumpers on motherboard to switch to SIMM mode, SIMM modules are Mitsubishi, 256kB each? 4 x 256kB = 1MB on SIMM sockets? Do you know what brand is that motherboard? I can't find any manual to it.
I would like to get to know how much RAM memory can be placed in SIMM banks.

The ATI Stereo F/X is probably the only other card (besides the Sound Blaster 1.5 & 2.0) that can be upgraded with the Philips SAA-1099 chips that will make it compatible with the original Creative Music System (or Game Blaster as it was also known).
See if you can find your 286 motherboard's schematics and jumper settings here: arvutimuuseum.ee/th99/

Last edited by jesolo on 2017-03-19, 01:13. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 6 of 68, by Jo22

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Godlike wrote:

Philips chips for ATI Stereo F/X ? Can you say some more about it ?

If you install two Philips SAA1099 chips, you card will become compatible with Creative Music System. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlPJcWf1DeA
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philips_SAA1099

kixs wrote:

For SIMM memory try removing the DIL chips first (8 + 4 chips - they total 1MB). I think Headland12 supports max 4MB of memory - enough for 286.

You're right. Inofficially, it can go up to 8MB or so I heard. Can't verify this now, though. So let's agree on 4MB beeing the limit. :)
Anyway, I was a long time 286 user (maybe said that already one or two times) with a machine that nowadays people would easily call a "hotrod" machine. :)

My 286 had got 12MHz, 4MB of RAM, 80MB HDD(?), double-speed SCSI CD-ROM drive and a Pro Audio Spectrum 16.
And Windows 3.1 did fly on that machine. And I'm not even sure if my dad installed the ATI VGA drivers! ^^

I played music with that thing even before MP3 were a thing. No, not MOD files. Real 16BIt stereo music via WAVE files. :D
Oh, and I also went online with that thing. Back then we had a dial-up connection for CompuServe (anyone remember WinCIM ?)

The only thing missing was the co-processor, perhaps Windows would have been even snappier then.
Well, at least my copy of AutoSketch would have supported that. And my mandelbrot programs.

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Reply 7 of 68, by cj_reha

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That case has to be one of my favorite designs. The little grooves and the square, grooved buttons just scream RETRO 😀

You're pretty lucky, if I ever found anything in an attic it'd probably be a P4 OEM system with dead caps 🤣

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Reply 8 of 68, by clueless1

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Beautiful find. I'm interested in the story behind it. Who's attic? It doesn't sound like your own attic, otherwise you might have had memories of it when you were young?

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Reply 9 of 68, by Godlike

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Story of the system:
Currently I attend on course at school. Often I use library at school too. I went with good relations with librarian, we help each other on various backgrounds.
I decided to pay favour for books given to me. I have a chance once to do this with cleaning upper floors. Near attic where placed computer workshop long time ago, I didn't
know about it actually. When moving furniture, cleaning rooms from dust we discover storage for chairs and abandoned stuff. At the end of that stash I discover pile of dusty
electronics. Many empty cases and priters laying around. Luckily one of PC's seems to be heavier than other, that was the 286-16 system. My eyes start to flash like a rising
star. That was long day, I was exhausted to inspect that system in the same day, day after I finally opened computer case and see what's going on.

Current status:
Thank you peeps for kind responds! Today I removed DIL chips as kixs wrote, after that I will be able to use SIMM banks with 4 x 256kB = 1MB, so this doesn't change anything, I will probably upgrade it with 4 x 1MB SIMM's in future. I don't have manuals for motherboard and Windbond controller yet. Thanks to jesolo for information about Philips SAA-1099 chips for ATI STEREO F/X, I'll keep that in mind, I have to meet friend of mine, he have a lot of chips - need to ask him for Philips ones to make ATI card compatible with the original Creative Music System.
I need to do something with case itself, It need proper cleaning 😀

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Reply 10 of 68, by mongaccio

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Godlike wrote:

My eyes start to flash like a rising star.

Hahaha oh wow, i know that feeling!

Nice find, that 286 has some nice addon cards.

That 8 bit isa audio card will also be very useful to you, if you ever find an Ibm pc- xt compatible! (but it's really fit for that 286!)

Reply 11 of 68, by Jed118

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You have DIP RAM on the motherboard, looks like via 44256 chips (and I presume a 41256 for parity) - Some old motherboards need to have banks switched around for the computer to identify the other RAM chips. I have this problem on my 386SX (NeatSX chipset) that also technically supports SIP and DIP mixing (mine apparently does not though) - See if you have something called an XCMOS setup - I've become pretty decent at setting up the parameters in there and have come to know my board well. If you can double your RAM by just setting the configuration properly, hey, free upgrade.

Visit my channel on Youtube - Tinkering, 386s, electric powered vehicles:

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Reply 12 of 68, by Godlike

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Jed118 wrote:

You have DIP RAM on the motherboard, looks like via 44256 chips (and I presume a 41256 for parity) - Some old motherboards need to have banks switched around for the computer to identify the other RAM chips. I have this problem on my 386SX (NeatSX chipset) that also technically supports SIP and DIP mixing (mine apparently does not though) - See if you have something called an XCMOS setup - I've become pretty decent at setting up the parameters in there and have come to know my board well. If you can double your RAM by just setting the configuration properly, hey, free upgrade.

As far as I get with research on that motherboard is that DIL chips have been removed from the motherboard in order to get use of 4 SIMM slots. Orginally there where placed 4 x 256kB sticks, this doesn't change anything for upgrading motherboard with RAM memory as the onboard one was 1MB too. I have other sticks (just two) 1MB 30pin SIMM, I slam them into 2 sockets, motherboard won't run with 3, 4 SIMM sockets empty. I filled with 2 x 256kB empty sockets and get 2,5MB TOTAL RAM memory. I don't have any other sticks right now. My plan is to get somewhere 4 x 1MB SIMM same kind of sticks. I don't have manual for the motherboard yet, this will be essential in making this computer upgraded and 100% operative

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Reply 14 of 68, by Godlike

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brassicGamer wrote:

An amazing find - congrats!

Thank you, that system deserves thread IMO . Updates will be posted here

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Reply 15 of 68, by Jed118

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Godlike wrote:

I have other sticks (just two) 1MB 30pin SIMM, I slam them into 2 sockets, motherboard won't run with 3, 4 SIMM sockets empty. I filled with 2 x 256kB empty sockets and get 2,5MB TOTAL RAM memory. I don't have any other sticks right now.

This may seem counter intuitive, but try putting them beside each other (end to end) I mean not like this

| |

but like this

|
|

Sometimes, that's a bank. It is so on my 386 with SIP (same idea really) and that had me confused for a while and the wording in the manual was tricky and didn't match the markings on the board itself, but yes, when I put them in like that, I got 512K in each bank because of the 16 bit data bus (an unfortunate shortcoming of the 386SX). When I put them the other way (I I) it just beeped at me.

2.5 Mb is not enough for this system though?

Visit my channel on Youtube - Tinkering, 386s, electric powered vehicles:

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Reply 17 of 68, by Godlike

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luckybob wrote:

Awesome sound, awesome video, high end 286. Someone loved that machine.

Thank you luckybob. I currently disassembly all parts in order to completely refresh front panel and chassis. First of all it need proper cleaning. I consider painting it again, but hope I will find not much rust on it. I would like to keep it 100% original. Wieres need to be fixed too and LCD poster need to be reprogrammed to 8/16 operation modes. Update will be posted here 😀

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Reply 18 of 68, by Godlike

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Jed118 wrote:
Show quote
Godlike wrote:

I have other sticks (just two) 1MB 30pin SIMM, I slam them into 2 sockets, motherboard won't run with 3, 4 SIMM sockets empty. I filled with 2 x 256kB empty sockets and get 2,5MB TOTAL RAM memory. I don't have any other sticks right now.

This may seem counter intuitive, but try putting them beside each other (end to end) I mean not like this

| |

but like this

|
|

Sometimes, that's a bank. It is so on my 386 with SIP (same idea really) and that had me confused for a while and the wording in the manual was tricky and didn't match the markings on the board itself, but yes, when I put them in like that, I got 512K in each bank because of the 16 bit data bus (an unfortunate shortcoming of the 386SX). When I put them the other way (I I) it just beeped at me.

2.5 Mb is not enough for this system though?

Thank for the hint Jed118, I'll try to do that today or tomorrow

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Reply 19 of 68, by Godlike

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UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

286 Motherboard is now equipped with 4MB of RAM (thanks goes to Jed118 - yes' markings on mobo PCB confuses).

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Still empty socket for 80287 aritmethic coprocessor (FPU)

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DIP RAM on the motherboard removed

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Simm installed, 4 sticks, two kinds. I wish to have them all of one brand. Two of them are longer than other two

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UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

I recently bought Seagate ST157A 44MB and PC speaker to make progress in making complete system

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Last edited by Godlike on 2017-03-22, 23:05. Edited 2 times in total.

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