VOGONS


A new covid lockdown project - help if you can

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First post, by Vipersan

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First of all ..I need to gripe a little about the changes to the forum..
I find them hard to navigate..but then I'm old skool.
Been quite ill with my MS ..and am now in the high risk catagory so ..
Self imposed isolation I guess.
I was recently gifted what looks like an IBM variant but nothing I recognise so am attaching a couple of photos.
Some details ...
The motherboard has on it a plcc socketed 80286
The main control chip is made my CHIPS
..and the BIOS is 'CHIPS'...
Motherboard ident looks to be B9103 REV-A3
I did have a WD95044-A hard drive (53mb I believe) but this is dead ..
No 5.25 inch floppy drives ..but it looks like it was upgraded at some point to take a 3.5 inch floppy.
The drive controller is a PMN-510C

Needless to say I just want to get something to boot on this beast.
..and since I have no suitable hard drive from the period I was hoping to go down the XT-IDE route.
So made a 2gb bootable CF with DOS 6.2 on it ...but for some reason ..the boot fails ..
The XT bios is seen ..and the CF identified ..then it hanngs and stays that way until power down.
I know it is either the motherboard or the XT-IDErev4 objecting or in conflict with each other as the CF card boots fine in another machine.
Not to be outdone ..my last desperate attempt to boot anything ..
I formatted and installed dos on a 1gb SCSI hard drive ..dug out an old ISA scsi card ...and installed these into the mystery PC ..
That worked ..and I now get to the prompt.
eventually ..as the scsi card self check is slow.
So I guess the motherboard is ok ..but wont play nice with XT-IDE.
I guess this is where I really need help from you guys.
and help identifying what I have been gifted.
rgds
VS

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Last edited by Vipersan on 2020-03-21, 11:11. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 176, by jaZz_KCS

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Nice machine, keep us updated!
Stay at home, if you can, especially if you are a member of any highrisk group.

PS: Set the font size - as well as any other visual option in the board settings - to "small" and choose the "oldschool" colourscheme, and the board looks as close as before as it gets.

Reply 2 of 176, by Vipersan

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Thanks for the advice JZ
I am Indeed in that risk group ..but still have to take care of my mother with dementia ..so total lockdown is not an option.
I make the journey quickly though and avoid contact.
she is literally 30 mtrs from door to door.
rgds
VS

Reply 3 of 176, by digger

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I'm glad you live close to your mother. Great respect for taking good care of her. I wish you both well in these uncertain times. And everyone else in this forum and their loved ones too!

Reply 4 of 176, by Vipersan

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After doing some reading on the subject ..I have concluded that possibly my XT-IDE v4 board is using a Bios that may be incompatible with a 286 cpu ..
I have had a dig in my ISA card collection and found a couple of old network cards with sockets for eproms ..
I can write an eprom for it that will use an XT-IDE bios ..but for this I need to know what size of eprom to use ...and obtain a 286 compatible .bin file.
Has anyone been down this route and can advise ?
perhaps even upload the needed bin file ?
cheers
VS

Reply 5 of 176, by Vipersan

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So today I pulled this 286 motherboard
A) to use some vinegar on the pcb ...remove the corroded 3.6v battery and fit a 2032 and diode.
This had to be mounted vertically as there is insufficient clearance to the front of the case..
When flat the 2032 holder overhangs the mobo by about 4mm .
Anyhoo..
B) to get some photos to share and perhaps get some help.
I'm convinced I need a newer ..more recent bios to at least allow me some leaway with hard drives ..and hopefully fix the incompatibility issues with floppy drives ...though this might require a different controller card.
I cannot even identify who made this board ...but I have to assume CHIPS ..as this is what is printed on the Bios label and the sm chip next to the CPU.
The only identification anywhere on the mobo is a paper label with B9103 on it followed by REV-A3
So ..does anyone recognise it ?...and perhaps help with a new Bios ?
I have the ability to read and write eproms ..assuming I can find a suitable .bin
Who's up for the challenge as this is the first 286 I've ever owned ..and is in good condition over all ..and it does sort of function with DOS on a SCSI drive ...but limited.
I also need to populate those empty sockets.
I have a fried sending me a co-pro which presumably just fits in that empty 40 pin socket..
But memory wise I'm clueless.
I've never even seen 60 pin ic sockets before ..but thats what U23 U24 U25 and U26 actually are
and take 80ns Dram
rgds
VS

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Reply 7 of 176, by nathanieltolbert

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I found some of the 30 pin SIPP RAM online for sale. It's only 256K chips though. They have 8 of them available though, and the price isn't terrible. I don't know the rule regarding posting links to sales places, but I found them very quickly with a search for 30 pin SIPP RAM

Reply 8 of 176, by Vipersan

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nathanieltolbert wrote on 2020-03-24, 18:20:

I found some of the 30 pin SIPP RAM online for sale. It's only 256K chips though. They have 8 of them available though, and the price isn't terrible. I don't know the rule regarding posting links to sales places, but I found them very quickly with a search for 30 pin SIPP RAM

Thanks for that ..
Just bought 1mb 70ns 4 x256 from a german seller ..
Hopefully will do the job.
postage was a bit pricey..but then it is coming from Europe.
I guess the reason I didn't find any in my searches is that I restricted the search to the UK.
silly me..
rgds
VS

Reply 9 of 176, by Vipersan

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So I guess my next question would be ..
Why the additional micro on this motherboard ?
A Fujitsu MBL48042H ..with the Quadtel BIOS sticker on it ?
This isnt the CPU ..as that would be the Siemens SAB80286-12-N (PLCC) wouldn't it ?
This is a whole new world to me ..
..and why I need help from real retro PC experts.
rgds
VS

Reply 10 of 176, by Vipersan

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Found it I think ...
I gently peeled back the CHIPS Bios sticker to reveal the chip number
MB-1212C
..which gave me something else to search for..
Instantly linked to this page..
https://arvutimuuseum.ee/th99/m/A-B/30697.htm
and there was a outline of my motherboard.

here are the details ..made by Biostar Microtech International

BIOSTAR MICROTECH INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION

MB-1212C

Processor -80286

Processor Speed -12MHz

Chip Set -C & T

Max. Onboard DRAM -4MB

Cache -None

BIOS -C & T

Dimensions -220mm x 220mm

I/O Options -None

NPU Options -80287

Last edited by Vipersan on 2020-03-24, 19:19. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 176, by nathanieltolbert

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I am glad to hear you found some 1MB SIPP RAM. I didn't see any of that from my search. Granted, I am in the US. Was Quadtel a BIOS company? Quadtel Corporation was purchased by Phoenix Technologies, the BIOS makers back in 1992. Is that the same company? Is it possible that Quadtel did the BIOS for this, hence the sticker? I did a search for that Fujitsu chip and I turned up nothing, but I would guess it's some sort of EPROM, or maybe EEPROM or something similar? It's a nice looking board to me. My old 286 machines I have are a packard bell Legend I and a Tandy 1000 TL so I don't have a lot of experience with 286 systems. When looking up the SIPP memory earlier I noticed that there are a fair number of 286 boards that utilized it. I had seen the memory before (matter of fact, after looking at your post I went downstairs and had a rummage through my memory storage box, and I do have 2 of these SIPP RAM modules.) But I didn't know the exact name for it. Love that case too. Brings back memories from when I was a kid of the computer one of my friends had.

Reply 12 of 176, by Vipersan

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nathanieltolbert wrote on 2020-03-24, 19:17:

I am glad to hear you found some 1MB SIPP RAM. I didn't see any of that from my search. Granted, I am in the US. Was Quadtel a BIOS company? Quadtel Corporation was purchased by Phoenix Technologies, the BIOS makers back in 1992. Is that the same company? Is it possible that Quadtel did the BIOS for this, hence the sticker? I did a search for that Fujitsu chip and I turned up nothing, but I would guess it's some sort of EPROM, or maybe EEPROM or something similar? It's a nice looking board to me. My old 286 machines I have are a packard bell Legend I and a Tandy 1000 TL so I don't have a lot of experience with 286 systems. When looking up the SIPP memory earlier I noticed that there are a fair number of 286 boards that utilized it. I had seen the memory before (matter of fact, after looking at your post I went downstairs and had a rummage through my memory storage box, and I do have 2 of these SIPP RAM modules.) But I didn't know the exact name for it. Love that case too. Brings back memories from when I was a kid of the computer one of my friends had.

The Fujitsu chip is definately not an Eprom..
I believe it is a 40 pin micro ..??
Keyboard controller maybe ?

Reply 13 of 176, by DamienC

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Vipersan wrote on 2020-03-21, 10:59:

So made a 2gb bootable CF with DOS 6.2 on it ...but for some reason ..the boot fails ..
The XT bios is seen ..and the CF identified ..then it hanngs and stays that way until power down.

Make a DOS 6.22 bootable floppy with FDISK on it. Boot with it, then run FDISK /MBR.

Reboot without the floppy and see if it boots your CF card.

I struggled with this for a whole day last week before I found through some online searches that this happens a lot with CF cards, even when you format the drive with DOS and go through a complete successful install.

My DOS install was version 5, but I still had to use a 6.22 boot floppy because the DOS 5 FDISK command doesn't have the /MBR switch.

Reply 14 of 176, by Vipersan

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Thanks for the heads up DamienC
Sadly I cant even get this mainboard to boot from any floppy at all using a 1.44mb 3.5" drive..
Not sure if this is a bios restriction or that it is expecting a 5.25" drive.
I'll keep trying though ..as I know that once DOS is on a SCSI hard drive it will boot using a SCSI card.
This is one helluva learning curve for me..
🤣

Reply 15 of 176, by Vipersan

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So ..the CLUES are in this thread ...
at least some of the answers..
Biostar MB-1212C (SIPP version) extended memory problem.
I cannot boot from a 95 or 98 install floppy ..so cant fdisk etc..
so I followed Damiens suggestion..
and wrote disk 1 (image) of dos 6.22 to a floppy...and this _will_ eventually boot.
It hangs for a while ..but after a few minutes will boot the floppy.
As I said ..the learning curve is steep.
I really think I need a different bios for this motherboard or I will be restricted.
rgds
VS
..oh ..and the bios battery mod was a total success.

Reply 16 of 176, by Vipersan

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Hmm now I'm more confused..
I had set my clock to march 2020...and the first floppy A: to 1.44mb 3.5"
This was remembered after reboot ..
then I did what I thought might improve the situation by way of experiment.
I pulled the CHIPS bios rom and fitted a 27C512 chip I had just written with 2ctc001.bin
A bios which according to the other ..'related ' thread was at least compatible thus would boot..
and it did..
Went into setup ..and was gobsmacked to see it still retained the set date and floppy selection ????
So obviously this information is NOT stored in the CHIPS rom...but if it IS actually a ROM it couldn't be written to .....?.....it must be stored in the Fujitsu Quadtel chip ..which must have some volatile memory.
that 40 pin micro ?
So no amount of bios writing to a 27C512 will fix this.
I can only summise the bios is split between them.
The CHIPS and the Quadtel.
If only I had more info about this motherboard..
'Tis a curious beast to be sure.

Reply 17 of 176, by quicknick

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Not much help regarding your issue, I know, but the RTC and CMOS RAM are inside the main F82C235 chip, so that's why your settings and time/date remain set even after changing the BIOS chip.

Reply 18 of 176, by Vipersan

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Thanks for that info quicknick..
It would appear that this SCAT Bios has presented many problems for anyone trying to build a functional 286 from this period ..
Adrian black from youtube encountered similar issues with a motherboard he was was building into a 286 system ..
A two part video log ..and he also asked for assistance but there was never a part 3 ..
I guess he never solved it..
doh!

Reply 19 of 176, by pentiumspeed

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I had this type of CHIPS 1 chipset board with yellow board of this size, you need battery hooked up and the bios settings is in the bios, a key stroke should get you in.

Also have to configure it correctly as well. Ditto to memory layout.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.