VOGONS


Reply 20 of 54, by Stiletto

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Gotta say, I endorse this idea! Would be nice to see TH99 with a new coat of paint.

Wiki format or at least user submissions is a great idea.

If you wanted to follow along with VOGONSDrivers and VOGONSWiki and call it VOGONSBoards or something, I would not necessarily be against that idea 😁 tho I did see that Deksor already had hosting plans.
(Or maybe it could be made part of VOGONSWiki somehow? I dunno... I mean, he already has the Falconfly subdomain, he could add another subdomain or wikify the content to merge with the main wiki)

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 21 of 54, by evasive

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waterbeesje wrote on 2020-05-21, 18:20:

And maybe can provide new data for a few boards that don't seem to be included in TH99 😀
(And have to look into how to get a bios dump to share)

Uniflash and a ZIF socket on a board you know is stable will get you a long way, look into the hotflash technique.
For much older boards (with ODD/EVEN chips) there are the Willem programmer or another more simple build yourself solution or any commercially available (E)EPROM programmers out there.

Reply 22 of 54, by GigAHerZ

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Love it! Will keep my eye on this project.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 23 of 54, by wiretap

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Awesome project. A few ideas:
- User uploadable content and comments section. This would allow better real images of the boards, retail boxes, PDF user manuals, BIOS files, BIOS or boot screenshots, drivers, software disk images, links to wayback machine archived sites, Vogons threads, YouTube review videos, etc.
- Power searches as already mentioned, so we can search by feature set, BIOS ID, name, manufacturer, year, slot types, etc.
- Organize data into easily viewable tables or sections. Jumper settings, CPU/RAM supported, slot types and card types supported, known issues, etc.
- A basic portable version that includes an offline XAMPP server for hosting on an offline computer. Could easily transport on a USB stick or phone. GitHub would be a good place to host it and keep it updated.
- Mobile phone friendly browsing.
- CSS support for colored themes for the site (day/night/modern/retro).
- User accounts to control access for the online hosted version.
- Benchmark results (standardized tests)

Circuit Board Repair Manuals
Turbo Display Project
Dual Socket 8 Project

Reply 24 of 54, by Deksor

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For me, the content will be user uploadable, but I'll have to be reviewed by authorized people first (that's how win3x.org works for software uploading, and it's been working that way very well for over 15 years so that's definitely "bullet proof" 😁).

As for the jumper settings, I've simply removed them from the database, only to put them into a .pdf as a simple manual ^^. Also I've managed to extract documents from Microhouse Technical Library (1998 edition, so not as many boards are covered, but many are) and turned these old word 2.0 .doc files into .pdf files which look much nicer than the TH99 ones.
Here's an example :

Filename
AQUARIUS-SYSTEMS-INC-486-ASI-486T.html.pdf
File size
10.91 KiB
Downloads
5 downloads
File comment
TH99 jumper manual
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Filename
30001.pdf
File size
268.59 KiB
Downloads
3 downloads
File comment
MTL jumper manual
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Also if you didn't pay attention, I added this feature which will probably be very helpful for newbies to troubleshoot their motherboards 😀

uh19-3.png
Filename
uh19-3.png
File size
1.15 KiB
Views
176 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0

This field at the moment can contain "Fake cache" "Leaky battery" "Bad dallas RTC chip" "bad electrolytic capacitors" "bad tantalum caps" and "underpowered AGP slot". That way if someone has reported a board having one of these issues, it'll be noted there and other peope finding this board will be warned about potential issues.

I have even bigger plans for this, but I'll talk about them when the whole site will be turned into a database and that most key features for it will be done (driver uploading, etc).

For now, only the motherboard section is turned into a database (there's more than 5000 motherboards documented there !), and I'll release it soon. Not every feature will be there yet (I need to work a lot more to add driver upload with what I want to do) but once I'm satisfied with it, I'll move on to turn the rest into a database and let users improve it afterwards 😀

Also since we all agree that we want content user uploadable, I think we should find a way to make new "jumper manuals". The PDFs from MTL seem to be a good source as the schematics there contain vectorized assets, but I can't think of any tools that would let me extract this data and then re-use it in a program to make new images. What do you think ?

Reply 26 of 54, by mR_Slug

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Been kinda working on something similar. My version of allows you to view pictures by motherboard size, and socket type. But it's nowhere near complete. For example I've done socket type for Pentium, but not 486. I also split the 486 section by bus type. Mine is very much in the style of the original TH99 with static pages. Trouble is it takes ages to sort things. I do sections when I need them. Was also going to link it in with my chipset encyclopedia. You have a massive project. You end up with difficult decisions. For example Tandon 286 m/boards look nearly AT, but they have the Keyboard port offset. Do you put that in proprietary or AT? I put it in AT, because I assumed someone looking it up won't notice that. Even focusing on one or two things is a big task. You'll have to decide whats best feature wise. Personally I like things to work in old browsers. My chipset encyclopedia will work in the original linemode browser but then I'm excessively weird:-) I may be able to help.

Image5.jpg
Filename
Image5.jpg
File size
152.67 KiB
Views
155 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

EISA .cfg Archive | Chip set Encyclopedia

Reply 27 of 54, by Deksor

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Oh that's pretty cool !
I haven't taken the time to fully document the AT form factor (I only made ATX/Baby AT/XT) so that information could be added to my database.
Your chipset encyclopedia could be a neat addition too, I wanted to add the chipset datasheets in my database too.

Now if you pay attention, most motherboards in TH99 documented with a chipset don't have the specific chipset documented, only the brand name. That means for many of them you need to see the original mobo 😒

But anyways, as time moves on, the data will be more and more precise 😁

Reply 28 of 54, by Stiletto

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It would be neat if you guys could work together on one big project, but I understand that the desire to make these things is as much a personal desire to test one's website-making skills as it is a desire to help the scene. Besides, while many hands make light work, there's also such a thing as too many cooks...

"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 29 of 54, by Deksor

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Well, being two or three people working on this shouldn't be too bad.

Anyways, I got another idea after getting through the manuals I bought (Re: Bought these (retro) hardware today) and finding this :
BVwuH2ml.jpg

See this sticker ? This is a handy thing you're supposed to glue in your computer case as a simple memo ...
What if I created some out of my database and let people download these as well ? 😁

Documenting which flavour the COM ports of mobo are could be very nice too (This is what I mean https://web.archive.org/web/20190405065828/ht … er_pinout.shtml)

Reply 30 of 54, by evasive

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Deksor wrote on 2020-05-21, 19:18:
evasive wrote on 2020-05-21, 18:05:

Once we get to the stages of matching boards with pictures/bioses/manuals call me in. Oh and I'm not done uploading to elhvb.com yet. I just found a folder called "mirrors" on one of my disks. Surprise!

That'd be great but there's one big bummer : POST strings. I haven't found a way to extract them out of a bios too unfortunately. Unless someone comes with a POST string extractor for Ami/award bioses, this will be a big problem 😒

Got one for award, have to check if I have something useful for AMI/Phoenix. All of this tooling is 16bit BTW so we'll need a 32bit windows or pure dos machine to run it. Given you'd want to run that one with a for/next loop, dosbox is not an option. Let me think on this...

Reply 31 of 54, by evasive

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Deksor wrote on 2020-05-24, 00:02:

Now if you pay attention, most motherboards in TH99 documented with a chipset don't have the specific chipset documented, only the brand name. That means for many of them you need to see the original mobo 😒

That is where the POST strings come in. They usually list what chipset model is used.

Reply 32 of 54, by dionb

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Regarding BIOS and POST: a field indicating which BIOS type and version is used. I don't mean manufacturer version, but which version AMIBIOS, Award etc. is used, and determines the diagnostic beep & post codes for that board.

Reply 33 of 54, by GigAHerZ

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computerguy08 wrote on 2020-05-23, 19:28:

A taste of how the search page could look like:

Please use more textboxes instead of drop-downs. I may not exactly know what i'm searching for.
You could implement auto-suggestion for text-boxes while i'm typing, that's fine. 😀

Other than that, great work! Can't wait to start using it time and time again. (Y)

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 34 of 54, by Deksor

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dionb wrote on 2020-05-24, 11:59:

Regarding BIOS and POST: a field indicating which BIOS type and version is used. I don't mean manufacturer version, but which version AMIBIOS, Award etc. is used, and determines the diagnostic beep & post codes for that board.

Yeah I thought about this, I just have to think how I'm going to implement that without confusing people with manufacturer/bios revision.

Reply 36 of 54, by evasive

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Deksor wrote on 2020-05-24, 12:57:
dionb wrote on 2020-05-24, 11:59:

Regarding BIOS and POST: a field indicating which BIOS type and version is used. I don't mean manufacturer version, but which version AMIBIOS, Award etc. is used, and determines the diagnostic beep & post codes for that board.

Yeah I thought about this, I just have to think how I'm going to implement that without confusing people with manufacturer/bios revision.

board bios version/bios core version ???

Reply 37 of 54, by Deksor

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Yeah why not 😁
This is another data that needs to be extracted from the ROM files though. But I'm sure there's a way to do that !

Edit : here we go !

uh19-4.png
Filename
uh19-4.png
File size
320.91 KiB
Views
57 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0

For now I use the date in AMI bios as the core version, but there may be a better indicator than the build date.
By the way this dataexpert board was previously unidentified. Some parts don't match exactly, but the jumpers/led headers do match exactly, the chipset was made by VLSI and the CPU was the same. Only one of the ISA slot is different and the CPU and NPU are swapped. Considering TH99/MTL is full of mistakes, I think it's just one of them and that I identified the board.

Reply 38 of 54, by waterbeesje

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Starting to look great 😀
Mentioning shortcomings does help a lot!

It might also be useful to make it possible to include some useful data about bios support for peripherals, i.e:

- if 1 or 2 fdd are to be set
- which fdd sizes are supported (360-2.88)
- if 2 or 4 IDE drives are to be set
- if drive size is limited to 512MB / 8.4 GB
- if advanced memory timing is available
- cachable memory limits

This can be added by users if they come across these limits.

One question:
What if one board is sold under 2 or 3 different brand names? Will this make two entries, confusing somebody who is searching for what board he/she/it has.
I believe my PC Chips M577 is such an example: it might also have sold as Amptron PM9900. Both are basically the same board.

Stuck at 10MHz...

Reply 39 of 54, by Deksor

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For the 4 first - this could be generated out of ROM files based on the bios version I think. But we have to figure out which version has what.
Memory timings is going to be tougher to describe as is, but may be doable too.
Cachable memory limits could be based on the chipset, which have to be improved

As for the question, it's a good one I've been questioning myself for a while, but I don't have any answer.
I think duplicate mobos with different names/manufacturers isn't that big of a deal as long as the data is the same between all the versions