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First post, by emosun

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I tried to think of many different methods but I seem to be coming up empty handed. It would seem that if you have an isa machine there really isnt any way to add usb connectivity.

the board i have has 3 isa slots , short of only a single empty 8 bit board made by a company that is out of stock and not even assembled it seems nobody makes isa usb cards. Next , theres floppy to usb converters but they seem to old hold an infinite number of 1.44mb disks which is almost as bad as just using a floppy disk.

The only other methods for getting large files onto the machine appear to be legacy , such as burning cd's or finding and installing a zip drive onto the machine and onto another machine to transfer files via scsi. And or having to shut the machine down and remove cf cards to transfer files then rebooting the machine each time.

So just wondering is there really no way to add a usb controller to an isa machine? I feel like if some of my pentium 100 machines have native usb it shouldnt be beyond the capability of a 486 75 machine.

Last edited by emosun on 2020-08-02, 22:38. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 11, by Warlord

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emosun wrote on 2020-08-01, 20:52:

The only other methods for getting large files onto the machine appear to be legacy , such as burning cd's or finding and installing a zip drive onto the machine and onto another machine to transfer files via scsi. And or having to shut the machine down and remove cf cards to transfer files then rebooting the machine each time.

ethernet, CF cards. when I say cf reader what I really mean is a CF card drive bay that has IDE interface. obviously you need to shut down inbetween inserting and removing cards. Best thing to do is just use either net tho,

You can mount a CF card reader on the front, or you can just add a network card, and map a shared folder on another computer as a network drive. To make life easy then use Volkov commander to copy pasta from the network drive.

Reply 2 of 11, by darry

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Warlord wrote on 2020-08-01, 21:00:
emosun wrote on 2020-08-01, 20:52:

The only other methods for getting large files onto the machine appear to be legacy , such as burning cd's or finding and installing a zip drive onto the machine and onto another machine to transfer files via scsi. And or having to shut the machine down and remove cf cards to transfer files then rebooting the machine each time.

ethernet

This ^^

However, f you have your heart set on USB on an ISA bus, there is this http://www.toughdev.com/content/2018/04/usb-f … to-usb-adapter/

From a performance and ease of use perspective, I'd go with Ethernet .

Reply 4 of 11, by Deksor

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Yeah ethernet is very good. You can even turn a raspberry pi into a thumb drive wannabe : install a FTP server on it, DHCP server, connect it to any 5v power source and now any computer with a FTP client can read in it when connected via ethernet. Want to bring more content to your retro without power cycling it ? Turn off the pi, put its SD card in your modern pc, put the data in the sd card, put it back in the pi, reconnect the pi and get what you want (this is only useful if you want a portable solution instead of connecting all your retro PCs to a network, then you can do all of this and just run the FTP server on your pi)

Reply 5 of 11, by chinny22

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I don't even use USB on my modern machines.
Once you have networking setup you really don't need physical media of any kind after the initial OS install (and maybe not even then)

Reply 6 of 11, by radiounix

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If it's a laptop, and I'm guessing it is since it has PC Card slots, that is the easiest way in my opinion. Fast, really fast, needs no special software to navigate.

It's a bear to get working in a DOS environment, which includes Windows 3.11. But it works out of the box in Windows 95 and newer and will let you hot swap cards. Yes, you definitely can shuffle through cards like floppies. With a 486 BIOS, I suppose you'd be limited to 512MB -- and may need to choose 256MB cards -- but that's still pretty big for sneakernet on a 486.

Reply 7 of 11, by emosun

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chinny22 wrote on 2020-08-02, 11:03:

I don't even use USB on my modern machines.
Once you have networking setup you really don't need physical media of any kind after the initial OS install (and maybe not even then)

usb is actually far easier for me as I only need a usb drive , but with networking I have to have not only a compatible pc on a network , but i then could only ever transfer files via that machine over a specific location.

meaning i cant just pull a pc off the shelf and start playing with it , i have to bring it to a location that has a network , and a pc on the network , and configure the pc i pulled out to work on that network. it ends up being so much easier to just use a usb drive as it requires no setup.

Reply 8 of 11, by Warlord

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emosun wrote on 2020-08-02, 20:32:
chinny22 wrote on 2020-08-02, 11:03:

I don't even use USB on my modern machines.
Once you have networking setup you really don't need physical media of any kind after the initial OS install (and maybe not even then)

usb is actually far easier for me as I only need a usb drive , but with networking I have to have not only a compatible pc on a network , but i then could only ever transfer files via that machine over a specific location.

meaning i cant just pull a pc off the shelf and start playing with it , i have to bring it to a location that has a network , and a pc on the network , and configure the pc i pulled out to work on that network. it ends up being so much easier to just use a usb drive as it requires no setup.

Why not just get a wireless access point then you can connect the retro pc with a network cable(cross over cable) to small mini access point, then use wireless to the your wireless router, then wirlessly connect to the the NAS that you inserted the USB stick into? Now you have usb storage on 486.

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Reply 10 of 11, by Anonymous Coward

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I've seen those 8-bit USB cards on taobao for years, but I was always too cheap to take the risk. As it turns out, it seems they're not very useful as mass storage devices. Even if you could somehow coax them into taking a FAT32 formatted card, it seems like 12kb/sec is the max transfer rate. It would take eons to transfer large files.
As there are already several other methods for transferring large files available, I think a far better use for this card would have been input devices like optical mice, but sadly this function is not supported!

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 11 of 11, by Horun

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OK I totally agree. Networking old machines is the best way, having a good CD/dvd rom is second. But also admit the only time I use USB on a modern machine is to charge my phone/snag pics or with a USB floppy drive to help someone here that needs something off an old 1.44 or 720k floppy disk.

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....