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SMC (WD) StarCard PLUS (WD/8003S) Win3.1?

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Reply 20 of 77, by ThenZero

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I believe this was a contemporary card to the ones you mention. It is 16 bit ISA. Some of the confusion may be that this is actually a western digital card, and their nic division was purchased by smc around this time and the cards rebranded. You might find more info searching for "wd starcard plus". I believe the drivers I have for it are the correct ones. They identify the card down to the chips on it. And remember these drivers are fully working in the wfw3.11 install that came with the computer.

Edit: maybe I should have said...a western digital card line. looking around at pictures of similar cards it looks a LOT like the smc elite 16 line.

Last edited by ThenZero on 2022-05-20, 14:42. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 22 of 77, by ThenZero

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So I was wrong about the issue being related to the sound card. The network card being enabled with pkt8000 locks up the computer after a minute or two with or without the sound card so I guess it's not working right after all

Reply 23 of 77, by davidrg

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Oh, its one of those. Nothing like the WD8003 cards I have - they're all much older than that. I do have four cards with the SMC UltraChip 83C790QF chip though. Two of the cards are labeled as an SMC 8216C, the other two have the part numbers 60-600455-003 BNC and 60-600455-006.

I think this card is really equivalent to the SMC Elite 16T. It should use the same drivers as the EtherEz 8416 - this should be the latest version of those (14 July 2000) and there is an older version of the drivers here (early 1996). If those don't work, this directory contains the Elite16 drivers off of the SMC website as it was in 1997. I found a scanned copy of the manual this morning and put it in there too.

I was using a couple of slightly newer EtherEZ 8416 cards (UltraChip 83C795QF) a few months back to have a go at network booting Windows 95 as they were the only ISA NICs with a boot ROM handy. I didn't find them to be the easiest to get going - it was a bit of a struggle to find a driver that would initialize the card and not crash the system. But I put much of that down to what I was doing - I hadn't tried network booting using one of those cards with the older sort of NetWare IPX boot ROM. I ended up using a version of the ODI drivers dated 30-8-1994 which look to have been from that early-1996 driver package and that worked fine.

It might also be worth giving the soft configuration and diagnostics utilities a go. They should at least indicate if there is some non-obvious resource conflict.

Reply 25 of 77, by ThenZero

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OK, tried to run the first driver you listed (ether.exe). Maybe I should have asked for a bit more context...in DOS mode it says it cannot be run in DOS mode, in Windows 3.1 it seems to blank the screen for a second and not much else. Also had a look at the PDF you provided but didn't see any mention of ether.exe. I'll try the ones you mentioned from the website next.

Reply 26 of 77, by Grzyb

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That "ether.exe" is a self-extracting ZIP archive.
You need Win32 for it to self-extract, but it can also be extracted with various ZIP/UNZIP utilities.

Reply 28 of 77, by ThenZero

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More info...ezsetup let me modify the soft configuration... Different io settings cause it to lock up at different times. If I don't start windows I can use ftp as long as I want. That makes me suspect some sort of resource conflict. Not sure what though.

Reply 29 of 77, by davidrg

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Could also be some issue with the network config in Windows. How do you have the network setup under windows and what, if any, DOS network drivers do you have loaded when you start Windows?

Reply 30 of 77, by Grzyb

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ThenZero wrote on 2022-05-20, 03:17:

SMC StarCard IRQ 3, I/O 0x280, Addr 0xD400

This made me think...
IRQ 3 is also used by COM2 - are you sure there's no mouse (or something) on COM2 ?
Anyway, my preferred setting for 16-bit ISA NICs is IRQ 10.

Also, I've found a few cards based on 83C790QF - neither of them is exactly like yours, but the differences are only in the connectors: RJ vs. BNC vs. RJ+BNC vs. RJ+BNC+AUI.
In the weekend, or maybe even sooner, I'm going to try running them with Windows 3.1 myself...

Reply 31 of 77, by ThenZero

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davidrg wrote on 2022-05-25, 04:35:

Could also be some issue with the network config in Windows. How do you have the network setup under windows and what, if any, DOS network drivers do you have loaded when you start Windows?

I'm only running the pkt8000 driver in dos and mtcp. As far as I know windows is completely unaware of anything network related, I think it has to be a resource conflict.

Reply 32 of 77, by ThenZero

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Grzyb wrote on 2022-05-25, 06:12:
This made me think... IRQ 3 is also used by COM2 - are you sure there's no mouse (or something) on COM2 ? Anyway, my preferred s […]
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This made me think...
IRQ 3 is also used by COM2 - are you sure there's no mouse (or something) on COM2 ?
Anyway, my preferred setting for 16-bit ISA NICs is IRQ 10.

Also, I've found a few cards based on 83C790QF - neither of them is exactly like yours, but the differences are only in the connectors: RJ vs. BNC vs. RJ+BNC vs. RJ+BNC+AUI.
In the weekend, or maybe even sooner, I'm going to try running them with Windows 3.1 myself...

I had the same thought so I tried irq11 but no change in behavior.

Reply 33 of 77, by Grzyb

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So I'm experimenting...

The machine is 486DX2/66, with nothing special, just a VLB graphics, ISA multi-I/O, and the NIC.
The NIC is SMC UltraChip 83C790QF based, with BNC connector only.
PKT8000 11.60
WINPKT 11.2
Windows 3.1
Trumpet Winsock 3.0 Revision D
Netscape Navigator 1.22

Downloading a file from my local FTP server...
...and it fails!
It doesn't crash, it doesn't hang, but the transfer just stops after some random time - sometimes it manages to download more than 10 MB, sometimes less than 1 MB...
The stalled transfer can be cancelled, and started again, but I've never managed to download the entire 40 MB test file.

I believe the hardware, and the packet driver are OK - the mTCP FTP client successfully downloaded a 1 GB file, several times...
with MTU=1500, download to NUL speeds are 938..939 KB/s

There must be some incompatibility somewhere, and the easiest solution would be to replace the NIC, but...
I've got several SMC UltraChip cards, they all could use some thorough testing, and I feel like experimenting, so... any ideas?

Reply 34 of 77, by davidrg

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My bet is some bug in the real mode packet driver which only shows up when accessed from protected mode Windows. I assume this would have been a relatively unusual use case compared to using NDIS drivers under Windows for Workgroups so perhaps not as well tested. The Novell network stack (which includes a Winsock implementation for Windows) may also be fine - given how ubiquitous NetWare was at the time the ODI driver is sure to have been well tested.

I'd do a bit of testing myself but my cards are all in storage at the moment - I've only got the slightly newer 8416 cards (UltraChip 83C795QFP) handy. I can at least confirm those work fine with both DOS ODI drivers from the SMC driver package as well as real-mode and Windows 9x NDIS drivers distributed by Microsoft (Net booting 9x involves switching from a real-mode stack to a protected-mode one part way through boot). Never tried the packet driver.

Reply 35 of 77, by Grzyb

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I've upgraded Netscape Navigator to version 3.04Gold, and it seems to work a little better - it managed to download the entire 40 MB file once, at sluggish 19 KB/s, but still.
The next download, however, got stalled after several megabytes...

Reply 36 of 77, by ThenZero

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Grzyb wrote on 2022-05-27, 06:35:

I've upgraded Netscape Navigator to version 3.04Gold, and it seems to work a little better - it managed to download the entire 40 MB file once, at sluggish 19 KB/s, but still.
The next download, however, got stalled after several megabytes...

Can you try starting mtcp and leave it running and then start windows without stopping it nor starting winpkt?

Reply 37 of 77, by Grzyb

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Success!
The problem seems to be with Trumpet 3.0D, or with its default configuration.
After downgrading it to 2.0B, I've successfully downloaded a 150 MB file.

So, the current software is:

PKT8000 11.60
WINPKT 11.2
Windows 3.1
Trumpet Winsock 2.0 Revision B
Netscape Navigator 3.04Gold

FTP download speed to HDD is 42 KB/s.

Now, let's try replacing the PKT8000 with the following:

LSL 2.20 (960401)
SMC8000 5.06 (960328)
ODIPKT 3.1

Also works fine, only marginally slower - 41 KB/s.

Reply 38 of 77, by Grzyb

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ThenZero wrote on 2022-05-27, 12:48:

Can you try starting mtcp and leave it running and then start windows without stopping it nor starting winpkt?

But how?
mTCP works under DOS, DOS is single-tasking, can't run mTCP and anything else at the same time...

Reply 39 of 77, by ThenZero

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Grzyb wrote on 2022-05-27, 13:01:
ThenZero wrote on 2022-05-27, 12:48:

Can you try starting mtcp and leave it running and then start windows without stopping it nor starting winpkt?

But how?
mTCP works under DOS, DOS is single-tasking, can't run mTCP and anything else at the same time...

I assumed it loaded as a tsr when you run dhcp... Is that incorrect?