Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Discussion about old graphics cards, monitors and video related things.

Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby adultlunchables » 2017-1-15 @ 01:22

Hey everyone! I found an ATI Mach32 ISA card ]for my Packard Bell PB650CD (486sx, 8mb ram, soundblaster, DOS + Win 3.11) I've installed CD-ROM drives, sound cards, DOS, and Windows on older machines, but I've literally never installed a video device.

SO basically I'm going to ask you guys how to install it. So far, I put it in the ISA slot, hook up the VGA monitor, and... absolutely nothing happens. I'm thinking I maybe need the driver installed first or I'm having a problem with the jumpers shown in the pictures. Any help at all will be greatly appreciated!!

Here's some pictures of the system and card...


IMG_20170112_234451944.jpg

IMG_20170114_200519999.jpg
IMG_20170114_200529208.jpg

IMG_20170114_200558440.jpg

IMG_20170114_200550130.jpg
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby clueless1 » 2017-1-15 @ 03:25

Check if there is a jumper on the system board for switching between on-board and add-in VGA. Also look around in the BIOS when hooked up to on-board VGA and see if there are any settings in there pertaining to add-in VGA. Good luck!
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby adultlunchables » 2017-1-15 @ 03:47

clueless1 wrote:Check if there is a jumper on the system board for switching between on-board and add-in VGA. Also look around in the BIOS when hooked up to on-board VGA and see if there are any settings in there pertaining to add-in VGA. Good luck!


Bro, thank you so much! This stuff isn't obvious if you're like me coming from a modern PC background trying to learn about old school tech. I just happened to have the original manual and found the jumper. For anyone with a Packard Bell PB650CD model, it's jumper 19, switch it from position 2-3 to position 1-2. It's hard to find, it's very near where the power supply connects to the motherboard though. Below is a picture of the manual page and the jumper, out of the row of jumpers it's the one sticking out.

IMG_20170114_224023497.jpg
IMG_20170114_212532298.jpg
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby clueless1 » 2017-1-15 @ 03:57

Awesome! That's a sweet system, can't believe you have the original manual. :) What's the story with that? How did you get this system complete with manual?
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby adultlunchables » 2017-1-15 @ 04:24

Not the worst origin story actually... Most people are familiar with Goodwill thrift stores, well, in some cities they have these giant versions called Goodwill Outlet Stores, they sell the waste from regular Goodwill retail stores, things that were put out and didn't sell over a period of time. They sell it by weight, something like $1.49 cents per pound. Interesting side note, they don't allow you to buy computers at the Goodwill outlet store because of data security (I'm not even sure how computers get there in the first place TBH).

So anyway, I was at the Goodwill Outlet store looking for video games or whatever, and then PB 486 came out in a bin with all the manuals and a few install disks scattered around. Here comes the bad part... The Goodwill Outlet store is freaking disgusting sometimes, I've seen soiled diapers, full cases of rotten eggs, I could go on.. But you get the idea... So what foulness had befallen the Packard Bell?

Cat feces and cat urine!

I wear gloves when I'm at this store, I'm very careful. I'm even easily grossed out by stuff like that... Like, easily grossed out. I almost just dropped the thing and let it go, but something very interesting was on the back of it... The warranty sticker still sealed saying "Warranty void if removed". I've always dreamed of owning a 486... I've wanted one for a long time. Was I willing to pick up this vile disgusting piece of hardware and clean it on the off chance that it just happened to still work? The answer is pretty obvious, I picked it up with my gloves, tried to keep it as far away from myself as possible, plopped it in the cart... Grabbed any manuals and headed to the checkout. This thing smelled like a dead raccoon, looked like total garbage, I didn't want to go anywhere near it... Yet I still had to get it through the checkout knowing they don't accept any computers at all!

The girl at the counter said "No, I can't sell that to you", of course I got someone who respects policy. I then asked her to speak to the manager, because hey, at this point... I'm getting this thing out of here, I've already disgusted myself to no end, I've already picked up a cat shit and piss infested computer that probably doesn't work at all... Let me talk to the damn manager, hell, I'll call the CEO at this point.

The manager comes out after she calls him on the intercom and I just make up a story on the spot, I say "Hi there, I understand there's a policy where you can't sell computers, but I suspect that policy is based on the fact that people's personal data could be on them."

Knowing the next thing I was saying was an outright lie I said "Look there, you see that floppy disk drive? Computers with floppy disk drives don't have hard drives, they can't store any personal information without a disk to put in there. This computer is really old and I really need this thing, I assure you nothing's on it, please let me buy it."

He agreed!

I put the thing in the back of my car under some trash bags I luckily had in the back seat. I brought it home and set up a kind of quarantine area with trash bags taped up and put everywhere to try to protect my living room from the filth I was about to deal with. First I cleaned the outside with a mixture of ammonia, water, and bleach. I scrubbed for hours, determined to eliminate all the grossness. Eventually I was able to open the case and see the damage inside, thankfully, just a few areas near the back of the machine were dirty and I was able to diligently clean them. I really went to town on this thing, q-tips, toothbrushes, paper towels, hours and hours of cleaning...

And then the critical moment came, I was ready to plug it in and see if it powers on. IT POWERED UP THE FIRST TRY AND DISPLAYED THE POST SCREEN!
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby adultlunchables » 2017-1-15 @ 04:34

A few side notes: The original 400MB hard drive still worked, I was able to image it and preserve all the original software before putting in a modern hard drive. I also happened to find a new and sealed 4MB ram stick on the same visit to Goodwill, it was incredible taking the shrink wrap off of a ram stick that old! Installed it just fine. Also, I've done another major round of cleaning on it, I took the board out, replaced every component I could (CD-drive, floppy drive, cables, HDD), then I went to town with RetroBrite on the external plastic pieces. At this point I feel there is absolutely NO trace of the original filth. There's no smell, no visual signs of dirt, and I feel really comfortable using it despite its history.
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby clueless1 » 2017-1-15 @ 04:39

Nice story :)

What type of battery is on the motherboard? A lot of these older systems came with a barrel-type battery that is known to leak with the potential of irreparable damage. Might want to check that out.
Some pics of what to look for:
https://www.google.com/search?q=leaking ... 76&bih=936
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby adultlunchables » 2017-1-15 @ 04:49

That was the next step in the journey, the battery was corroded and dead. I was a barrel shaped thing. I don't have much soldering experience and was paranoid about working on the board, but I got super lucky, I pried the battery off with needle nose pliers and it cleanly came out of the motherboard, two perfect little solder-free holes were left, I just plopped two wires in without soldering them at all and lead them to a new 2032 battery. This was in October 2016, I've been using it daily since then and the 2032 seems to be running strong. I found the ATI Mach32 (and a PCI Mach64) at Salvation Army the other day for .99 cents each... What are the flipping odds?
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby adultlunchables » 2017-1-15 @ 04:51

The next step right now as I'm to understand it with getting the Mach32 to work is do something with the jumpers and configuration involving the ISA slots and conflicts, I'm clueless but reading the manual right now while watching Saturday Night Live in the background. Any help with the next step would be much appreciated. I have video displaying, that's a HUGE step... but again I'm not sure how to move forward. I ran this test I found on one of the driver disks, it ran a lost of tests and they were fine but I got two error messages.

IMG_20170114_235027739.jpg
IMG_20170114_235018294.jpg
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby Qbix » 2017-1-15 @ 10:02

*moved to marvin*
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How to ask questions the smart way!
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby lazibayer » 2017-1-15 @ 17:54

adultlunchables wrote:The next step right now as I'm to understand it with getting the Mach32 to work is do something with the jumpers and configuration involving the ISA slots and conflicts, I'm clueless but reading the manual right now while watching Saturday Night Live in the background. Any help with the next step would be much appreciated. I have video displaying, that's a HUGE step... but again I'm not sure how to move forward. I ran this test I found on one of the driver disks, it ran a lost of tests and they were fine but I got two error messages.

IMG_20170114_235027739.jpg
IMG_20170114_235018294.jpg


What's the name of this colorful tool you are using? I have an ISA card that gives me random freezes... Wonder if there is an IRQ conflict.
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby adultlunchables » 2017-1-15 @ 18:16

Lazibayer, it's on this floppy I found here at VOGONS (link below). I'm not even sure the software is relevant, I found the exact same floppy on another website that listed it as not a driver but a BIOS. I'm not sure if that meant this floppy is meant to update the BIOS on your computer in some way, I haven't tried installing it out of fear of screwing something up, however, the test file works just fine and will give you all those pretty colors, haha. If you make any progress in figuring out how to work with IRQ, or if you know anything about getting this Mach32 to work, any help would be appreciated.

https://www.vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.p ... enustate=0
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Re: Found an ATI Mach32 ISA, I'm in the weeds! Need help.

Postby chinny22 » 2017-1-18 @ 22:24

Saw from your other post your probably sticking with the onboard video
What part number is the motherboard? That should help to find out if its VL-BUS or not.
Enjoyed the story, Congratulations on saving it, the gross state of it probably helped you, along with your little white lie. They were most likely glad to be rid of it.
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