What retro activity did you get up to today?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Thermalwrong » 2019-5-12 @ 11:59

Nice, the Thinkpad 600 series is one of my favourites - what's the rubbery coating like on your one? It's mostly gone sticky / been removed on my 600X.

I'm also quite keen to know how you get on with repairing the battery - now that it's so old there's no chinese knock-off replacements left, that's become more necessary.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-5-12 @ 14:29

The coating is definitely coming off. There was a sticker on one of the corners that the original owner had attempted to remove, unsuccessfully, in the process scraping off some of the coating surrounding it. I removed it all the way and much of the coating in that area came off.

Basically, if you touch it wrong with a fingernail, it comes off :lol:

It will need work at some point, but for now, it is fine. It's not a museum piece, but it doesn't look horrible. After cleaning, it looks acceptable at least.

Last night I replaced the CMOS battery, upgraded the RAM to 544 MB (wow! 32 MB onboard, two 256 MB sticks of PC-100. All I had to do was limit Win98's file cache and swap file, although I'm not sure what it would actually do if it had to use ALL the memory), and finished installing some software.

It now has Windows 98, Office 97, RetroZilla, Outlook Express 5.5 for email (first OE that works with modern Gmail), KernelEx with the new "core updates" (not sure when I will use this; tried K-meleon 74 but it was absurdly slow even with JS turned off), PuTTY, FileZilla, etc. etc... basically all my "core" software that I always use. Haven't worked on media player stuff yet but that will happen today.

I tried some games on it. DOS games all seem to work fine - *except* for some 2D games when the screen is in scale-up mode. Commander Keen causes the screen scaler to go bonkers. Turning it off makes it work, but of course then you just get a tiny screen in the middle. In Jazz Jackrabbit you can see a couple "ghosts" of the rabbit each a couple pixels away from him as he moves around, another screen scaling issue. Epic Pinball needs MS-DOS mode. But then again I didn't really buy this computer specifically for playing DOS games. I have more compatible systems for that. I want it for maximum portable retro fun, good Internet connectivity, and productivity to the max.

The current version of Sonic Robo Blast II does not run with KernelEx, sadly. I know one of the developers released a binary for Windows 9x, which I was able to test back when it was released and it works - however, I cannot find the game files for that version anywhere (2.1.8 ). The current version is 2.1.23 and it definitely will not load. But version 2.0.6 DOES work, with vanilla 98SE too (as long as you update MSVCRT.DLL to version 6.1), as I remember from back in the day when I used to play this on an old Pentium III. 640x480 works, but you can tell it is struggling sometimes. 320x240 is zippy.

The battery repair may or may not happen today - I am going to bring it in to Batteries + Bulbs and see if they can do something about it. I heard somewhere that if all the battery needs is a "boost" (basically, if the voltage dropped below the protection circuits' threshold and now it won't charge but the cells are still good) then the word on the street is Batteries + Bulbs might do that for free, as they will have a "smart charger". Not sure if this is true or not. I do know that they offer battery rebuilds but I would rather do it myself, as I have some nice Samsung 18650 cells that I've been itching to use for something.

I just don't really like getting into these old batteries. They are so utterly cramped inside that you wonder how they were put back together in the first place. Plus you basically have to destroy the case in order to open it.
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby TheAbandonwareGuy » 2019-5-13 @ 01:30

Started repainting my Gateway M685 with a GeForce GO 7600. The brushed Aluminum had started getting pretty scratched. Did the top lid yesterday, will be doing the palm rests tomorrow most likely.

The lid has a orange on black with red/green pin stripping thing going on right now, though the pinstripe needs a second coat as the paint I used was borderline too thin. I'm drawing inspiration for color patterns from mopar cars. Particularly the Hemi orange.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-5-13 @ 03:52

Update on the Thinkpad 600E:

I did the battery rebuild. The cells I had must have either been slightly wider than the originals, or I didn't pack them tightly enough - either way, it was an extremely tight fit. The other half of the case would not even close all the way, and I ended up just taping it very tightly and hoping for the best. It just barely fits in the machine, and doesn't bulge enough to make a difference (about 1/16 of an inch).

Ultimately, though, it seems to work, although I have not done a stress test of it yet. It charged up to 100%, and the unit keeps running when I unplug the charger. So far so good.

I also did some video playback tests. Frustratingly, when using the DirectShow filters in the K-Lite Codec Pack (with DX9c), MPEG videos appear blocked and fuzzy. Using non-DX video rendering options in various players fixes the problem, but it's slower. I had to switch to 16-bit color to get it to work in fullscreen. But it does work. It can't play 1024-width "HD" videos, though, like I can on a Pentium III. Oh well.

I will update on the battery situation shortly. Tomorrow I will receive a battery for the UltraSlimBay in the mail. Maybe I can get some crazy battery life if I have both of them working at once :lol:
I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby NamelessPlayer » 2019-5-13 @ 05:34

I've had a busy few weeks with this Amiga 4000 I've been working on, especially now that it's officially mine and not just being borrowed for recap/repair work.

-Half the reason I didn't use it so much before was that two of Paula's audio channels - the second and third columns in Protracker - just weren't coming through. Capacitor goo probably killed it up there.

Turns out those are Paula's right speaker channels (don't tell me why it's 1 and 4 for left speaker, 2 and 3 for right speaker), and a trace connecting the right edge of R434 and the bottom of FB411 was broken (resistance should be zero). The rest of the audio circuit was fine, as verified by tapping into FLTLEFT and FLTRIGHT on the expansion daughterboard connector. Now I get full audio out of the rear RCA jacks!

-I set up some CompactFlash drives in an adapter, which was fine, right up until I tried to install IDEfix and kept running into problems with the setup hanging after IDEfix was started. This drove me nuts enough that I moved over to a 6 GB laptop IDE HDD I had lying around.

That introduced an additional problem: the Amiga has a 4 GB hard drive addressing limit normally. Using PFS partitions in SCSI Direct mode can get around this, up to 8 GB, though going past that and up to 128 GB requires an updated scsi.device to be loaded with LoadModule, or new physical Kickstart ROMs like Cloanto 3.X or Hyperion 3.1.4.

Here's what drove me up the wall for a while, making my HDD disappear: I accidentally used an A1200 scsi.device, which is not compatible with the A4000 and renders your IDE devices invisible, and ClassicWB is set up to load DEVS:scsi.device if present in the S:startup-sequence script (think AUTOEXEC.BAT on MS-DOS). I had to go into the Early Boot Menu from the very first cold boot before it soft-resets from LoadModule, boot without the startup-sequence, and "ed s:startup-sequence" my way into commenting that out long enough to swap in a correct scsi.device file.

With that resolved, I could finally go in, install IDEfix and CacheCDFS, and finally use CD drives on both IDE and SCSI (I have both an Emplant board for Mac emulation and an A3640 board from an A2000 I'm in the middle of repairing). There's some yellow alert errors that come up the first time a disc mounts for some weird reason, but I can still go in and browse the files like normal.

Next up on the list: gotta remove my CR2032 battery holder and take a look at some traces near the RTC circuit that probably got Vartakilled, because my time keeps resetting and SysInfo says "CLOCK NOT FOUND", which absolutely should not be the case on any A4000. It's a relatively minor issue, but it still just bugs me a bit.

After that, maybe I can find out why BlizKick just never works for softkicking newer Kickstart ROMs (this A4000 still has 3.0, a lot of stuff benefits from having 3.1 or newer), neither on the original hardware nor WinUAE, and this is with the MAPROM setting on and CPUCARD parameter specified in both cases.

Also not quite related to my Amiga adventures: my SCSI Zip 100 drive is driving me nuts by not working. It comes up on my Power Mac 9600 and my Amiga 4000 as a SCSI drive and all, but it never actually bothers to mount and read any inserted disks, instead opting to constantly light amber while repeatedly clicking an actuator on the release lever.

This isn't quite the typical Click of Death, as the heads aren't actually being inserted into the disk to begin with. They don't appear to be ripped off or misaligned, either, which is what usually shreds disks and causes the archetypical Click of Death everyone knows. I hope it's not a matter of the AC adapter failing to provide enough amperage, as the voltage checks out and one post on the 'net suggested that changing the AC adapter was enough to fix it.

I know the disks themselves are good too, because I have a bus-powered USB Zip 100 drive that works and reads them just fine. It's just this SCSI drive that's acting up. Maybe I should've picked up a few more spares at VCF Southeast 2018, because they sure didn't have any on consignment for 2019.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby oeuvre » 2019-5-13 @ 17:26

Took a nostalgia trip to gamehippo.com via archive.org

https://web.archive.org/web/20050323011 ... hippo.com/

Anyone else spend a lot of time downloading games from this and http://www.caiman.us/ ?

Found this really crappy old breakout game called BriX I used to play a lot.

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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Xicor » 2019-5-13 @ 17:43

I Don't know if someone has an interest on my "pet project" Schneirder Euro PC, nevertheless here's an update:

IMG_20190513_124629_s.jpg


Still waiting on some international deliveries, specially the DRam ic's an all the bypass caps. I revised my pcb fixing all the mistakes that I've made on the layout:

pcb_beta.png


If I manage to proper boot, this will become my Beta version.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2019-5-13 @ 17:51

oeuvre wrote:Took a nostalgia trip to gamehippo.com via archive.org

https://web.archive.org/web/20050323011 ... hippo.com/

Anyone else spend a lot of time downloading games from this and http://www.caiman.us/ ?

Found this really crappy old breakout game called BriX I used to play a lot.

Image

I vaguely remember those sites. I mostly downloaded demos from Happypuppy.com back in the 90s and early 00s.

https://web.archive.org/web/19980505210 ... py.com:80/
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Gered » 2019-5-13 @ 22:19

Oh my, Happy Puppy. I remember that got blocked from the school's internet soooo fast in 1998. Haha.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2019-5-13 @ 22:29

Gered wrote:Oh my, Happy Puppy. I remember that got blocked from the school's internet soooo fast in 1998. Haha.


same here! It was blocked school district wide for me, but they only blocked the DNS name. They didn't block the actual IP.

So I was the only 5 students that even knew what DNS was and how to type in an IP address.

worked fine for me for like 3 weeks before I was found out and suspended for a week for "hacking". On day two of my incarceration I explained to the tech guy what I did and I went back to class after that. Under the instruction that I wasn't to do it again. I did, constantly, I just didn't tell anyone after that, and I suppose that was good enough for them.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby wiretap » 2019-5-13 @ 22:41

wiretap wrote:Swapped the guts of my IWILL ZMAXdp power supply (300w) with a new FSP 400w Flex-ATX power supply and new fans. Perfect fit, and the power supply works fine. However, the old power supply blowing appears to have taken the motherboard with it. :-/ I'll have to check all the mosfets and surrounding circuitry. The computer turns on, but I get no post. I also tried a different video card and new RAM, both I know that work. No dice.. just a black screen, not even any beeps. :angry: I also have two new Opteron 250's on the way (less than $10 spent) to confirm the CPU's didn't get taken out, since I've seen similar situations before with fried CPU's.

Update: new CPU's arrived today. Took the old ones out and installed the new ones. It booted right up and continued my Windows XP install. Soooooo happy :cool:

So, it turns out the power supply blowing killed both CPU's. At least I built my own higher reliability 400w FSP power supply out of all this, and my motherboard didn't get killed. 100w more output as well, so I can run a higher end AGP GPU.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Gered » 2019-5-14 @ 03:16

luckybob wrote:same here! It was blocked school district wide for me, but they only blocked the DNS name. They didn't block the actual IP.

Yeah, I remember at my school that they would block websites by using the full DNS name almost always including the usual "www." subdomain part, so it was usually quite easy to circumvent a block. It was quite a dark day when they finally wised up and blocked ZIP and EXE downloads though.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby foil_fresh » 2019-5-14 @ 06:37

Gered wrote:
luckybob wrote:same here! It was blocked school district wide for me, but they only blocked the DNS name. They didn't block the actual IP.

Yeah, I remember at my school that they would block websites by using the full DNS name almost always including the usual "www." subdomain part, so it was usually quite easy to circumvent a block. It was quite a dark day when they finally wised up and blocked ZIP and EXE downloads though.


ah the days of googling "index of *.mp3"
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2019-5-14 @ 07:43

foil_fresh wrote:
Gered wrote:
luckybob wrote:same here! It was blocked school district wide for me, but they only blocked the DNS name. They didn't block the actual IP.

Yeah, I remember at my school that they would block websites by using the full DNS name almost always including the usual "www." subdomain part, so it was usually quite easy to circumvent a block. It was quite a dark day when they finally wised up and blocked ZIP and EXE downloads though.


ah the days of googling "index of *.mp3"



Oh I was the terror of the school district IT team. In the last few years of highschool I had acquired an old pentium 200 laptop. I didn't have broadband at home "yet". So I took that laptop, hid it in the back of the lab, and had it running kazaa (or something similar) all day. There was a computer with a cd burner and every day or so I would use a CD-RW disk and take home my haul. I downloaded a metric shit-ton of anime. Nobody ever said anything to me, but I know for certain they knew it was me. I think I got lucky I had only a 10mbit network card as it never slowed down the internet in the lab so it never caused a problem.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby konc » 2019-5-14 @ 08:56

Xicor wrote:I Don't know if someone has an interest on my "pet project" Schneirder Euro PC, nevertheless here's an update:

Oh we do and we are reading carefully :happy:
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-5-14 @ 09:01

Gered wrote:
luckybob wrote:same here! It was blocked school district wide for me, but they only blocked the DNS name. They didn't block the actual IP.

Yeah, I remember at my school that they would block websites by using the full DNS name almost always including the usual "www." subdomain part, so it was usually quite easy to circumvent a block. It was quite a dark day when they finally wised up and blocked ZIP and EXE downloads though.


I guess it wasn't that bad as long as you could still download .avi and .mpg files?
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby oeuvre » 2019-5-14 @ 12:45

luckybob wrote:
Gered wrote:Oh my, Happy Puppy. I remember that got blocked from the school's internet soooo fast in 1998. Haha.


same here! It was blocked school district wide for me, but they only blocked the DNS name. They didn't block the actual IP.

So I was the only 5 students that even knew what DNS was and how to type in an IP address.

worked fine for me for like 3 weeks before I was found out and suspended for a week for "hacking". On day two of my incarceration I explained to the tech guy what I did and I went back to class after that. Under the instruction that I wasn't to do it again. I did, constantly, I just didn't tell anyone after that, and I suppose that was good enough for them.


freearcade and addictinggames were never blocked \o/
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Gered » 2019-5-14 @ 16:03

appiah4 wrote:
Gered wrote:
luckybob wrote:same here! It was blocked school district wide for me, but they only blocked the DNS name. They didn't block the actual IP.

Yeah, I remember at my school that they would block websites by using the full DNS name almost always including the usual "www." subdomain part, so it was usually quite easy to circumvent a block. It was quite a dark day when they finally wised up and blocked ZIP and EXE downloads though.


I guess it wasn't that bad as long as you could still download .avi and .mpg files?

Yeah, surprisingly I don't ever remember those getting blocked. But maybe they did during my senior years and I just forgot /shrug. By that point anyway, the only thing I used the school computers for was Quake 2 deathmatch. :lol:
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby RandomStranger » 2019-5-14 @ 17:27

Today I picked up a bunch of ageing games:
• Tomb Raider
• Tomb Raider II
• Unreal
• FIFA 2002
• Splinter Cell
• Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
• Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
• Battlefield 2
• Platoon
• Screamer 4x4
• Haegemonia: Legions of Iron

I tested the 2 Tomb Raiders and FIFA on THIS LAPTOP.
TR ran fine, TR2 was very stuttery in 800x600 and as expected FIFA didn't start because of the lack of DirectX 7 support.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bfcastello » 2019-5-14 @ 18:50

keenmaster486 wrote:The coating is definitely coming off. There was a sticker on one of the corners that the original owner had attempted to remove, unsuccessfully, in the process scraping off some of the coating surrounding it. I removed it all the way and much of the coating in that area came off.

Basically, if you touch it wrong with a fingernail, it comes off :lol:

It will need work at some point, but for now, it is fine. It's not a museum piece, but it doesn't look horrible. After cleaning, it looks acceptable at least.

Last night I replaced the CMOS battery, upgraded the RAM to 544 MB (wow! 32 MB onboard, two 256 MB sticks of PC-100. All I had to do was limit Win98's file cache and swap file, although I'm not sure what it would actually do if it had to use ALL the memory), and finished installing some software.

It now has Windows 98, Office 97, RetroZilla, Outlook Express 5.5 for email (first OE that works with modern Gmail), KernelEx with the new "core updates" (not sure when I will use this; tried K-meleon 74 but it was absurdly slow even with JS turned off), PuTTY, FileZilla, etc. etc... basically all my "core" software that I always use. Haven't worked on media player stuff yet but that will happen today.

I tried some games on it. DOS games all seem to work fine - *except* for some 2D games when the screen is in scale-up mode. Commander Keen causes the screen scaler to go bonkers. Turning it off makes it work, but of course then you just get a tiny screen in the middle. In Jazz Jackrabbit you can see a couple "ghosts" of the rabbit each a couple pixels away from him as he moves around, another screen scaling issue. Epic Pinball needs MS-DOS mode. But then again I didn't really buy this computer specifically for playing DOS games. I have more compatible systems for that. I want it for maximum portable retro fun, good Internet connectivity, and productivity to the max.

The current version of Sonic Robo Blast II does not run with KernelEx, sadly. I know one of the developers released a binary for Windows 9x, which I was able to test back when it was released and it works - however, I cannot find the game files for that version anywhere (2.1.8 ). The current version is 2.1.23 and it definitely will not load. But version 2.0.6 DOES work, with vanilla 98SE too (as long as you update MSVCRT.DLL to version 6.1), as I remember from back in the day when I used to play this on an old Pentium III. 640x480 works, but you can tell it is struggling sometimes. 320x240 is zippy.

The battery repair may or may not happen today - I am going to bring it in to Batteries + Bulbs and see if they can do something about it. I heard somewhere that if all the battery needs is a "boost" (basically, if the voltage dropped below the protection circuits' threshold and now it won't charge but the cells are still good) then the word on the street is Batteries + Bulbs might do that for free, as they will have a "smart charger". Not sure if this is true or not. I do know that they offer battery rebuilds but I would rather do it myself, as I have some nice Samsung 18650 cells that I've been itching to use for something.

I just don't really like getting into these old batteries. They are so utterly cramped inside that you wonder how they were put back together in the first place. Plus you basically have to destroy the case in order to open it.


Amazing. Hope you get your batteries sorted out. Have you tried Opera 11 with KernelEx? (Or was it Opera 10? I can't remember)
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