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 liqmat » 2018-12-07 @ 23:51

This past week has been a week of archiving a large amount of vintage software for preservation purposes. Updated my year long Cardinal SNAPplus archival project with more found drivers, manuals and software. Imaged twenty hard to find Wang APC software & systems disks. Categorized, combined and labelled two large ALR server file and document archives. Finally, I am in the middle of building an archive for the long forgotten Tempra line of software from a long ago defunct company called Mathematica, Inc. Found two more sealed products from them and have been scanning and imaging for the last few days. One of the products is so rare I didn't even know it existed until I saw it on Ebay. They were mainly producers of DOS multimedia content creation software before they went belly up. Found a Windows version of their software and this must have been released just moments before they went under because I never knew about it until now and I used their products extensively back in the early 90s.

One of the many challenges of archiving old 5¼" floppy disks is possible disk warping like the disk you see below. Luckily the magnetic disk itself was not warped and only the casing was. What I had to do to get the data off was slowly and carefully move the disk in the disk drive as WinImage read the disk. When WinImage encountered an error I would have to press down on a different part of the disk casing to flatten it as best as possible and hit "retry" in WinImage. Eventually, with a lot of patience, I got a complete image off the disk. What some of us do for historical preservation. So worth it though.

It's kind of hard to see in this light, but you can see the disk casing is warped. Mr. floppy drive was not happy about this.

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

Postby amadeus777999 » 2018-12-08 @ 10:07

Great job, liqmat! Hope it all goes up to archive.org. One can get quite nostalgic thinking about those little companies who once were a small part of a "booming" industry. This thought more often than not crossed my mind when I was watching Computer Chronicles and somebody presented his/her product.

--- Cut ---

I had a PC Partner SS7 board laying around with a P55C @ 280mhz which was nice but felt kinda off. Came across a K6 III 400 by accident and now the setup is complete. I disabled the 2nd level cache on the board so that I can drive 133mhz fsb which "eliminated" ony weakness of SS7 system - relatively low memory performance.

The K6III is now running at 133x3 and overall speed is pretty swell. "Perfect" machine for playing more sophisticated Build games like Blood. Not a fan of he K6 but in this case a great product to lend a finishing touch to a speedy system.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby brostenen » 2018-12-08 @ 11:12

Finished up the last thing on my 500 refurbish project. I am only talking about functional things. Or things that makes it a fully working machine. I still need to fix up the cosmetic part. It is now ready to be used again.... Gave it a memory upgrade as well. (and take some nice pictures, when it is 100% finished). The cosmetic part will however not be possible before summer. I need warm and dry weather for the paintjob, as I will be doing it outside.

https://to9xct.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-amiga500-refurbish-project.html


EDIT:
A few members here on Vogons have said that it was a NO-GO and I would kill or destroy the plastic when using liquid acetone for welding. To that I can say that it holds up beautifully. The structure are like new and nothing have melted more than it was supposed to melt. It simply works. There are only two things to take into acount when working with liquid acetone. One is to use a tiny amount, and the second is that you need to work extremely fast.

I can't stress this too much... Work fast and be gentle with the amount of acetone used.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

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

Postby canthearu » 2018-12-08 @ 15:28

Finished restoring the old 286 I bought a week and a half ago.

Previously I had:
a) Stripped down the system, and removed motherboard.
b) Removed battery from motherboard, clean remaining corrosion, reinforced one track with solder and used a wire to repair a second trace damaged by corrosion. Removed the remains of an exploded tantalum capacitor.
c) Pulled apart power supply and give basic clean on the inside.
d) Test floppy drives. The 5.25inch drive worked fine. The 3.5inch drive was non working properly.

Today, to finish the job:

a) Washed the case completely in the bathtub. Case is in reasonably good shape for a 30 year old case.
c) Repair 3.5inch drive with new capacitors, as existing capacitors read very bad ESR. This fixed the drive, although the new capacitors are a bit large and do not quite fit.
c) Create replacement CMOS battery pack, using and 4xAA battery pack and installing a wire in one of the battery position. This makes it a 3 battery pack.
d) Reassemble computer into clean case. Install with new battery pack and add sound card to the mix.
e) All tested and working. Fix front panel display to show 12mhz when turbo on, and 8mhz with turbo off.

Now I should redo the software on it, installing a fresh copy of DOS and Windows 3.1.

Computer specs:
286-12mhz
4meg RAM, in DIP sockets.
50meg Quantium Plus Impulse IDE hard drive (no bad sectors)
1.44meg floppy
1.2meg floppy
IDE/Floppy ISA card (16-bit)
Serial/Parallel ISA card (8-bit)
Trident 8800 VGA card (8-bit) (maybe this can do EGA too, it has a 9-pin plug as well as the standard VGA plug)
ESS-1869 Sound card. (16-bit)

This computer was definitely worth picking up and restoring.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby liqmat » 2018-12-08 @ 16:17

canthearu wrote:Finished restoring the old 286 I bought a week and a half ago.

Previously I had:
a) Stripped down the system, and removed motherboard.
b) Removed battery from motherboard, clean remaining corrosion, reinforced one track with solder and used a wire to repair a second trace damaged by corrosion. Removed the remains of an exploded tantalum capacitor.
c) Pulled apart power supply and give basic clean on the inside.
d) Test floppy drives. The 5.25inch drive worked fine. The 3.5inch drive was non working properly.

Today, to finish the job:

a) Washed the case completely in the bathtub. Case is in reasonably good shape for a 30 year old case.
c) Repair 3.5inch drive with new capacitors, as existing capacitors read very bad ESR. This fixed the drive, although the new capacitors are a bit large and do not quite fit.
c) Create replacement CMOS battery pack, using and 4xAA battery pack and installing a wire in one of the battery position. This makes it a 3 battery pack.
d) Reassemble computer into clean case. Install with new battery pack and add sound card to the mix.
e) All tested and working. Fix front panel display to show 12mhz when turbo on, and 8mhz with turbo off.

Now I should redo the software on it, installing a fresh copy of DOS and Windows 3.1.

Computer specs:
286-12mhz
4meg RAM, in DIP sockets.
50meg Quantium Plus Impulse IDE hard drive (no bad sectors)
1.44meg floppy
1.2meg floppy
IDE/Floppy ISA card (16-bit)
Serial/Parallel ISA card (8-bit)
Trident 8800 VGA card (8-bit) (maybe this can do EGA too, it has a 9-pin plug as well as the standard VGA plug)
ESS-1869 Sound card. (16-bit)

This computer was definitely worth picking up and restoring.

Nice job! All the bathtubs in my life have seen a computer or two. Everything, but software, goes into the bathtub. It's a cleansing experience.

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

Postby Predator99 » 2018-12-08 @ 17:00

Continued working on this A2088 XT bridgeboard. Got it in a scrap lot it it didnt look good:
IMG_0094r.jpg


Thats the condition now:
IMG_0129r.jpg


I washed with water and replaced the 2 PLCC sockets on the left as they were totally corroded. Also replaced the Caps.
But still didnt work. Tried with Supersoft and it shows me 2 damaged RAMs.
Therefore I desoldered all RAMs and replaced with sockets.
DSC_7745.JPG

DSC_7763r.jpg

Now Supersoft is happy ...

DSC_7765r.jpg


...but it still POSTs only every 5th attempt or so.

Out of ideas at the moment...
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby canthearu » 2018-12-08 @ 22:54

Predator99 wrote:
...but it still POSTs only every 5th attempt or so.

Out of ideas at the moment...


I'd test/replace the electrolytic caps on it.

Intermittent faults are very often due to these infernal capacitors.

Then if that isn't the problem, I'd go over it carefully looking for poor or cracked solder joints.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby luckybob » 2018-12-08 @ 22:56

+1 for canthearu
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Baoran » 2018-12-08 @ 23:01

canthearu wrote:
Predator99 wrote:
...but it still POSTs only every 5th attempt or so.

Out of ideas at the moment...


I'd test/replace the electrolytic caps on it.

Intermittent faults are very often due to these infernal capacitors.

Then if that isn't the problem, I'd go over it carefully looking for poor or cracked solder joints.


I think he already mentioned that he replaced the caps.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-12-08 @ 23:02

brostenen wrote:Finished up the last thing on my 500 refurbish project. I am only talking about functional things. Or things that makes it a fully working machine. I still need to fix up the cosmetic part. It is now ready to be used again.... Gave it a memory upgrade as well. (and take some nice pictures, when it is 100% finished). The cosmetic part will however not be possible before summer. I need warm and dry weather for the paintjob, as I will be doing it outside.

https://to9xct.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-amiga500-refurbish-project.html


EDIT:
A few members here on Vogons have said that it was a NO-GO and I would kill or destroy the plastic when using liquid acetone for welding. To that I can say that it holds up beautifully. The structure are like new and nothing have melted more than it was supposed to melt. It simply works. There are only two things to take into acount when working with liquid acetone. One is to use a tiny amount, and the second is that you need to work extremely fast.

I can't stress this too much... Work fast and be gentle with the amount of acetone used.


I have been following this project for a while, and as a fellow A500 lover, I commend you on everything you've done to it.
1989:A500|+512K|ACA500+|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2-66|8M|GD5428|CT2290|S2
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|V1|CT3980/2M
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|RagePro|V2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|PIII-1200|512M|GF3Ti200|MX300
2004:K8V-D|3200+|2G|X1950P|SB0350
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby canthearu » 2018-12-08 @ 23:22

Baoran wrote:I think he already mentioned that he replaced the caps.


You are right, the caps have been replaced.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby dionb » 2018-12-09 @ 01:23

Been having fun with ancient hardware.

Booted up an Am386SX-33 that worked last week (for the first time in at least two decades). This week the PSU had completely died. Probably dead caps - put on the to-do pile. Then hooked up a known-good PSU. I wanted to test some I/O stuff.

First up I wanted to see if I had any ISA IDE controllers that could handle ATAPI. First hit - the no-name WD37C65C-based card already in there immediately recognized my ATAPI CDRom. That was great news. Then tested an ISA SCSI controller (AHA-1542C) I received recently. I needed to move the ROM BIOS address from default DC000H to D8000H (not sure what it was conflicting with...) before it would work, but after doing that it was more than happy. It enabled me to test some ancient drives. Turns out my 21MB Miniscribe 8435S is in perfect working order, but my 668MB Micropolis 1624 doesn't even spin up or get recognized by the SCSI BIOS. Damned shame... also hooked up an Archive Corporation Cartridge Tape Drive model 5945C. It gets detected and makes all the right noises, but lacking the correct software for it, I can't take it any further than that.

Also I wanted to test some ST-506, specifically a Seageate ST-251-1 (43MB MFM) drive. It sort of seems to respond to stuff, but needs initializing with my DTK MFM controller, and I don't have the right tool for that. Oh well, stays on the to-do pile.

Finally I had a look at a 486 that seemed dead. Looks like a bad case of battery corrosion - maybe I can fix something but not too optimistic. Am fairly happy though: it had 4x 30p SIMMs. I assumed they were 1MB parity SIMMs. I was right about the parity, but not the 1MB - this is 4x 4MB. That's a lot better than a kick in the teeth :)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Mister Xiado » 2018-12-09 @ 06:55

Since I've hit roadblocks in the PC arena, I've been trying to get information on the gamepad for the Philips CDi, but the encoder is not coming up anywhere. All that's printed on the chip is:
© Logitech 93 Ⓜ
330078-00G1
0E31AQLEL9407

16 pin dual inline package. Nothing turned up when looking for even partial values on AllDataSheet, or through general searching. Based on the Ⓜ, it's probably a Motorola? There's a dire shortage of affordable CDi controllers, and I had intended to see if I could construct a few, but this is changing from "research needed" to "scrying through unicorn entrails".
Also installed a CR2032 socket in a Super Nintendo game, in advance of preparing to perform techromancy on some dead DALLAS chips; something I really would rather not do.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby brostenen » 2018-12-09 @ 08:12

appiah4 wrote:
brostenen wrote:Finished up the last thing on my 500 refurbish project. I am only talking about functional things. Or things that makes it a fully working machine. I still need to fix up the cosmetic part. It is now ready to be used again.... Gave it a memory upgrade as well. (and take some nice pictures, when it is 100% finished). The cosmetic part will however not be possible before summer. I need warm and dry weather for the paintjob, as I will be doing it outside.

https://to9xct.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-amiga500-refurbish-project.html


EDIT:
A few members here on Vogons have said that it was a NO-GO and I would kill or destroy the plastic when using liquid acetone for welding. To that I can say that it holds up beautifully. The structure are like new and nothing have melted more than it was supposed to melt. It simply works. There are only two things to take into acount when working with liquid acetone. One is to use a tiny amount, and the second is that you need to work extremely fast.

I can't stress this too much... Work fast and be gentle with the amount of acetone used.


I have been following this project for a while, and as a fellow A500 lover, I commend you on everything you've done to it.


Thanks 100 times... :-)
I am by far and no professional repairman at all. Yeah... I am thinking about people like retromancave. On the other hand, then I am extremely surprised how simple and durable an Amiga500 really is. A 486 VLB board is actually more confusing to figure out I think. You know. What is what and what does what.

In the next couple of months, I will be making a new blog post about the other 500 that I have in the closet. That one is the 500 that I will be keeping for my self. And it will have a broad selection of upgrades. What is missing, before I can use it, are a set of socket risers or spacers if you like. And I need to find a way of tapping into the floppy power in order to get an internal CF card solution running in that Amiga500.... Not saying more. It's going to be awesomme.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

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

Postby Predator99 » 2018-12-09 @ 08:56

liqmat wrote:This past week has been a week of archiving a large amount of vintage software for preservation purposes. Updated my year long Cardinal SNAPplus archival project with more found drivers, manuals and software. Imaged twenty hard to find Wang APC software & systems disks. Categorized, combined and labelled two large ALR server file and document archives. Finally, I am in the middle of building an archive for the long forgotten Tempra line of software from a long ago defunct company called Mathematica, Inc. Found two more sealed products from them and have been scanning and imaging for the last few days. One of the products is so rare I didn't even know it existed until I saw it on Ebay. They were mainly producers of DOS multimedia content creation software before they went belly up. Found a Windows version of their software and this must have been released just moments before they went under because I never knew about it until now and I used their products extensively back in the early 90s.

One of the many challenges of archiving old 5¼" floppy disks is possible disk warping like the disk you see below. Luckily the magnetic disk itself was not warped and only the casing was. What I had to do to get the data off was slowly and carefully move the disk in the disk drive as WinImage read the disk. When WinImage encountered an error I would have to press down on a different part of the disk casing to flatten it as best as possible and hit "retry" in WinImage. Eventually, with a lot of patience, I got a complete image off the disk. What some of us do for historical preservation. So worth it though.

It's kind of hard to see in this light, but you can see the disk casing is warped. Mr. floppy drive was not happy about this.

tempradisk.JPG


Good work! But why didnt you remove the magnetic disk from its case and put it in another one? Of course, you would have to damage your disk.
I think it should also be possible to put only the disk in the drive when you have its top cover removed.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Predator99 » 2018-12-09 @ 08:57

canthearu wrote:
Baoran wrote:I think he already mentioned that he replaced the caps.


You are right, the caps have been replaced.


Indeed, I already replaced them. Bad caps are a good explanation for that behaviour. I also noticed that it preferably POSTs when it has been turned off for some hours. After that, with each powercycle it gets more unlikely that it works...
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby brostenen » 2018-12-09 @ 09:57

Predator99 wrote:
canthearu wrote:
Baoran wrote:I think he already mentioned that he replaced the caps.


You are right, the caps have been replaced.


Indeed, I already replaced them. Bad caps are a good explanation for that behaviour. I also noticed that it preferably POSTs when it has been turned off for some hours. After that, with each powercycle it gets more unlikely that it works...


Can you check if the PLCC gets extremely hot, when it stops working? Or try cleaning each pins on all 3 PLCC's....
The blue components. Are they Cap's? And if so, have you replaced them as well?

These are the things I would check out next. Or simply check if heat makes any socketed chips (PLCC as well) kind of loose contact due to expanding from heat or something like that.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

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

Postby Predator99 » 2018-12-09 @ 10:25

No, I just kept it running while it hasnt POSTed. All ICs are cold. When it POSTs, everything has normal operation temperature.

Yes, there is some corrosion on the PLCCs pins. Maybe a good idea to continue...

No, havent touched the blue components. And I will not, these are too many and they dont look that bad ;-)

I dont know how these things work, but I assume the error is on the Amiga side not the PC side.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby brostenen » 2018-12-09 @ 11:41

Predator99 wrote:No, I just kept it running while it hasnt POSTed. All ICs are cold. When it POSTs, everything has normal operation temperature.

Yes, there is some corrosion on the PLCCs pins. Maybe a good idea to continue...

No, havent touched the blue components. And I will not, these are too many and they dont look that bad ;-)

I dont know how these things work, but I assume the error is on the Amiga side not the PC side.


Hmm... If the blue ones is, and I think the are, tantelum caps. Then they might be on their last.

Do you get any issues with the Amiga, when you are running without the board?
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick I tell.... (never tried though)

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

Postby RandomStranger » 2018-12-09 @ 11:44

I was planning of sort of finishing my early 2000's dream PC.
I wanted it to have a:
Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB
ASUS P4V800D-X Motherboard
1GB DDR400 RAM
Pentium 4 3.2GHz (Northwood)

I had a Celeron D 2.8GHz in the motherboard and since I replaced it with the Pentium, the system doesn't boot. Neither with the Pentium, nor with the Celeron.
If I turn it on, the fans start, but the screen is black and it seems to be dead. I can't make it to give any error codes.
So installing a CPU and a Windows XP then replay some of my older favorites turned into finding out if the motherboard really is finished or not.
I tried different graphics cards and tested the PSU (500W FSP) with a different motherboard. Nothing on the motherboads seems visibly bad

Yesterday was much better. I tested the graphics cards from here.
Everything worked perfectly and finally I was able to finish My other early 2000's PC with the Tualatin mentioned above, 40GB Maxtor HDD, 512 MB SD-RAM and the GF4 Ti4200.
It is surprisingly agile compared to my Coppermine P3-933 + Radeon 8500LE + 512MB SD-RAM + 20GB Maxtor build. Even more than what I'd find reasonable. I guess I should install a fresh OS on this one too.
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