VOGONS


First post, by bifo78

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As a quick introduction, I grew up tripping over 386-486-pentium computers, because my parents were happy to brag that their son was really into computers and their friends always seemed to have some old computer in the basement that they wanted to get rid of after having upgraded, but didn't think it was worth anything, so hey, a good home found!

I was bit by the retrocomputing bug when I was very young, back in the 90s, and learned about computers by taking them to pieces and putting them back together again. This was back when internet was terrible so there wasn't much, so I learned about the odd old computer models from old issues of PC World in the local library (they even let me pick through them to grab a lot when they threw them out around 1999, I forget what happened to the ones I took). I've owned and (regrettably) sold a lot of old 90s PCs over the years, but it's been a long time since I've had one and I'm in a situation because of my music equipment and some other projects I've run into problems with, my usual solution of a maxxed out Dell C600 laptop will apparently not write floppy disks properly.

So, why not build the desktop that will write to any media I can throw at it? And maybe that old Soundblaster Live! Pro I kept around might get some use too.

This is a retrospective to bring you up to date over the course of the projects that I started on last September (2020).

Unfortunately, I didn't keep around any of my old graphics cards, but it turns out that's fine because I'm not going to throw a lot of money at this, and AGP motherboards seem to bring a premium when I'm shopping around. I was looking for something around the Pentium MMX level, where I could have some modern features but mostly I was concerned with the floppy disc controller being integrated and trying to minimize cost. I wanted to be able to write or read virtually any media that would have been used from the 80s to the 00s, so I also purchased some other interface cards, and I wanted to be able to archive things, so I purchased some drives.

Initial purchases:
AOPEN AP53 95140-1 Motherboard
Pentium MMX 200
2X 64mb pair 72-pin SIMMs (256mb total)
8.4gb IDE/66 HDD
ADAPTEC 1505 SCSI ISA
EZ-2000 10BT ISA
AOPEN AW744LII
Matrox G200 8mb + 8mb PCI
Startech PCI2IDE ATA133

Generic mid-height ATX case, 4 5.25 bays, 2 3.5 bays
2x 8mm fans
Heatsink and separate fan with motherboard plug
ATX to AT plug converter

Existing components:
Creative Soundblaster Live! Pro
ATX power supply
6x IDE DVDROM (flashed the firmware 20+ years ago for international performance, works with nearly everything that works with IDE)
24x CDRW
1.2mb 5.25" floppy, half height, old system pull
1.44mb 3.5"
1.3gb MO Fujitsu Dynamo (backup? just thought it was cool)
250mb ZIP IDE
250gb ATA/100 IDE
146gb SCA with SCSI to SCA drive converter known to be working from other projects

also various cables for using the built-in serial and parallel, and some IDE cables.

Initial setup with cards intended to be:
Matrox G200 16mb
Soundblaster Live! Pro
AOPEN AW744LII
Startech PCI2IDE ATA133
ADAPTEC 1505 SCSI ISA
EZ-2000 10BT ISA
empty ISA slot

This is the inital post to establish the start of the project which began nearly a year ago, and I'm not going to back-date-code anything because I don't remember when I bought various things, and this is a summation of things purchased over time to get us up to the recent state of the project. Please criticize my choices and explain where I may be wrong in ways that I may not know, referring to this post, after subsequent posts.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 1 of 33, by Gmlb256

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According to some research in respect to the motherboard one manual doesn't mention any support for Pentium MMX, but I found an archived site of AOpen that mentions the jumper settings of the AP53 and that includes the Pentium MMX (as PP/MT). Does your motherboard has the jumpers mentioned on that site?

Reply 3 of 33, by bifo78

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Warlord wrote on 2021-08-13, 03:38:

I like it. Sick matrox card 16mb? Thats crazy nice for that.

yeah i did a lot of research on the part, found a compaq part number that was being sold on ebay which matched it and it should work, but apparently the card is dead. So that's a thing I'll have to look up and try to resell, because I have no idea if the G200 could work with that BIOS.

I'm aiming for crazy nice, because the Dell C600 laptop is something I've had running win98 for many years and it's been able to write the floppies I've needed, but once I started trying to write old formats properly and more interestingly different equipment it didn't live up to the needs reliably. I have an Ensoniq VFX-SD, an MSX 2, and a Roland W30 that all need proving based on the disks, to prove that the system works without destroying a disk. I have formatting disks that should work for the W30 and the MSX, but both have been sitting for a while, and the disks have had problems with formatting in the MSX and I'm never sure if the disks are the problems or if it's the drive.

I know the reader drives work, because I can read samples or programs into the devices I'm dealing with, so: build a computer instead of assuming that the the laptop drive works.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 4 of 33, by bifo78

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Now the recent update and current build status:

PC Chips M560 motherboard, TX Pro chipset
Pentium MMX 200
192MB DIMMs
128MB SIMMs
Matrox Millenium OR ATI Rage XL
Soundblaster Live! Pro
AOPEN AW744LII
ADAPTEC 1505 SCSI ISA
EZ-2000 10BT ISA

The AOPEN Motherboard would not post, so I've had to buy another one (which does post). The Matrox G200 does not appear to work, and the POST beep code that the motherboard gives is 'bad video ram' according to the manual, which is a shame, so I purchased an older Millenium with a 30 day return policy. It arrives saturday, and I wasn't sure if I trust it because it was claimed to be an 8MB card without the ram expansion, which I don't think was ever made, but we'll see. I also purchased a cheap ATI Rage XL 8MB card just in case. I'll probably wind up using the Rage anyway since it's just a better card, but it won't arrive for a while.

The PC Chips motherboard is one of the strange ones with both SIMM and DIMM slots, which can be used simultaneously (but only 2 of the 4 SIMM slots) and since I already had the SIMMs I'm going to use them anyway. The only real problem with the board is that it has one of the Dallas batteries. The upside of this is that the seller had already installed one of the glitchtech battery mods. The downside is that the placement of the Dallas battery is directly beneath one of the PCI slots, and the glitchtech mod is so tall that it renders that slot unusable, so I can't use the ATA card unless I swap out the Dallas battery. Does anyone know if there's a good source for new Dallas batteries? For now, the PS2 port is occupying that space. I'm thinking about using the spare ISA slot for an IDE card, and I've been eyeing PCMCIA bays on ebay since I have a few ATA Flash cards.

Oh, one of the other irritations with the new motherboard is that the IDE ports have all 40 pins, instead of having one blank. Which meant that none of the IDE cables I have would work with it anyway.

Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-13, 01:51:

According to some research in respect to the motherboard one manual doesn't mention any support for Pentium MMX, but I found an archived site of AOpen that mentions the jumper settings of the AP53 and that includes the Pentium MMX (as PP/MT). Does your motherboard has the jumpers mentioned on that site?

It does, but as I mentioned above, it won't POST unfortunately. Tested it with a non-MMX Pentium 100 to make sure.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 5 of 33, by the3dfxdude

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bifo78 wrote on 2021-08-13, 05:08:
Warlord wrote on 2021-08-13, 03:38:

I like it. Sick matrox card 16mb? Thats crazy nice for that.

yeah i did a lot of research on the part, found a compaq part number that was being sold on ebay which matched it and it should work, but apparently the card is dead. So that's a thing I'll have to look up and try to resell, because I have no idea if the G200 could work with that BIOS.

I do not know which G200 you are referring to that is dead or whether the ram expansion has anything to do with it, but please, try to recover the bios on the G200 if it is just a blank screen. It has been determined that many G200 cards in a supposed dead condition, really work and just need to be refreshed...
Matrox Millennium G200 "No Signal" Issues

Reply 6 of 33, by bifo78

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the3dfxdude wrote on 2021-08-14, 00:19:
bifo78 wrote on 2021-08-13, 05:08:
Warlord wrote on 2021-08-13, 03:38:

I like it. Sick matrox card 16mb? Thats crazy nice for that.

yeah i did a lot of research on the part, found a compaq part number that was being sold on ebay which matched it and it should work, but apparently the card is dead. So that's a thing I'll have to look up and try to resell, because I have no idea if the G200 could work with that BIOS.

I do not know which G200 you are referring to that is dead or whether the ram expansion has anything to do with it, but please, try to recover the bios on the G200 if it is just a blank screen. It has been determined that many G200 cards in a supposed dead condition, really work and just need to be refreshed...
Matrox Millennium G200 "No Signal" Issues

Thanks, this is great info. The POST beep code is the same with or without the SGRAM expansion. It's a G2+/MILP/8D/IBM with a G2+/SDMOD8/CPQ expansion. The card appears to be in pristine shape. It looks as though the card BIOS refresh fixes it so it will boot, but I'm not sure from the description whether it's a problem with displaying text mode or BIOS or some other resolutions? I'll still need to be able to install Win98 on the system since the drives are blank.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 7 of 33, by the3dfxdude

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bifo78 wrote on 2021-08-14, 14:40:

Thanks, this is great info. The POST beep code is the same with or without the SGRAM expansion. It's a G2+/MILP/8D/IBM with a G2+/SDMOD8/CPQ expansion. The card appears to be in pristine shape. It looks as though the card BIOS refresh fixes it so it will boot, but I'm not sure from the description whether it's a problem with displaying text mode or BIOS or some other resolutions? I'll still need to be able to install Win98 on the system since the drives are blank.

I had the blank screen issue myself on one of my previously working cards, and the recovery fixes it. Most people seem to say they have a blank screen, but a few have had the card partially working in one mode, and when it switches, it is blank. So this is why I am suggesting to people thinking that the card is dead (i.e. blank screen), use the matrox recovery. If you tried it, you'll note that you only need a floppy drive, and it boots and runs recovery automatically.

I don't remember getting a POST beep code when the card's, I guess EEPROM, was corrupt. It was just blank. If you are getting post codes, I am not sure if this will help. Some people have run with another card in the system so they can see the program run. Please let us know if this is a card that is recovered.

Reply 8 of 33, by bifo78

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I'll work on flashing the G200, I'm finally getting around to installing Win98 and I have to figure out why it doesn't want to boot from the floppy drive once that's done. The Millenium is functioning and the BIOS is accessible and seems to be working. I've installed the G200 in one of the PCI slots as well as the 10BT ethernet and the 1505 SCSI in the ISAs as well, the BIOS senses everything during boot and 2 as a VGA card but otherwise the G200 isn't functional. I pulled it for the time being, since for some reason when I write the disk image to a formatted HD floppy on my Dell C600, it isn't bootable and I'm not sure why. It seems to have problems booting at times.

I had forgotten how, well, crap it was back in the old days to install Win98, so that's failed a few times on the 8gb drive. The 250gb PATA drive is no longer a possibility since I decided to forego the ATA/100 PCI card in order to keep the two and the AMIBIOS version is 7/28/1997S which is not the latest. I have a newer version marked 19980410S as 5600410s.ami, but no installer or bootdisk. I do have an EPROM burner which should be able to do the job, the file is 128k, so is that how I need to use the .ami file?

I'm also wondering if the fact that I'm using an ATX power supply with an ATX-AT converter is causing the problems since the M560 only has an AT power connector, or if the crashes are due to a problem with the win98 disk (I 'successfully' installed it once, but it halted during the initial boot from hard drive). I'm also going to double-check my jumper settings, since it's an MMX 200 installed which boots. I'm burning another win98 disk right now since I can't remember where my original is.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 9 of 33, by Gmlb256

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bifo78 wrote on 2021-08-13, 23:54:

The PC Chips motherboard is one of the strange ones with both SIMM and DIMM slots, which can be used simultaneously (but only 2 of the 4 SIMM slots) and since I already had the SIMMs I'm going to use them anyway.

Mixing SIMM and DIMM is not a great idea for safety and stability reasons. If the computer can boot with both of them the memory will run with the speed of the slowest one which in this case are the ones installed on the SIMM slots.

bifo78 wrote on 2021-08-19, 01:42:

I'm also wondering if the fact that I'm using an ATX power supply with an ATX-AT converter is causing the problems since the M560 only has an AT power connector, or if the crashes are due to a problem with the win98 disk (I 'successfully' installed it once, but it halted during the initial boot from hard drive). I'm also going to double-check my jumper settings, since it's an MMX 200 installed which boots. I'm burning another win98 disk right now since I can't remember where my original is.

I have one of these ATX to AT converter with -5v support and don't have any issues with it.

Reply 10 of 33, by bifo78

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I'm not actually using the SIMMs at this point, I was aware of the speed limitation and just spent a few dollars on another DIMM to pair in.

Currently the system will boot, sort of, but not correctly and not fully. The issue appears to be that the Pentium MMX processor will only boot when the board jumper settings are set for P54C instead of P55C. When set to P55C (correct for an MMX processor) it becomes completely unresponsive. Clock multiplier is set to 3.0x and system clock set to 66mhz as it should be, voltage is set to 2.8 as recommended. When the system boots, the processor is identified as a Pentium MMX 200 as expected, but again, only when set to p54C, which would explain the instability, but I'm a little lost on how the P55C setting could be causing it to refuse to boot.

EDIT: it appears to be booting with P55C with voltage set to 2.9v, still shows as a 200mhz Pentium MMX but appears to be more stable. Currently reattempting Win98 install.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 12 of 33, by bifo78

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Windows is successfully installed, drivers installed and it's working now. Part of the problem seems to have been that the 128MB DIMM is not supported, max 64MB, despite the fact that it would boot with it when set to P54C. Another 64MB is on the way. Beyond that, an attempt to install nusb36e or nusb33e screws up the USB drivers because the USB chipset is not supported by that driver.

New problems discovered are that the system doesn't seem to be able to use the 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives at the same time, which is a problem since the excuse reason for the build is to use as a disk burner for older systems and synthesizer/samplers. The drive lights will come on, but no matter how it's set in the BIOS, it won't read or write. I think the issue is with the 5.25 drive, which is an old scavenged part from a dead Sharp lunchbox and hasn't been tested, although I have checked the model number and it is a high density drive and it is from a system that either used 2 floppies or a floppy and an HDD. The light comes on and the drive spins, so I'm not sure at the moment.

The only ISA network card I have is an NE2000 clone labeled EZ-2000, which I do not have the specific drivers for. I was able to install it as a generic NE2000 in 98, but I'm not sure if it's actually accessing it correctly, this sort of thing should be simple for 98 to be able to do since these were basically old tech by the time that 98 came out, right? The indicator lights on the card turn on when ethernet is connected, so it appears to be functional. However, I can't ping the router, and it's been a while since I've had to set this kind of thing up. I have added a TCPIP protocol to the NE2000 in the network settings. Does an NE2000 clone need company/model specific drivers (i.e. should I give up and buy something else) or is there some further setup I'm forgetting about?

Is there an amibios flash utility for windows 98 or is it more likely that I'll need to pull the chip and burn it with an EPROM burner? It might give me a chance to try my EPROM UV eraser.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 13 of 33, by chinny22

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Can you post a photo of the network card. Generic driver should be fine but you may need a program within the driver package to set or check things like what address it is configured for.
Windows setup always gets my cards IRQ wrong and I have to manually change it in Device manager.

Testing the card is easy enough, you want to check.
1) Can you ping 127.0.0.1 (loopback)? if so TCP/IP is installed ok
2) Can you pick up a DHCP address? If so TCP is able to talk on the network
3) Can you ping the PC's own IP address? If so it least basic networking is happening.
4) Can you ping something else. You already said you cant ping the router which isn't a good sign, can your daily PC? maybe its blocking pings but honestly I'm expecting one of the above steps to fail which will point us in the right direction

Reply 14 of 33, by bifo78

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It is not able to pick up a DCHP address, I'm pretty sure the drivers are incorrect. I'm not having any luck tracking down a UM9003AF driver.

IMG_20210826_225028_2.jpg
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Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 15 of 33, by zyga64

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I think chinny22 is right.
Try to set resources (I/O port, IRQ) by lanset.exe from this archive http://vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?fileid=8 … &menustate=34,0
Then adjust the same in Windows device manager (for NE2000 compatible card).
I'm using UM9003AF card in my 286, albeit only with its packet driver in DOS (with EtherDFS http://etherdfs.sourceforge.net/). Works great !

1) VLSI SCAMP /286@20 /4MB /CL-GD5422 /CMI8330
2) i420EX /486DX33 /16MB /TGUI9440 /YMF718+GUS
3) i440BX /P!!!750 /256MB /MX440 /SBLive!+Vibra16s

Reply 16 of 33, by bifo78

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The LANSET program initially gave me settings as IRQ 11 and DMA 280H-290F, so I removed the installed device in settings and reinstalled a generic NE2000, and set it up with those addresses. There was an apparent IRQ conflict with the AVA-1505 (which will only accept IRQs between 9-12 for some reason) but I didn't change it before rebooting. Now the NE2000 shows up saying it's correct in the system, but DHCP is still giving a 169.254 address and won't renew, and the AVA-1505 is now saying that the drivers need to be updated, but I don't have any other available IRQs between 9-12.

I've disabled the 1505 for now, but while the NE2000 device shows no conflicts, it still won't access DHCP and pull an IP correctly. I have several other systems on this router which work without issue, so the issue is with the network setup. I'd like to be able to change the IRQ address to 4 or 5, which are both available, but the LANSET program is only able to upload a file of settings to the device instead of being able to actively change settings itself.

EDIT: IRQ 11 is locked to USB, which cannot be changed for some reason, so there's an irrevocable IRQ conflict unless I can change the address on the card itself.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 17 of 33, by zyga64

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Unfortunately I lied... Actually my card is UM9008F 🙁 Sorry for the confusion.

Anyway I would try to set IRQ to 3 (disable COM2 in BIOS). Also most common I/O port is 0x300h.
Try with those values.

1) VLSI SCAMP /286@20 /4MB /CL-GD5422 /CMI8330
2) i420EX /486DX33 /16MB /TGUI9440 /YMF718+GUS
3) i440BX /P!!!750 /256MB /MX440 /SBLive!+Vibra16s

Reply 18 of 33, by bifo78

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It's not possible to change the card IRQ, unless there's a file template somewhere. As far as I can tell, it has to be uploaded to the card by the LANSET program, which doesn't do anything except upload/download the settings and give a readout of the settings. It does seem to be the right program, because it senses the UM9003AF as the target.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64

Reply 19 of 33, by bifo78

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I removed the USB with the broken drivers from the system, but after the reboot it reinstalled the correct driver, which didn't cause any problems. It was still not possible to change the IRQ though. However, the next reboot caused it to automatically install a USB root hub and now while it will boot to windows, it's unresponsive to mouse clicks, even after removing the USB hub from devices.

Korg AG-10 | Kawai XS-1 | Roland CM-32P | Yamaha FB-01 | Roland D-110 | Roland M-GS64