VOGONS


Yet another 286 build.

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Reply 40 of 165, by badmojo

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Nice 286!

I don't know if CGA compatibility is something you care about but I had some fun finding the right VGA card for my 286 a while back and ended up with a WDC based Diamond Speedstar. Details here: Re: It's 286 time!

Life? Don't talk to me about life.

Reply 41 of 165, by simon_e_hall

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Apologies a bit or reminiscing going on here, possibly to justify why I have gone to the 286.

Nothing technical, so skip ahead if your want, a bit of a ‘Meg-a-sode ‘ for family guy fans. Click that button no one will blame you…

CGA Compatibility is not something I considered but I am a fan of the Diamond Speedstar series, my dream back then was always the VGA standard.
My first computer was a 286 Zenith Data Systems with CGA Display, which my dads work allowed personnel use for out of hours (no internet but Prince of Persia!). Got to admit I only liked the CGA standard when I bodged a cable and connected it to a TV screen via SCART, so the CGA colour effects worked as intended.

The computer was similar to the bad boy:
https://oldcrap.org/2020/10/30/zenith-supersport-286e/
I loved that machine unfortunately it died, convinced my dad to ask work when they swapped the computer, instead of scrapping to give it to him for me to try and repair, if I could not they could scrap it. My earliest repair job got it working it had CGA, 286-12, could use part of the upper memory for EMS around 200kb, cannot remember the exact amount, maybe expandable to about 4Mb or extended RAM, but even by then everything was going VGA.
Work gave dad a 386SX-25 it sucked think it was a similar form factor called Super Sport SX alright it was faster and could do more but just felt, well weak compared to the 286, I still have that system, but it is starting to fail (backlight/ LCD issue).

Then when the company closed offices in certain buildings my dad moved his main office computer to home (with permission as they were all outdated and due replacement).

And a 286 similar to this:
https://external-preview.redd.it/ZxSVI5e4wc6M … 53f15a7b4484f13

This is when I started really learning about the PC, now it was a big beast maybe even Anonymous Coward may approve, full size massive beast, even had an early version of a flat screen monitor, I even have the original operating system and manuals in their boxes, also boxed versions of Wordstar and Supercalc. Still had a MFM hard drive, which completely died, wish I still had this could have done so much with it today.

Reply 42 of 165, by simon_e_hall

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Enough of my old memories:

So current configuration of the cards is:

1) ET4000/W32i – happy with this so far
2) Etherlink III - Could change this to a ENET/16 thing but the etherlink cards always work well
3) 9600 baud MODEM on COM2 - just because well, I could and is a bit out there.
4) ALS100+ with MIDI daughter board, it is the only card that I can find that works so far in my collect for both MIDI and digital, I have music and voice on Day of the Tentacle on a 286!!! Something I could have only dreamed of
5) LoTech 2MB EMS Board – It works
6) Promise EIDE card – Only card I am not sure about, should I go back to SCSI?

Last edited by simon_e_hall on 2022-06-15, 07:12. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 43 of 165, by Anonymous Coward

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286 + EGA is a match made in heaven (or hell, depending on how you look at it).
I'm actually waiting for some official support from those RBGi to VGA adapter thingies for "SuperEGA", so that I have good excuse to downgrade my 286 to EGA.
NEC multisync II would have been nice, but too much trouble these days.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 45 of 165, by simon_e_hall

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2022-06-15, 01:38:

The lotech is only 8-bit EMS which is a bit limiting in a 286

True, would like to find one of 16 bit ISA plug in cards that Intel use to make, sure I saw one once which could be setup for EMS only. However, the lotech will do for the time being, maybe a 'upgrade' for the future.

Reply 46 of 165, by appiah4

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pshipkov wrote on 2022-06-14, 15:23:
@simon_e_hall The one here works fine with 4x4Mb RAM. Not picky at all. […]
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@simon_e_hall
The one here works fine with 4x4Mb RAM. Not picky at all.

This thread is turning well with now appiah4 stepping down on 286 path with very mediocre board that should at least partially satisfy Anonymous Coward's lust for this kind of stuff.
Which makes me wonder if the different HL chipset version 101/12/16/18 are pin compatible. I should search online for datasheets first before asking the question here, but if somebody knows right away ...

Hey, don't call my board mediocre. How many 286 boards do you know that have integrated multi I/O? 🙁

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 47 of 165, by simon_e_hall

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Well I don't know how, but thought I would try the 4mb modules again since I have been playing with the RAM and the jumpers, and well it now works, I now have 16mb of RAM in the 286, total overkill! When I pull the motherboard out to solder the crystal sockets might also check the simm sockets, as I really have not changed much for them to just start working. But I am happy, next job is to figure out why the 2mb expansion will not work on the graphics card.

Reply 48 of 165, by chrismeyer6

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It's possible there was some oxidation on the pins of the Simms slots or the Simms themselves and you ended up cleaning them with a few rounds of installation and removal. Some video cards had jumpers to enable the extra ram when you add the memory chips.

Reply 49 of 165, by Jo22

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simon_e_hall wrote on 2022-06-15, 15:54:

Well I don't know how, but thought I would try the 4mb modules again since I have been playing with the RAM and the jumpers, and well it now works, I now have 16mb of RAM in the 286, total overkill!

That would be awesome for OS/2 v1.3! 😁
There are some Presentation Manager games for v1.2/1.3, even!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M8_FpF2udk

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 50 of 165, by simon_e_hall

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Jo22 wrote on 2022-06-15, 16:18:
That would be awesome for OS/2 v1.3! 😁 There are some Presentation Manager games for v1.2/1.3, even! […]
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simon_e_hall wrote on 2022-06-15, 15:54:

Well I don't know how, but thought I would try the 4mb modules again since I have been playing with the RAM and the jumpers, and well it now works, I now have 16mb of RAM in the 286, total overkill!

That would be awesome for OS/2 v1.3! 😁
There are some Presentation Manager games for v1.2/1.3, even!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M8_FpF2udk

Way ahead of you there, but...
However, it was working before I started changing the system around.

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Reply 51 of 165, by simon_e_hall

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2022-06-15, 16:09:

It's possible there was some oxidation on the pins of the Simms slots or the Simms themselves and you ended up cleaning them with a few rounds of installation and removal. Some video cards had jumpers to enable the extra ram when you add the memory chips.

My thoughts as well, will give them a proper gut out and clean when I take the motherboard out of the case. Only jumpers on the video card are for enabling IRQ9 and 1WS.

Reply 52 of 165, by Jo22

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simon_e_hall wrote on 2022-06-15, 16:35:
Jo22 wrote on 2022-06-15, 16:18:
That would be awesome for OS/2 v1.3! 😁 There are some Presentation Manager games for v1.2/1.3, even! […]
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simon_e_hall wrote on 2022-06-15, 15:54:

Well I don't know how, but thought I would try the 4mb modules again since I have been playing with the RAM and the jumpers, and well it now works, I now have 16mb of RAM in the 286, total overkill!

That would be awesome for OS/2 v1.3! 😁
There are some Presentation Manager games for v1.2/1.3, even!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M8_FpF2udk

Way ahead of you there, but...
However, it was working before I started changing the system around.

Ah, I see. Just try another version. 🙂 There were releases by both Microsoft and IBM.
Microsoft did tend to optimize their stuff with 386 instructions and other workarounds.
IBM was more conservative, I think. Well, when it affected their own hardware. 😉
Don't use anything from before 1987 or so.
I think, that roughly was when PC-DOS 3.3 came out and IBM changed its mind in respect to compatibles.
By the 1990s, Team OS/2 was very dedicated and creative, though, no offense. 🙂

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 53 of 165, by jakethompson1

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simon_e_hall wrote on 2022-06-15, 15:54:

Well I don't know how, but thought I would try the 4mb modules again since I have been playing with the RAM and the jumpers, and well it now works, I now have 16mb of RAM in the 286, total overkill! When I pull the motherboard out to solder the crystal sockets might also check the simm sockets, as I really have not changed much for them to just start working. But I am happy, next job is to figure out why the 2mb expansion will not work on the graphics card.

Nice. I doubt it matters on a 286, but 16MB does mean there is no address space for an SVGA linear framebuffer if you would have reason to use one.
By the way, the datasheet for the HT-18 says that it supports hardware EMS just like the other Headland chipsets. I realize this is no help without a driver, although if you search around there are claims the HT18 is compatible with one of the other Headland drivers. And perhaps you are trying to do UMBs and EMS at the same time?

Reply 54 of 165, by maxtherabbit

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I've yet to even run into a ISA VGA with a linear framebuffer. The ET4k cards certainly don't have it.

Being able to partition off some of that onboard 16MB for wire speed 16bit EMS would be wonderful. If this were my build I would be focusing 100% of my efforts in that direction. Save yourself 4-8MB of XMS and Win3.1 will run great as well

Reply 55 of 165, by Jo22

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I second that, 4MB upwards is fine for Windows 3.1 on a 286. I used that configuration for years.
However, it's possible a power user may need more.

However, if we try to run OS/2 v1.3.. I don't honestly know. 🤷‍♂️
For testing purposes, I used 8MB, I think.
If we have four slots, maybe we can try 4MB+4MB and 1MB+1MB SIMM pairs ?
That will be 10MB, below the 16MB limit.

In an ideal world, the motherboard would have a memory hole option (15MB-16MB).
However, if the 286 supports shadow memory or EMS, it might be possible to waste enough Extended Memory that there's some "empty" space below 16MB..

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 56 of 165, by simon_e_hall

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Okay been playing and the configuration is not perfect and needs a few tweaks. But Quadtel/ Headland EMS driver (MM.SYS) working with HIMEM.SYS and QRAM.SYS. So have EMS, XMS and UMB on a 286 but it needs work, for example:

If I tell MM.SYS I want 2mb of RAM, HIMEM.SYS then only allocated 2mb of XMS, but if I don't thell MM.SYS it automatically either allocates 320kb or 740kb randomly and HIMEM.SYS works.
Also been using VIDE-CDD.SYS but that now freezes the system with MM.SYS, not a deal breaker plenty of CD drivers out there to choose from.
Certain other little crashes when I try and test EMS but to be expected.

Also I have the shadow options disabled at present, might do some testing with them enabled to see the results.

But it is a start, so the LoTech has been removed for the time being.

Intresting idea about 4mb + 4mb and 1mb + 1mb, it is unusual and I like unusual.

Also of note is the region E000 - EFFF still cannot be used.

Reply 57 of 165, by pshipkov

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@appiah4
Hope my words didn't offend the poor mobo. They were mostly a joke.
286 PCBs with integrated IDE/FDD are not that rare but always cool indeed.
The serious side of my message was that all 286/386 Headland chipsets are not great in general.

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Having hard time following the conversation about the RAM card.
What is the point of bothering with that if there are 16Mb of on-board RAM ?

retro bits and bytes

Reply 58 of 165, by simon_e_hall

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pshipkov wrote on 2022-06-16, 05:55:
@appiah4 Hope my words didn't offend the poor mobo. They were mostly a joke. 286 PCBs with integrated IDE/FDD are not that rare […]
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@appiah4
Hope my words didn't offend the poor mobo. They were mostly a joke.
286 PCBs with integrated IDE/FDD are not that rare but always cool indeed.
The serious side of my message was that all 286/386 Headland chipsets are not great in general.

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Having hard time following the conversation about the RAM card.
What is the point of bothering with that if there are 16Mb of on-board RAM ?

Essentially the HT18 chipset can do EMS, so removed the ram card.

Reply 59 of 165, by appiah4

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simon_e_hall wrote on 2022-06-16, 08:52:
pshipkov wrote on 2022-06-16, 05:55:
@appiah4 Hope my words didn't offend the poor mobo. They were mostly a joke. 286 PCBs with integrated IDE/FDD are not that rare […]
Show full quote

@appiah4
Hope my words didn't offend the poor mobo. They were mostly a joke.
286 PCBs with integrated IDE/FDD are not that rare but always cool indeed.
The serious side of my message was that all 286/386 Headland chipsets are not great in general.

---

Having hard time following the conversation about the RAM card.
What is the point of bothering with that if there are 16Mb of on-board RAM ?

Essentially the HT18 chipset can do EMS, so removed the ram card.

But they can't do EMS and UMb at the same time, can they? I believe @HamJammer had a few videos about this.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.