Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

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Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

Postby uematsufreak » 2018-11-09 @ 02:10

Hi, all. It's been ages since I've dealt with hardware of this age, and I'm remembering just how frustrating the transition to Plug and Pray really was. :P

I have an Epox MVP3G-M board with the only ISA card installed being this ReelMagic EM7011 MPEG decoder card. I have the VGA passthrough and all of that is working fine, but I can't seem to get any driver installation programs to detect the thing. I'm using a PCI soundcard which is manually mapped to IRQ 5 via the BIOS, and I've set multiple IRQ and DMA addresses (IRQ 9,10,11 and DMA 0,5,6,7) to "Legacy ISA" in a somewhat aggressive attempt to get the motherboard to deal with the card properly. I've tried multiple versions of the ReelMagic drivers, including the v1.11 straight from the Return to Zork MPEG disc. Each time I get the error "ReelMagic Board not found, or no I/O addresses available."

I have a feeling there's something simple and noobish I've missed, and I appreciate any help in advance. :)

EDIT: This coupled with some other odd behavior is leading me to believe that my power supply is causing the issue. If anyone has any other ideas in the meantime, feel free to shoot them my way, but I'll need to grab another power supply to test my suspicion in the meantime.
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Re: Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

Postby fitzpatr » 2018-11-09 @ 04:27

It is unlikely that the ISA card will work with any of the IRQs greater than 7. The core IRQs are 0-7, so you should try disabling your COM or LPT ports and then assigning that IRQ (probably 3 or 4) to Legacy ISA.
Last edited by fitzpatr on 2018-11-09 @ 22:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

Postby uematsufreak » 2018-11-09 @ 13:15

Thanks for the tip regarding core IRQ's! It didn't help me in this instance, but this will likely prove to be valuable knowledge in the future. I tried disabling the COM and LPT ports in the BIOS and setting their IRQ's (3,4,7) to Legacy ISA. Exact same problem.

Still haven't gotten another PSU to see what that does. I've been having strange issues with a few games. Most notably SkyRoads, which freezes during the intro before the title pops up. This is the kind of thing that makes me suspect the power supply. I could 100% be wrong here, so any other ideas are still quite welcome.
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Re: Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

Postby fitzpatr » 2018-11-09 @ 18:20

I should expand, since core IRQs isn't really the right term. Basically, early IBM PCs had an Interrupt Controller with 8 channels, 0-7. Once the need for more of them arose, they tied another controller with 8 more channels to IRQ2, which added 8-15. Generally, anything related to DOS and ISA works best on the low IRQs. I recommend that you read the Wikipedia article on Interrupt Requests for more information. DMA channels work similarly, with low and high DMA options existing.

I would make sure that you're only reserving as many resources in the BIOS as you need. Is the card detected in Windows? Does it have any jumpers on it?
Last edited by fitzpatr on 2018-11-09 @ 21:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

Postby uematsufreak » 2018-11-09 @ 20:07

I gotcha. I came into computers with a 486 but didn't start getting heavy into hardware and such until Socket A boards. :P Anyway, I've disabled everything I'm not using and tried forcing other IRQ/DMA's to Legacy ISA. Still nothing. The card has no jumpers (I wish it *did* at this point) and this partition is pure DOS as of now, but I've been considering getting a second SD card (I'm using an SD to IDE adapter) set up for '98/DOS 7.1. I'll go ahead and do that now.

(Side note, I also ruled out the power supply and CPU as the cause of *any* of the problems I've been experiencing.)

EDIT: Under Windows '98 using the Windows installer, I can confirm it at least installs drivers at this point, which is something I couldn't get to happen in pure DOS at all. We'll see if it ends up working from here.
EDIT 2: No dice. Installing the drivers causes Windows to freeze on boot (I'm assuming when initializing the card.) Device Manager doesn't show any evidence of the card's existence.
EDIT 3: Me jumping the gun and installing the ReelMagic stuff before my sound drivers made the ReelMagic installation think my card had the sound capabilities the old model does, so it has set it up as well. I've removed the audio-related entries it added via msconfig and gotten it to boot. Now it's saying that the interrupt wasn't found. Sounds to me like the Windows driver installation just lets me install the drivers whether or not the card is there. Nothing in Device Manager looks like the ReelMagic card, either.
EDIT 4: After a bunch of uninstalling, reinstalling, installing while in DOS mode, etc. I've come to the conclusion that when I have my PCI sound card (220/5/1) initialized, the computer can't find the ReelMagic card, but when the sound card isn't enabled, it can find it.
EDIT 5: Going to test right now to confirm that it was a conflict with the PCI sound card I was using on a fresh MS-DOS 6.22 install and no sound card inserted. If the card is detected, I may end up buying a Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and swapping to it for the easiest possible solution.
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Re: Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

Postby uematsufreak » 2018-11-10 @ 22:05

I've confirmed that the sound card has nothing to do with it. A fresh install of MS-DOS 6.22 with sound drivers on or off allows the ReelMagic drivers to detect the card and install the drivers just fine. I can change the port, IRQ, and DMA for the MPEG playback in the setup utility, but no combination of settings will actually allow the card to initialize for MPEG playback, whether set the motherboard as "Resources Controlled By: Auto" or manually set them myself to match what the ReelMagic setup utility has them set as.

I managed to install Return to Zork MPEG and it technically runs with nothing from the ReelMagic side working. In other words, no FMV's play and no background graphics show.

EDIT: Got it to initialize properly! Apparently I just needed to run the *latest* drivers ever since this last fresh MS-DOS install (even though I keep seeing people recommend older drivers) to get it to work. The hardware side of this is done. Thank you. (Now I need to get Return to Zork to actually *work.* It's saying "disc read error" *grumble grumble*)
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Re: Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

Postby fitzpatr » 2018-11-11 @ 02:52

Congrats!
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Re: Issues with ReelMagic EM7011 ISA card

Postby uematsufreak » 2018-11-16 @ 21:27

ReelMagic EM7011 woes continued.

I'm beginning to think the hardware side ISN'T done. I simply CANNOT get this thing to play MPEG video at all. The latter two versions of the drivers initialize the card fine upon boot, the card is recognized and games will start up. Once any game gets to where any FMV should be, it just shows black and sometimes crashes. I'm on an ISA Sound Blaster 16 CT2230 now, so the PCI sound card mess is out of the picture. I've yet to see a video come from this card. I've tried all sorts of combinations of I/O, IRQ, and DMA options, with all four drivers. I've switched CD-ROM drives (as Return to Zork kept telling me it was a disc read error) and I've tried putting the contents of the Dragon's Lair disc onto its own partition on my SD card. All produce the same effect.

Is it safe to say I have a dead card or could this still be an id10t error?

EDIT: Reinstalled MS-DOS, the Soundblaster software, and the ReelMagic drivers (v2.20.) It's back to not initializing no matter what settings I give it. To be more specific, I'm getting "DSP Initialization failure" under "MPEG Playback" but it does detect the board at any I/O address I set it to.
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