VOGONS


First post, by Predator99

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Hi, I recently bought that card in a lot:

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In its original stae it was without RAM, I populated Bank 0 and tried to get in running in any way. I used a 286 with 512 Kb onboard and looked if a EMS window opens somewhere in the upper memory or if it fills the 640 kb of base memory - but nothing. There are too many Jumper settings to try.

I am afraid without documentation this card is rather useless? 😕

I didnt find it on Stason or elsewehre:
https://www.google.de/search?q=site:http://st … w=1920&bih=1055

Looking at the ICs it seems to be quite similar to the DFi AT-Rambank:
http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/manuals/AT-RAMBANK.jpg

But the DFI has 8 + 8 DIPs and mine has 6 + 8 - so the documentation is useless.

FCC-ID is "FIF48G PE-505 16M"

...which refers to:
Personal Computer & Communication Inc
17932 Skypark Blvd, Suite H
Irvine CA
United States 92714

Anybody know that card or has an idea how to proceed...?

Thanks!

Reply 1 of 9, by Anonymous Coward

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Correct. Without the configuration software or the documentation, the card will be useless. It's a rather common and unfortunate problem with those old 286 RAM expansion cards. I once had a 4MB board from Tecmar, but in 10 years of searching I could never find the the stuff I needed to get it working so I junked it.

"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 2 of 9, by Predator99

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Hmm...I dont like to give up that fast...

I already figured out: With some switch settings on the right DIP bank the Memory check of the Mainboard (normally 1024 kb) stops at different steps:

2+4 OFF: 256 kb
4+5 OFF: 64 kb
5 OFF: No POST (0 kb?)
2+4 OFF 512 kb
2 OFF: 64 kb
2+3 OFF: 640 kb
2+3+4 OFF: 512 kb

It makes no difference if RAM is installed on the card or not...therefore I assume the chips I have chosen are faulty or not compatible...will check this later.

Therefore I assume these jumpers are related to the selection of the memory base. At least in XMS mode this board should run without a driver.

Reply 3 of 9, by Jo22

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Predator99 wrote:

Anybody know that card or has an idea how to proceed...?

Thanks!

Hi, I would try to find out first what SW1 and SW2 are intended for.

Maybe SW1 defines at which location(s) in memory the card should beging to provide its memory
and SW2 defines how much memory is installed on the card. Or vice versa, not sure.

Maybe you can study documentations of other cards, too.
This way, try to find out a scheme how the card reacts to different switch positions.

Or maybe a helpful individual with knowledge in electronics can help ?
The traces are not varnished, so maybe it is possible to recongize how the switches
affect the surrounding 74 series chips.

"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

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Reply 4 of 9, by bakemono

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In the photo you have a mixture of 64K and 256K chips. Try to find some more 256K chips to fill the whole bank before continuing. Maybe that's why the BIOS memory count went down during your tests, because the 64K chips are causing the memory test to fail.

Reply 5 of 9, by Predator99

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bakemono wrote:

In the photo you have a mixture of 64K and 256K chips. Try to find some more 256K chips to fill the whole bank before continuing. Maybe that's why the BIOS memory count went down during your tests, because the 64K chips are causing the memory test to fail.

...you are right...!!! Thanks for that advise - I didnt notice that. Will test later and report...

Reply 6 of 9, by eisapc

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As Anonymous Coward allready stated this is a common problem.
There is next to nothing on these boards on the web due to the fact these were manufactured and used before internet was common. All documents came on paper and vanished over the years if nobody put it on a scanner and released it on the web during the years.
Even switch settings may be easier to find out about by probing or some re-engineering following the PCB traces, than obtaining some obscure configuration software from some long gone company.
You may be lucky if you compare it with documented boards like the AST Rampage.

Reminds me to perform some testing on two Intel Aboveboards I recently detected in my storage.
Maybe they could prove useful to my 286 max RAM project currently stalling at 20 MB using 1 MB onboard 2x JUKO 6 MB extensions and 2x AST boards.
Don´t ask why you need this much memory in a 286, it was just done because it could be done.

Reply 7 of 9, by Predator99

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Hmmm, yes seems not to be that easy...

I populated Bank 0 with 512 kb of RAM which I tested in the Mainboard before. Tried again several DIP settings but nothing...

Now I used a 286 Board with 512 KB RAM onboard and selected the setting for 512 kb on the card. I assumed the RAM is allocated after the 512 kb. But when accessing this RAM with Debug.exe it says
D 9000:0

OFF BOARD PARITY ERROR
ADDR (HEX) = (0000:0002)
SYSTEM HALTED

This message was also displayed when loading himem.sys with some DIP settings...

Maybe that RAM is not compatible? Will continue to try with 64K chips only...

Reply 8 of 9, by Robin4

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Are you sure the ram ics needs to install on the right end of the card? Sometimes Bank 0 is on the left end of the card.

This week i bought an DFI rambank (aka 2000X) included with manual and drivers.. (totally happy to find this complete package) (only need to backup the drivers, because these are almost non-existence.)

Perhaps SW1 have something to do with the port adress mostly you need the first 4 switches

5,6,7 could be to let the card know how much conventionel memory is installed and active on the motherboard.

Switch 8 could be for the Memory ICs you used... It isnt possible to mixmatch 64KB and 256KB thogether. You need to choose from both.

S8 on = 256KB IC
S8 off = 64K IC Probably

~ At least it can do black and white~

Reply 9 of 9, by Predator99

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Hi, good points. But I already solved most problems with my cards:
ISA XMS/EMS Memory Extension / Expansion cards: Now Running without Driver / Documentation :-)

Dont forget to post your drivers. Thanks! 😀