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First post, by Prez

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Hi all !

This post follows the first one here about the technical thing about Futro S220 like thin clients not able to use PC PCI soundcards : Sound cards don't works as intended on some Thin clients like Fujitsu Futro S220 and so on (and why )

To resume, the problem is that some PCI pins are not connected/powered by this thin client. You can see all the pinout in the wikipedia page here :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conventional_PCI

What is of interest for us is especially the +12V pin, corresponding to Side 1, pin 2 on the page. This pin is actually very useful for PC soundcards, because it is used by their amplificators and maybe, by the joystick plug also. The main thing is that if this pin don't receive any voltage, you will not be able to hear something from soundcards on these thin clients ! So here is the deal : to connect this pin to something inside our machine and try to get those 12 volts.

On the Fujitsu Futro S220, for bad luck, we don't have the choice. The power unit inside just pull out 5 volts, its all we're gonna get here. So, lets use this 5V and connect our missing voltage PCI pin to that !

First i did buy some cheap PCI soundcards to make some tests, which seems not to have a real amplification chip on it :
cartes.jpg

Then i did put out the motherboard of the Futro S220 to look at this needed PCI pin (in the blue circle here ) and connect a wire :
pci_port.jpg

Next, connect this wire to the 5V directly :
alim.jpg

And voila !
I did some tests with these two cards in the first picture :
- The ALS4000 works great, really great ! Did play some common games such as Doom, Descent, DukeNukem3D, Prince Of Persia perfectly with sounds and music !
- No chance with the CMI8738 but i'm not sure this very cheap card is functionning at all
- Last, i did run some tests with a Yamaha YMF744 and it seems not happy with the 5V line, i will do some more tests later.
- I will try a SoundBlaster Live! card but i'm pretty sure it will have the same problem as the Yamaha

The next step, if i'm lucky to receive it in a few days, will be to use this kind of device which take some voltages in, our 5 volts, and output an higher voltage (12V so) :
voltage_up.jpg

It only cost about $3 so that's okay. This should resolve definitively the problem with Yamaha cards or others which needs really +12V. I hope so 😉 Will let you know of course.

ps : There is maybe a higher voltage source on the Futro motherboard but i didn't find it !

Best regards
Philippe Dubois

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-05-10, 03:52. Edited 4 times in total.

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Reply 2 of 48, by Prez

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gdjacobs wrote on 2020-05-06, 23:09:

How did you find the sound quality of the ALS4000?

I'm not sure for now, compared to others, but it sounded okay ! sounds are compatible with SB16, which is great, and music under Descent Setup in OPL3 mode sounded great !
A lot of people says it sounds crap compared to a real OPL3. I cannot say right now. For me, its a great soundcard for DOS games, as far as i tested only some games.

Best regards

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Reply 3 of 48, by Prez

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Hi there,

Next is my TECO TR3540, and the result should be a little more effective, because i was able to find more voltage on the motherboard, 8.6V ! woot ! 😉

The TECO TR3540 looks very similar to the Futro S220, or the other way around, as you like, but not exactly the same :
tr3540.jpg

The goal is still to give some voltage at the same PCI pin here :
pcipin.jpg

But finally i manage to find another source of voltage on the motherboard, not just 5V from the power source, but some 8.6 Volts here :
alim.jpg

Which give us the following result :
pont.jpg

It works with the ALS4000 now ! I will do some more tests on following soundcards :
- CMI8738 : works as it could 😉 music ok, sounds i dunno, will see later, but the mod is effective for this card also
- Yamaha YMF744 (fingers crossed : will 8.6V will be enough ?) : Not working, the PC won't even boot. I think its relative to the voltage source i found, the Yamaha maybe needs to much current. We'll see later.
- Same with SoundBlaster Live! : KO, the soundcard is too large and doesn't fit in the Teco 🙁 (but still i have an idea to test it)

Best regards,
Philippe Dubois.

Last edited by Prez on 2020-05-07, 10:07. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 4 of 48, by xjas

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Nice work! Following this thread with interest. 😀

TBH I've kind of been enjoying PC Speaker gaming on mine, nobody hears those sounds anymore. 😜 But proper soundcard support will be nice.

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Reply 5 of 48, by ShovelKnight

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Using a DC-DC boost converter is a great idea, I doubt a sound card would consume a lot of current so you might get away with using the smallest/cheapest converters from China which sell for about 1€ on eBay

Reply 6 of 48, by Prez

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ShovelKnight wrote on 2020-05-07, 10:38:

Using a DC-DC boost converter is a great idea, I doubt a sound card would consume a lot of current so you might get away with using the smallest/cheapest converters from China which sell for about 1€ on eBay

Yes absolutly right ! the ones at 3$ were in spain, near my country for fast delivery, that's why 😉

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Reply 7 of 48, by Prez

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Still, because they're used for amplification, quality is important, therefore a lot of noise could be generated. We'ill see 😀

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Reply 8 of 48, by xjas

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How's the 8.6V mod working? Any problems yet?

I'm kinda wondering whrere that's coming from, if it's being generated on the motherboard somewhere on purpose or just as a side effect of some other transform. I assume it's there for a reason... As long as you're not drawing too much power away from whatever is using it, it should be fine, but you never know. I doubt these sound cards use very much.

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Reply 9 of 48, by Prez

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xjas wrote on 2020-05-12, 18:31:

How's the 8.6V mod working? Any problems yet?

I'm kinda wondering whrere that's coming from, if it's being generated on the motherboard somewhere on purpose or just as a side effect of some other transform. I assume it's there for a reason... As long as you're not drawing too much power away from whatever is using it, it should be fine, but you never know. I doubt these sound cards use very much.

Yes it might be done for a purpose here, no place for random things, but yes, the soundcard just need some very low power amplification (just a transistor here on cheap soundcards) so that's okay.
My Yamaha YMF744 didn't like the trick, i beleive it needs a litte more power. But both a CMI8738 and a nice ALS4000 are okay with this trick.

I'm waiting for my voltage leveller to do a nicer trick, pulling from the +5V to +12V nicely.

Best regards
Philippe

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Reply 10 of 48, by xjas

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I ended up doing the 5V mod... As you mentioned, the Fujitsu motherboard is slightly different & mine doesn't even have D18 in that area on the motherboard.

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I also added a few filter caps to the PCI riser. I just guessed at the values, and didn't bother with the tiny surface-mount ones, but I figured it couldn't hurt. Not sure these make that much of a difference.

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At first I tried the worst ESS SOLO-1 I've ever seen. I could actually hear output from this without the 5V mod, but it was at the same level as the noise floor & if you cranked up your speakers you could just about make out what was going on, albeit while wincing in severe ear-pain. It also output a persistent whine from bus noise. With the mod done (including the filter caps), it... wasn't any different to be honest, just louder. Don't buy these! 😜

Then I tried a CMI8738 that previously wouldn't even initialize. Worked great!

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(Don't mind my Apple II on the couch in the background, it's not supposed to be there. Long story...)

This thing actually sounds really good - the output is decently clean, and the FM isn't bad at all. Digital sound doesn't work in some games & demos, but that's to be expected with these. I'll probably try a few more cards later (my Ensoniq / Creative CT4810 would probably work now), but for now I'm just happy to have this little box on my desk with decent sound support.

I also stuck in a 1GB CF card instead of the glacially slow USB stick I've been running it from - it gets recognized as IDE Secondary Master, but I can't get it to boot from it yet. I probably have to boot from a floppy and SYS it again instead of doing it from the USB stick.

Incidentally, here's a bunch of high-res photos of the power supply if anyone wants to try & figure out whether there's 12V in there somewhere. Without taking it apart myself, it doesn't look like it, but I'm not any kind of electrical engineer so maybe I'm missing it.

Filename
Fujitsu S300 PSU.7z
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4.03 MiB
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71 downloads
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Public domain

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Reply 11 of 48, by xjas

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BTW I realized after the fact you could also pull +5V from the internal USB port (which is right near the PCI slot), it even has an unsoldered 5V pin on most of these. I don't know if there's any advantage doing it that way over grabbing it from the PSU input.

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Reply 12 of 48, by Prez

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Nice ! Thanks you for your experience !
As soon i receive the voltage leveller i'll do some tests.
I doubt there is some +12V in the power supply.

Best regards
Philippe Dubois

Old computers and videogames freak
President of french association https://mo5.com
Get better, get old ! 😁

Reply 13 of 48, by Prez

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Hi all !

A nice little video, Doom in 1080P (haha !) on the Futro S220 with the 5V mod and an ALS4000 ! Very nice sound !!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUBMJIYoKrw

Best regards
Philippe Dubois

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President of french association https://mo5.com
Get better, get old ! 😁

Reply 14 of 48, by xjas

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^^ Nice! I've been a little disappointed in the CMI8738 - the FM sounds pretty good, but it seems there's very little compatibility for PCM playback. Only a select few titles can do anything with it. Still, if you consider it an "Adlib"-type FM card (actually OPL3) it does the job pretty well.

I tidied up my table a bit & here it is filling the room with FM synth tunes through a pair of Minimus 7s (using an old boom box under the table as an amp) :

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Is there a good list of stuff to try that's known to work with the CMI8738 somewhere?

twitch.tv/oldskooljay - playing the obscure, forgotten & weird - most Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 6:30 PM PDT. Bonus streams elsewhen!

Reply 16 of 48, by xjas

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Heh, it's the stock stand for one of the Dell E177FPs in my quad-monitor setup. I had to drill four new holes in the (non-VESA, Dell-style) metal mounting plate to fit the Eyoyo, but it worked well enough. I wish it had height adjustment because it looks kind of doofy as-is, but it's actually decent viewing level so not complaining too much there.

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Reply 17 of 48, by Prez

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xjas wrote on 2020-05-16, 02:31:
^^ Nice! I've been a little disappointed in the CMI8738 - the FM sounds pretty good, but it seems there's very little compatibil […]
Show full quote

^^ Nice! I've been a little disappointed in the CMI8738 - the FM sounds pretty good, but it seems there's very little compatibility for PCM playback. Only a select few titles can do anything with it. Still, if you consider it an "Adlib"-type FM card (actually OPL3) it does the job pretty well.

I tidied up my table a bit & here it is filling the room with FM synth tunes through a pair of Minimus 7s (using an old boom box under the table as an amp) :
20200515_134820.jpg

Is there a good list of stuff to try that's known to work with the CMI8738 somewhere?

Oh ! "Monsieur a du goût" ! I like Memorex and Radio Shack times so much. I would like the same Minimus, so classy 😉

The best way to obtain a near perfect sound with a PCI port and the +5V mod would be to grab an ALS4000 sound card !
You can find some on Ebay or else.
This card is very easy to settle and gives me perfect FM sound and samples in all the games i tested !

Best regards
Philippe Dubois

Old computers and videogames freak
President of french association https://mo5.com
Get better, get old ! 😁

Reply 18 of 48, by Prez

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Hi all !

Here it is the final mod with +12V this time, thanks to this small pcb i did buy on internet for around $2 :

module.jpg
Believe me, the thing is small, i have small fingers 😉

You just have to solder the Vin- pin to the common mass of the machine, and the Vin+ pin to the 5V delivered by the internal power supply.
Next, move a little bit the littre screw on the blue component on one side, until you reach around +12V, and voila !
Next, of course, solder the PCI pin cable to Vout+ and here you are.

I did use what we did before with the +5V mod and the wire already soldered to the voltage missing PCI pin :
cartemere.jpg

Next, on the up side, i glued the module like this so it is okay to check and nothing gets in contact with it :
dessus.jpg

A zoom on the small beast :
grosplan.jpg

Another view around :
autrevue.jpg

Now, with a PCI soundcard like a cheap ALS4000 on the PCI slot :
dessous.jpg

If you wish to see&hear what it does sound like with a PCI sound card like the ALS4000, here you are !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcGXk42HuHg

PS: There is a lot of noise, because it is a cheap soundcard with no proper amplification stage ! Tomorrow i will test a more sophisticated soundcast like a Yamaha and see if it likes my 12V mod now 😉

Best regards,
Philippe Dubois

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Reply 19 of 48, by Prez

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Hi all !

The 12V mod did work also for the TECO TR3540 of course !

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You better put the small pcb a little more in the back to let full access to the Compact Flash reader 😀

And here we go with some games to be sure its okay, always using the noisy but fully fonctionning ALS4000 PCI soundcard :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTQbTSMavvk

Best regards
Philippe Dubois

Old computers and videogames freak
President of french association https://mo5.com
Get better, get old ! 😁