VOGONS


Reply 60 of 208, by Inhibit

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BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-22, 18:59:

since it was doing that 4800mV 454mV thing buuut it looked more sensible when I turned off, restarted on battery, so no sure of exact interpretation of that, might be target/remaining but when plugged in is giving charge volts over top of battery volts or something.

I may need to take a look at what LiIon controller (hopefully it's dedicated) it's using. I noticed odd behavior while powered on and plugged in as well.

Reply 61 of 208, by BitWrangler

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Size comparisons.

The machines are:
Aspire One netbook, model ZG5. Atom/WinXP
Pocket386
Hewlett Packard 320LX Palmtop PC, Windows CE 2.0 Handheld.

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    A1 ZG5, Pocket386, HP 320LX in a pile.
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Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 62 of 208, by ascle

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Inhibit wrote on 2024-04-22, 22:05:
BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-22, 18:59:

since it was doing that 4800mV 454mV thing buuut it looked more sensible when I turned off, restarted on battery, so no sure of exact interpretation of that, might be target/remaining but when plugged in is giving charge volts over top of battery volts or something.

I may need to take a look at what LiIon controller (hopefully it's dedicated) it's using. I noticed odd behavior while powered on and plugged in as well.

I am going to assume this has something to do with the screen going /wild/ when you play a midi? It appears to be related to power draw at least; the distortion effect goes away entirely if you disable the "amplifier" in the fn+f5 setting and just use the line out for sound.

Reply 63 of 208, by Inhibit

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ascle wrote on 2024-04-22, 22:38:
Inhibit wrote on 2024-04-22, 22:05:
BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-22, 18:59:

since it was doing that 4800mV 454mV thing buuut it looked more sensible when I turned off, restarted on battery, so no sure of exact interpretation of that, might be target/remaining but when plugged in is giving charge volts over top of battery volts or something.

I may need to take a look at what LiIon controller (hopefully it's dedicated) it's using. I noticed odd behavior while powered on and plugged in as well.

I am going to assume this has something to do with the screen going /wild/ when you play a midi? It appears to be related to power draw at least; the distortion effect goes away entirely if you disable the "amplifier" in the fn+f5 setting and just use the line out for sound.

It wouldn't be the first time I've seen audio signal routing that leaves me scratching my head wondering what someone was thinking. I'm looking at you, Nintendo Famicom.

I haven't played with "disabling" the audio amplifier yet; near as I could tell at a glance the battery charge wonkiness I saw was a wildly (low) reading when it was plugged in. I was figuring the sense lines from whatever is charging the battery were connected in a way that make them trigger a warning state when the 12v line is plugged in and the system is on.

Reply 64 of 208, by ascle

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Well, mine bit the dust already.

It's complaining about a "FDC Failure" (floppy disk controller, I presume) and the PS2/VGA breakout board thing no longer functions. That's just lovely lmao. I sent a message to the seller so we'll see what happens... but I'm more than a little disappointed. ): I'm going to let the battery fully drain by letting it just hang out in DOS unplugged and then I'll give it a full charge; see if that does something. Not exactly inspiring confidence though...

Reply 65 of 208, by Inhibit

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ascle wrote on 2024-04-23, 02:13:

Well, mine bit the dust already.

It's complaining about a "FDC Failure" (floppy disk controller, I presume) and the PS2/VGA breakout board thing no longer functions. That's just lovely lmao. I sent a message to the seller so we'll see what happens... but I'm more than a little disappointed. ): I'm going to let the battery fully drain by letting it just hang out in DOS unplugged and then I'll give it a full charge; see if that does something. Not exactly inspiring confidence though...

I had the same issues after resetting (or possibly just saving) the BIOS. In my case the mouse port needed to be turned back on and the non-present floppy drive off to correct the issues.

Reply 66 of 208, by Televicious

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Just got one to play with. Quirky lil thing. Has potential for accessories. Could use an rtc module first and foremost. I like that the cpu is modular. It leaves the possibility of a 486 being added. Another thing that would be nice is a SB type card like ymf715 for the internal isa expansion. It sits right over the opl3. Crystal might be a good option too. Also, need to add wheels for those volume pots. Fun little tinker box though. Better screen and sound than the libretto's.

Reply 67 of 208, by radventure

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Televicious wrote on 2024-04-23, 04:41:

Just got one to play with. Quirky lil thing. Has potential for accessories. Could use an rtc module first and foremost. I like that the cpu is modular. It leaves the possibility of a 486 being added. Another thing that would be nice is a SB type card like ymf715 for the internal isa expansion. It sits right over the opl3. Crystal might be a good option too. Also, need to add wheels for those volume pots. Fun little tinker box though. Better screen and sound than the libretto's.

It didn't click for me that this had a module for the CPU/SOC. So if a bunch of Vortex chips could be found by the seller (preferably new / nos), they could offer a CPU upgrade? Of course the clever community EE types could do similar. Would an fpga CPU be feasible?

Reply 68 of 208, by wierd_w

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radventure wrote on 2024-04-23, 05:13:
Televicious wrote on 2024-04-23, 04:41:

Just got one to play with. Quirky lil thing. Has potential for accessories. Could use an rtc module first and foremost. I like that the cpu is modular. It leaves the possibility of a 486 being added. Another thing that would be nice is a SB type card like ymf715 for the internal isa expansion. It sits right over the opl3. Crystal might be a good option too. Also, need to add wheels for those volume pots. Fun little tinker box though. Better screen and sound than the libretto's.

It didn't click for me that this had a module for the CPU/SOC. So if a bunch of Vortex chips could be found by the seller (preferably new / nos), they could offer a CPU upgrade? Of course the clever community EE types could do similar. Would an fpga CPU be feasible?

For the fpga varieties that are nonvolatile, absolutely.

However, that is going to be very $$$, because you will need lots of logic units for that. The already existing vhdl cores for MiSter would be a good jumping off point.

RE: minimizing writes

This is again, why I feel a hardware EMS addon would be a killer feature for this little toy. IIRC, smartdrv can use EMS memory (for native write caching, system wide), and EMSDSK could provide 'swapfile' for windows.

Reply 69 of 208, by BitWrangler

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It's got 8MB of XMS you can allocate 4MB of that as EMS and still have 4MB to run everything that's not dog slow on a 386. Hardware EMS and 386es don't play nice. (Anything that sees a 386 and can use EMS assumes EMM386 and crashes if it's a hardware EMS driver)

Both that and using FPGA CPU cores make much more sense on a Book8088. Next186 is meant to be capable of being used in pin compatible 8088 module and then giving you landmark mhz in excess of 100.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 70 of 208, by ascle

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Inhibit wrote on 2024-04-23, 02:36:
ascle wrote on 2024-04-23, 02:13:

Well, mine bit the dust already.

It's complaining about a "FDC Failure" (floppy disk controller, I presume) and the PS2/VGA breakout board thing no longer functions. That's just lovely lmao. I sent a message to the seller so we'll see what happens... but I'm more than a little disappointed. ): I'm going to let the battery fully drain by letting it just hang out in DOS unplugged and then I'll give it a full charge; see if that does something. Not exactly inspiring confidence though...

I had the same issues after resetting (or possibly just saving) the BIOS. In my case the mouse port needed to be turned back on and the non-present floppy drive off to correct the issues.

Ooohhh thank you for saving my life, dude. Bless you, bless your heart, bless your soul and your family linage.

I don't recall resetting the bios but your help fixed it. I was getting annoyed having to smother it with a pillow when it was late at night.X)

Reply 71 of 208, by Inhibit

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ascle wrote on 2024-04-23, 14:14:
Inhibit wrote on 2024-04-23, 02:36:
ascle wrote on 2024-04-23, 02:13:

Well, mine bit the dust already.

It's complaining about a "FDC Failure" (floppy disk controller, I presume) and the PS2/VGA breakout board thing no longer functions. That's just lovely lmao. I sent a message to the seller so we'll see what happens... but I'm more than a little disappointed. ): I'm going to let the battery fully drain by letting it just hang out in DOS unplugged and then I'll give it a full charge; see if that does something. Not exactly inspiring confidence though...

I had the same issues after resetting (or possibly just saving) the BIOS. In my case the mouse port needed to be turned back on and the non-present floppy drive off to correct the issues.

Ooohhh thank you for saving my life, dude. Bless you, bless your heart, bless your soul and your family linage.

I don't recall resetting the bios but your help fixed it. I was getting annoyed having to smother it with a pillow when it was late at night.X)

I think it happened when I saved off some BIOS changes. Which is weird.

I want to do a bit of a deeper dive on this machine. There really is a lot going on with it; that's what I recall with the DM&P system I worked with before as well. Lots of modern 2003 era hardware layered on a 386/486 core in a similar manner.

Eh well, even if not it finally gave me an excuse to take time to converse about something on Vogons 😉.

Reply 72 of 208, by ascle

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Inhibit wrote on 2024-04-23, 15:00:

I think it happened when I saved off some BIOS changes. Which is weird.

I want to do a bit of a deeper dive on this machine. There really is a lot going on with it; that's what I recall with the DM&P system I worked with before as well. Lots of modern 2003 era hardware layered on a 386/486 core in a similar manner.

Eh well, even if not it finally gave me an excuse to take time to converse about something on Vogons 😉.

Did you happen to use the "reset" button in the monitor's OSD (FN+F4 -- not FN+F5) settings? I assumed it would just reset the built-in display but it appears to just reset the entire BIOS which is... odd. I get the feeling the way they set this up was a bit of a hack which is probably the least surprising thing in the world to anyone but, yeah. Fun fun.

Reply 73 of 208, by Inhibit

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ascle wrote on 2024-04-23, 15:06:
Inhibit wrote on 2024-04-23, 15:00:

Did you happen to use the "reset" button in the monitor's OSD (FN+F4 -- not FN+F5) settings? I assumed it would just reset the built-in display but it appears to just reset the entire BIOS which is... odd. I get the feeling the way they set this up was a bit of a hack which is probably the least surprising thing in the world to anyone but, yeah. Fun fun.

I certainly typo'd that later while trying to hit Fn+F5 but I don't believe that I hit the Fn+F* combinations before reading the manual. I didn't realize the OSD was that capable before reading through the online PDF in detail.

But that does make some sense given how it's almost running a hypervisor on the system. Heck, there might be a more powerful processor than the CPU embedded somewhere in the LCD display stack.

Reply 74 of 208, by ascle

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Inhibit wrote on 2024-04-23, 15:16:

I certainly typo'd that later while trying to hit Fn+F5 but I don't believe that I hit the Fn+F* combinations before reading the manual. I didn't realize the OSD was that capable before reading through the online PDF in detail.

But that does make some sense given how it's almost running a hypervisor on the system. Heck, there might be a more powerful processor than the CPU embedded somewhere in the LCD display stack.

if it somehow did i would hope it'd have some RAM we could piggyback on but i doubt it'd have enough to matter...
i noticed the machine technically supports up to 16MB and the RAM chips are just soldered in... been debating on and off if i want to install some sockets and just slot in the max amount of RAM to see if it'd work. the only issue would be sourcing compatible chips. X)

Reply 75 of 208, by Sunoo

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ascle wrote on 2024-04-23, 15:19:

i noticed the machine technically supports up to 16MB and the RAM chips are just soldered in... been debating on and off if i want to install some sockets and just slot in the max amount of RAM to see if it'd work. the only issue would be sourcing compatible chips. X)

I don’t wanna be the first guinea pig for that, but if someone proved it worked, I’d be very likely to modify my unit in the same way.

Reply 76 of 208, by ascle

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Sunoo wrote on 2024-04-23, 15:37:
ascle wrote on 2024-04-23, 15:19:

i noticed the machine technically supports up to 16MB and the RAM chips are just soldered in... been debating on and off if i want to install some sockets and just slot in the max amount of RAM to see if it'd work. the only issue would be sourcing compatible chips. X)

I don’t wanna be the first guinea pig for that, but if someone proved it worked, I’d be very likely to modify my unit in the same way.

even if it didn't work i couldn't see it damaging the machine in any way unless you severely failed the soldering job. if i get around to it i'll absolutely let y'all know.

Reply 77 of 208, by Sunoo

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ascle wrote on 2024-04-23, 16:02:

even if it didn't work i couldn't see it damaging the machine in any way unless you severely failed the soldering job. if i get around to it i'll absolutely let y'all know.

I agree, I mostly just don’t particularly want to go through the effort of modding the unit if it doesn’t actually accomplish anything.

Reply 78 of 208, by BitWrangler

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In my view it doesn't accomplish anything. 8MB on 386 class is somewhat generous and you only need 4MB 99% of the time. If you really wanted to use this as an excruciatingly slow 95-98 era office machine, it would be slightly less excruciatingly slow with 16MB. Not trying to be gatekeepery, just think that for any expense greater than "I had the parts lying around anyway" it rewards you poorly and you'll be disappointed.

Unicorn herding operations are proceeding, but all the totes of hens teeth and barrels of rocking horse poop give them plenty of hiding spots.

Reply 79 of 208, by ascle

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BitWrangler wrote on 2024-04-23, 19:04:

In my view it doesn't accomplish anything. 8MB on 386 class is somewhat generous and you only need 4MB 99% of the time. If you really wanted to use this as an excruciatingly slow 95-98 era office machine, it would be slightly less excruciatingly slow with 16MB. Not trying to be gatekeepery, just think that for any expense greater than "I had the parts lying around anyway" it rewards you poorly and you'll be disappointed.

Except that the processor is socketed which implies we could improve things in that area, too -- also there isn't a point to this machine in general. Embedded 386 and 486 boards are a dime a dozen and in nearly every situation on the planet a usb to rs232 adapter and a cheapass notebook (and a virtual machine if you really need) also already does everything this thing can do and more so your point is moo.

The entire reason this machine exists is because it can exist and your comment reads like the people who were shame the various pico-based attachments for these types of devices or those serial wifi adapters to go on old websites and pages. Its a hobby and I see no reason why you have to come off as so discouraging.

Additionally, I bought this machine to experiment and I have certain pieces of equipment (such as a pocket RS232 serial printer) where the processor meets the specs but not the RAM and so there are things I could be doing with a little bit of extra space either way.

If it breaks, it breaks. I'm not interested in it just sitting pretty on a shelf.

Last edited by ascle on 2024-04-23, 19:20. Edited 1 time in total.