VOGONS


Tandon 286/n

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First post, by ramon

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I'm the proud owner of a Tandon 286/n since last year and since I have been "lurking" here at Vogons for years, but never posted anything, I thought it was time to do so.

Specs:
Motherboard
WD286-LPM ( ATHENA SMT-216LP)
Manufactured by Western Digital Corporation (This motherboard was probably rebranded by USIT (U.S. INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGIES, INC.).

  • Phoenix BIOS
  • CPU: AMD N80286-12/S in PLCC package
  • FPU: P80C287-12 (40-pin DIP package)
  • RAM: 4MByte (4 x TOPLESS 1MB*9, 60ns, FPM, Paraty, 30 pin SIMM)
  • ISA slots: 2 x 16bit
  • Address Buffer Memory Controller: WDC FE3021-LR (supports LIM 4.0)
  • Peripheral control chipset: WDC FE3010CJU
  • Data Buffers: FARADAY FE3031-JK
  • CPU Control: FARADAY FE3001-JU
  • Graphics: Western Digital PARADISE PVGA1A-JK, EGA/VGA, 256kB DRAM
  • RTC: Dallas DS1287
  • PSU connector: AT-Style (P8-P9)
  • Form factor: LPX (max 229 x 330 mm)
  • Dimensions: 330mm x 198mm

I/O

  • 1 x VGA
  • 1x Parallel
  • 2x Serial
  • 1x PS/2
  • 1x Floppy interface (1.44MByte 3.5" Floppy drive installed)
  • 1x IDE interface (512MByte CF installed, using EZ-Drive)
  • 1x ESS AudioDrive ES1869F soundcard installed in 16-bit ISA slot.

This project is almost finished, things I want to do are:

  1. Install a DIP 14 IC socket where the 25 MHz CPU crystal oscillator is installed now.
  2. Install a 32MHz crystal oscillator and install my AMD N80L286-16/S CPU and test it @ 16MHz.
  3. Attach heatsinks, just in case, to the FPU and "chipset" chips.
  4. Install a 40MHz/48MHz/50MHz crystal oscillator and install my Harris CS80C286-25 CPU and test it @ 20MHz/24MHz/25MHz.
  5. Replace the FPU if it gets too hot.
  6. Figure out if I can get EMS memory working, I got the driver, WDC FE3021-LR supports it, but the BIOS does assign all memory to XMS.
  7. Maybe replace the Dallas DS1287, however, it seems to be flaky, the battery seems to be working for the most times...

And last but not least, here are some pictures:

5878029D-84F4-415C-A962-E012B96A1AA4.jpeg
Filename
5878029D-84F4-415C-A962-E012B96A1AA4.jpeg
File size
1.51 MiB
Views
1707 views
File comment
Tandon 286/n Front
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
B601A2F6-D8B7-46C4-9F97-B48E8CF92274.jpeg
Filename
B601A2F6-D8B7-46C4-9F97-B48E8CF92274.jpeg
File size
1.63 MiB
Views
1707 views
File comment
Tandon 286/n Back
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
04D30D79-76CF-44F7-8AFC-DBAE4B89CB0B.jpeg
Filename
04D30D79-76CF-44F7-8AFC-DBAE4B89CB0B.jpeg
File size
2 MiB
Views
1707 views
File comment
Tandon 286/n Inside
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
807DD20D-D1C2-45B8-B6BA-BF991FE3F8A9.jpeg
Filename
807DD20D-D1C2-45B8-B6BA-BF991FE3F8A9.jpeg
File size
1.65 MiB
Views
1707 views
File comment
FARADAY FE3001-JU & CPU 25MHz & ISA 14,31818MHz crystal oscillator
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
42E12945-B8AE-4C7D-AE7D-AF11CF2317E8.jpeg
Filename
42E12945-B8AE-4C7D-AE7D-AF11CF2317E8.jpeg
File size
1.83 MiB
Views
1707 views
File comment
Booting the system: No expanded memory available
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

EDIT: Added file comments to pictures, rearranged them, added items to my project list and added the Dallas DS1287 RTC.

Last edited by ramon on 2023-03-19, 14:54. Edited 7 times in total.

Tandon 286/n 286-12 | 4MB | PVGA1A-JK | ES1869F
Highscreen Pentium 233 MMX | 64MB | S3 ViRGE/DX | Voodoo I | AWE64
AOpen K6-2+ 450 | 512MB | GF MX2 400 64MB | SB Live!

Reply 1 of 10, by ramon

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And the last picture of the BIOS Screen:

EAF0DDBC-196A-427C-B685-CCB344F54AAC.jpeg
Filename
EAF0DDBC-196A-427C-B685-CCB344F54AAC.jpeg
File size
1.85 MiB
Views
1703 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Tandon 286/n 286-12 | 4MB | PVGA1A-JK | ES1869F
Highscreen Pentium 233 MMX | 64MB | S3 ViRGE/DX | Voodoo I | AWE64
AOpen K6-2+ 450 | 512MB | GF MX2 400 64MB | SB Live!

Reply 3 of 10, by Anonymous Coward

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Nice 12MHz AMD FPU. The 12MHz part was pretty uncommon. Most of them were 10s.

"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 5 of 10, by ramon

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bofh.fromhell wrote on 2023-03-18, 14:28:

Almost hard to believe this existed at the same time as the enormous XT PC's with the same (or probably worse) specs.

Well it is a bit newer, it was offered as a budget PC for businesses, I own a hardcopy and pdf of infoworld magazine where it was advertised in, it’s from August 27th, 1990 on pages 58 and 58:

Infoworld 27-08-1990 Tandon 286 & 386 ad page 58.jpg
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Infoworld 27-08-1990 Tandon 286 & 386 ad page 58.jpg
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165.83 KiB
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1587 views
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Fair use/fair dealing exception
Infoworld 27-08-1990 Tandon 286 & 386 ad page 59.jpg
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Infoworld 27-08-1990 Tandon 286 & 386 ad page 59.jpg
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161.4 KiB
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1587 views
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Fair use/fair dealing exception

It was advertised in the Netherlands at least at the beginning of 1992:

B5196D30-9A90-49A2-B060-3E5879EC2B05.jpeg
Filename
B5196D30-9A90-49A2-B060-3E5879EC2B05.jpeg
File size
353.11 KiB
Views
1587 views
File comment
Advertisement: Limburgs Dagblad, Thursday January 9th, 1992, Page 6
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Edit: well according to some sources, the Tandon 286/n was released in 1989

Last edited by ramon on 2023-03-19, 12:30. Edited 1 time in total.

Tandon 286/n 286-12 | 4MB | PVGA1A-JK | ES1869F
Highscreen Pentium 233 MMX | 64MB | S3 ViRGE/DX | Voodoo I | AWE64
AOpen K6-2+ 450 | 512MB | GF MX2 400 64MB | SB Live!

Reply 6 of 10, by ramon

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OSkar000 wrote on 2023-03-18, 20:44:

There is something special with pizza box 286 systems 😀

Yeah I mostly like it because of it size, I can put a monitor or two AT(X) mini towers on top of it, so I got some extra room for my collection 😉

Tandon 286/n 286-12 | 4MB | PVGA1A-JK | ES1869F
Highscreen Pentium 233 MMX | 64MB | S3 ViRGE/DX | Voodoo I | AWE64
AOpen K6-2+ 450 | 512MB | GF MX2 400 64MB | SB Live!

Reply 7 of 10, by ramon

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Anonymous Coward wrote on 2023-03-18, 16:10:

Nice 12MHz AMD FPU. The 12MHz part was pretty uncommon. Most of them were 10s.

Yeah, I’m hoping it will keep functioning with my 16MHz AMD or 25MHZ Harris CPU. Otherwise I’ll be looking for a 287XL and hoping that it will work with that one. But ‘m going to get some heatsinks for the FPU and Chipset, just in case.

Just want to see what I can get out of it. Although Wolfenstein 3D is running pretty well, although in a bit reduced screen size, but that works with a bigger monitor 😀

Tandon 286/n 286-12 | 4MB | PVGA1A-JK | ES1869F
Highscreen Pentium 233 MMX | 64MB | S3 ViRGE/DX | Voodoo I | AWE64
AOpen K6-2+ 450 | 512MB | GF MX2 400 64MB | SB Live!

Reply 8 of 10, by ramon

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Looking at the ad in the Dutch “Limburgs Dagblad”, it is odd that the Tandon 286/n was more expensive than a Laser 386 and NLG 1000 (about $ 500) more expensive than the Tandon PCA 12 SL…

In the ad from March 31st, 1992, the price is reduced to NLG 1999,-

0A0545FE-F2A8-419B-BB7A-BAB2CD9919CC.jpeg
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0A0545FE-F2A8-419B-BB7A-BAB2CD9919CC.jpeg
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281.89 KiB
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Advertisement: Limburgs Dagblad, Tuesday March 31st, 1992, Page 22
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Fair use/fair dealing exception

Tandon 286/n 286-12 | 4MB | PVGA1A-JK | ES1869F
Highscreen Pentium 233 MMX | 64MB | S3 ViRGE/DX | Voodoo I | AWE64
AOpen K6-2+ 450 | 512MB | GF MX2 400 64MB | SB Live!

Reply 9 of 10, by Surrat

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Random info for you:
The chipset on that motherboard officially supports up to 20mhz 286, but not 25's.
Use the fastest ram you have hopefully 60ns or 70ns since the memory controller sets wait states automatically based on the speed of the bus vs speed of ram.
16mhz needs 100ns ram for 0 wait state read, 1 wait state write. 20mhz needs 70ns ram for same.
Chipset memory controller does not support simms larger than 1mb.
To get the EMS working, I see in the Dell System 210 information, (95% same motherboard, looks like earlier revision of it) that you have to go into the bios and assign some of the extended memory to EMS so the EMS section isnt 0, or EMS cannot work.

Some good info here from Dell, it should apply to yours also:
https://www.dell.com/community/Desktops-Gener … YS/td-p/5116124

Hope this is helpful.

Reply 10 of 10, by Anonymous Coward

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I think the 12MHz AMD has a decent shot at 16MHz. I believe it was the last 80287 developed, so it should use a fairly modern process.
Just try not to ruin it, because as I said, the 12MHz part is not all that common in DIP (I've seen them more often as PQFP44).

I think this Tandon could actually qualify as a "pizza box", as opposed to the low-profile desktops (two 5.25" bays high) that others are claiming as such.

"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