What retro activity did you get up to today?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby the_ultra_code » 2018-6-12 @ 22:28

Added a StarTech 5.25" drive bay for 3.5" hard drives in my Pentium 4 machine, so, when I eventually start making periodic backups of my retro gaming machines' hard drives, I can easily do so. :)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Thermalwrong » 2018-6-12 @ 23:36

I got my cheap Packard Bell 486 system up and running, with Windows 95 on it - the seller packed it in cardboard without any padding at all, so the front and side plastics arrived damaged :(

So far, I've repaired the side plastic because it was getting caught all the time, but the front plastic is still broken, which is thankfully not too visible from the front.

20180612_001300 (Medium).jpg
IMG_9716 (Medium).jpeg


I cleaned some rust off of the back of the case using the dremel, but there's still rust on quite a lot of the computer, still, not structural or visible :D
The hard drive(s) it came with were either broken or had loud enough bearing noise that they really should be, so I've been running it from floppy disks intially - the noisy 500mb hard drive does actually read, but doesn't boot up Windows, so I'll have a look at that later. First I want a clean install of Windows 95. The drive support on this computer is around 2GB, so now it's got a 2GB CF card fitted to the VLB IDE channel:

20180612_001548 (Large).jpg


The original CD-ROM drive has been swapped out for now because it's a very old Panasonic CR-563 which requires the sound card to operate as the controller and I don't really want to deal with the drivers for that. So that's replaced with some generic CD writer (not period correct at all) which goes on the second IDE channel.
Windows 95 installed quickly enough, but it was failing on this screen with both 16MB SIMMs fitted, so now it's got just the 20MB of RAM:

IMG_9706crop.jpg

It's got a Packard Bell 450 motherboard, with:
Cyrix / ST 486 DX2-80 (running at DX2-66 speed)
0KB L2 cache
20MB of RAM (4MB onboard) and possibly only one working memory slot of the two
Cirrus Logic 1MB video
Aztec sound card with OPL3 - this works really nicely, though the computer must have had powered speakers originally because there's no headphone port, only line-out
Transcend 2GB Compact Flash - 300x UDMA

The monitor doesn't really look period correct, but I like it better than an LCD for this machine. I like that the replacement CD-RW is so yellowed that it matches the casing too.

IMG_9719 (Custom).jpeg
So much beige!

I need some L2 cache for this machine, this is slower than I remember my old 486 being, I'm amazed that it was sold with none fitted. I was given an AMD 486 DX4 100 chip years ago which has been sitting on my desk at work - I'd really like to see if it works or not, but this motherboard is 5v only, so now I'm tempted to look into what it would take to add in a step down DC to DC circuit like this to it, since it has jumpers on the board for 3.3v operation, but no voltage regulator fitted.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-12 @ 23:42

Just tested a high quality Amiga RGB-to-SCART cable that I have bought two weeks ago from UK (Retro Computer Shack).
I am extremely impressed by the signal quality. Everything is of high quality. Thick cable and gold plated plugs. Love it.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby bjwil1991 » 2018-6-13 @ 13:42

Thermalwrong wrote:I need some L2 cache for this machine, this is slower than I remember my old 486 being, I'm amazed that it was sold with none fitted.
That was normal for Packard Bell motherboards to not have L2 cache installed. I even tried to get 128KB L2 cache installed and my system would lock up and cause memory issues in Windows 95. I need to find the correct L2 cache and install it.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-6-13 @ 16:43

Changed my sig to links for my Yamaha YMF and XG google drive folders.

Added a bunch more stuff to my XG google drive folder. I've still got a couple remaining YMF/XG programs to add that I came across via ftp searching for ARIA16 stuff the other day. I also need to clean up my XG folder as I have one folder in there that is not sorted out at all.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-13 @ 19:21

Tested 3 Amiga tank-mice. One defekt two working. Then I tested the new C64 AV-Cable out. Those cables I bought are superb. Signal quality is at the top and good value for the money. Then I slammed together a lasagne that I will eat later today.
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Dracolich » 2018-6-13 @ 20:57

the_ultra_code wrote:Added a StarTech 5.25" drive bay for 3.5" hard drives in my Pentium 4 machine, so, when I eventually start making periodic backups of my retro gaming machines' hard drives, I can easily do so. :)

I like those! I have two in my main rig - one for 3.5" and one for 2.5" :happy:

I've spent a lot of time in recent days first trying to get a CT4520 AWE64 Value to work on my MMX system to no avail. So I finally put it in my mom's MMX system replacing a CT4740. Mostly, though, I've been adding Microsoft Network Client on my MMX system so I can mount my NAS share, and now experimenting with memory managers to optimize my conventional and upper memory. So far, using JEMMEX and some lightweight drivers, without the TCP stuff loaded, I've got it to 630k conventional and 144k upper free :happy:
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Thermalwrong » 2018-6-13 @ 23:37

Very securely fitting the PS2 mouse adapter on my new pentium MMX computer - I'll have to figure out a better way to mount it, but it works :)
It was very fiddly to fit because I didn't want to remove the PSU.
IMG_9755 (Medium).jpeg
an Ebay "arduino PS2 adapter"


IMG_9759crop (Custom).jpg
The PCPartner MB520N has the mouse adapter next to the keyboard connector


Also I was enjoying the LCD MHZ readout, until I discovered that while the numbers change, the turbo button connects to nothing and does not alter speed in any way on this motherboard

IMG_9750.JPG
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Fire Vine » 2018-6-13 @ 23:40

probably dosnt count as retro but i installed windows 7 on this old socket 775 gateway using the built in raid controller

also my first time using raid
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby oeuvre » 2018-6-14 @ 15:55

Hey so... you guys who have played Super Mario Sunshine... familiar with the sound Toadsworth makes when you spray him?

https://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/a883u0x3r4/toadno.mp3

Made a soundfont of it and here's canyon.mid http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/w29ejesrfr/canyontoad.mp3

and the super mario 64 slide music http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/amz3h5j8t5/toadslide.mp3
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby the_ultra_code » 2018-6-14 @ 19:04

What... did I just listen to?
xp

;)
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby ssokolow » 2018-6-14 @ 22:12

I started digging through my DVD+R backups of old CD-R backups of stuff that originated either on floppy backups or from circa Y2K Internet.

I uploaded a couple of useful freeware shell extensions to my Internet Archive account and installed them on the Win98SE part of my retro-corner.

I also remembered that I'd never added the Microsoft Setup Toolkit 2.0 (for Win16) to the Internet Archive after I tracked down a copy, so I remedied that too. (According to the license, it's freeware.)

NOTE: The MS Setup screenshot was taken on Win98SE in windowed mode and then cropped because I didn't feel like rebooting into Windows 3.11, taking the screenshot, then switching back. However, I did confirm that it works under Windows 3.11 for Workgroups back when I first unpacked it onto that machine.
Attachments
screenshot1.png
IconViewer shell extension
screenshot1.png (10.64 KiB) Viewed 1798 times
screenshot2.png
Folder Size shell extension
screenshot2.png (8.67 KiB) Viewed 1798 times
screenshot.png
Microsoft Setup Toolkit 2.0
screenshot.png (9.79 KiB) Viewed 1798 times
Last edited by ssokolow on 2018-6-15 @ 05:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2018-6-15 @ 02:27

oeuvre wrote:Hey so... you guys who have played Super Mario Sunshine... familiar with the sound Toadsworth makes when you spray him?

https://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/a883u0x3r4/toadno.mp3

Made a soundfont of it and here's canyon.mid http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/w29ejesrfr/canyontoad.mp3

and the super mario 64 slide music http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/amz3h5j8t5/toadslide.mp3


THIS IS AMAZING.

VGM remix of the year, right here.

I wish YTMND were still around (well, were still relevant.) These would be perfect for that.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby NamelessPlayer » 2018-6-15 @ 04:48

Well, today (technically yesterday since it's past midnight on the US East Coast) has been quite eventful, that's for sure.

-I finally figured out where the local Micro Center was keeping their desoldering tweezers - in a plain white box buried behind some unrelated items! Bought that along with some flux and an IDE-to-CompactFlash adapter (kinda surprised they had those, considering they're most often used for retro computers), then took a trip to my friend's storage unit, which was crammed with tons of stuff.

Some of that stuff included an Amiga 500 (US keyboard, of course), around four or five Commodore RGB monitors, of which we determined two were 1080s and one was a Magnavox-branded 1084. There was also a CD32 box high up in the corner, out of our reach, some boxed software, a Commodore brochure, a big Commodore banner, Video Toaster documentation, a trackball mouse, a PC keyboard with NMB Hi-Tek/"Space Invaders" switches, some SCSI scanners and a hard drive enclosure, a Power Macintosh 7200, an indigo slot-loader iMac G3 with FireWire ports... too much stuff to go over in one evening, really, so I just settled for testing the A500, the AmiTRAK mouse and the 1080s this evening, since the 1080 is generally regarded as more reliable than the succeeding 1084(S) models.

-I took those desoldering tweezers and flux to the local makerspace and went to town on that A4000 motherboard and A3640 CPU card. Let's just say they paid for themselves pretty much immediately, though the caps that were leaking were trickier to remove, as if the electrolytic corrosion made the solder joints not melt properly enough for me to just pull off the caps safely. (Also on that note, NEVER just yank the caps off; after half-lifting some pads on that Mac IIcx before, I'm extra-cautious working with this A4000 and try to see if they twist freely before lifting.)

Also, that fishy hot electrolyte smell really assaults my nostrils something fierce. At least I got to them in time and the traces underneath don't really look corroded through.

-When I got home for the evening post-decapping, I wiped off those 1080 monitors and A500 for testing. Everything thankfully works, though one 1080 looks more yellowed and hums more audibly than the other.

Some klutz hadn't reseated the A500's keyboard underneath the bottom case clips, though, and the three screws on the front end were missing. The three screws on the rear were intact, though, but Torx T10s rather than the Philips screws on my German A500. Fortunately, I have Torx drivers, and a quick unscrewing later revealed a Revision 5 board with an 8370 Agnus.

Missing screws, surface filth and one easily-overlooked chip on one of the rear corners aside, it's in pretty good condition, all things considered. Not too yellowed, keyboard and case still have most of their texture, seems to boot up fine to Kickstart 1.3, but haven't really gone in depth because the floppy drive doesn't seem to be picking up my Workbench 1.3 disk. I'll break out the Gotek, swab off the drive heads, and see what happens later, after a good night's sleep.

Next on the list: order some good caps for that A4000. Overall bill of materials seems to be a little over $30 for just that one system, plus $5-8 for shipping. Note that the caps in question are Panasonic ZA hybrid polymer/aluminum caps, as opposed to the Nichicons I threw onto the Mac IIcx earlier. That's likely accounting for most of the cost, as these are presumably industrial-grade and built to last.

Considering that I can look forward to at least two more A4000s, a CD32 and an A1200 in this guy's collection to inspect for bad caps, I'm probably looking at over $120 in caps here, let alone my time spent carefully desoldering old caps, cleaning everything up, soldering new ones and testing that they're all in working order after the fact. Nevertheless, ensuring these AGA Amigas don't just die prematurely due to leakage of any sort is of utmost importance to me.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby andrewreader » 2018-6-15 @ 07:39

A lot of love for the Amigas.

It's the 'South West' UK Amiga Meet at the end of this month.

My Amiga 1200 has everything it needs.

At the last meet there was a load of bits up for grabs. I took a video digitiser away. I bought the relevant PSU and used a Sony Camcorder with it and it works.

I now have a handheld scanner for it too and found a NEC LCD monitor that supports the native refresh rates of the Amiga with an Video - VGA adapter lead.

On the PC front, I found a mid size ATX case at a car boot sale for £3. I then purchased a Dell motherboard, P3, 750Mhz, 512 MB RAM. I realised this Dell then needed a bespoke ATX PSU. The seller very kindly sent me one (after a fruitless hunt on Ebay). I've added a black CD Drive and Floppy drive. I'm just waiting for the case LED and Power lead to show and then this becomes my 8th or 9th retro PC. The sounds card is (finally) an Aureal Vortex 2.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Dracolich » 2018-6-15 @ 15:03

In my 233MMX rig I replaced my [noisy] 2.6GB Fujitsu hdd with a IDE - CF adapter, mounted in a 2.5" - 3.5" bay adapter leaving the front panel open for easy swapping. I have CF cards now with DOS 7.1+WfW 3.11, FreeDOS 1.0, and OS/2 Warp 4.52. In MS-DOS I setup half of my 128MB SDRAM as an XMSDSK ram disk with my TEMP and TMP environment variables pointing to it.
My previous quest to optimize memory ended with HIMEMX and EMM386 using a series of X= and I= to achieve 623k conventional + 113k upper free. In my test vm I get 144k upper because my real machine has a Zip drive and the driver uses ~30k. So I setup a multi config to boot with or without networking. With net it loads the Zip drivers in conventional so the TCP stuff fits in the upper, and it still leaves 595k conventional free.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby brostenen » 2018-6-15 @ 19:28

Yeah.... Hands up for the Amiga. I love my 500 and 600. Brings back so many memories.
Speaking of Amiga, today I have nearly finished rewriting all the games I remember from back then, back to floppy disks, and the collection are beginning to look impressive. All disks have been indevidually checked for physical damage, reformatted, tested for bad sectors, games rewritten and each game have been tested. On those that require kickstart 1.3, I have written kick-1,3 on each disk and I have multiple copies of kickemulator on hand. Only to have it ready, if I choose to power on my Amiga600.

Just as a reminder to anyone trying to do this... It takes a lot of time. :-D

Amiga-Gaming-01.jpg

Amiga-Gaming-02.jpg
Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby feipoa » 2018-6-15 @ 23:53

I tested out this neat little adapter yesterday. It is for converting PGA132 (386 socket) to PGA168 (486 socket) for use with SXL2 CPUs. It came with an SXL2-50, 5V CPU, which seems a little odd because there already exists a PGA132 version of the SXL2-50. I had hoped that this adapter contained a voltage regulator to run the 3.6 V version of the SXL2-66, but it did not.
SXL2_PGA132_to_PGA168_interposer.jpg


So, I have placed another interposer board onto the first interposer board, which contains a voltage regulator and runs at 3.45 V. I was able to get the SXL2-66 working at 3.45 V, even though the SXL2-66 requires 3.60 V. I plan to alter the voltage regulator module to run at 3.60 V so that I can try for 80 MHz operation of the SXL2. The QFP version of the SXL2-66 I have runs fine at 80 MHz, and I suspect the PGA ones will as well if provided 3.6 V.
SXL2-66.jpg
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby Thermalwrong » 2018-6-16 @ 00:16

Today I turned a broken video card's bracket into a PS2 & USB bracket for my AT case - all held in place with solder:

20180615_225447.jpg
Making a bracket


Fitted:
20180615_233602 (Custom).jpg
Bracket in place - I should refit the blanking plates



Then I opened up and installed this NOS speaker voltage regulator that my boss gave to me during an office clear out - it can reverse the polarity and do 9v, which makes it handy for powering the MT-100. ITs power cable has that annoying star shape where it's got all the jack types sticking out in a '+', so I heatshrinked over the connectors that aren't in use to make it a bit safer.

20180615_224114.jpg


Now I would like to figure out a way of safely quieting down this 486 - the fan in the PSU is distractingly loud as it's designed to be the main system exhaust. I think for now I'll just put up with my noise cancelling headphones to use it.

Also I wish I had got the backplate style CF to IDE connector, getting files onto this computer right now requires taking the monitor off, then opening up the case and then I can get to the CF card
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Re: What retro activity did you get up to today?

Postby xjas » 2018-6-16 @ 01:13

feipoa wrote:I tested out this neat little adapter yesterday. It is for converting PGA132 (386 socket) to PGA168 (486 socket) for use with SXL2 CPUs. It came with an SXL2-50, 5V CPU, which seems a little odd because there already exists a PGA132 version of the SXL2-50. I had hoped that this adapter contained a voltage regulator to run the 3.6 V version of the SXL2-66, but it did not.

[ ... ]

So, I have placed another interposer board onto the first interposer board, which contains a voltage regulator and runs at 3.45 V. I was able to get the SXL2-66 working at 3.45 V, even though the SXL2-66 requires 3.60 V. I plan to alter the voltage regulator module to run at 3.60 V so that I can try for 80 MHz operation of the SXL2. The QFP version of the SXL2-66 I have runs fine at 80 MHz, and I suspect the PGA ones will as well if provided 3.6 V.


Please post a photo of this installed onto the board, in action. I wanna see how tall the "stack" is. :P
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