What retro activity did you get up to today?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by adz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    I've never been good enough at board level repairs to fix anything other than the largest of solder joints on the biggest of parts :lol: but at my last job, tonnes of people were, and they fixed a bunch of stuff for me in pretty much the time it took me to have a smoke. Since I don't work there anymore, I have no one who can fix things for me for $10 in 5 minutes.
    when this board stops working, it'll be put onto the faulty parts pile and left to sit till I give it away.
    I have no nostalgia for Pentium 4's because at the time of release I was a povvo student overclocking cheap Athlon XP's so spending time/effort/money to fix something I don't have an emotional attachment to, seems a bit silly when I have piles and piles of similar parts I could use instead.



    I'll see what I can do just for the hell of it! Probably have enough cables to fill every port without even leaving the room :upset:

    edit:
    Best I can do without getting up :lol:
    DSCF0202.JPG
    optical cables I think are in the cupboard, SPDIF's might be in the shed, and I'm 99.99% sure I don't have, or never had a mini midi cable
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  2. shane41

    shane41 Member

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  3. FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    Decided to rip the P4 out of the hairong case (the one above) and do some testing:
    DSCF0203.JPG
    The most surprising thing happened in tests. That motherboard is an ABIT... AND IT'S NOT ONLY POSTING, BUT BOOTS TOO!
    My arch nemesis ABIT actually made a WORKING motherboard!
    It didn't want to POST at first, I had to dick around with the CPU, RAM, and storage, AND video cards, and use the PS/2 ports, to get it out of constantly resetting itself but now it is actually working.

    Since it works, I'll put it in the case. but I do have to do some more testing first. I wanted this board to have my AGP ATI 3850, but no matter what I tried, I simply couldn't get a picture, and I've been saving the card specifically for a dual core build.
    Also didn't like one of my athlon 64 3200+'s, but boots and is fine with the second. If it can handle the 4200+ I'll be even sadder the 3850 doesn't work.
    I used 2 gigabyte control boards, and the 3850 works perfectly fine (but it's only an althlon XP) and another control board to test the 3200+ that wouldn't work in this and the 4200+, they're both fine too.

    But for now, the abit is working with a 6800GT which I guess is PRETTY good, so I might leave the dual core 4200+ in the gigabyte board with PCIE slots and SLI the 2 7800GTX's I've got sitting here.

    I also found something that's been missing for ages in the shed:
    DSCF0204.JPG
    DSCF0205.JPG
    This thing has been amazing for testing purposes, I haven't seen it in at least 2 years and I am as happy to find it as I was when I found my USB FDD.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020
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  4. rugger

    rugger Member

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    I put one of these in an old industrial pentium system at work when the original 4gb drive died and I decided to just chuck a SATA SSD in there. No DMA modes work on it, but being an SSD makes up for that anyway. Only had to service it just a few weeks ago, Turned out that the little card half worked it's way out of the IDE slot. Replugging that (and reseating a few other things) got the old pentium control system working properly again. It will probably outlive me, despite it looking like it came out of the cheapest Chinese PCB assembly factory ever.

    All hail using SSDs in Industrial systems ... except one vendor supplied mSATA model card (supposedly Industrial SLC) where 2 out of 3 failed on me. The first one failed and we had to spend the day reloading the software from old backups. Second one failed, but I had newer backups for that one, so only a couple hours downtime while I rushed to computer store to buy a new SSD and restore the backup to it. Third one, I've gone and replaced already ... not going to wait for it to fail lol.
     
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  5. FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    Just because something was cheap (A friend was gonna throw it away) and looks cheap, doesn't mean it's bad. I will probably end up using mine in an old IBM if it's 1.19GB hard drive fails. I don't have anything industrial anymore, all consumer grade crap!

    Tonight, I've done a slightly drunk build after Bathurst. It's so hard getting IDE cables looking good. Then I remembered, it didn't matter:
    DSCF0206.JPG

    now I just have to find an SSD for it, and get windows installed, and I'm sorted for XP gaming!
     
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  6. Kafoopsy

    Kafoopsy Member

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    I've been testing an old 386 system. It is in very good condition, very clean inside, no corrosion, the (flat) cmos battery is on the end of a long cable. System boots fine off a floppy, but I just can't get it to boot from either of the two hard drives that are in it or from a CF to IDE adapter. System starts up from the floppy, installs DOS on the hard drive just fine, but just won't boot from the hdd. It just gives the non-system disk or disk error or in the case of the CF, just hangs after post. I've tried the hard drives individually, tried fdisk /mbr and other tricks, but nothing works. Any ideas?
     
  7. rugger

    rugger Member

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    Try FDISK /MBR for the CF card.

    If that doesn't work, install an ethernet card with a XT-IDE bios on it .... XT-IDE tends to fix a lot of issues with getting IDE drives working.
     
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  8. bYrd

    bYrd Member

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    + try an older, smaller capacity CF card - eg. 128/256/512MB.
     
  9. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    This is what I had to do on a 386 I was playing around with a couple of years ago after trying everything.

    In my case I had an 8-bit IDE overlay card which is just basically a ROM chip on a ISA card for adding LBA support. Found it sometime before on eBay and grabbed it thinking it may come in handy one day. Swapped the BIOS chip with an XT IDE ROM and problem sorted. :thumbup:
     
  10. cdtoaster

    cdtoaster Member

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    ack, the s775 keeps BSODing again. based on the issue it's most likely to do with the RAM. I've tried various combinations and am down to 4x1GB sticks now but it's still crashing.
    I ran the windows memory diagnostics test and i think it passed because i came back later and it was just at the log on screen again, i don't fully trust it though. if there is an issue with the memory it would be with the slots themelves i would think.
    also i sort of butchered an antec super lanboy today, i don't feel bad because it was pretty beat up but i removed the 3.5" drive bays so i can fit larger gfx cards. it has some shortcomings compared to newer cases but with the extra space it's still compact and lightweight.
     
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  11. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Is it purely the size, or are there new devices that have some other electronic differences that old systems don't like?
     
  12. rugger

    rugger Member

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    Size can make a difference, but also be aware that many/most SD/CF cards do not come formatted with the correct Master Boot Record boot code from the factory, meaning they will not correctly boot a system if you just make a DOS partition on it and format it. FDISK doesn't normally rewrite the boot code when operating on a drive with valid MBR records, so you can do everything normal and it still won't boot up.

    So you need to run "FDISK /MBR" on any SD/CF card you want to boot from. Just have the card installed as the first fixed drive, boot up a MSDOS floppy with FDISK.EXE and run that command. It will immediately return to the command prompt, but will also rewrite the boot code on the SD/CF card. Then booting should work.
     
  13. rugger

    rugger Member

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    Use Memtest86 to test your memory, as it is better for that sort of thing. Also be aware that memtest86 will never automatically restart your system, so if you end up on the windows login screen again, it means the computer has crashed.

    if memtest86 is not showing problems, another program you can use once you get into windows is IntelBurnTest. Errors or crashes with IntelBurnTest can be caused by many things, it can only be used as a guide to if the computer is stable or not.
     
  14. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I'm running with the assumption that most people here understand how to install MBR records and/or DOS correctly. That's a given in this part of the forums.

    I'm more interested in where the magic cutoff is of CF cards when it comes to being able to boot them in certain machines, and what that determining factor is. Is it the way C/H/S are represented to older systems? BIOS limitations? Device size limitations? Something else?

    Most folks just try another card and move on, but I'd like to know if the "non working" ones can be tricked into working with a bit of effort, or there's something else at play.
     
  15. bYrd

    bYrd Member

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    Card not confirming to older ATA standards usually. Noting the discussion on MBR, I've set up several large CF cards which detect, format and copy files without issue (same goes for HFS Mac formatted drives), but they won't boot unless you have something like an XT-IDE ROM to assist it.
     
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  16. rugger

    rugger Member

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    Yeah, best not to assume this. You normally never have to use FDISK /MBR on hard drives. They are either blank, so FDISK writes boot code to the MBR, or they have previously been formatted with a program that writes boot code correctly to the drive. So this is a new problem when working with small flash drives that didn't exist back in the day.

    The most obvious cutoff would the 506 meg original limit from the original PC BIOS specs. Below this size, CF/SD card internal CHS to LBA translation shouldn't have any problems. Above this size, the PC-BIOS cannot properly express how to pull the correct block off the drive. Of course, you need to run consistent Cylinder/Head and Sector numbers in the BIOS when moving between these old systems, so translation doesn't break.

    The best way to fix this limitation is by adding an XT-IDE bios rom to the system. It takes over after bootup, and allows full LBA addressing up to 128GiB of IDE devices.

    Edit: Also if the CF card has broken CHS to LBA translation in it, this would cause compatibility problems for sure.

    Use both XT-IDE rom, and making sure to FDISK /MBR your flash devices, should fix the vast majority of compatibility problems people see.
     
  17. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I'm assuming the answer is "no", but is there a way to test this outside of actually attempting to boot it? Like, is there some ATA command test suite you can run to check each and every part of the ATA spec?

    Trying to dig through the "hdparm" man page to see if it has anything like that.
    https://manpages.debian.org/testing/hdparm/hdparm.8.en.html

    Or maybe tools like these:
    http://www.stbsuite.com/support/virtual-training-center/ata-command-compliance-testing

    I do this as a matter of course, because I use wipefs and dd to zero things frequently. I'd assume most folks here would be in a similar position.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  18. power

    power Member

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    with SD cards in some devices they just can't read devices where the memory is at a certain density. similar to RAM banks and being able to address them.

    dunno about CF.
     
  19. cdtoaster

    cdtoaster Member

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    i'll give that a go, in 2017 i had tested all of the RAM. if it comes up with errors i'll try to clean the slots.
     
  20. power

    power Member

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