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 More Experiments - The Ultimate 286 View next topic
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creepingnet



Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Lynnwood,WA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've been fooling around with the GEM AT clone again. Just added an IDE CD-ROM, RVGA Oak card (some kind of proprietary high-VRAM VGA card, I used it mostly for speed increase in graphics, it's made a WORLD of difference in rendering speed), and have done some fine tuning to the extra 12MB of RAM and so on...

My next experiment is getting this thing connected to the internet via my DSL/Cable router using MINUET. But so far I keep getting a message that it's not using a driver to access even if I have Microsoft Networking Client 3.0 up and running with TCP/IP enabled (however, it's great to know with TCP/IP loaded up in that upper 12 MB of RAM, I've got 638K left to fool with in base memory), I'm wondering how I should manipulate the TCP/IP stack to allow access to the router and the internet. So far I have not found a good source for it in a million searches.

_________________
84' Tandy 1000(a)
90' GEM Computer Products 286
12' Franken-486
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Tadryn



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 6
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Nice computer ! Very Happy

I thought I had the best 286-class computer, but I'm beaten. Smile

My 286 is a DELL 210 system, running at 12,5 Mhz, fitted with :

- 6 Mb of RAM
- A 80C287XL FPU, faster than the regular i80287
- Tseng Labs ET4000 ISA VGA card, with 1Mb
- 3 1/2 et 5 1/4 floppy drives
- 600 Mb HDD, but the system can only access 200 Mb, due to BIOS limitations
- D-Link DE-220 P network controler card, with BNC & RJ 45 connectors
- A full lenght Creative sound card : shipped with a Vibra 16 chip, a modem and an IDE interface.

This computer has only 3 ISA slots. I do not want to alter it's appearance so I did'nt added a CD-ROM drive. This machine is fast enough to run Windows 3.1

I kept and upgraded it because it's the first PC I worked with in my youth.

If you want, I can post Pics.


For the fun, and the experiment, I built a 386-class computer :

- AMD 80386DX-40
- IIT 3C87 as a FPU
- 128 Kb of cache
- 32 Mb & 70 ns of RAM (8 units of 4 Mb)
- IDE HDD of 1,7 GB (Western Digital)
- SCSI HDD of 2 Gb (IBM)
- 1Mb Cirrus Logic VGA card (not a good one, but the only I got)
- Adaptec ISA SCSI card
- ISA AWE 32 soundcard, fitted with 1 Mb of RAM
- ISA Us Robotics 33.6 modem card
- A strange hub card, showing 5 RJ 45 ports. Maybe a hub for classic network, but I think it's a NIC for supermarket cash registers !
- Edit : I forgot to mention the 3 1/2 et 5 1/4 floppy drives and the 52X Philipps CD-ROM drive.

This rocketship computer is fast enough to run Windows 95, only slowed down by the poor VGA card.

I am glad to find this forum. Smile
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creepingnet



Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Lynnwood,WA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 1:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

1990 GEM Computer Products 286/10
CASE: SongCheer Full Size AT Clone Chassis, styled after an IBM 5170 AT
Power Supply: 230 Watt Magitronic Full Size AT
Motherboard: Octek Revision 2 286 20/12 MHz System board
BIOS: American Megatrends
RAM: 4096K on 30 Pin 70ns SIMMS
BUS: 8/16 Bit ISA
CPU: Intel 80286 SX-10 running at 12 MHz due to Co-Processor clock
Co-Processor: IIT 802C87 12 MHz Co-Processor
Floppy A: 1.44MB 3.5" Mitsumi
Flobby B: 1.2MB 5.25" TEAC
Hard Disk: 540MB Seagate EIDE Hard Disk w/ Overlay
ZIP Drive: Iomega ZIP100 ATAPI, uses GUEST.EXE for driver
Sound Card: Creative Labs PnP SoundBlaster Vibra 16
Graphics Card: Oak Technologies RVGA 077 Chipset 1MB SVGA, No VESA
Network Card: SMC 8013 With Boot ROM Socket
Modem Card: 33.6K Internal 8-Bit Gateway Faxmodem
Operating System: MS-DOS 6.22 w/ 5.00 and 6.00 portion
GUI(s): Windows 1.01, Windows 2.03, Windows 3.0, Windows 3.1 (SVGA)
Maximum Resolution: 1024X768 @ 256 Colors, Large Fonts (yes I have run it that way too)

I can't even lkist all the software this thing has on it, since I got the Zip drive working I've tried to fill the hard disk with everything I can find that'll run on a 286 based computer, and I STILL have 350 of 540 MB left on it.


Here's a few pictures of it to go with - Front View, it has my Dazzle Screensaver running on it in the photo
Image

Back View (complete with newly modified monitor, I drilled some holes to reach the focus and high voltage adjustments without removing the cover)
Image

As for the other GEM on the bottom of my signature, that computer is my Case Modded Pentium III. I took a dead 386 GEM and modded the case into a Micro ATX, put Micro ATX guts in the power supply, customized the bezel a little, blacked out some of the trim, and repainted the chassis, and it's now essentially a "retro-PC". here's a more recent picture with the digital readout shown on it.

Image

As for the URL, those are to photo galleries of both PC's from start to current....

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/creepingnet2001/album?.dir=e541&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//photos.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/creepingnet2001/album?.dir=414b&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//photos.yahoo.com/ph//my_photos

_________________
84' Tandy 1000(a)
90' GEM Computer Products 286
12' Franken-486
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mf_2



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 367
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Who do you have both a DVD burner and a DVD drive in the gem 386 retro-pc? why not put in a 5.25" floppy instead of the dvd drive?
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Tadryn



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 6
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello,

Let me present you another good computer. Smile

Below, there is a view of my 286, opened. On the top, the 1Mb ET4000 VGA Card. Notice the glued heatsink i added over the GPU, and the CPU on the motherboard.

Image


Another pic. You can see the six 1 Mb 30 pins 70 ns SIMMs. left to the memory modules is inserted the FPU. The motherboard have integrated Paradise VGA circuitry, with 256 Kb of DRAM - disabled for the better graphics of the ET 4000.

Image

Below, the other cards ready to be fitted in the machine. A looong Creative Modem Blaster sound and modem card, and the D-Link network adapter.
To the right, a PE-520 memory card I cannot get working (drivers unavailable over the net Sad )

Image


The computer is reassembled, working fine. I am using Dazzle too (Nice program !)

Image


Now, Word for Windows 2.0a is running. The small Windows apps runs faster on my 286 (with his fast 600 Mb HDD, good VGA card and amount of RAM) than a 386SX-20 (my long-died second computer, 2 Mb of RAM and a stepper 40 Mb HDD).
However, the calculation power of the i80286 shows its limits... Neutral

Image


The history :

During summer jobs in the early 90's, I learned MS-DOS and MS-WORKS 2.0 with this computer. It was the first PC of the company (they used a mini-computer, not PCs).

When I returned to the company eight years after, I stumbled on it, laying in a cupboard of old abandonned stuff, waiting to be thrown away. After many years of uninterrupted computing, the floppy drives died, crippled by the dirt. The case was filled with a one-inch dust layer.

So I took the machine, (The IT manager was happy to get riddance of this unit) completely dismantled it, cleaned it all, fitted new drives, upgraded it as soon as I could get some good parts : RAM, FPU, cards, HDD, new IDE cables, and recently a new DALLAS clock chip.

Here is another review of this model, escaped from a scrap yard :

http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/mickfrench/dell210.htm

Dell seems to be bullet-proof computers ! Mr. Green

In the future, I'll present you my PC-XT and my 386. Wink
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creepingnet



Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Lynnwood,WA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

mf_2 wrote:
Who do you have both a DVD burner and a DVD drive in the gem 386 retro-pc? why not put in a 5.25" floppy instead of the dvd drive?


I can't get a second floppy to work on it. It had one at one time, but once I upgraded to a Celeron 500 Micro-ATX mainboard, secondary floppy support did not work. I've tried everything short of hacking into the device via assembly at a very low level to get one of those to work. I finally just put a slot cover where it was. It seems to me that modern motherboards just don't support dual floppy drives, however, I have a fairly recent AT based ASUS in my Flight AMD K-6 500 that does, so maybe I could dig up a more recent board to upgrade with that has dual floppy support, and take a nice vacation to Alabama at some point, and get my aluminum Drive Rails.

Why I have 2 DVD drives is because of two things, first off, I am a musician and record my own music on that computer, and sometimes people want a copy of my demo cd, so I firgured it was easier to just have 2 drives, so I can take a "master" copy, put it in the DVD-ROM, and burn a copy off it to the DVD-RW drive using Easy CD Creator in Windows. I also use that for watching DVD's, as I have a lot of 2-3 disc sets (Iron Maiden, the Love Bug special edition, stuff like that), and it's easier to just toss one in each drive and just swap drives to swap CD's. It's mostly a "laziness" feature.

Tadyrn - THose old dells are pretty much invincible, assuming you don't have the CMOS Battery over the motherboard and have it stored in sub-atmoic temperature. I spent $8 on a Dell 325P 386 that looked very much like the 210, when I got it home, it turns out the CMOS battery ruputred and melted most of the upper left corner of the motherboard, and even then it STILL got a POST. Though I did get a Keyboard Address line error. I tried to graft it together but it would have taken me a lot more work than would have been worth it.

I've had a LOT Of different computers in the 5 years I've been doing this stuff. My first was a Flight 386 SX, which now is an AMD K-6. I've also had an IBM-PC-330 100DX4, a number of White Boxes, quite a few old 386 and 486 Packard Bells, IBM EduQuests, a good few old laptops between 286-486, and had some early Compaq Deskpro based machines for awhile (286/12 and a rev2 386/16). I've also had a number of IBM PS/2's, and been through tons of monitors. I even had an XT Clone that I sold that got destroyed by the postal service (I've got a new case for a new one that I'm toying with as time, money, and space allows).

_________________
84' Tandy 1000(a)
90' GEM Computer Products 286
12' Franken-486
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Tadryn



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 6
Location: France

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 6:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

creepingnet wrote:
It seems to me that modern motherboards just don't support dual floppy drives


I have got the same problem with my A7N8-X Asus motherboard. User's guide says that there is support for one floppy.


Too bad for the DELL 325 P. Sad Those batteries leaks are the biggest threat for old computers with real-time clock.


I have got :
- another 286, an Olivetti PCS-286 (HDD is not working)
- a Compaq Contura 3/20 (386SX-20 laptop computer)
- a Compaq Deskpro 433 (upgraded to DX2-66)
- my homemade 386-40
- a brand new XT clone
- an IBM PS/1 (386SX)
- 4 Commodore Amigas
- 1 Atari 520 Stf
- 1 Amstrad CPC 464
- Several Apple Macintosh : Classic, Classic II, LC 430, Mac II and Mac IIcx
- 2 unnoticeable pentium.
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Tadryn



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 6
Location: France

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have found a man that succedeed to use an overclocked 286 as a webserver :

http://66.249.93.104/search?q=cache:vDzAUa1TIOUJ:minix1.hampshire.edu/faq/srvr286.html+%22A+Minix+Web+Server+on+a+286+%22&hl=fr&gl=fr&ct=clnk&cd=1


Here is the domain powered by this old, trustworthy computer :

http://phoenix.anomic.net/ You've got history of the project and some pics.


@Creepingnet : I read you got troubles getting your GEM-286 connected to the Internet. Minix can maybe solve your problem ?
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creepingnet



Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Lynnwood,WA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Tadryn wrote:
I have found a man that succedeed to use an overclocked 286 as a webserver :

http://66.249.93.104/search?q=cache:vDzAUa1TIOUJ:minix1.hampshire.edu/faq/srvr286.html+%22A+Minix+Web+Server+on+a+286+%22&hl=fr&gl=fr&ct=clnk&cd=1


Here is the domain powered by this old, trustworthy computer :

http://phoenix.anomic.net/ You've got history of the project and some pics.


@Creepingnet : I read you got troubles getting your GEM-286 connected to the Internet. Minix can maybe solve your problem ?


I might try again on that later. Right now I'm short a few ethernet cables, and don't really feel like hunting one down for awhile. Actually, I think I found the problem recently, that I was not inputting the DNS and such right into Minuet.

_________________
84' Tandy 1000(a)
90' GEM Computer Products 286
12' Franken-486
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creepingnet



Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Lynnwood,WA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:14 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Image

Well, I finally got this thing on-line, and it turned out to be rather simple too....all I needed was a packet driver. See, this is why I have not taken the Netwok+ Exam yet....and I'm sure you see a familiar site on the screen.

The computer is run through my Belkin Cable/DSL Router to the Westell 6100 modem. The connectivity is provided via an Intel EtherExpress 16 ethernet card, which uses a packet driver to provide an interface between the card and the router, the driver is one labelled as EXP16118.ZIP, and comes with the ethernet card.

I managed to get Minuet to "partially" work, I'm still going to research how to get it to actually work via DHCP if possible (since it's text mode and requires less RAM and CPU).

So I swapped to Arachne 1.70, and after hearing all this "nanananana, it won't work on a 286, blah blah blah" from a few people I've talked to, I'm quite surprised it actually does work, and quite well, in 800X600 @16 colors. Only bad thig is page rendering is a tad slow (about the same as a 56K modem on a network under medium stress). It's thrown a few errors, most whining for CSDPMI*.B and "Not a 386", but aside from that, that's pretty impressive for a computer consisting of nearly 25 year old technology.

Arachne was the easiest to set up, however, there is a tip I can pass on, you have to load the packet driver to address 0x60 for Arachne to see it. I loaded it to the settings provided in an example on the intel website and Arachne could not see the packet driver because of that. So I had to go back, unload the driver, and reload with EXP16.COM 0x60, and all was fine and dandy from there. Found the packet driver on the first try. I might have to put this on my wite, once I get it "Arachne Friendly".

_________________
84' Tandy 1000(a)
90' GEM Computer Products 286
12' Franken-486
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ryan



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 261
Location: WisConSin

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:35 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I tried archane long ago and never could get it to work at all (consider yourself lucky) Though linx worked perfectly every time, even on my K6-2 450

Then again the Intel dos packet drivers for their old pro 100's sucked so bad they rarely would initialize.

I might have to try archane again. (has anyone tried the new version of NDO lately?)

I also have been looking for the micro setup utility for 98lite for a while, 4mb disk space + whatever it takes to get dial up networking disk space would be nice.

Cheers
Ryan
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mbbrutman



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 4:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

If you think that trying to make the packet drivers work is fun, you should try writing code to talk to one.

My first attempts to do these were using a Xircom parallel-port to Ethernet adapter. It could send packets just fine, but after the first packet was received the machine went casters up. (Casters up is a midrange/mainframe term for dead.) On a Davicom ISA card the same code worked just fine, with the Davicom packet driver.

Eventually I figured out that Xircom did a crappy job writing their packet driver, and the workaround was to embed some ugly assembly language in my C code. What a waste of time though ..
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wdegroot



Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Location: pennsylvanai

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 4:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

still no takers for the eisa buslogic scsi card?
it's too tall to fit in a moden machine ( which does not have the right slots anyway)
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