Archives for: May 2006

What's coming up!

12/05/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Networking, Mac, Amiga, PC

Well, I need to fix the 9800 Pro (hopefully today). And fix the AthlonXP system I am building (next week, when parts come).

I am also going to build an Athlon64 3200 939pin based system. Probably, this will start as an ASUS All in One board in my old case (which I never ended up selling), with 512Mb RAM. I will dump some of the stuff from my old PC hard drives to the Mac. There is quite a lot of data, but some of it is duplicated. Then I will start my experiments with VNC and Remote desktop.

I also need to build a beige PCI Power Mac up. I am thinking of a 9600 or 7x00. The 9600 is a better machine, but a 7x00 would be smaller. I have a bunch of parts, including a 512KiB cache card, 400MHz G3, Twin Turbo, and a heap of RAM. The next stage would be to try XPostFacto.

I also need to try networking the Amigas (1200, A1, and 2000) again.


Dead Mobo or Dead CPU?

12/05/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, PC

This is out of order, it fits between the A1200 and the 6100.

Recently, I decided to build a basic Athlon PC. I got a 1600XP, and a microATX all in one ECS K7SOM.

I put them together in a MicroATX case. But no video. I plugged in a PCI video card, and got the same result. I reset the BIOS. I tried DDR and SDR RAM, tried different sticks, tried different slots, tried a different PSU. No go.

I got out the POST card, it gives a consistent error message, and 8 beeps. I looked it up and this is meant to mean a problem with the VRAM. You would think a PCI graphics card might solve this.

I suspect that there could be some other problem giving these symptoms. I have considered swapping the CPU (another arrives next week), and hooking up a terminal to see if there is debug info.

The seller is no use, claiming that it was working before they sent it.

I am starting to think I should have bought a 754 board and Sempron. It costs more, but is less hassle.

Problem unknown :(


Upgrading to Quicksilver 2002 800MHz and a dead 9800

12/05/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

This machine was a real bargain.

I sold my 533MHz Digital Audio for 300AUD with Zip, CD-RW, RagePro 128, 40Gb and 512Mb, and bought an 800MHz Quicksilver with Zip, DVD-RW, Radeon 7500, 40Gb and 256Mb for 375AUD. It was advertised as Password protected, but it just turned out the HDD had been formatted. Also, there was no mention of a Zip or DVD-RW (Pioneer DVR-106) in the listing, so that was a bonus.

Bargain :)

The problem was when I installed my parts into the QS. I have a 1.5 GiB RAM, SeriTek SATA card, 803.11g card, 320Gb SATA and 20Gb ATA drives, a Pioneer DVR-110, and a 9800pro. Quite a nice collection. The hard drives went in, but not the Pioneer (yet). What happened was no video out.

I had the 9800Pro in a Sawtooth, so I figured it should just work. Turned out I was wrong.

I'll skip most of the boring details. Suffice to say, I tried different power cables for the 9800 (it takes extra power via a Molex), updated drivers, updated ROM, reseating, the VGA and DVI connectors, different monitors, and flashing the ROM on the card.

I discovered that the card was not in fact a Mac edition as advertised, but a flashed PC card. This is cool, if it works, which it didn't anymore. So, I tried flashing it with a cut down 64k ROM. No go. I dumped the ROM on the card, and it showed as 1F repeated for the whole length (64k). Not normal, either the ROM was corrupt, or not reading correctly.

I then taped the card (pins 3 and 11) to force it into AGP 2.0 mode. It still didn't work. All the same problems were present.

There are two other odd things about the card. It causes Graphiccelerator to report its slot (and that of the Rage128 PCI I was using to get a screen) incorrectly. The slot numbers were swapped. This caused me to initially flash the Rage with a Radeon 9800 ROM.

The advice from is to flash in a PC.

For now, I am using a 9600Pro 64Mb from a G5 (with tape mod).

Current specs on the QuickSilver are 800MHz G4, 1.5 GiB RAM, 20Gb + 40Gb ATA drives, 320GB SATA drive, Pioneer DVR-106, Radeon 9600 Pro 64MiB, ATi Rage 128 PCI, SeriTek/1S2, 803.11g PCI card, White Pro keyboard, USB optical Scroll Wheel mouse, 21" Radius PrecisionColor CRT, 17" Sony 200ES CRT.


I will put the DVR-110 in when I have the 9800Pro working.

Now to try fixing the 9800 Pro :)


6100 G4 upgrade

12/05/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

This is another project that had been in the works for some time. I had originally set up the 6100 with 136Mb RAM, AV card, G4 @ 297MHz, 12X CD-ROM, 18Gb SCSI drive and 10baseT ethernet transciever, all running under OS9.

Problem is that it would lock up.

I put it aside, and then later sold the 18Gb drive.

Then earlier this week, I was toying with the beige boxen (G3, 7300, 8600 and 6100s) and decided to have another go with it.

I installed a 2Gb drive with 9.1. It booted and ran. However, it was running off the 601 still. So, I installed the drivers for the G4. It booted, and the G4 kicked in. But it locked up, after a few minutes use.

I swapped out the RAM to see if the RAM was bad. It still locked up. I took out the AV and it locked up. I went to sonnet, and read the Faq. I took out the 256k cache. I installed the latest drivers (downloaded under 9.1 and explorer on the 6100 itself).
I took out the G4, and it didn't lock up.


There was a problem with the G4. I guessed heat. But there was another strange problem. When I put the G4 back in, it was not detected. I reinstalled the drivers. I must say that the 6100 crawls with the 601.

Got the G4 back up and running with a 12cm fan blowing directly on it. It didn't crash. It still was quite slow, though. I guess that is to be expected.

So now it is running without the AV card, the G4 installed, the case off and a 12cm fan blowing on the G4. Not ideal, but it works. Final specs are 6100/66 with G4@297MHz, 2Gb HDD, 136MiB RAM, 12X CD-ROM, 10BaseT, and OS 9.1

I am thinking to put the G4 in a 7100 or 8100, where there will be more ventilation.

Problem solved (sort of) :)


A1200 Accelerator 68882

12/05/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Amiga

The last couple of weeks has seen more repairs and upgrades than actual use. This was the first mini project.

This has been a very long term project, mostly because Mr 1200 doesn't get used as much. Mostly, this is due to the 1942 monitor being dead, and also the A1 and the A2000.

I bought the Phase 5 A1230 Mk III some years ago. It came with a 50MHz 68030 and no FPU. I tried getting a 50MHz 68882 to go with it, but they are quite rare and expensive. So I ended up getting a 25MHz 68882 (and a 68881@25 and 68881@20MHz). The only problem is that I didn't have a 25MHz crystal oscillator.

Finding a suitable oscillator was harder than getting a PGA 68882. The basic problem was that I needed a square (8pin DIP) rather than rectangular (14pin DIP).

I asked on the SAUG mail list, and was given a supplier, who was out of the product. So I left it for sometime.

Then a couple of weeks ago I saw a rectangular Hosonic 25MHz oscillator on eBay. I bought it for about 11AUD. I had forgotten that I needed a square one. So, when it came and I went to install it, I realised my mistake.

Back to the SAUG mail list for advice. Got the name of the same supplier (I had forgotten all about it, until they mentioned the same name). They had some parts in stock, and others 'on order'. So I ordered a 20MHz AEL 1211CS, a 25MHz AEL 1211CS (on back order) and a 24MHz AEL 1200CS. The 1211CS has an enable/disable pin. I was not sure if this would be supported on my card, so I got the 1200CS (24MHz being the closest speed) which does not have this pin. Total cost with shipping was about 45AUD for 3 crystals.

The supplier I used was Farnells, who have offices all over the world.

The 20MHz and 24MHz crystals came later the same day (29th April). It took awhile to figure out the correct jumper settings. There is a jumper for RAM speed, copying ROM to Fast RAM, and selecting the oscillator for the FPU. The FPU can be set to run from either its own crystal or from the CPUs crystal. In one position it would not boot, in the other it booted.

I didn't know which position was which. I initially thought that it when it booted it was using the 50MHz crystal for the FPU. I needed to check the speed of the FPU in software. Show Config in Workbench didn't report speeds, so was useless. I had Sysinfo, and that had 50MHz for the CPU, but nothing next to the FPU. This was no help, it wasn't clear what the FPU speed was. I was nervous about potentially overclocking by 200%, so I needed to know.

I went to Aminet and downloaded every tool that seemed useful. Turned out that the tool I needed was Amiga Intuition Based Benchmarks (AIBB). Luckily, it turned out that I had the jumper settings wrong in my mind. When it booted, it was using the separate FPU crystal, and when it didn't boot it was when I was trying to run the 68882 at 50MHz.

A bit more work, and I discovered that both kinds of crystal worked. Both the 1211CS with the enable/disable pin and the 1200CS without the enable/disable pin gave the correct clock.

So I now had a working FPU. I just needed to wait for the 25MHz crystal, and I could have it set up finally.

The 25MHz crystal arrived last Friday (a week ago), and all is well.

Problem solved! :)


Current Hardware Projects

This is all about my on going fumblings with hardware. Regular entries should provide an indication of the depths of my obsession.

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