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Author Topic: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?  (Read 1346 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« on: September 30, 2017, 11:08:56 AM »
Forget Arduino & Raspberry Pi being the embedded platform computing standards, PC/104 has reigned supreme for over 25 years and is still THE industrial embedded computing standard.
Dave boots up a 17 year old 80386SX PC-104 board with Disk On Chip flash drive. Well, after a lot of frustration anyway.

 
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Offline Artlav

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2017, 11:14:18 AM »
Well, what do you know.
Just a week ago i was ripping the data off of a Disk-On-Chip, which involved making an OS, a TCP/IP stack, a driver for a network card and a driver for the DoC, all on a weird half-PC embedded board i happened to buy on a garage sale a few years earlier, and now i see a board like that on EEVBlog out of the blue.
Hacking the universe since 2008
 

Online Red Squirrel

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2017, 12:39:43 PM »
Oh man, floppies and dos are so nostalgic, but yeah they are a pain haha.   I had to flash some SAS HBA cards for my file server and it required the use of a floppy, took me hours to get a damn DOS boot environment to work so I can run the flash util haha.  Had to play around with mem386 and autoexec.bat to allocate enough memory and stuff.  Fun fun.

 

Online Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2017, 01:46:00 PM »
Computers these days are just sooooooooo easy to play with.

Wiring a video connection like that brings back so many memories......


... and DOS has a simplicity and integrity that just shows today's modern operating systems as the bloated mysteries that they are.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 01:48:42 PM by Brumby »
 

Offline max_torque

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2017, 09:37:12 PM »
Two comments:

1) PC therapist: Is the therapy actually derived from the pleasure of smashing your pc to pieces due to the continual imbecilic responses of the therapist??

2) "hmm, i remember better resolution than this, maybe i had a better monitor".  Nope, rose tinted monitor viewing spectacles!  Like when you go back and play last generation play station games, where at the time you could have swore the graphics were 'photo realistic' and yet, funnily, when you replay them years later, er, nope they weren't

 :-DD
 

Offline Artlav

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2017, 09:46:28 PM »
where at the time you could have swore the graphics were 'photo realistic' and yet, funnily, when you replay them years later, er, nope they weren't
Ah, so much of it was imagination-augmented. :)
I remember playing a game in the DOS era that was absurdly photo-realistic, and yet when i found it again this century... er, nope.
Hacking the universe since 2008
 

Offline TK

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2017, 10:03:17 PM »
Arduino starter around 2003, so it is almost 15 years old, just 10 years younger than PC/104
 

Offline 22swg

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2017, 01:28:13 AM »
Dave Jones ... Time traveller !  . Reminded me of all the things we had to do just to get a C prompt ... A*
Check your tongue, your belly and your lust. Better to enjoy someone else’s madness.
 

Offline capt bullshot

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2017, 04:21:56 AM »
Cool stuff
Once upon a time, I built instruments (very special power line analyzers) with these as the main CPU (a 486 with 4MB RAM, later 16MB).
The PC/104 CPU was mount on a mainboard containing all the stuff required for the instrument to work.
Using the PC/104 saved us a lot of work, because we just put in the board and we didn't have to bother with all the PC related stuff (like layout, where to get the BIOS, ...)
First generation booted DOS and DOS/4GW from a flash disk (roll your own style, no fancy Disk-on-Chip) - just to load the software into memory and then take over full control, never go back to DOS.
Next generation booted Linux from a similar home made flash disk, and now we had a decent file system and networking support.
Over time, manufacturer discontinued the PC/104 boards, but newer boards still ran in our system (most of them at least, sometimes we had some compatibility issues to solve).
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Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2017, 08:23:48 AM »
this just screams : alley cat !
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline stmdude

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2017, 04:58:23 PM »
So, since there's PC/104 people in this thread, maybe I could finally get an answer to something I've been wondering..

How did
 

Offline fusebit

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2017, 05:23:47 AM »
By far the best was the floppy disk sound  :popcorn:
Haven't heard that for a while  :-DD
 

Offline glarsson

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2017, 06:26:08 AM »
So, since there's PC/104 people in this thread, maybe I could finally get an answer to something I've been wondering..

How did
I think we have waited long enough now.
 

Online Red Squirrel

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2017, 09:22:37 AM »
Anyone know of any places that actually sell PC/104 stuff, specifically in Canada?  It's really cool to know that it's a standard and all but can't seem to find anywhere to even buy/shop.  There are situations where it would be nice to have a x86/x64 platform to have something run on but where a full blown PC would be too expensive/overkill/big.  I have a feeling it's pretty hard to beat the price of a RPI though even though that's not x86 it runs Linux and pretty much anything you would need to run on it.

 

Offline TK

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2017, 11:22:55 AM »
I checked on eBay hopping to find bargains but what I found was pretty expensive, maybe because it is still used for industrial applications
 

Offline chickenHeadKnob

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2017, 11:27:14 AM »
Anyone know of any places that actually sell PC/104 stuff, specifically in Canada?  It's really cool to know that it's a standard and all but can't seem to find anywhere to even buy/shop.  There are situations where it would be nice to have a x86/x64 platform to have something run on but where a full blown PC would be too expensive/overkill/big.  I have a feeling it's pretty hard to beat the price of a RPI though even though that's not x86 it runs Linux and pretty much anything you would need to run on it.
PC-104 or other industrial form factors have never been cheap, that is they are significantly behind price/performance of commercial grade motherboards. Unless you need one of industrial temp grade, long lifetime availability or unusual parallel I/O I would buy a fanless mini ITX. Some of these are tailored for the industrial market and quite a few of those have legacy ports if you need them. 
 

Online Red Squirrel

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2017, 02:08:17 PM »
I was thinking it would be cool to incorporate in custom applications but guess the Raspberry Pi route is probably still best bet.  Going ITX would still be more expensive as it still involves a full blown PC.  ex: $100 for the motherboard, couple hundred for cpu, ram, PSU etc.
 

Online cdev

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2017, 02:26:15 PM »
HP thin clients are physically small, cost less than an new RPI 3 (used) and they will run all i386 software, (they will run any old or even modern Linux) plus they have real serial and parallel ports. Some are fairly fast, too, considering how cheap they are.

Anyone know of any places that actually sell PC/104 stuff, specifically in Canada?  It's really cool to know that it's a standard and all but can't seem to find anywhere to even buy/shop.  There are situations where it would be nice to have a x86/x64 platform to have something run on but where a full blown PC would be too expensive/overkill/big.  I have a feeling it's pretty hard to beat the price of a RPI though even though that's not x86 it runs Linux and pretty much anything you would need to run on it.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Online Red Squirrel

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2017, 03:16:02 PM »
Actually yeah I always forget about thin clients, some of those can be pretty cheap and they are low power usage too.
 

Offline meeko

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2017, 02:34:08 AM »
I was thinking it would be cool to incorporate in custom applications but guess the Raspberry Pi route is probably still best bet.  Going ITX would still be more expensive as it still involves a full blown PC.  ex: $100 for the motherboard, couple hundred for cpu, ram, PSU etc.

Still going to end up costing more than a Raspberry Pi, but I've got a bunch of new and used PC parts, including Athlon 5350s (2.05 GHz quad-core), a Mini-ITX motherboard, RAM and PicoPSUs, for sale over at https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/fs-motherboards-cpus-ram-case-nics-video-card-picopsus.16457/.
 

Online Red Squirrel

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2017, 05:34:49 AM »
Thanks but not in the market now, was just thinking it would be cool to use PC/104 for future project if it was easily obtainable, but I'll probably stick to RPIs.   
 

Offline jonovid

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Re: EEVblog #1028 - What's All This PC/104 Stuff Anyhow?
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2017, 01:46:59 AM »
Reminded me of DOS , Doom and Windows 3.2  those were the days ;D
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 05:52:20 AM by jonovid »
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