Author Topic: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards  (Read 5294 times)

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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2018, 09:43:01 am »
This is an Intel brand expansion board for the IBM XT.  You would gain an extra printer, serial port, real time clock and more memory than you could ever use.  Back then mostly I remember those Six Packs and Six Pack Plus cards with the PCs.   Note the Mitsubishi DRAM.   
Ugh, those damn RTC cards... I always had trouble making the system read the time at startup and many had to be tested before a magical combination was able to make them work. Obviously that my experience was with "clone" XT systems, which could be anything but standard.
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Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2018, 10:39:34 am »
This is an Intel brand expansion board for the IBM XT.  You would gain an extra printer, serial port, real time clock and more memory than you could ever use.  Back then mostly I remember those Six Packs and Six Pack Plus cards with the PCs.   Note the Mitsubishi DRAM.   
Ugh, those damn RTC cards... I always had trouble making the system read the time at startup and many had to be tested before a magical combination was able to make them work. Obviously that my experience was with "clone" XT systems, which could be anything but standard.
It's been so long ago, I am not sure.   Things I remember are Wordstar having an error that there was not enough memory when you went above 480K or something and using Debug to hack their software to find they had used a wrong compare.  The more painful problems like this stuck with me for some reason.   Or how painfully slow the PC booted with 640K.  It was worse than watching the released version of the 121GW autorange!   :-DD   At least with the PC you could change the DIP switches to tell it there was only 64K to get it to boot then overwrite the memory size.   An you needed the PC to boot fast because your Visi Schedule  software would crash after each new task was added.   :-DD   That said, I had used the IBM PCs to run some test equipment and had them in service for over a decade.   
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Offline james_s

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2018, 11:28:47 am »
This is an Intel brand expansion board for the IBM XT.  You would gain an extra printer, serial port, real time clock and more memory than you could ever use.  Back then mostly I remember those Six Packs and Six Pack Plus cards with the PCs.   Note the Mitsubishi DRAM.   
Ugh, those damn RTC cards... I always had trouble making the system read the time at startup and many had to be tested before a magical combination was able to make them work. Obviously that my experience was with "clone" XT systems, which could be anything but standard.


I saw a lot of those AST Six Pak Plus cards, I liked those, they always seemed to work well. I'm pretty sure there's one in the XT I still have.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2018, 12:20:51 pm »
I don't member having any problems with the Six Pack hardware as well in those old cards.  $240 back then for one with 64K installed.   

https://books.google.com/books?id=hoPbDSDNLTQC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=six+pak+expansion+card+ast&source=bl&ots=Kfhgnb2wzM&sig=1jbj3ye8V6yhwSyWrRaKADaf8sk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj83_DZmp_ZAhUkmeAKHcV8DgsQ6AEIOzAD#v=onepage&q=six%20pak%20expansion%20card%20ast&f=false

I had an MF384 for the 8-bit slot as well.  What was nice about this card is they provided the schematics for it.   I may still have the documentation for that one around. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2018, 12:53:11 pm »
This is an Intel brand expansion board for the IBM XT.  You would gain an extra printer, serial port, real time clock and more memory than you could ever use.  Back then mostly I remember those Six Packs and Six Pack Plus cards with the PCs.   Note the Mitsubishi DRAM.   
Ugh, those damn RTC cards... I always had trouble making the system read the time at startup and many had to be tested before a magical combination was able to make them work. Obviously that my experience was with "clone" XT systems, which could be anything but standard.
It's been so long ago, I am not sure.   Things I remember are Wordstar having an error that there was not enough memory when you went above 480K or something and using Debug to hack their software to find they had used a wrong compare.  The more painful problems like this stuck with me for some reason.   Or how painfully slow the PC booted with 640K. It was worse than watching the released version of the 121GW autorange!   :-DD
You had to go there, hadn't you? :-DD

In my XT days the best ones used NEC V20s at 10MHz with 1024kB of memory but with the existing DOS 3.2 or 3.3 we could rarely use the extended memory for anything other than a RAM disk - people that insisted to run Sidekick as a TSR and wanted to do anything else was an exercise in frustration. On our 286s we could do a bit better only when the newfangled HIMEM.SYS of DOS 5 became available (but we all had to be burned by 4.0 first). Managing all these TSRs to get a couple of more kB was really an art, but totally worth it when Wordstar, Chiwriter, Autocad, Orcad or Corel Ventura could run without screaming at you. There was another utility that promised to put all *.OVL files to the extended area but it never worked for us.

At least with the PC you could change the DIP switches to tell it there was only 64K to get it to boot then overwrite the memory size.   An you needed the PC to boot fast because your Visi Schedule  software would crash after each new task was added.   :-DD   That said, I had used the IBM PCs to run some test equipment and had them in service for over a decade.
I've never had to do such shennanigans, thankfully. However, it was really interesting when you got the DIP switches wrong and your card ended up at the same I/O address of the video or the keyboard controller, for example. :P
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2018, 02:18:29 pm »
In my AT, there is a card that is made by Everex (SP?) that could do both extended or expanded modes.  I had some software from Pharlap (SP?) that allowed fairly easy access to the memory using bank switching from what I remember.  When I tried to make the video, I ran into a problem where some  of my software was using that memory.   The RAM disks were nice for compiling and setting up general temporary areas.    I think the first C compiler we used was from C-Systems in CA.  It would run on a PC with DOS 2 and two floppies.   I was also using Quarterdeck memory manager with its multi-DOS window.  So my code would look something like,

        .286
CSEG    SEGMENT PARA PUBLIC 'CODE'
        ASSUME    CS:CSEG
        ORG  100H
START:  JMP  MAIN
QEMM200 DB   'EMMXXXX0',0F0H    ;QUARTERDECK MEMORY MANAGER 2.0
QEMM702 DB   'EMMXXXX0',03FH    ;QUARTERDECK MEMORY MANAGER 7.02
QEMM704 DB   'EMMXXXX0',043H    ;QUARTERDECK MEMORY MANAGER 7.04
;EMM386N DB   '$MMXXXX0',0CCH    ;STANDARD DOS MEMORY MANAGER NOEMS
EMM386N DB   'EMMXXXX0',0ECH    ;STANDARD DOS MEMORY MANAGER NOEMS
;EMM386R DB   'EMMXXXX0',0CCH    ;   "      "     "      "    RAM
EMM386R DB   'EMMXXXX0',0ECH    ;   "      "     "      "    RAM
;

and I would figure out what hardware/software I was running.  Nightmare but if you needed the memory, it got you over that 640K limit. 
 
I never had any of the NEC parts.  I did have an accelerator card that took the AT'c clock from 6MHz to I think maybe 8. 

I still have my old DOS Orcad.  The last time I used that, I had hacked out a driver to allow it to use that Diamond graphics card.   I uploaded the driver onto their BBS and they deleted it.   They had that Gendrive thing that allowed 800X600 res.     The mouse took up your whole screen and it was impressive!
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2018, 02:40:14 pm »
For you VLB fans, this was the disk controller I was using in that PC, made by Promise Technologies.  You can see from the previous sheet its a DC4030VL-2.  At the time had 8Meg of DRAM installed for the cache. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2018, 02:43:36 pm »
And one last one that I had dug out.  Let's see if anyone here knows what this card is.   It may be fun to make a video showing it in operation.  At the time, this card almost seemed like magic.   :-DD
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline helius

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2018, 03:25:10 pm »
And one last one that I had dug out.  Let's see if anyone here knows what this card is.   It may be fun to make a video showing it in operation.  At the time, this card almost seemed like magic.
http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/manuals/Perstor/Perstor%20PS180-16F%20-%20Advertisement.pdf
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2018, 03:38:38 pm »
After seeing the connectors and not looking at helius' response, I knew it was a MFM controller. I had a similar one in our first XT, a 30MB Seagate ST238.
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline helius

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2018, 03:41:17 pm »
It's a ST412 controller that uses "ERLL" to double the label capacity of MFM drives. Kind of neat, I didn't know that existed until now.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #36 on: February 13, 2018, 03:05:14 am »
 My first MSDOS machine, I originally bought as a dual floppy model. After using it about a year liek that, I knew I needed a hard disk. But looking at my stack of floppies, I figured that common 20MB was too small - so I got the 32MB one which was an RLL drive. A bunch of years later, I was still using this machine (it was 8MHz to begin with, with a switch to flip back to 4.77MHz for compatibility), upgraded with a NEC V20 and also a 8087. I found another of the exact same Seagate RLL drive in the back room at work, condition unknown. I took it home and it initially worked but soon failed. I used Gibson SpinRite to do it's thing, which was a low level format but also more - after two passes, the drive again worked and was reliable for at least 3 more years that I had the machine.
 I know I had a RTC in it, I forget how that was added - no need for a 6-Pack type of card since the system had memory slots on board for a full 640K and also had 2 serial and 1 parallel port built in. I'm trying to remember how I hacked the second hard drive in as well, since I kept the dual floppies and there was only one more bay for a 5 1/4" drive under the two floppies. That was probably the most solid and reliable computer I've had since the dawn of the DOS age. It even survived being kicked into a wall - while the system was on, with the hard drive.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 03:07:33 am by rrinker »
 

Online drussell

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2018, 03:18:09 am »
Joe!!  DUDE!!

I may need your help!  I have been waiting to find someone else with a Perstor!

I have one that quit working properly after I lent it to a friend many, many years ago.  I need to dig it up and get you to probe a few things for me on your good one so I can figure out what the heck is wrong with mine.  :)

PS-180-16FN, if I recall correctly... I can't recall what BIOS is on it right now, but it was sent back to Perstor for an upgrade very early in it's life.

It's a ST412 controller that uses "ERLL" to double the label capacity of MFM drives. Kind of neat, I didn't know that existed until now.

The Perstors don't quite double the capacity.  It was 31 sectors per track instead of 17 for MFM or 26 for RLL.  I used mine for years on a pair of Miniscribe 3650 drives in the BBS machine until the media and the positioner finally started to give out.  The 3650/3675 were still stepper-motor drives.  I couldn't afford voice-coil-actuated drives back in those days.  :)

 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2018, 12:07:10 pm »
Joe!!  DUDE!!

I may need your help!  I have been waiting to find someone else with a Perstor!

I have one that quit working properly after I lent it to a friend many, many years ago.  I need to dig it up and get you to probe a few things for me on your good one so I can figure out what the heck is wrong with mine.  :)

PS-180-16FN, if I recall correctly... I can't recall what BIOS is on it right now, but it was sent back to Perstor for an upgrade very early in it's life.

It's a ST412 controller that uses "ERLL" to double the label capacity of MFM drives. Kind of neat, I didn't know that existed until now.

The Perstors don't quite double the capacity.  It was 31 sectors per track instead of 17 for MFM or 26 for RLL.  I used mine for years on a pair of Miniscribe 3650 drives in the BBS machine until the media and the positioner finally started to give out.  The 3650/3675 were still stepper-motor drives.  I couldn't afford voice-coil-actuated drives back in those days.  :)

Shouldn't be a problem if you know what you want to have looked at.   From what I remember, when I bought the board it had a problem that they had corrected and I had to return it for an upgrade, similar to what people are seeing with the 121GW.    So back it goes and I get a whole new card.  Plug it in and it does not work at all.  Back on the phone with their tech support.  As I started to look at the board, I realized they had left one of the ICs out.  Sure enough, another problem and the second one was returned.  Third time was a charm.
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2018, 12:12:14 pm »
Now I am wondering what is in the old AT as I thought it had this with the MEMO-4000 boards.   Anyway, here is the Everx memory card that supports both memory modes in hardware. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2018, 11:27:53 pm »
Quite the quality control, Joe... Gives that warm feeling of reassurance...
(Wait! You almost forgot the 8088 on this PC. Quick! Go to the warehouse and grab one from the bin. No, you can pick one with your bare hands - I don't believe in this ESD folly)
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2018, 10:24:43 am »
It was one of the 40-pin parts they had left off.  That's going way back. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #42 on: February 15, 2018, 01:50:07 am »
 Eh, that chip's not important. Besides, we just reduced the power consumption and cut BOM costs.  :-DD

                          --Randy
 

Offline Sehsuan

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2018, 11:48:34 am »
At one time I bought a Sony 21" Trinitron.  It has a serial port on the monitor so you could control it with the PC.   It took up the desk.  I bought the Media Vision ProGraphics 1280 card to drive it.

nice! I was very curious what the Media Vision cards looked like back in the day...

if I could do so, I'd bring back my scanner to my parents' place to scan images of the cards I have... not as high end - but I do have a Diamond Edge 3D (2000? 3000?) that uses the nVidia nv1. I remember it being billed as the first chip that can really draw curves with little processing power, akin to vectors I think...
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Offline precaud

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2018, 10:06:09 pm »
Here is an old EPROM programmer...  I wonder if I can still find the software.

I think I have that same programmer, and probably have the software for it, too. I'll look around if you'd like.
 

Offline digsys

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #45 on: June 26, 2018, 10:42:22 pm »
Ahhh memories. Used to make heaps of multi-channel serial / 232-485-fiber-etc cards. EPLDs / FPGAs were new and awesome.
Even blew ~$20,000 on a Texas Instruments TMS34010 video SDK / full hardware development kit and made a VGA card with a whopping 256K
video memory !!Sadly, a few weeks after I finished it, and was tweaking specs, damn Taiwanese brought them out. Bastids :-)
Up till then, we mostly only had CGA, EGA, Mono hires. Gave it all away a few years ago, at a swap meet.
Sure were wild days
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Offline texaspyro

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #46 on: August 13, 2018, 02:15:56 pm »
I was one of the founders  of STB Systems.   We made a butt-load of Apple and IBM PC add-in cards.   They were sold under our own name and OEMed to numerous PC manufacturers (IBM, ATT, Dell, Gateway, NCR, Unisys, etc). 

Our president bough one of the first IBM PCs ever sold.  He bought it at a Sears computer store.  One week later we were shipping memory expansion cards (it helps when your president was also a sales rep for a PCB house and Mitsubishi ICs).   At the time 64 KB of DRAM was over $200 and our first card went to 192 KB.  Imagine...  you could have a computer with a whopping 256 KB of memory!

I still have an IBM PC/AT with a two digit serial number (or is it three digit).   Picked it up from Computerland 1 second after they were allowed to sell them...

I left Computer Automation to start STB.   AST Research was also started by ex-Computer Automation engineers.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2018, 05:47:04 pm »
Pretty cool story, texaspyro! I surely remember STB Systems.

Also, quite impressive to have a genuine AT 80286 - did you fit a math coprocessor? That was an object of desire when AutoCAD 9 required one but we could not afford the ~$500 and had to get by with a slow software emulator.
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline helius

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #48 on: August 14, 2018, 02:24:39 am »
At the time, math coprocessors were available from even more manufacturers than CPUs. Cyrix got its start making x87 coprocessors, and they were also available from Intel, AMD, IIT, Texas Instruments, Weitek, ULSI, Harris, and Xtend.
 

Offline texaspyro

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Re: Old IBM compatible PC/XT/AT cards
« Reply #49 on: August 14, 2018, 03:21:44 am »
At the time, math coprocessors were available from even more manufacturers than CPUs. Cyrix got its start making x87 coprocessors, and they were also available from Intel, AMD, IIT, Texas Instruments, Weitek, ULSI, Harris, and Xtend.

Also NEC (?) had a CMOS math chip for the 8088.  I put one in my Toshiba T1000 laptop (4.77 MHz 80C88).  The T1000 has the 768 KB memory expansion board which increases the RAM to 640K.  The rest of the memory is used as a RAM disk.    The T1000 is still ticking.  I just rebuilt the battery pack a couple of month ago.  I mainly use it as a terminal to Data I/O Unisite and 3980 device programmers

And yes, the PC/AT had a math chip and a 16 MHz crystal upgrade.   It has a 20 MB Rodime hard drive which now sounds rather iffy.
 


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