Sunday, October 5, 2014

Compaq Prosignia 486 VS

For years, I owned Compaq Prosignia VS motherboard and now it is old enough to turn it on.
And, well, it is one of the most tricky 486 computer I've ever touched.
This is the first part of story.

First, yes, it can be run from an AT PSU, but WARNING! - it must not be plugged as in normal PC AT PSU, but with a specific shift. Better read the docs, if you fail - you'll burn it (maybe I'll post photo later). [UPD: see it here (Let me explain: looking from CPU side: left, 5 pin socket: Black HANGING in air covering no pins, next Black, Blue, Light Yellow, Red, Dark Yellow; right: Red Red Red White Black Black Unconnected pin)]
Next, a SCSI drive. I use IBM 4G 68pin drive via SCSI converter.
And a floppy.

As you know, old Compaqs has a system partition instead of BIOS setup program. You have to download Compaq System Configuration Utility and to install it first.
Can you avoid it? Looks like yes. But if you want to see your's SCSI controller settings itself, install it.

Then I've installed FreeDOS from a floppy and tried to find PCNET packet driver. And failed! Because the onboard PCNET32 is EISA. It means it behaves mostly as ISA one, but 32 bit wide and on io 0x8800.
Ok, let's install an old linux - sure, that to be Slackware, saying, 7.1. I've downloaded (via Null Modem and conex.exe (c) 98 Erhard Hilbig -nice small and simple DOS terminal with Zmodem) n_53c7xx.s and color.gz - and it could not find SCSI controller. I boot it via loadlin,exe, btw.
It needs to know the IO and IRQ of SCSI contoller, that is done by
loadlin bzImage root=/dev/ram rw initrd=c:\linux\color.gz sim710=addr:0x8000,irq:14
Guess what? It refuses to see both pcnet32 and lance network! (and it sees only 16M of my 40M of RAM)
[end of first part]

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