[SATLUG] A challenge for all seasoned experts :-)

Borries Demeler demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu
Sun Jan 26 12:28:09 CST 2014

Here is a challenge for all you seasoned experts with previous DOS experience:

I have recently revived an old but excellent spectrophotometer that was built
on top of a 486 motherboard. Miraculously, the motherboard still works (after
resetting the bios with some jumper surgery), but now I am facing a second
hurdle: The spectrophotometer has a bad 3.5" floppy drive that was used to output
the data. All floppies I have tried fail to be recognized, although
they work fine on some other computer which has a floppy drive. So forget
the floppies - don't want to deal with them anyway. There is an old 3c509 
network card (isa) in this spectrophotometer that has a (presumably) 10baseT
cat 5 ethernet connector. The whole system is running MSDOS DOS 3.3.
The software controlling the spec needs DOS (its not a windows program). 

So, right now everything is stored on an old 40 MB (!) seagate harddrive,
which also miraculously still works. I want to first make a backup of the
whole system and then find some backup hardware that can be retrofitted 
onto the old motherboard in case other stuff fails - the spec is really
high quality and I would hate to lose it. The controller boards are all
ISA and so I cannot use a new motherboard. 

For now, I would be happy to somehow just get the 3c509 network card to
work under dos 3.3 and hook up an ethernet cable and be able to dump files
out over the network. Now I forgot pretty much anything about DOS networking
and wouldn't know where to get the files. I can probably find an old driver
on the harddrive for the 3c509 card, but maybe there is something else
available? What is the best way to network this old computer, and where
could I find the necessary software?

command line ftp, scp, rsync or similar would be fantastic, am I asking
for too much? What are my options here? The machine has 4 MB of RAM, and
is a 486. I *might* be able to find some more RAM for this if this is 

Thanks, -b. 

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