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

Borries Demeler demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu
Sun Jan 26 13:38:35 CST 2014

On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 01:20:27PM -0600, Bruce Dubbs wrote:
> Borries Demeler wrote:
> >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.
> Wow.  DOD-3.3 was released in April, 1987.  The i486 was released in
> 1989.  The first thing I'd do is try to replace the floppy drive so
> I could get some sort of input or output.
>  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).
> Any possibility of running the program in a virtual system on a
> modern machine?  What's the interface to the HW?  Is it a simple
> serial port or some kind of proprietary connection?

That's the problem, there are about 6 ISA controller boards in there,
so I couldn't move the system to a newer hardware where that would be
an option, as nice as it would be - but then there would be the question
of making all the interrupts and I/O addresses work as well...anyway,
I don't know how to get around that.

> >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.
> You could remove the HD and put it into a modern system for copying.
> You can use an ide to sata connector:
> http://www.amazon.com/IDE-SATA-Adapter/dp/B000RK89M4 if you can't
> find a system with ide.  My 2005 Dell has an ide for the CD-ROM.

I could do that, I have one of these devices - good idea, but not a 
permanent solution for transferring files.

> 00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801FB/FR (ICH6/ICH6R) LPC
> Interface Bridge (rev 03)
> 00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6
> Family) IDE Controller (rev 03)
> >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
> >necessary.
> I'd be interested in how DOS 3.3 addresses 4MB.  Standard DOS was

Only as a ram drive. It is not until you install a 32 bit OS like win3.1
that you can actually use the RAM > 640 kb. Question is: How do I get
a tcp/ip network set up under DOS?

> only 640K, but there was the ability to swap memory via the eXtended
> Memory Specification (XMS).  This was in the application of course
> since DOS was only a program loader, not an operating system.
> Interesting project.  Good luck.
>   -- Bruce
> -- 
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