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

Alan Lesmerises alesmerises at satx.rr.com
Tue Jan 28 21:54:35 CST 2014

I had done quite a bit with DOS back in the day, but I hadn't messed 
with networking until Win 3.1.  And since that was more than 15 years 
ago now, I wouldn't remember how to do it any more anyway.  I do still 
have an old Windows 98 CD, if that would help.

Had you thought of using a null modem cable & direct connect to another 
PC?  As I recall, that's not all that difficult and is fully supported 
right in DOS.  It's just a matter of configuring the communication 
settings and directing the output to the right COM port, if I remember 

Al Lesmerises

On 1/26/2014 10:07 PM, Borries Demeler wrote:
> Daniel,
> thanks for the offer, but I found another 3.5 floppy that works and
> can just copy stuff off using the floppy drive. But I still am interested
> in getting the network to work on this.
> I had another idea: some supersmall linux with 3c509 modules that runs in
> 4 MB or RAM and has some basic utils to mount FAT16 fs and maybe netcat to
> dump stuff out? Alternatively, it would be nice if I could just get some sort
> of tcpip network to work on this DOS system. The PXE boot emulator sounds nice
> if I can find a copy of this win2003 server program...
> -b.
> On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 09:51:05PM -0500, Daniel Villarreal wrote:
>> Borries,
>> Have you considered using an old parallel-port Iomega zip drive? I
>> have a spare one I can loan you, if you need it... if you don't mind
>> shipping back to NY.
>> regards,
>> Daniel Villarreal
>> http://youcanlinux.org/
>> On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 5:14 PM, Borries Demeler
>> <demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu> wrote:
>>> THis sounds like a great way to do it - however, I cannot find rbfg.exe on
>>> any of my windows systems. I looked at win2k, XP and 7. Is there a place
>>> where I can get a copy or is there an alternative? I did get the floppy
>>> driver replaced and it is working now. I also tried to read the harddrive
>>> with my USB adapter, but it must be pre-PATA because it is not recognized.
>>> In the BIOS it is listed as "TYPE 40". When hooked up directly to the PATA bus
>>> on another computer the drive isn't recognized.
>>> So, I guess I could copy everything off the drive via floppy now, or
>>> try to get the rbfg.exe file somewhere...
>>> Thanks for the tip!
>>> -b.
>>> On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 01:57:20PM -0600, Joe wrote:
>>>> Definately,  PXE!   Fix that floppy drive. Then you can use a pxe emulator (
>>>> http://www.lockergnome.com/windows/2006/03/22/create-a-pxe-emulator-boot-floppy/).
>>>> You still then need a pxe service provider.  You could use a Vm, maybe
>>>> running Amanda, or some other image management software.  It's a bit of
>>>> additional work.  But, once it's done, you can boot any computer on your
>>>> network from the nic and backup or restore through the network.
>>>> On Sunday, January 26, 2014, Borries Demeler <demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> 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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