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

Borries Demeler demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu
Wed Jan 29 10:16:19 CST 2014

Hi Al,
I do have a null-modem and considered this as a fall-back option if I
cannot get TCP/IP to work.

I have a few other options, upgrading to DOS 6.22 and installing win3.1,
for example.

It would be nice if I could locate an ISA-16 dual PATA controller,
additional/bigger ram sticks, and a couple of harddrives in case
my current one fails. This system only has a single PATA controller,
but I am not even sure if this is PATA, even though the connector
looks the same as a standard PATA, the current drive is not recognized
by any other more modern mobo that has on-board PATA. I'm wondering, was
there another standard between MFM and PATA?


> 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
> correctly.
> 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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Borries Demeler, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Dept. of Biochemistry, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900
Voice: 210-767-3332, Fax: 210-567-4575, Email: demeler at biochem.uthscsa.edu


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