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caharmon
April 25th, 2008, 08:07 PM
I have a very unusual problem.

I have a client in Japan who is still using about 20 or 30 Compaq Deskpro 286 computers to run his business. He has written his own software, and runs these on ega monitors, or so I'm told.

He has a tentative order with me for 15 or more additional Deskpro 286's to replace those that are worn out, or he is expanding his operation. What exactly, he does with these, and why he needs more, or better yet, why he doesn't upgrade to more modern hardware, like a P-III ( I know just kidding!), I'll never know.

Now, the problem is that as of this moment, the future orders have been suspended, and possibly cancelled unless I can find an ega/vga combo video board that works with his software. So far the only board that will work is the Tseng Labs ET3000BX chip set. As some of you know, the Tseng Labs et3000bx is almost non-existent today. At best one might find two, or three, if very lucky, and after a long and ardous search. I found some chip sets by them selves, but only 1 actual board.

He wants 20 or 30 boards. There's no way that many even exist, unless, I were to find them in a collection somewhere, and that hasn't happended yet.

The only alternative is to use another,more readily available board. To do this, unless one knows of another board that has the same characteristics, or that will otherwise work one would need a copy of the software being used.

I have asked twice, giving him all sorts of promises of confidentiality, but he flat out refuses.

I don't know what else to do. I'm sitting on about 15 or more Deskpro 286's that are complete, working uints. They just need to have a video board plugged in, and then have the set up run.

He won't buy these, unless I find him a video board that will work around his software problem. But he won't allow me to have a copy to use for testing purposes.

It's a real catch 22. any ideas?

Thanks

modem7
April 25th, 2008, 10:41 PM
The software must be writing direct to the video hardware, or perhaps the software verifies the presence of a ET3000 based card as an extreme form of copy-protection.
If the client is not prepared to provide their 'sensitive' software, maybe the client can quickly write another program, something small which contains the ET3000 reliant component, and give you that for your testing.

modem7
April 25th, 2008, 11:06 PM
How about sending the client an ET4000 based card for testing.

IBMMuseum
April 26th, 2008, 04:12 PM
...Now, the problem is that as of this moment, the future orders have been suspended, and possibly cancelled unless I can find an ega/vga combo video board that works with his software. So far the only board that will work is the Tseng Labs ET3000BX chip set. As some of you know, the Tseng Labs et3000bx is almost non-existent today. At best one might find two, or three, if very lucky, and after a long and ardous search. I found some chip sets by them selves, but only 1 actual board.

He wants 20 or 30 boards. There's no way that many even exist, unless, I were to find them in a collection somewhere, and that hasn't happended yet.

The only alternative is to use another,more readily available board. To do this, unless one knows of another board that has the same characteristics, or that will otherwise work one would need a copy of the software being used.

...I don't know what else to do. I'm sitting on about 15 or more Deskpro 286's that are complete, working uints. They just need to have a video board plugged in, and then have the set up run.

He won't buy these, unless I find him a video board that will work around his software problem...

The Tseng boards did some specific things that other video cards of the time didn't. I've got seven (identical) "2 the Max" ISA cards that have an ET4000AX, maybe that could get you a little closer to your goal. Other than that, as long as you are sending him whole units, would be to find a more common system with ET3000BX-compatible chips on the baseboard (I think there was a couple model of IBM ValuePoints that did, which would also take him to a 486 CPU level).

VintageComputerman
April 26th, 2008, 05:04 PM
http://www.tamayatech.com/parts.php?g=VGA10000

Trixter
April 26th, 2008, 09:21 PM
I have asked twice, giving him all sorts of promises of confidentiality, but he flat out refuses.


Then he's digging his own grave.

I would send him one of your most common stock of EGA boards and tell him to test, because that's as good as it will get. Either that, or tell him to cough up the reason why he must have a specific version of chipset because no matter what he is doing it CAN be duplicated by another board!

IBMMuseum
April 27th, 2008, 01:34 PM
...Either that, or tell him to cough up the reason why he must have a specific version of chipset because no matter what he is doing it CAN be duplicated by another board!

Duplicated yes, but there was very specific video BIOS calls that the Tseng boards did at that level. If the software is locked-in to just use that video (agreed, bad practices) then nothing else would do. Unless the client is throwing some major funds (and buying old cards from those kind of places is going to get expensive) it is quickly going to be a pain with an unknown application.

Trixter
May 1st, 2008, 12:40 AM
Duplicated yes, but there was very specific video BIOS calls that the Tseng boards did at that level. If the software is locked-in to just use that video (agreed, bad practices) then nothing else would do.

If he's using chipset-level calls, then another Tseng board will probably work. If he's using some specific BIOS call, then a TSR can easily be written to hook that call and translate to an equivalent call on another board.

I think the customer is simply paranoid *and* hardware-ignorant, which is why he will get nowhere.

IBMMuseum
May 1st, 2008, 07:22 PM
If he's using chipset-level calls, then another Tseng board will probably work...

That's why I offered the seven ET4000BX boards. There was supposed to be some "video zoom" features in the Tseng video BIOS, something I haven't seen elsewhere. Still mysterious for why he is locked into this level, but as we have agreed, unless money is so plentiful to rewarding, best to just walk away.

caharmon
May 8th, 2008, 01:17 AM
For example, I normally pay anywhere from $50-150 dollars per unit for the actual Deskpro 286 when I can find them. Although I have paid as much as $250 per unit on occassion, but that's rare. I charge the client,or rather I should say my client $450 per unit plus shipping. I have no idea what he charges the final end user.

As I said my client has about 10-15 units of the deskpro 286 on order from me which until this happend were scheduled for delivery through the end of 2008. I have most if not all in storage in another state. I was able to find most of these through an obsolete computer,and computer parts dealer who forgot that he had these in storage till he found them after cleaning up his warehouse.

My client also has 20 of each of the following on order with me for his client. Connor CP-3021, 3021i, and 3041. I have been lucky to find these in the past, but now, there are none, or at least none in that quantity to be found anywhere that I know of. I was able to convince Ultratec in england to "make " then for me, but at $400 per unit. My client is seriously thinking about it. I suggested that almost any IDE hard drive will do what he wants to use it for, but so far he refuses to consider a change. I think that because everytime that I have had a hard time finding whatever he asks for, he thinks that if he remains firm, I'll end up finding them. Sometimes I do, this time though I haven't. I'd tell him that he's just out of luck, but I don't want to tick him off. The upside of that is at least I know that if I can't find this stuff, chances are very good no one else can either.

IBMMuseum
May 8th, 2008, 01:24 PM
...The upside of that is at least I know that if I can't find this stuff, chances are very good no one else can either.

As said, I have found seven identical video boards based on the ET4000BX if needed...

jules lehr
March 5th, 2009, 10:36 AM
i HAVE 500 PCS OF ET3000BX
T SENG LABS 1988 DATE CODE
84 PIN PGA CHIP 15 PER TUBE
CHIP ONLY NOT THE BOARD.. CAN YOU TAKE ANY?

JULES

310-428-2255