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lutiana
April 23rd, 2009, 10:31 PM
So I got a decent response on craigslist. The person in question had some stuff, half a case, and old monitor and a weird looking machine.

At first glance it sort of looked like a phone PBX, but I soon found out it was not. I can only report on the half that I know at this point.

Basically it is a single board PC (386SX) in a i-Bus 4802 ISA backplane case. It has a 1.2MB/1.44Mb combo floppy drive and a 120Mb Quantum Hardrive. I booted it up and it has a fully copy of DOS 5.0 on it (score!).

This machine was also completely clean. I mean zero dust or anything. I think it was never used, or used for a VERY short time.

So here is where it gets fuzzy, I am completely unable to find any info on the 386sx board. Here is a picture of the board. Any one have anything on it?

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_FaJ_iyAkv0w/Se_G7z_gZVI/AAAAAAAAAE8/I_O2Ss22jqk/s640/IMG_0041.JPG

And here is a close up of the identifying marks. I googled these to no avail.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_FaJ_iyAkv0w/Se_Hs9HxpCI/AAAAAAAAAGI/kHvNm2c7xVw/s512/IMG_0055.JPG


There are also 3 other cards in the system. Most of which say Data-Beam on them. I have no idea what their function is. I tried to google I-Beam and found nothing out there (except that Lotus bought a company named I-beam in the late 90's, but I don't know if its the same company).

I took a ton of pictures of this system and the cards. If any one can identify them I'd be very appreciative.

Checks out the pics here (http://picasaweb.google.com/emailjrc/386sxSingleBoardPC?feat=directlink). They are all 8MP images so if you click on the magnifying glass you can get some real detail on them. The 3 cards in question are images that start with the one captioned "Any ideas".

per
April 23rd, 2009, 11:01 PM
So I got a decent response on craigslist. The person in question had some stuff, half a case, and old monitor and a weird looking machine.

At first glance it sort of looked like a phone PBX, but I soon found out it was not. I can only report on the half that I know at this point.

Basically it is a single board PC (386SX) in a i-Bus 4802 ISA backplane case. It has a 1.2MB/1.44Mb combo floppy drive and a 120Mb Quantum Hardrive. I booted it up and it has a fully copy of DOS 5.0 on it (score!).

This machine was also completely clean. I mean zero dust or anything. I think it was never used, or used for a VERY short time.

So here is where it gets fuzzy, I am completely unable to find any info on the 386sx board. Here is a picture of the board. Any one have anything on it?

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_FaJ_iyAkv0w/Se_G7z_gZVI/AAAAAAAAAE8/I_O2Ss22jqk/s640/IMG_0041.JPG

And here is a close up of the identifying marks. I googled these to no avail.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_FaJ_iyAkv0w/Se_Hs9HxpCI/AAAAAAAAAGI/kHvNm2c7xVw/s512/IMG_0055.JPG


There are also 3 other cards in the system. Most of which say Data-Beam on them. I have no idea what their function is. I tried to google I-Beam and found nothing out there (except that Lotus bought a company named I-beam in the late 90's, but I don't know if its the same company).

I took a ton of pictures of this system and the cards. If any one can identify them I'd be very appreciative.

Checks out the pics here (http://picasaweb.google.com/emailjrc/386sxSingleBoardPC?feat=directlink). They are all 8MP images so if you click on the magnifying glass you can get some real detail on them. The 3 cards in question are images that start with the one captioned "Any ideas".

It kind of reminds me of my Orchid card. It's somewhat similar, but with a 286 and not designed for an exact system. Have you looked at the software?

I will say it's quite some system you got. I havent seen anything like that before...

RickNel
April 24th, 2009, 12:16 AM
Lutiana -

FCC numbers are a very good clue to origins of components or peripherals. They include the manufacturer's ID, and they can be checked out at WWW.FCC.GOV.

Your first idea about PBX was pretty close to the mark, I think. The FCC number on the motherboard says this is a product of Boca Research, who make communications gear. You can google their website. My guess is that this might have been a controller board for an analogue comms server like a fax server, voice messaging, or bulletin board - maybe an add-on to a PBX.

Good hunting. I'm making my own post looking for help on another item...

RickNel

Vlad
April 24th, 2009, 07:58 AM
Looks and sounds a lot like a back up machine for an industrial location. A lot of older factories used machines similar to that to control various machines for cutting and other stuff. I had to break down and scrap a work cell machine once that consisted of a large back plane full of SBC's and I/O cards. Also when I was at the repair shop we had to build a new machine for a company because the 386 that controlled their plasma cutter gave out.

What was the cat's conclusion? :p

lutiana
April 24th, 2009, 08:19 AM
FCC numbers are a very good clue to origins of components or peripherals.


Excellent information. Thanks for the reminder, its been along time since I had to identify such things and had completely forgotten about the FCC codes.



Your first idea about PBX was pretty close to the mark, I think. The FCC number on the motherboard says this is a product of Boca Research, who make communications gear.


There are a few reasons why I don't think this has anything to do with communications.
1. The labels on the back of the machine label the ports as Com1 and Com2, Video. The Data-Beam ports are: Tablet; RS449, video; mono scanner and printer. The second video is a 25 pin connector unlike any I have seen before.
2. The software on the machine for the Data-Beam stuff does not seem like it has any PBX type functionality.

I am leaning towards some sort of industrial data acquisition and data basing application, though I am not sure.


Looks and sounds a lot like a back up machine for an industrial location.

Yes, it is definatly industrial. I-Bus focus on products for industrial application. They actually have a few motherboards that feature ISA slots on intel 970 boards.


What was the cat's conclusion? :p

Well, she promptly tried to climb into the machine and sniff even further. This is the same cat that as soon as I set up my IBM 5160 she climb ontop and sat on the very top of the monitor. Her conclusion was "meow", I did not argue with her.

Chuck(G)
April 24th, 2009, 08:35 AM
Sounds like a graphics station or possibly something used for video (i.e. television) work. Does that odd 25 pin connector look anything like a DB13W3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB13W3)?

lutiana
April 24th, 2009, 09:49 AM
Sounds like a graphics station or possibly something used for video (i.e. television) work. Does that odd 25 pin connector look anything like a DB13W3?

No, here is a pick of it:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_FaJ_iyAkv0w/Se_LbrnPuSI/AAAAAAAAAIw/2CfrSbSiCRY/s720/IMG_0074.JPG

The top connector is labeled RS449, the lower two are labeled "Video" and "Mono Scanner". Its 3 rows, and I thinks its 26 pins, but 2 are blocked on it.

Chuck(G)
April 24th, 2009, 06:02 PM
Ah, DA26 (correct name) or DB26HD (wrong name but what everyone calls them) connectors.

lutiana
April 24th, 2009, 08:30 PM
Ah, DA26 (correct name) or DB26HD (wrong name but what everyone calls them) connectors.

Ahh, thanks for the info. What where these typically used for? I wonder if I can adapter a cable from DA26 -> VGA and see if it outputs a video signal (it is labelled video), what do you think?

chuckcmagee
April 24th, 2009, 10:49 PM
Not that it will be much help but I used RS449 in my job. I could get a more reliable connection and a longer cable length than if I had used rs232. It was actually used in a real-time application that sorted frozen bottles of human plasma (that yella stuff that oozes out when you get burned bad). Turns out to be fairly valuable stuff. Has all kinds of fancy proteins in it that can be concentrated and sold FOR BIG BUCKS.

Chuck(G)
April 25th, 2009, 08:26 AM
Ahh, thanks for the info. What where these typically used for? I wonder if I can adapter a cable from DA26 -> VGA and see if it outputs a video signal (it is labelled video), what do you think?

The problem that I see is that you don't know what kind of video (i.e. scanning rate, signals, etc.) and I don't even know if you have the software that drives the board. Based on what I'm about to say next, you don't even know if it's a video output.

Digging around a bit on the web, it seems that Databeam (now a part of Lotus/IBM) was very big in teleconferencing software and servers. They pretty much invented the T.120 standard. This was never a huge market, mostly restricted to the large corporate and government world.

The idea of a server was to provide video, audio and as many other services (scanner, pad, etc.) for videoconferencing. So you had cameras, monitors, scanners, digitizer pads, microphones, even IR tracking devices. Intel was a big player in the hardware area, as was Tandberg.

Now that you know what this was, you can do some digging on your own.

lutiana
April 25th, 2009, 09:04 AM
Now that you know what this was, you can do some digging on your own.

I was leaning this way. I was thinking in was teleconference or something like it.

I do have the software for it, it is one the machine. What I don't have is the external hardware that plugs into the various ports.

So I am gonna pull the databeam stuff and use it as a regular PC. I am going to pick up a 486DX single board PC, and use it in this case.

I pulled the RAM from the main databeam card, and looked it. Turns out they are 8Mb 30pin SIMS (which the 386sx does not apparently support).

So over all I still think it was a good find :D

Chuck(G)
April 25th, 2009, 09:19 AM
So over all I still think it was a good find :D

Anything that doesn't end up getting shredded or buried in a landfill is a good find.

Have fun!

Terry Yager
April 25th, 2009, 09:25 AM
So I am gonna pull the databeam stuff and use it as a regular PC. I am going to pick up a 486DX single board PC, and use it in this case.



Put me down as an interested party if you're getting rid of the backplane & CPU board & stuff.

--T

tipc
April 28th, 2009, 11:58 AM
that type of "single board computer", actually a total misnomer, is fairly easy to find. I hate them, but in a complete system, as Lutiana's, is tre tre cool. What I really want to find are industrial based 80186/80188 based sbc's. I'm not having any luck :(
That TMS34xxx chip is a video chip. Find a cheap scope and ferret out the functions of those pins. That chip was used on very high end very expensive graphics cards back in the day. AAMOF the DEC pizza box 486 system I used to have used something like it, and emulated plain jane VGA (could only get 256 colors @ 320 x 200 and 16 @ 640 x 480). But your thing also had a regular VGA card (correct?). Also seems to have a high performance serial card (and this is a stretched guess), pics 38 & 39, like a "4-port" serial card (used more often when through put was an issue).
crazy crazy interesting find. I'm jealous. Maybe an early rendering box.

Chuck(G)
April 28th, 2009, 12:33 PM
Maybe an early rendering box.

I thought we identified it as a videoconferencing setup from DataBeam (now a part of IBM). Am I mistaken?

lutiana
April 28th, 2009, 12:46 PM
I thought we identified it as a videoconferencing setup from DataBeam (now a part of IBM). Am I mistaken?

Assuming that the DataBeam that comes up in google is the same DataBeam bought by IBM (Lotus) then it would appear that it is a conferencing setup.

That being said tipc is probably not too far off. It would make sens that it would be a high end graphics card, probably for rendering the video needed for the video conferencing aspect of it. I highly doubt that it was only used for voice conferencing. There is in fact no obvious audio processing hardware.

There is also very little information about DataBeam on the net, so for all we know they may have had some rendering solutions, or perhaps inventory control systems. The software on the hardrive seems to indicate some sort of bin layout, and there is a user folder. These are all empty, and are emptied by the autoexec.bat. The program folder gives no indication as to what it actually does.

Bottom line is that his hardware was made by a company that more or less does not exist anymore, and has very little information about it out there. So we may never know for certain.

I intend to keep the back plane, and the SBPC, but the 3 DataBeam cards are up for grabs, PM if your interested.

patscc
April 28th, 2009, 01:27 PM
Well, the BT part is a 8-bit triple DAC with a 66 Mhz max pixel clock, which should be good for at least 1024 * 768. Seems an adequate rate.

Has anyone managed to find the video ADC in any of the pictures ? I've haven't found it yet. Kinda like "Where's Waldo"

patscc

tipc
May 1st, 2009, 11:08 AM
I intend to keep the back plane, and the SBPC, but the 3 DataBeam cards are up for grabs, PM if your interested.

huh? why break something like that up??

barythrin
May 1st, 2009, 01:09 PM
I think you all are close to figuring it out but just thought I'd comment, I've seen some older pbx systems that were nothing more than an old computer connected to the phone hardware and software for switching the lines too.

patscc
May 1st, 2009, 01:26 PM
tipc asked...huh? why break something like that up??

It's not really being broken up, the boards are being merely relocated to a more conventional 386 or 486 motherboard along with (hopefully) an image of the HD to do some tinkering with. I couldn't stand it and just gotta find the ADC on there. I'll post anything interesting, although that's a relative term, on this thread.

patscc

lutiana
May 1st, 2009, 01:54 PM
huh? why break something like that up??

I have no use for it. The software does not seem to run at all, or more to the point I think it is enabling that second video out on boot, but since I don't have the hardware to view it I'll never know.

Besides, the 3 DataBeam cards are the unknown aspect of it. The rest of the stuff has been identified. It would be nice to get the manual for the 386sx board though.

I also don't have the time to play with it (nor the equipment to tinker further), so I'll send it to a new home where someone can hopefully get it to work and quench my curiosity.

The back plane on the other hand is very cool and quite use full to me. I may leave it as a 386, or I might buy a SBPC 486 on ebay in the not too distant future.

I am pondering with the idea of turning it into a file server/bridge/utility machine for data transfers to and from the older stuff I intend to work with (for starts the XT).

tipc
May 3rd, 2009, 09:59 AM
I am pondering with the idea of turning it into a file server/bridge/utility machine for data transfers to and from the older stuff I intend to work with (for starts the XT).

all you really need is a USB-serial adapter thing. Assuming that is you lack a desktop/laptop w/an serial port.

It would be nice to find out what the thing's function was. To elaborate on my guess, it was used to create *high impact* drawings and transfer them lickity split. Was just a guess though. Video conferencing didn't come to mind. I'd be surprised to find out if that was the case actually, but who knows.

lutiana
April 29th, 2010, 08:55 AM
It's not really being broken up, the boards are being merely relocated to a more conventional 386 or 486 motherboard along with (hopefully) an image of the HD to do some tinkering with. I couldn't stand it and just gotta find the ADC on there. I'll post anything interesting, although that's a relative term, on this thread.

patscc

Did you ever work out what the hardware does?