View Full Version : New Toy

April 23rd, 2012, 05:01 PM
Just one an auction for a 286/10 "Pulser 500". A cut throat battle with another VCF member I believe ;).

Some interesting boards in it. The full lentgh one on the left appears to an early VGA card of some sort, the middle memory expantion, then i/o and fdd/hdd controller. One slot avaliable for a NIC.

I'll take better pictures of the setup when it arrives. Nice solid case which appears to have survived the earthquakes. Of course there's no garentee it'll function so I've got plans for the case if it smokes up.

April 23rd, 2012, 05:15 PM
yeah that was me, I couldn't go past $80 because I already got one 286 last week.
vic20 got the Commodore PC20-III as well

Congrats to you both :)
Hope that hard drive fires up, it looks well kept, so it should be fine. Wondering if it's a 3.5 IDE in a bracket (the faceplate looks the same as my IPC AT's drive holder) or a full sized 5.25" MFM.

April 23rd, 2012, 05:24 PM
Was going to bid on the Commodore but didn't want to be too greedy. Anyway that just about polished off what was left of this years "hobby" budget. Was Pulser an Australasian outfit? The more I look at the pics the more I think the machine was in a industrial setting. I'd be nice to know the history behind it. At least I've got something with 5.25" drive fitted now.

April 23rd, 2012, 05:38 PM
Not sure about origins but I noticed mine had no yellowing and the batteries removed (same seller), so I wondered if these machines have been hidden in storage on purpose for a long time. Should probably ask him I guess.

If you'd bid on that Commodore vic probably would've rage-bid hehe, he's been after an old PC setup for a while now.
Also unless my eyes are playing tricks, appears you have a Hercs Mono + LPT card next to the FDD/HDD.

Let me know if you need any boot floppies etc or ROMs programmed (like XTIDE) when you get it, happy to send bits to help.

April 23rd, 2012, 05:51 PM
How hard is it to find a 286 clone in that part of the world these days?

April 23rd, 2012, 05:54 PM
me and caluser got the only 286's I've seen in the last few weeks.
I got the only one I remember before that, was about 5 months-ish ago?

April 23rd, 2012, 06:07 PM
Thanks. I think I still have DrDos 6 I bought new in that format. No dought I'll flick a PM or two your way if I get stuck. Once again thank you for the kind offer. That's one thing I like about this forum, most folk seem to go out of there way to help.

Picked up a few 8-bit ISA twin game port cards yesterday.

286s rarely come up, certainly less often than 386/486s. Sometimes though there'll be a run. Right place right time really.

April 29th, 2012, 10:50 PM
Received the beasty today. A few bits rattling inside, so opened it up and 3 full length card supports were floating about. It's a bit dusty inside but apart from a little corrosion by the battery nothing major. Removed the video card(mono I believe), the full length Peer Communcations Link Interface Module card. I fitted a vga card, connected an AT keyboard to it, and proceeded to fire it up.

First up kb error so put in an AT/PS2 kb adapter. Lights on kb flashing up but pressing the reset switch had it fired up to a point I could get into the bios selecting ctl-alt-esc. Got it booting to the missing os prompt. Pulled the hdd foward so I could see what it was, a Conner CP3000 42meg IDE drive. Set the drive type to the nearest match, which was 24 and a reset- behold the C:\>.

The drive is in two partitions, it's running MS Dos 3.3, XTree Gold and some programming software. Seems the machine was used in fibre board production facility. The ram expansion card has a wopping two megs on board which is a plus and of course 1meg of ram on the mobo. The bios can set the fdd type to 360/1.2meg/720/1.44meg, various drive types. There's type 43 up but have'nt figured how the alter the cly/hds/etc as yet. It has a 360k fdd and the mobo is an ELT-286B-1000-SM. Set the date to 30/4/12 in the bios(AWARD) and dos is correctly reporting it.

Quite happy so far. I'll give it a good dusting this weekend.

EDIT: Keyboard problem was just a contact issue.

April 30th, 2012, 01:15 PM
Excellent news :) Glad it's working sweet.

With it's age, you may find that you can't set the CHS manually (but if you can then that's awesome).
If you fit a bigger drive, you'll want a newer version of MS-DOS though. 3.3 only supports 32Mb partitions (hence the split).

Any plans after you've dusted her out?

April 30th, 2012, 04:13 PM
I'll track down a psu with connecters suitable for a 1.44 drive, fit a 1.44 fdd for a start, as most of my software is in that format, and go from there. A dedicated PC/Geos box could be on the cards, matched with DrDos 6.

April 30th, 2012, 05:01 PM
Can get the bits supercheap off trademe

One of these

and one of these (if it's long term)

Are you going to leave the 360K drive in there long term or pull it?

April 30th, 2012, 11:07 PM
Thanks. I've got a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter somewhere, "Buy Now" on a pair of molex to 3.5" power adapters, so all set. Plans at this stage is to use the 1.44meg drive long term as I've got a black faced one. The 360k drive is the only one I've got at moment so will hold it for a bit. I've got a 8 bit nic(BNC), modems, and fdd controller that supports 360/720/1.2meg and 1.44 as well which I'll store with the herc video card with in the interim.

You'll certainly get first right of refusal if I decide to get rid of it.

May 1st, 2012, 09:50 PM
haha you got me :P Although I think I actually have enough 5.25" drives now (beleive it or not).

Sounds like you got some good spares with it too.

May 2nd, 2012, 02:19 AM
How hard is it to find a 286 clone in that part of the world these days?
Yes, as the the others have said...not that common here in New Zealand. They rarely come up. They have mostly been trashed methinks.

We seem to swimming in Commodore Amigas though...especially 500s. Several every week!


May 2nd, 2012, 10:33 PM
Was getting kb errors again so gave the area around the kb connector battery a good blast with the air gun and now no errors. Found a 5.25 disk with some files and transferred them to a directory called keen. Gave the keyboard a work out killing monsters and eating pops. Yeah computers are more fun playing games on them every now and again ;).

May 3rd, 2012, 12:23 PM
ehehe good work

I tend to accidently install a few games from when I was younger on each install - most machines have folders labelled TSTDRIVE, KEEN5, SIMCITY, LARRY and WOLF3D/DOOM depending on machine spec (millions of other options, but I'm attached to those :P ) . Playing through Leisure Suit Larry 2 at the moment. Throw in a sound card if you can find one, nostalgia++.

May 3rd, 2012, 04:42 PM
Looking at the ram expansion card it can take another 2 megs as only half the banks are full. Must've been pretty high spec at the time. Sound card is a good idea, I've plenty of NICs that'll work ok too. What I would like is a 287 co-pro. Not much use for anything other than Cad or speadsheets but I just hate seeing empty sockets.

Haven't manage to track down any more info on the mobo yet.

May 4th, 2012, 12:51 AM
More playing around this evening this evening. Turns up the D: had a tape backup utility on it. Found a earlier MS serial mouse and had forgotten how smooth they are. Fast Lynx is installed and so is remote access host software.

Doing a bit more searching I found some DrDos 3.35 360k disks. The machine booted fine with them as well as a Fortune branded MS Dos 3.1 disk. Also found DR HALO III disks and copied the files to a directory on the hdd. Remember getting a
B & W hand scanner with it bundled.

Edit: Found a ref to the mobo on Vogons http://vogons.zetafleet.com/viewtopic.php?t=27807&sid=2aec983e51f5443ac53a1a1e6e8a4573

May 5th, 2012, 01:53 PM
Just a few irritating things with it. On power up it doesn't boot directly but pressing reset gets the thing ticking over as it should. It's only reporting 640k even though there appears to be full compliment 1meg on board. There expansion card reports it's full amount. I suspect its because the ram between 640k and 1meg is reserved but I don't think I have had a machine that didn't include that in it's memory check. Even my old 286/16 There's a couple of jumpers mentioned in the Vogons thread, J3-J4, you can set ram size, but only 512 and 640 seem to be the only sizes I can get the machine to report.

Nothing major really. My 4 yo grandson had a hoot of a time last night playing Commander Keen. Started with one of us doing the jump or left right. Eventually he got the hang of it and took over. Hadn't laughed so much in a long time ;).

May 6th, 2012, 03:59 AM
I found on my IPC 286, that I was allowed 640K + 384 reserved or 512K conv + 512K XMS. Same situation, 1Mb RAM on board. Just a possibility.
In 640 mode the 384K is detected as "Reserved" by Checkit and it doesn't get cleared/tested on boot.

But any adjustment to that will require jumper changes on the ISA card to change the starting address. So to test for 512/512 mode you'd want to remove the memory card at least temporarily.

I never got around to trying 286 upper memory tools like QRAM to see if I could actually make any use of the hidden 384K in 640K mode. XMS isn't too handy on a 286 for most things, but upper memory helps with freeing convetional by loading DOS in to upper/high.

May 6th, 2012, 10:19 PM
Makes sense.

Hooked up the 286 to my compaq 486 last night. Tried transferring interlink.exe over to it using the rcopy switch but no go. Fired up the New Deal Office terminal to get a visual perspective of what was going on. Having the terminal open and of to one side and the recieving directory window on the other is damn handy. It was obvious I could transfer files from the 286 but not the other way, the mouse worked fine on the serial port. To cut a long story short, in the end I just removed the current serial card, placing a generic multi i/o card it's 8 bit slot. Then set the 286 up to receive interlink.exe and instant success. Ran intersvr on the 286 and transferred the nic packet driver along with the mTCP suite.

May 7th, 2012, 12:20 PM
Nice work :)

May 9th, 2012, 12:07 AM
Hooked the 4 gig Bigfoot with overlay software to it this evening with MS Dos 6.22 installed on it. The full on board 1 meg is recognised as 640 and the rest reserved. Had to comment out the 386 and cdrom related stuff obviously. Is showing 561k conv. free with smartdrv and mouse driver loaded so a bit still a of tweaking to do.

Fdd power adapters haven't turned yet. What I'll do is swap out the current IDE controller and the serial card for a single multi i/o card. That'll free up another slot for goodies.

May 11th, 2012, 04:01 PM
Got sick of waiting for the power adapters so just went down to the local Jacar store and got some when I got the milk/bread. Only needed one as it has two smaller connectors. It's handy to have a spare. Found the 5.25" to 3.5" adapter so will assemble everything later in the day. Also revealed two 5.25" 1.2 meg fdd I'd totally forgotten about. The joys of storage/hoarding-you discover something different every time you explore the boxes.

May 11th, 2012, 07:47 PM
...The joys of storage/hoarding-you discover something different every time you explore the boxes.

That's right. That's why I recently did a stocktake...mostly to stop myself buying what I already had!


May 12th, 2012, 12:17 AM
Yip only this afternnoon found out I had a power adapter in one of my SS7 machines so spent $4 for nothing this morning ;).

Tried getting everything on a few spare multi i/o cards I have but the beasty wasn't booting realibly all the time. Ended up going back to the fdd/hdd controller in that was in the machine. Disabled unused devices in the multi o/i card I'd used earlier for serial port transfer to prevent conflicts. There's an intermtent issue on the serial side of things though. Almost as if irqs 3 and 4 go west. Tried swapping slots removing cards to see if that helps.

It's working ok now but no promises all is good on the next reboot/restart though. Ahh the joys of old kit. On the bright side there's a drive bay under the current 40meg hdd so I can have a cdrom/fdd/tape drive/etc in the centre bay.

May 12th, 2012, 01:38 AM
Well wadduya know. Had another shot at the 8-bit card and removed two jumpers that set the addresses and all seems to be spot on now. Tried 3 different rodents and all where being correctly reported by ctmouse, ms mouse.com and the genius driver. Down side is only one serial port, with older UART, for the time being. I can live with that now the nic is up and running.

May 12th, 2012, 10:19 AM
for the mouse, all you need is the older uart i believe, besides, you can laplink over a parallel cable anyhow :D

May 12th, 2012, 12:17 PM
So true. And I have a nice yellow Nortons one that'll do just nicely.

Reconnected the 40meg drive, deleted all the previous owners related files and installed Geoworks 2.0. it'll make more efficient use of the extra ram compared to Windows 3.x on a 286.

May 16th, 2012, 12:35 AM
Had a bit of a break as the serial port issue popped up again. I think it may be heat/voltage/component related or a combination as it crops up around 15 minutes after the machine is switched on. For no good reason other than seeing if it made any difference I've hooked up another psu. It's now booting without having to press the reset switch. This in itself is an indication the original psu isn't performing correctly.

Restarted it a number of times and it seems ok, but I'm not holding my breath at the moment. I'll give it a real soak test on the weekend.

Current config as far as cards go is a multi i/o card, nic, sound card, svga card, and 33k modem.

May 16th, 2012, 02:25 AM
I always pull modems, basically a wasted slot these days :/

Good luck with PSU. I prefer it when they outright go pop - easier to find the fault!

June 1st, 2012, 09:27 PM
Got around to cleaning the mobo, case and p/s today. Had a good look under a magnifying glass at the mobo and couldn't see anything amiss externally. Bit of a rattle coming from the p/s so opened it up and removed a nut. Obviously it wasn't needed ;). Assembled the thing with just the video card and i/o card. The intermitent serial port issue has me stumped. Machine seems to be starting better one nut less though. Other than that very else seems to work fine.

The "new" 486 hasn't turned up yet either which is a bit of a worry.

June 1st, 2012, 10:02 PM
My machine (sold at the same time, same seller) arrived two working days after payment. I paid with PayNow and am local though. If it's late, might need to call the courier and make sure it's not sitting there waiting for pickup. I've had a couple of packages before that went to the depot, but the courier forgot to leave a card :/

June 1st, 2012, 10:18 PM
I've emailed asking if there is a tracking number. If this 286 doesn't get sorted I'll slap the 486DX4/100 in it's place. You've always got to have a backup plan.