View Full Version : Bootable EPROM Card

April 25th, 2012, 07:16 PM
I still haven't made much progress on adding a larger hard drive to my 286. I am planning on using the XTIDE BIOS and using a network card. I came across this ISA card over at Circuit Specialists and was wondering if this would be an easier route to host the XTIDE BIOS. It is ISA and sells for $20.00 but will it work??

Low-Cost EPROM Disk Card AR-B7010


The AR-B7010 is a bootable EPROM card. It provides one 32-pin JEDEC socket which can be populated with up to 1MB EPROM. AR-B7010 also provides a programmable watch-dog timer for CPU failure detection.

What do you think? Will it work with the XTIDE BIOS?

I did try a 420MB hard drive and it worked fine in the 286 but when I hooked it up to vista or XP using a USB to IDE adaptor it wasn't recognized in Vista or XP. I really need a way to quickly and simply move files back and forth between the 286 and Vista. I hope I will be able to do this when and if I get the XTIDE BIOS working with a larger more current hard drive. I didn't try this by plugging directly into the IDE port on my Vista machine, but this wouldn't really be ideal because of having to constantly reboot. I was thinking of using one of those 3 Floppy Drive to USB Flash Drives but I think that only allows moving 1.4MB at a time?


Thank you

April 26th, 2012, 12:11 AM
Interesting to see a commercial EPROM card still available! It doesn't specifically say that EEPROMs can be written in the card, and does show a UV erasable EPROM (i.e. 27Cxxx) so that might be a problem. Also presumably you don't get any actual ROM with it.

Personally I use compact flash cards for everything, hence developing this board (http://vintage-blog.peacon.co.uk/wiki/Peacon_XT-CF_Board). As an off-shoot of that has come this ROM board too (http://vintage-blog.peacon.co.uk/wiki/Peacon_8-bit_ROM_Board).

April 26th, 2012, 03:06 AM
I really need a way to quickly and simply move files back and forth between the 286 and Vista.Three very simple ways come to mind... Network, Parallel, and Serial. All of these cards are available and inexpensive.

April 26th, 2012, 07:08 AM
Any network card with an EPROM socket will do that, although the size of the EEPROM is usually limited to 16 KiB or so.

Why you want to use XT-IDE? You've mentioned you have 286 computer, obviously with 16-bit ISA bus. Why not to use one of these AT Multi-IO cards? They will work much faster than 8-bit XT-IDE. In case you want to use a better BIOS (supporting bigger HDDs), you can program XT-IDE universal BIOS into an EPROM and put that on a network card. Or just use one of these BIOS extensions provided by various disk managers (Ontrack?!) If you really like using solid state storage - flash IDE modules and compact flash cards work really nicely for this purpose.

Exchanging data - Network or compact flash (with compact flash USB reader and IDE to compact flash adapter).

April 26th, 2012, 07:26 AM
He wants the XTIDE BIOS, not the controller itself. The universal XTIDE BIOS breaks the 520mb barrier that his onboard IDE BIOS has, and it is breaking compatibility with a modern machine.
I agree with sergey though; your linked-to ROM card will probably work just fine, but for $20, you could probably buy a dozen 3com NIC cards and get the same results, plus network support if you ever wanted to go enable it, without burning up an additional ISA slot.

Let me check through my box of ISA junk and see how many spare 3com's I have; if I can locate one and a spare ROM to put into it, I'll sell it to you for just the cost of the eeprom+shipping.

Just 2 days ago, I replaced the BIOS on a SIIG IDE controller in a 286 with the XTIDE BIOS and it worked beautifully. The SIIG BIOS was able to see full size of the drive, but the translation wasn't compatible with other machines, so it showed corrupt files on my HDD. Just a simple ROM swap for that controller and it was running flawlessly. Yay for XTIDE universal BIOS!

April 26th, 2012, 12:43 PM
Thank you for the info. I did pick up a network card and I just haven't had a chance to dig out my programmer and burn a ROM. I know there was a configuration program I have to run first to configure the NIC card and it I have to do it in a different machine then transfer the card and then do the XTIDE BIOS and I was thinking that this was going to be time consuming and maybe not workout like my other attempts.

The only reason I was thinking about that other boot-able EPROM card that I had a link to was because I thought maybe it would be easier. I didn't realize how time consuming this was going to be, but that is because of where everything is located. Computers in different rooms, stacked on top of each other four deep and I always have other things that are a priority. I do look forward to learning but, at this point I just want this thing to work. I don't mind spending a bit considering the machine cost me 500.00 as long as I get something that is reliable and compatible and easily done.

Will a AT Multi-IO card enable me to use a larger hard drive all by itself or will I still have to add the XTIDE BIOS?

The only reason I want to use a larger hard drive is so that I can easily swap date between Vista and the 286 but from what I have been reading from the feedback on this site, that may not work.

I emailed the eBay person selling that Floppy drive/flash drive converter that I had a link to and he claimed that I can use a USB stick to transfer large amounts of data using a flash drive. So that may be an option. I need to do more research on this to be sure.

Thanks again,

April 26th, 2012, 01:11 PM
Will a AT Multi-IO card enable me to use a larger hard drive all by itself or will I still have to add the XTIDE BIOS?

The only reason I want to use a larger hard drive is so that I can easily swap date between Vista and the 286 but from what I have been reading from the feedback on this site, that may not work.

For 528 MB or larger drives you will need to have a BIOS (or a BIOS extension) that supports LBA. It is very unlikely that the native BIOS in your 286 machine supports it, so you have three options:
1. Install an EPROM with XT-IDE universal BIOS (configured for AT controller) in your network card. You can use XT-IDE board for hosting the EPROM, but if you have a network card with an unused EPROM socket, no reason to buy XT-IDE. You'll need to enable EPROM on the network card and configure the address for it (make sure that address is not used by anything else). Some cards can be configured using jumpers (usually older cards), some can be configured using a configuration utility (3COM, NE2000plus), some can configured either using jumpers or a setup utility (Realtek RTL8019AS).
2. Install a disk manager (Ontrack or similar) on your hard drive. Disk manager basically is a resident program that extends INT 13h with functions that support LBA.
3. Use a disk <= 528 MB. You can use a 512 MB (or smaller) compact flash card, or a flash IDE module like this: http://www.amazon.com/Transcend-512MB-Flash-Module-Internal/dp/B00138TL2G. A compact flash card could be more convenient for transferring data between your Windows computer and the 286 AT using a USB to compact flash adapter. Flash IDE modules are usually more reliable, and also look nicer. You just plug them into a 40-pin IDE connector on the I/O card - no cables, no screws, no mess.

April 26th, 2012, 01:15 PM
At the risk of getting in trouble with the mods, this is an ideal job for my 8-bit ROM board as it's cheap (11 delivered) and in-system programmable: http://vintage-blog.peacon.co.uk/wiki/Peacon_8-bit_ROM_Board

I hope to have some available at the end of next week.

April 26th, 2012, 01:58 PM
Why go through all the hassle of moving a drive back and forth? If you're going to use a network card anyway why not just stick a cable in it?