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super-sama
February 28th, 2013, 06:23 PM
I got an interesting call from my father today, supposedly an old computer at work is dying and he wants me to build a semi-direct replacement for it.

Specs of the dying machine is somewhere in the ballpark of a Pentium of unknown speed with 16MB of RAM (could be wrong), a 500MB hard drive and a couple interface cards to drive a large piece of equipment, which runs off EISA. the software for the equipment is for Windows 3.1/95, and the machine is running 95 (which I'd say is slowing it down, because 16MB for win95 is murder in my experiences... they won't upgrade the RAM since it works as-is, but I'm sure I can get him to max out the RAM for the replacement.)

Long story short, machine is flaking out, no one can figure why, and I was called as a lifeline to help, since losing this equipment's functionality would be bad for the workflow as-is. I'm guessing either board/PSU problems but he wants a full replacement, saying they've had to resurrect it more than once already.

So what I'm looking for is a motherboard, either BabyAT (preferred as I have two identical cases) or ATX, that has EDO RAM (or PC66/100 if SS7), and has at LEAST two EISA ports on it. I've already given a recommendation to go with a CF card in an adapter to remove the need for an older disk drive, and I'm not exactly sure where to go from there. I can only seem to find boards with EISA slots with a Socket 3 or 5 on it, whereas it was requested to see if something newer with such slots is available someplace. Even a Slot 1 board with EISA slots, if such a thing exists, would be beneficial to this thing.


Any ideas? Ideally I would need two of such a board, but one does well.

Anonymous Coward
February 28th, 2013, 06:40 PM
Socket 7 EISA motherboards do exist. I have seen them. They are usually based on the Intel HX chipset. I think Asus, Tyan and Supermicro made them. I also know that there were a whole bunch of SMP Pentium Pro systems that used EISA. There may have been one or two PII boards, but they would have been the early ones...LX based. I'm not sure if EISA survived to the Xeon days or not.

Super Socket7 EISA doesn't exist as far as I know.

I'll try to dig something up on the internet.

Soyo PENTIUM (P54C) EISA PCI MAINBOARD
http://artofhacking.com/th99/m/S-T/32634.htm

TYAN S1462 (SMP, Socket 5)
http://artofhacking.com/th99/m/S-T/32603.htm

PCI/E-P54NP4 (SMP, Socket 5)
http://artofhacking.com/th99/m/A-B/33391.htm

krebizfan
February 28th, 2013, 07:14 PM
I remember ALR making a bunch of EISA motherboards up through the Pentium II (Slot I) era for Gateway. Another board was Asus/P/E-P55T2P4D for Socket 7. Note that just about all of these were very expensive server boards designed to run with multiple CPUs. I don't know of any place currently selling one but maybe this can help your searching.

So if you want Baby AT, you will almost have to purchase a Socket 5 system.

What exactly is in the EISA slot that has to be kept around? It might be possible to get a PCI based equivalent.

super-sama
February 28th, 2013, 11:47 PM
Socket 7 EISA motherboards do exist. I have seen them. They are usually based on the Intel HX chipset. I think Asus, Tyan and Supermicro made them. I also know that there were a whole bunch of SMP Pentium Pro systems that used EISA. There may have been one or two PII boards, but they would have been the early ones...LX based. I'm not sure if EISA survived to the Xeon days or not.

Super Socket7 EISA doesn't exist as far as I know.

I'll try to dig something up on the internet.

Soyo PENTIUM (P54C) EISA PCI MAINBOARD
http://artofhacking.com/th99/m/S-T/32634.htm

TYAN S1462 (SMP, Socket 5)
http://artofhacking.com/th99/m/S-T/32603.htm

PCI/E-P54NP4 (SMP, Socket 5)
http://artofhacking.com/th99/m/A-B/33391.htm

These all sort-of meet the requirement... I'm not sure if they'd run Win95 though, I"m not sure how picky Windows/DOS 7 is about dual CPUs.
I'll ask tomorrow morning about it, I'm up now for some reason.



What exactly is in the EISA slot that has to be kept around? It might be possible to get a PCI based equivalent.

As stated, two EISA interface cards for the equipment, to run it. Offhand, I don't know what it is. Supposedly it's old enough that there is no PCI alternative. I'm sure one existed at one point, or still does, but either it's too expensive or something along the lines of that. I was told that it worked as-is, and they want it to keep working as-is but with a new board/whatever. EISA is a requirement, something better than Socket 5 would be better, and Windows 95 must prevail.

That said, I'm sure a breakout box with EISA slots in it could be used if one was made. but that's ramblings for another time.

FishFinger
March 1st, 2013, 02:16 AM
EISA Pentium boards exist, but in such small numbers that it seems odd that any sort of industrial controllers would be EISA. Are they definitely EISA and not regular ISA slots, or ISA cards that happen to be fitted into EISA slots?

RWallmow
March 1st, 2013, 12:21 PM
I had a Compaq Proliant 5000 (technically a server) with EISA and PCI. Mine was configured with Quad Pentium Pro, but I believe there was also a Single or Dual Pentium II option (CPUs were on swappable riser card).

Ran Win2k damn well with 4x 200mhz PPros and 2gb RAM and SCSI RAID, I cant imagine one of these OLD servers would set someone back too much money these days, and they were built like damn tanks, unkillable, plus would probably run Win95 plenty fast.

Would probably be cheaper than "building" an EISA machine, plus Compaq built them to last in 24/7/365 operation with over built PSUs, regulators, and cooling, might be a bit loud for an office computer, but if this is some manufacturing device I doubt the noise would phase anyone.

Anonymous Coward
March 1st, 2013, 07:28 PM
I agree that something like a Compaq server would be the way to go. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, I think there were plenty of backplane options too.

super-sama
March 2nd, 2013, 06:51 PM
the problem with using a server in this environment is the lack of space. the current box is set under the monitor next to the equipment.

I'm still waiting back on the official specs of the box to be replaced.

njroadfan
March 4th, 2013, 04:09 AM
Make sure it simply isn't an ISA card in an EISA slot. If it does happen to be EISA, even if you find another board, you'll need to find the card's EISA configuration file to set it up with the new motherboard. Hopefully its on the hard drive somewhere! The latest EISA board I have seen are ALR 440LX Slot 1 motherboards FWIW.

pearce_jj
April 22nd, 2013, 11:54 PM
Proliant 4500 was Pentium socket 7 with EISA.

Old Thrashbarg
April 23rd, 2013, 05:18 AM
There was also the Compaq Prosignia 300 and 500. Those have the advantage of being normal-sized midtowers, rather than the montstrosities that most of the Proliant line are.

RWallmow
April 23rd, 2013, 05:26 AM
There was also the Compaq Prosignia 300 and 500. Those have the advantage of being normal-sized midtowers, rather than the montstrosities that most of the Proliant line are.
Some of the Proliants were small "workgroup" servers and not real big, but still loud as heck, Prosignia's would have the benefit of probably having standard "desktop" cooling fans, not 10000 RPM "who cares how loud it is" server fans, lol

EDIT: I can't remember its model number, but I had a Proliant with Dual P-Pro's (not EISA however) and it shared a base chassis with a "Deskpro 2000", except for a metal bolted face plate (with rack ears) in place of the DP-2000's snap on plastic one, and rack tabs on its metal lid. I swapped its lid and face plate out for ones off a DP-2000 and tuned back the fans and had myself a decent workstation, wasn't as "raw" fast as my buddies P3 rig at the time, but it sure felt more responsive with most stuff because of its dual CPUs and UW-SCSI disks ;-)

EverythingIBM
April 27th, 2013, 08:37 PM
Long story short, machine is flaking out, no one can figure why, and I was called as a lifeline to help, since losing this equipment's functionality would be bad for the workflow as-is. I'm guessing either board/PSU problems but he wants a full replacement, saying they've had to resurrect it more than once already.

It's probably going to be super-expensive to rebuild a new machine. So if you ever want to troubleshoot the hardware, here are some tips:

Observe the electrolytic capacitors and look for anything that's bulged (especially near hotter areas such as the VRM). If there are any cheap capacitors on the board, replace them immediately (such as TEAPO, Taicon, OST, G-Luxon, Tayeh, Wincap, YEC, Capxon etc etc etc). A Hakko-808 will allow you to replace through-hole capacitors within a minute.

If it uses SMT tantalums or electrolytics, it could be more tricky to repair if you don't have the proper equipment. In which case it may just be feasible to buy a new board.

Look for any cold solder joints (ones that are cracked, look foggy, etc).

Also worth looking at would be the PSU. If it uses cheap chinese capacitors in there, it'll be sending incorrect voltages to the board causing bizarre results. Power supplies that are already 15 - 30 years old can act up. Especially if used 24/7.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and always use lead solder (60/40 is good). RoHS solder is possibly the dumbest thing ever to be inflicted upon electronics manufacture.

RWallmow
April 28th, 2013, 04:26 AM
EDIT: Oh yeah, and always use lead solder (60/40 is good). RoHS solder is possibly the dumbest thing ever to be inflicted upon electronics manufacture.

I think anyone who solders will agree with that :thumbsup:

Sad to say it seems my local RadioShack only carries lead-free now, had to make due with it since I needed solder that day :mad:

Unknown_K
April 28th, 2013, 05:23 AM
I am still using the same old radioshack roll of lead based solder I purchased in the late 1980's to fix a C64. That stuff last a long time.

High_Treason
April 28th, 2013, 08:37 AM
EDIT: Oh yeah, and always use lead solder (60/40 is good). RoHS solder is possibly the dumbest thing ever to be inflicted upon electronics manufacture.

Amen to that, I use 70/30 but it's hard to find now. I have a tube of lead-free on my keyboard right now, contains Tin (Sn 99.3%), Copper (Cu 0.5%) and... Cadmium! (I assume this is what Cd 0.2% means, could be mismarked). Useless stuff.