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cruising
April 1st, 2014, 01:15 AM
I have been reading about the AST SixPakPlus, and it has 576kb ram on it for what i can understand, + 6th bank empty. Now, my motherboard has 256kb, but still it only count to 576kb. does the AST SixPakPlus overlay (or what you call it) the ram on my motherboard?
Is it fixable to make it recognize 640kb?

If i remove the AST SixPakPlus, it counts to 256kb for the motherboard.

From the pdf file i found

"Memory expansion is available in 64-or 256-KB increments up to 576KB. This allows you to increase your PC's memory to the 640-KB maximum. no matter how
much memory is on the system board. For example, the 576 KB on the SixPakPlus board added to the 64 KB on the system board gives you 640KB."

EDIT:
seams like my sixpack has only 320kb on it + 256 = 576. the jumpers is on "on, off, off" = 320kb with 5 banks populated.

modem7
April 1st, 2014, 03:05 AM
EDIT:
seams like my sixpack has only 320kb on it + 256 = 576. the jumpers is on "on, off, off" = 320kb with 5 banks populated.
Yes. That will be five banks of 64 KB, totalling 320 KB.


Is it fixable to make it recognize 640kb?
Yes. On the SixPakPlus card, populate the sixth bank, and change the card's switches to match.
You would then have 384 KB on the SixPakPlus card.
Your 5160's total RAM would then be 640 KB (256 KB on the motherboard, plus 384 KB on the SixPakPlus).

cruising
April 1st, 2014, 06:49 AM
Yes. On the SixPakPlus card, populate the sixth bank, and change the card's switches to match.
You would then have 384 KB on the SixPakPlus card.
Your 5160's total RAM would then be 640 KB (256 KB on the motherboard, plus 384 KB on the SixPakPlus).

Where do i buy these ram chips to populate the 6th bank with?

And does anyone have the superpack diskette files?
It should contain:

1: SuperDrive
2: SuperSpool
3: RamClear
4: ASTCLOCK
5: fASTdisk

lutiana
April 1st, 2014, 08:22 AM
And does anyone have the superpack diskette files?
It should contain:

1: SuperDrive
2: SuperSpool
3: RamClear
4: ASTCLOCK
5: fASTdisk

I'd like to get a copy of that disk if you manage to find it.

cruising
April 1st, 2014, 09:15 AM
I'd like to get a copy of that disk if you manage to find it.

Of course! if i ever find one.

Stone
April 1st, 2014, 11:16 AM
Where do i buy these ram chips to populate the 6th bank with?If you want I can check and see if I have nine 64K chips.

cruising
April 1st, 2014, 11:43 AM
If you want I can check and see if I have nine 64K chips.

Yeah sure man, that would be nice of you! and i guess i need a "new" floppy controller also, my 2 FDDs wont read any floppys, getting all the same errors, but im not 100% sure what it is.

Arkady
April 1st, 2014, 12:27 PM
Where do i buy these ram chips to populate the 6th bank with?

And does anyone have the superpack diskette files?


Hello,

You can download an image of this diskette here (http://www.jurassic-pc.fr/divers/SUPERPAK.RAR)

cruising
April 1st, 2014, 12:45 PM
Hello,

You can download an image of this diskette here (http://www.jurassic-pc.fr/divers/SUPERPAK.RAR)

Man! Thanks a lot!

Stone
April 1st, 2014, 01:36 PM
...and i guess i need a "new" floppy controller also, my 2 FDDs wont read any floppys, getting all the same errors, but im not 100% sure what it is.Have you tried a cleaning diskette? If you're using old floppies they can cause the heads to get fouled rather quickly. And, if both FDDs seem to have died at the same time, i.e., on the same floppy diskette, it's more than like that the floppy diskette is the actual source of the problem and not the two drives. Try cleaning the heads and see if that makes a difference.

cruising
April 1st, 2014, 01:50 PM
Have you tried a cleaning diskette? If you're using old floppies they can cause the heads to get fouled rather quickly. And, if both FDDs seem to have died at the same time, i.e., on the same floppy diskette, it's more than like that the floppy diskette is the actual source of the problem and not the two drives. Try cleaning the heads and see if that makes a difference.

I have cleaned both drives with a cleaning disk with the alcohol that came with it, and i have tried several disks, it would be a wonder if all diskettes was unusable because of age, i have like 50 of them. But you never know, they could all be faulty by age. i manage to read 1 disk a while ago, but then it failed again with the same disk.

Stone
April 1st, 2014, 02:40 PM
Still, old disks are notoriously unreliable and just 1 - 2 seconds in the drive can foul the heads of an otherwise good FDD. What you need is a disk of known good quality, i.e., one the runs perfectly in another drive/machine and then put that same disk into the drives that are questionable.... *after* you have just cleaned them with the cleaning diskette and fluid. Believe me -- I have thousands upon thousands of really old floppies and I foul FDDs ALL THE TIME so I consider myself an expert at diagnosing and cleaning dirty FDD heads. I end up doing it weekly or sometimes even daily or more than once a day. When I say it takes 2 seconds or less (to foul the heads) I really mean LESS! :-)

BTW, I found the 64K DRAM chips and they're being tested right now.

cruising
April 2nd, 2014, 01:14 AM
Still, old disks are notoriously unreliable and just 1 - 2 seconds in the drive can foul the heads of an otherwise good FDD. What you need is a disk of known good quality, i.e., one the runs perfectly in another drive/machine and then put that same disk into the drives that are questionable.... *after* you have just cleaned them with the cleaning diskette and fluid. Believe me -- I have thousands upon thousands of really old floppies and I foul FDDs ALL THE TIME so I consider myself an expert at diagnosing and cleaning dirty FDD heads. I end up doing it weekly or sometimes even daily or more than once a day. When I say it takes 2 seconds or less (to foul the heads) I really mean LESS! :-)

BTW, I found the 64K DRAM chips and they're being tested right now.

I have very little knowledge about this, i have cleaned both drives with cleaning disks with fluid alcohol, And i have no options to check the disks with a another pc to see if the disks are ok when i have only 1 pc with 5.25" FDD. And i really need it to work or else i will not be able to put the backpack FDD driver to the HDD to use 1.44MB disks.

Thats nice, hope the chips works fine?

Stone
April 2nd, 2014, 04:11 AM
If you have a commercially made floppy disk you can try that in the drive to see if it works. They are usually a higher quality and tend to last longer. But be sure the heads are clean, first.

And, yes, the chips tested fine. The only thing is that the shipping to Sweden is really high, even for a small, light package like this one. So you'll need to decide if it's worth it to you to pay that much to have it sent to you from here.

cruising
April 2nd, 2014, 06:20 AM
If you have a commercially made floppy disk you can try that in the drive to see if it works. They are usually a higher quality and tend to last longer. But be sure the heads are clean, first.
The floppy disks i have is the ones that cant be read, and i have no friends thats into vintage computers here that can help me fix one that 100% works or help me personally. And the heads must be clean now after my alcohol cleaning disk i cleaned it with for like 30 sec.


And, yes, the chips tested fine. The only thing is that the shipping to Sweden is really high, even for a small, light package like this one. So you'll need to decide if it's worth it to you to pay that much to have it sent to you from here.

Yes your right, its high! do you know approximately how much it would cost?

Stone
April 2nd, 2014, 07:17 AM
I'd say ~$30 (for 9 chips) including shipping cost.

bettablue
April 2nd, 2014, 09:19 AM
Just a small correction:

In order to get the full 640 Kb of memory from the system, the AST will need to be populated with a total of 384Kb. 384 + 256 = 640


Yes. That will be five banks of 64 KB, totalling 320 KB.


Yes. On the SixPakPlus card, populate the sixth bank, and change the card's switches to match.
You would then have 384 KB on the SixPakPlus card.
Your 5160's total RAM would then be 640 KB (256 KB on the motherboard, plus 384 KB on the SixPakPlus).

MikeS
April 2nd, 2014, 09:31 AM
Just a small correction:

In order to get the full 640 Kb of memory from the system, the AST will need to be populated with a total of 384Kb. 384 + 256 = 640Umm, yes, that's exactly what they said and that's what the extra 64K is for.

$30 !! Outrageous! Probably free if it came from Hong Kong or China; how do they do it?

cruising
April 2nd, 2014, 10:00 AM
I'd say ~$30 (for 9 chips) including shipping cost.

That much yes, ill have to think about it, but No1 atm is to get my FDD to work, or else i cant do anything with my XT :(

MikeS
April 2nd, 2014, 10:32 AM
That much yes, ill have to think about it, but No1 atm is to get my FDD to work, or else i cant do anything with my XT :(Have I got this right:
This is a 5160 XT with a hard disk and everything's working except the floppy?
You have two floppy drives but neither one works?
What type FDD (Make/model)?
How many diskettes did you try?
What is/are your other system(s), and do you have/can you get a null-modem cable?

cruising
April 2nd, 2014, 11:39 AM
Have I got this right:
This is a 5160 XT with a hard disk and everything's working except the floppy?
You have two floppy drives but neither one works?
What type FDD (Make/model)?
How many diskettes did you try?
What is/are your other system(s), and do you have/can you get a null-modem cable?


XT 5160 and correct
10MB HDD
1 IBM original floppy, tandon?
1 Cannon 55XX 1.2MB floppy (not installed, just for testing the disks and to see if the IBM one was failing)
i have tried like 10 floppys, it readed 1 floppy 3 times and then it started to fail again, and i know these floppys has been used on the original FDD when the software from that floppy is installed on the HDD

i have a IBM 380Z laptop, T61 and own built modern pc. And idk where to get a null-modem cable.

Stone
April 2nd, 2014, 11:52 AM
1 Cannon 55XX 1.2MB floppy (not installed, just for testing the disks and to see if the IBM one was failing)
i have tried like 10 floppys, it readed 1 floppy 3 times and then it started to fail again, and i know these floppys has been used on the original FDD when the software from that floppy is installed on the HDD1) I don't think a 1.2MB drive will work on an XT without a special controller.

2) Reading then failing to read a disk is a common sign of heads getting fouled.

cruising
April 2nd, 2014, 12:40 PM
1) I don't think a 1.2MB drive will work on an XT without a special controller.

2) Reading then failing to read a disk is a common sign of heads getting fouled.

Oh ok, then it might be that who cause that FDD to error when reading?
And if the head is fouled, do i need to buy a working one or can it be repaired some how?

Stone
April 2nd, 2014, 02:18 PM
Fouled = dirty. The cleaning disk takes care of that. But if you put a bad disk into a drive and run it for just 1 - 2 seconds it can/will foul the heads again. So, *** you need a known good disk *** to test the floppy drive to see if it's good or not. Using an old, suspect floppy disk won't get you the answer.

cruising
April 2nd, 2014, 02:46 PM
Fouled = dirty.
Oh! sorry.


The cleaning disk takes care of that. But if you put a bad disk into a drive and run it for just 1 - 2 seconds it can/will foul the heads again. So, *** you need a known good disk *** to test the floppy drive to see if it's good or not. Using an old, suspect floppy disk won't get you the answer.

Most of my floppy disks are new old stock, never been used and boxed, but been opened (the box), but i have a box unopened also. And i do have used a cleaning disk in my FDD with fluid. When my XT was shipped, there was no protect paper inside the FDD, and the the thing you flip down while reading a floppy was closed, maybe the reading head is damaged by vibrations or something? maybe it is the FDD controller that cause errors?

Stone
April 2nd, 2014, 03:02 PM
Most of my floppy disks are new old stock, never been used and boxed, but been opened (the box), but i have a box unopened also. What brand are they. Not that it matters -- I'm just curious. But there were some notoriously bad brands of disks. I think Chuck(G) knows which ones they are. But just because they are new doesn't mean they can't foul the FDD's heads. The disks deteriorate more with age than with use. I have disks that I have been using for 25 years without problems and also some that I take out of the box and don't work the first time i use them.

IBM_User
April 2nd, 2014, 03:14 PM
@cruising, relating to the RAM chips, a small package up to 500 grams to Sweden would cost about $12, or less when I send it as letter...

cruising
April 2nd, 2014, 03:16 PM
What brand are they. Not that it matters -- I'm just curious. But there were some notoriously bad brands of disks. I think Chuck(G) knows which ones they are. But just because they are new doesn't mean they can't foul the FDD's heads. The disks deteriorate more with age than with use. I have disks that I have been using for 25 years without problems and also some that I take out of the box and don't work the first time i use them.

I guess your right about that. i have a box with some unused Maxell and a unopened M3, and some "Noname" yellow disks. And also some disks from a swedish company called "strålfors".


@cruising, relating to the RAM chips, a small package up to 500 grams to Sweden would cost about $12, or less when I send it as letter...

$12 aint that much, and could be worth it actually.

IBM_User
April 2nd, 2014, 03:33 PM
I'll check tomorrow what I can do for you.

I'm currently downsize my IBM collection,
so there are several parts which I don't need anymore.

MikeS
April 2nd, 2014, 09:43 PM
i have a IBM 380Z laptop, T61 and own built modern pc. And idk where to get a null-modem cable.Why not check your local computer stores, especially one that's been around for a while.
Or you could make one.
Otherwise, something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2M-6FT-Serial-Null-Modem-Cable-RS232-DB9-9-Pin-F-F-NEW-/290442815858?pt=US_Parallel_Serial_PS_2_Cables_Ada pters&hash=item439fbda972

with one of these if necessary:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/DB25pin-F-Female-Jack-DB9-M-Male-Plug-cable-cord-wire-Adapter-RS232-Serial-TN-K-/121290407966?pt=US_Parallel_Serial_PS_2_Cables_Ada pters&hash=item1c3d78c01e

There are probably cheaper ones, but as usual shipping's the catch...

Any cable with the right connectors to connect the two serial ports will do; if you find a straight-through one (not a null modem), it's easy to convert.

Always useful, even if/when you get the FDD working.

modem7
April 3rd, 2014, 03:08 AM
I have created a web page about Tandon TM100-2 issues [here (http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/5150_5160/tandon_tm100/tandom_tm100_problems.htm)].

cruising
April 3rd, 2014, 06:39 AM
UPDATE:

I have cleaned my XT Tandon TM100-2 with alcohol on a cotton tip as recommended from @modem7s link. After that i could format several floppys, and after each one was formated i could read the floppy by type A:
several times, and it showed the disk space and label. I copied some exe files to the floppy and it started some of the programs just fine.

But i must have ghosts in my FDD.. just like that, the FDD could not read the fully working floppy, and if i tried to format the floppy again, it got error reading it.
Same if i tried to read the floppy i just copied files to, it could fail to read it..its like it corrupts the floppy by copying files to it, and i can see no rings at all before-after formating or after copying files to the floppy disk.
Even the M3 disks that was new unused in unopened box was getting error reading after 100% success formating and copying files to it.

This getting me nuts!
if i can format, if i can read the disk after format, if i can copy files to a floppy, and then it just starts to getting reading error...what to do? throw the FDD out the window and say bad words?

Stone
April 3rd, 2014, 07:15 AM
This getting me nuts!
if i can format, if i can read the disk after format, if i can copy files to a floppy, and then it just starts to getting reading error...what to do? throw the FDD out the window and say bad words?No, ... THROW THE DISKS AWAY and get new ones! You don't need to see rings for the disk(s) to be fouling the heads. I bet if you thoroughly clean the heads again and try reading, etc., a disk again you will encounter a similar result..... again.

cruising
April 3rd, 2014, 08:18 AM
No, ... THROW THE DISKS AWAY and get new ones! You don't need to see rings for the disk(s) to be fouling the heads. I bet if you thoroughly clean the heads again and try reading, etc., a disk again you will encounter a similar result..... again.

It might not be the disks after all, i took some weapon oil on the rails, loosed the 2 screws that holds the reading head and "reseted" the head by push it back and then tightened the screws again. Now it seams to read disk that it didnt read before, im gonna test some more disks to confirm i have fixed the FDD.
And i also saw that its important to NOT tighten the screw to much, or else the head will NOT go 100% down to the floppys surface.

EDIT:
Now i have tried "format a: /s" and that did not fail, the XT even booted with that disk, so i guess i have fixed my floppy for now, only the time will tell if it really is fixed. Now im gonna mount the floppy back in the case and cross my fingers it keep working!

Ex-AST
June 8th, 2014, 07:59 PM
Boy does this thread bring up "memories". I worked at AST, was Employee #13. I named the SixPakPlus, wrote much of the user manual. What a time to be working in that business.

Ask me anything! I might have some info. Well except for the major gaps that I've forgotten. Lol.

Trivia Factoid: Quadram was AST's main competitor in expansion boards. AST deliberately used a variety of colors of components on the SixPak. Orange and blues caps for example. More expensive components. The Quadram board was blah in appearance in comparison. Why the bright colors? So when the salesman at ComputerLand laid Quadram and AST boards side by side on the counter for a customer to look at, the AST board would be more appealing. AST killed Quadram in unit sales and profits. My recollection is more than a million SixPakPlus boards were sold.

SpidersWeb
June 8th, 2014, 08:56 PM
You guys had some great names. I like my "AST RAMVantage!" - I said to my partner while carrying the card "I've got the ramvantage now!".

modem7
June 8th, 2014, 09:07 PM
I worked at AST, was Employee #13.
Welcome to these forums.
It can be interesting to hear what the inside view on things was (politics and all).


I named the SixPakPlus,

Ask me anything! I might have some info.
'SixPakPlus' suggests quantity six, plus something else. Originally, I thought six functionalities. But when I look at what I think is the first SixPakPlus card, I only count five functionalities: RAM, RTC, RS-232 port, parallel port, game port. Did something get dropped during development, or does 'SixPakPlus' mean something else, or am I missing something?


Trivia Factoid: Quadram was AST's main competitor in expansion boards. AST deliberately used a variety of colors of components on the SixPak. Orange and blues caps for example. More expensive components. The Quadram board was blah in appearance in comparison. Why the bright colors? So when the salesman at ComputerLand laid Quadram and AST boards side by side on the counter for a customer to look at, the AST board would be more appealing. AST killed Quadram in unit sales and profits. My recollection is more than a million SixPakPlus boards were sold.
I bet the Quadram executives kicked themselves for not going through with their idea of including photos of bikini-clad young women with their product.

SpidersWeb
June 8th, 2014, 09:19 PM
'SixPakPlus' suggests quantity six, plus something else. Originally, I thought six functionalities. But when I look at what I think is the first SixPakPlus card, I only count five functionalities: RAM, RTC, RS-232 port, parallel port, game port. Did something get dropped during development, or does 'SixPakPlus' mean something else, or am I missing something?

I'm looking forward to the actual answer, but now that you mention it I only just realized the card only has 5 features too.
Wondering now if it's because it has 6 banks of memory.

IBM Portable PC
November 10th, 2014, 11:46 PM
What is the next best card to have, one of the Quadram cards or another brand?