View Full Version : 486 online

September 1st, 2006, 11:11 AM
The subject of this post is again my latest aquisition, a 486 laptop.

I installed Arachne web browser on this laptop out of curiosity. It works fine so now I am actually going to try and get it online.

First hurdle, I don't have dialup. I do however, have broadband and an ADSL modem :)

Second hurdle, I dont know anything about internet connections, cables, etc. etc.

So, My laptop has 2 ports on the back, that look like telephone extentions and are narrower than the cable from the modem to the modern computer. One labelled PHONE and the other LINE.

The modem itself broadcasts a wireless signal and also has 3 spare wired ports at the back for the wider (ethernet?) cable.

If it is impossible to set up broadband with arachne, tell me the name of a browser that will fit on a floppy that will and run under win 3.11 or FreeGEm or DOS 6.22

My ISP is BT Broadband

Thankyou ;)

September 1st, 2006, 11:27 AM
I tried it, and it is soooooooooooooo slow. It worked, but it was painful. However, that was on a 486 SX25 with 8MB RAM.

When I get my DX4 100 with 32 (or even 64!)MB or RAM, I'll try it again.

September 1st, 2006, 11:43 AM
I don't mind slow, I just want to see if I can do it.

September 1st, 2006, 11:53 AM
i am not sure if it can work through broadband, but there is a version of Internet explorer 5.0 for Windows 3.11! Maybe with a pcmcia lan card you can set up as proxy server your router and work that way :)

September 1st, 2006, 12:00 PM
No PCMCIA slots on this one.

September 1st, 2006, 12:04 PM
i am not sure if it can work through broadband, but there is a version of Internet explorer 5.0 for Windows 3.11!
With the TCP/IP stack for Windows 3.11 you can use whatever browser level you prefer for the user interface (I've tried IE 3.02 with a NIC connected to the DSL modem)...

September 1st, 2006, 12:18 PM
Anyone willing to talk me through getting this thing surfing?

September 1st, 2006, 12:51 PM
I got my 486 online with a 3Com Etherlink III card (it has an Ethernet adaptor). You can get it to connect to a home network with broadband by installing the TCP/IP stack protocol software in Windows 3.11.

I did try doing this on my 486DX100 laptop with a PCMCIA network adaptor, but I found the adaptor ate all the memory up and not leaving enough for anything else.

September 1st, 2006, 12:53 PM
curses. This laptop only has a modem port and nowhere to expand!

September 1st, 2006, 12:55 PM
Anyone willing to talk me through getting this thing surfing?

It's time to do some homework on your own.

First assignment is figure out how you are going to connect. If you are not going to use the built-in modem then you need to tell us how you are going to do it. Usually people stick an Ethernet card in a slot and connect that way.

Once you have some physical way of connecting, then we can talk about walking you through it.

September 2nd, 2006, 03:58 AM
I haven't really read any of it, but I just came across this page:


September 3rd, 2006, 03:34 AM
I dug out an old parrallel 28.8 modem yesterday, no cable to connect it but is it of any use?

September 3rd, 2006, 04:04 AM
I agree with mbbrutman, do some research. That modem you have is serial, not parallel, I don't think anyone ever made a parallel modem, though I could be wrong(lotsa odd hardware out there). That thing'll only work if you have a dialup account.

Look around for a serial to ethernet device.

September 3rd, 2006, 07:44 AM
Actually, there were some parallel port modems out there. I've never seen one, but the idea was that the serial port was generally too slow for the faster modems and certain UART combinations. Using the parallel port for a modem seems unnatural at first, but it does give you a lot more bandwidth.

Any parallel port on a bad day is still going to beat a serial port.

September 3rd, 2006, 08:08 AM
Yep, Its a motorola 3400 modenm. Got a port on the back that looks like a 25 pin centronics style printer port. Dunno if a cable similar to a laplink cable would work. Date code is 1996

nige the hippy
September 3rd, 2006, 08:22 AM
Yep, Its a motorola 3400 modenm. Got a port on the back that looks like a 25 pin centronics style printer port. Dunno if a cable similar to a laplink cable would work. Date code is 1996

NO BBC!!!! don't attempt to connect it to your parallel port, almost certainly 25 pin serial. when those modems were about, 25 pin was more common than 9!


nige the hippy
September 3rd, 2006, 08:37 AM
a link to the user manual....


DCE on the connector means "data communication equipment"... that means it's DEFINITELY serial, terminals often have DTE (data terminal equipment) written on. I think most old 25 pin serial ports on pcs (confusingly) are DCE, cos they used to be connected to terminals.

welcome to the wonderful world of serial comms!

I have a spare breakout box somewhere, I'll post it to you when I get back off hols. but you'll have to get your own 9 to 25 way leads.


September 3rd, 2006, 08:45 AM
He said Centronics. I assumed the 25 pin thing was a miscount. I shouldn't have assumed ...

BBCMicro - do some reading. If you don't know the difference between a 25 pin D shell and a Centronics parallel port interface, you really don't belong opening machines up.

September 3rd, 2006, 09:41 AM
Fair enough.

September 3rd, 2006, 10:40 AM
That's not to say that you're not trainable. But get reading. :-)

Seriously. Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs is an excellent start:

http://www.quepublishing.com/content/downloads/upgrading/fourteenth_edition/DVD/PCs8th.pdf#search=%22upgrading%20and%20repairing%2 0pcs%208th%22

(Ugly url ... sorry)

September 3rd, 2006, 12:31 PM
Thanks for the link mbbrutman, a good read.
The laptop must have some kind of internal modem; the two telephone-like ports labelled LINE and PHONE. I signed up to a 'free' dialup account which charges local rates and no subscription. I sent an email requesting all the detail needed for arachne. Hopefully, I should just need to put this in and I might get on the internet, unless there is the likely happening that I have made an obvious mistake. So, this is attempt No. 1

September 3rd, 2006, 12:37 PM
Wow, exactly what I was going to suggest. The easiest course would be just to use the existing modem and get a free dialup internet account. :o

September 3rd, 2006, 12:51 PM
And it took me that long to get this far :nervous:
I have abandoned hope of using a broadband connection, which was my goal in the first place.

September 3rd, 2006, 01:35 PM
OK, some limteted success.
I found the required info elsewhere. Everything else in Arachne that wasn't given, I left at default, but all the mandatory stuff was filled. I plug the thing into the telephone line, and it dials (yay!) and I can hear it making noises through the PC speaker, but only very faintly, ditto through the telephone. After a while trying to connect, it says NO CARRIER and some other stuff flashes by too fast to see, and Arachne reports No packet driver or something like that. What typically causes errors like this? (Don't say no packet driver,I mean, how can I remedy this?)
Just wondering, is each failed connection costing me money??

September 3rd, 2006, 01:42 PM
Uh, in the UK, yes each connection is likely costing you money. Phone does get answered. What is likely going on is that the ISP service you are calling does not support that slow of a connection or that old protocol. I mentioned this in another post, alot of service providers don't allow 2400 or 9600 baud connections anymore. I think you might be out of options at this point. All those failed connects tend to add up fast, as I know from my BBS days.

September 3rd, 2006, 01:52 PM
OK, I won't try again.
I think at this point it would be wise to throw in the towel. At least now I know how it's done, I've never setup or used dialup before. I hope my 6 or so attempts don't cost much!
Some of the time I used the prefix 18866 - with the telephone service my parents are subscribed to that makes the call 5p connection charge and then 0p per minute. Would this have any effect on the conection if there were to be one?

September 3rd, 2006, 02:00 PM
If a UK pense is like a US penny, I wouldn't worry too much. 30p ain't gonna break anybody. Anyway, I almost positive is that the modem pool at the ISP you are calling doesn't support those old sloooow modem speeds. I guess they do that because the modem pool is a limited resource and they don't want you hogging it for hours and hours at 2400 baud. Make sense if you think about it awhile.

September 3rd, 2006, 02:28 PM
The only setting the modem will work with is 9600(!), and it's liely to be less than that

September 4th, 2006, 08:08 AM
Anyone here bring up the Parallel port Ethernet thingie?

http://cgi.ebay.com/Xircom-Pocket-BNC-Ethernet-Adapter-Open-Box-PE2-10B2_W0QQitemZ180023965961QQihZ008QQcategoryZ3668Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/Xircom-pocket-Ethernet-Adapter-new-in-Box-PE10B2-32K_W0QQitemZ9709549683QQihZ008QQcategoryZ11175QQs sPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/POCKET-ETHERNET-ADAPTER-MADE-BY-XIRCOM_W0QQitemZ5881266638QQihZ008QQcategoryZ11182 QQssPageNameZWD1VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

September 4th, 2006, 08:21 AM
Go read the threads on the IRC client and the Joys of Filesharing in the Programming area. On one of the IRC threads I laid out what is required to get online using DOS.

Basically, three things:

Comm hardware and matching packet driver. This can be an ethernet card, serial port or parallel port even. The packet driver is a DOS TSR that controls the hardware and provides a higher level interface for talking to the hardware.

TCP/IP stack: Sits 'on top of' the packet driver and provides TCP/IP support for application programs.

TCP/IP application: Sits 'on top of' the TCP/IP stack and gives you your telnet, ftp, IRC, browser, etc.

Some apps have TCP/IP built in. Minuet and the stuff I'm doing are like this. In that case, it's just two pieces - the hardware/packet driver combination and the application with TCP/IP built in. (I'm not sure if Arachne falls into this category or not.)

September 4th, 2006, 08:23 AM
Parallel port Ethernet adapters:

Yep. The Xircom PE3-10BT is my weapon of choice when you can't get a card on a machine. Comes with a DOS packet driver and it works on every piece of hardware I've tried. Does not work with Linux though because Xircom wouldn't hand out the specs for talking to it.

I can get 17KB/sec through one on a PCjr .. more than adequate. It works better with a bi-directional or enhanced parallel port.

September 4th, 2006, 10:04 AM
They're kind of pricey though. The ones I posted aren't the PE3-10BT, they're PE2-10BT, but would they still work? My biggest concern was power adpter, and connection type. I wouldn't want bnc, just RJ-45.

September 4th, 2006, 10:33 AM
Look for a Xircom PE3-10BT. That's an RJ45 jack with normal Ethernet, so it will connect to your hubs or switches. They should be no more than $10 new on eBay. Used ones are dirt cheap. If you buy, be sure to get the wall-wart that goes with it. Other than that, you don't need the manual or the software - it's readily available.

September 4th, 2006, 10:54 AM
Btw, the thread has moved to General Discussion, not General Off-topic. Getting a 486 online or discussing packet drivers and small TCP/IP implementations is on subject to me.

September 4th, 2006, 12:31 PM
DOS Internet on a 486, I see 2 ways I've done it...............

- The Ethernet/Packet Driver Route (High Speed), My 286 is the one that actually uses this. I have an Intel EtherExpress 16 in there, run off the packet drivers which can be had by googling them off of Intel's website the last time I checked (it should be EXP16.EXE you need). Load the packet drivers into memory address 0x60 (C:\>EXP16.EXE 0x16), and then load up the internet software, configure it for TCP/IP/LAN Internet access and you're done. I'm amazed nobody's done an in-depth article on getting vintage machines on DSL/Cable yet, as it's actually VERY easy.

- The External Modem Route - I did this using NetTamer AND Arachne. Basically, you will need the dial-in information for the server (in my case, when I was on mfire, that was my login name with @mfire.nri.net or @mfire.nri.com at the end of it), your password, some local area access numbers, and put them in the right fields. You will also need an external modem. As for modem speed, I had a 56K V.90 on my IBM PS/2 Model 30 286, and aside from the hard disk choking as it's an MFM/RLL type unit, the computer ran great on-line in NetTamer. The readme for the program usually has the info needed to set it up.

September 4th, 2006, 12:49 PM
When I get a bit of spare cash (and when one turns up, a quick search on ebay.co.uk turned up nothing) I'll try and get my hands on a Xircom PE3-10BT and use Mad-Mikes first method. Thanks all.

December 16th, 2011, 11:47 PM
I used a 486 laptop with 4 RAM, external Dial-up modem and DOS + Arachne, 640x480 screen resolution. Three variations:

1. Making ordinary set up for Arachne - worked quite slow even if to have images display turned off

2. Making the set up a little bit more complicated. There was not enough of RAM to install Arachne to it, so I put only the folder for temporary files and COMMAND.COM to a small, 512 KB RAM disk - as described here: http://www.compmiscellanea.com/en/arachne-installing-and-setting-up-dial-up.htm in "B. Installing and setting up Arachne web browser on hard disk - if RAM size is not sufficient for creating RAM disk of 6 MB and more." It worked much better.

3. The same thing as in item 2, but had images display turned off. That is faster. Sort of PDA with GPRS experince.

Would there be some 10-12 MB RAM on this laptop, it would be possible to install all Arachne on a RAM disk and run it from there ( See here: http://www.compmiscellanea.com/en/arachne-installing-and-setting-up-dial-up.htm in "A. Installing Arachne web browser on a disk created in RAM ". And that would be a difference.

December 17th, 2011, 12:00 AM
Is this a new bump record? 5 years, 3 months?

Ole Juul
December 17th, 2011, 12:07 AM
I run Arachne on a P1-133 and have lots of RAM. Perhaps a 486 is that much slower, but I just copied the Arachne directory to a RAM disk and the speed is the same for me. I don't think file access is the bottleneck.

By the way, this thread is so old that some of participants might even have passed away. :)

December 17th, 2011, 12:09 AM
Is this a new bump record? 5 years, 3 months?
Not sure if it's a record, but it ought to be! Oddly I remember this thread starting not that long ago, but I guess it *has* been that long.