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bettablue
May 12th, 2014, 04:47 AM
I've been thinking of the backpack 3.5" floppy drive connected to my 5150 machine. The drive connects via parallel port and gives the system the diskettes full 1.44 MB of storage. Since the drive works so well, I am now considering adding a MicroSolutions CD-ROM and switch it between another 5150 system I have, as well as my 5160 XT.

All else aside, having the ability to connect a CD-ROM to either of these computers will completely negate the need for a tweener, so I can look at getting a late 486, or early Pentium 1. Moving data and software will be a breeze.

Since my MicroSolutions floppy works so well with my first 5150 PC, will the CD-ROM function properly with the 5150 and 5160 machines? :confused:

Maverick1978
May 12th, 2014, 06:22 AM
I've been thinking of the backpack 3.5" floppy drive connected to my 5150 machine. The drive connects via parallel port and gives the system the diskettes full 1.44 MB of storage. Since the drive works so well, I am now considering adding a MicroSolutions CD-ROM and switch it between another 5150 system I have, as well as my 5160 XT.

All else aside, having the ability to connect a CD-ROM to either of these computers will completely negate the need for a tweener, so I can look at getting a late 486, or early Pentium 1. Moving data and software will be a breeze.

Since my MicroSolutions floppy works so well with my first 5150 PC, will the CD-ROM function properly with the 5150 and 5160 machines? :confused:
You could probably load the device drivers ok (so long as they didn't require the 286 instruction set), but then you would have roughly 70kb of conventional memory gone. If your 5150 is running 640kb, that's a sizeable chunk when you take into account that you'll likely also need to boot at least DOS 5.0 to do this.

Personally, I think I'd go with a parallel ZIP drive and a couple of ZIP disks rather than a backpack CD-ROM here. The driver for this can be loaded and unloaded from memory without a reboot, and it's much smaller. Further, an internal ZIP drive for your main PC is quite cheap if you wanted to go that route, or you could just move the parallel drive back and forth between them.

Bear in mind that using a ZIP drive would require purchase of the PalmZIP license to go with an 8088 cpu, but if you have an NEC v20 installed, then you could use the default Guest.exe from the ziptools disk.

Chuck(G)
May 12th, 2014, 08:25 AM
SCSI CD-ROMs were also used on XTs.

Agent Orange
May 12th, 2014, 01:05 PM
Thomas:

I have a Trantor SCSI card in my 1000SX which hosts a 230 MB SCSI Maxtor HD. This winter I bought an external SCSI CD-ROM w/cable but have been too busy (lazy) to hook the thing up. When I get back off vacation I'll make a point of checking it all out. I think I paid about $50 for the thing. External SCSI is a neat way to go 'cause you can drag it around for everything that you've got (providing you had a controller installed in all your stuff).8)

glitch
May 12th, 2014, 01:34 PM
I'd go with SCSI or Ethernet. Modern stuff works with both of those, especially Ethernet. As mentioned, there are SCSI adapters for pretty much everything. USB SCSI adapters do exist, though the general use adapters I've seen have been pretty expensive.

modem7
May 13th, 2014, 12:11 AM
, I am now considering adding a MicroSolutions CD-ROM and switch it between another 5150 system I have, as well as my 5160 XT.

Since my MicroSolutions floppy works so well with my first 5150 PC, will the CD-ROM function properly with the 5150 and 5160 machines? :confused:
Answered [here (http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/backpack_cdrom/backpack_cdrom.htm)].

The version 2.06 driver works with the IBM 5150 and IBM 5160. Because the label on the 2.06 driver diskette indicates Backpack CD-ROM 'models 163550, 164550, 165550', then if you are planning to use that driver, then I highly suggest that the model you acquire be one of the three quoted models. Why? Because other models may not work with the 2.06 driver.

I have a model 164550 Backpack CD-ROM drive, but very rarely use it on my 5150s and 5160s. Because it's not a burner, the lack of write ability restricts its usefulness. If I do need to transfer files to/from my 5150s and 5160s, then I'm more likely to use my Backpack 3.5" floppy drive, or a ZIP100 drive.

Where I have found the Backpack CD-ROM drive handy, is when I needed to install something from CD-ROM to a laptop that does not have a CD-ROM drive.

Malc
May 13th, 2014, 01:01 AM
I have the 167550 model Backpack CD-ROM Drive ( Version 2.13 drivers ) It comes in handy but have not used it on my 5160 for a very long time ( I prefer Compact Flash ). From the user guide....

1.1 System Requirements

Check the system requirements listed here to make sure you have everything needed for proper operation of backpack:
• IBM PC, XT, AT, PS/1, PS/2, laptop, notebook, or compatible com-puter with:
• 100% IBM compatible parallel printer port.
• 128K memory.
• DOS version 3.1 or above or
Windows, Windows 95 or Windows NT.

Note: backpack is Enhanced Parallel Port (EPP) Aware. If the parallel port is equipped with EPP and the computer BIOS has support for EPP, backpack will detect this and use the feature to improve its performance.

Chuck(G)
May 13th, 2014, 07:32 AM
Where I have found the Backpack CD-ROM drive handy, is when I needed to install something from CD-ROM to a laptop that does not have a CD-ROM drive.

A parallel-to-SCSI adapter (e.g. Adaptec/Trantor MA-358 ) and a CD-ROM drive to go with it is a very useful way of getting an operating system installed on a bare-bones old laptop with only a floppy drive and the usual serial and parallel ports.

Stone
May 13th, 2014, 08:40 AM
A parallel-to-SCSI adapter (e.g. Adaptec/Trantor MA-358 ) and a CD-ROM drive to go with it is a very useful way of getting an operating system installed on a bare-bones old laptop with only a floppy drive and the usual serial and parallel ports.U-NET II is great for this (and other uses) too. It's a parallel port network that requires only one file on each machine (Server and Workstation) to operate and, of course, a parallel transfer cable.

I think it's even better than LapLink or DOS' Intersvr/Interlnk because it's an actual network, not just a transfer utility, much like Lantastic Z, which is also a parallel port network but much harder than U-NET II to setup and configure.

Here's the README:



U - N E T II

This readme file can be used for quick screen referral. It has been written to
use as a printed manual and can be printed using a word processor or by using
the COPY command. Do this by typing the following:

COPY README PRN <Return>


Table of Contents


1. Introduction Page 1
2. Registration Options Page 2
3. Technical Requirements Page 3

4. U-Net II Software Installation Page 4
5. Cable & Port Connections Page 5
6. Using U-Net II Page 6
7. Trouble Shooting Page 7

Appendix

A U-Net II Program Files Page 8
B Product Order Form Page 9


Page 1

Introduction

Until recently, networking was expensive and complicated, beyond the reach of
the small computer user. Now, even if you have just two PCs and a printer, U-
Net lets you enjoy the savings, enhanced performance and extra productivity
that networking provides.

U-Net is the first complete network available via shareware, and also the first
network that can be installed by a computer novice. U-Net allows small
businesses to install the network and see the advantages of sharing software,
data files and printer between any two IBM or compatible computers without
major financial investment.

U-Net is a Server/Workstation based network. This means that one of the
computers (generally the fastest with the largest or only hard disk drive) is
set up as the Server and the other computer becomes the Workstation. The
software, datafiles and printer attached to the Server computer can be shared
concurrently while the Server computer is being used.

Note the Server computer cannot access the Workstation's drives or printer. If
information on the Workstation needs to be shared, it should first be copied up
to the Server computer.

U-Net's biggest benefit to users is "ease of use". Installation should take you
less than five minutes. The cable simply connects between the parallel ports of
the two computers. No new knowledge is required as U-Net uses standard DOS
commands. The hard disk drives and the printer attached to the main (server)
computer are accessed as if they were physically attached to the other
(workstation) computer.

We take this opportunity to welcome you as a U-Net user and as such can assure
you of our ongoing support and further development of the product. We will of
couse keep you informed as these enhancements and upgrades become available.

We wish you well using U-Net II and hope you find it to be of good value.


Page 2

Registration Options

Option A - Registration Only $40
License to use U-Net software, latest version of software without the shareware
banner message, Technical Support by written correspondence, and notification
of new releases, upgrades, etc.
Requires you making your own special connecting cable (as detailed in cable
section)

Option B - Registration and Adapter $65
Includes registration as above and supply of adapter that can be used with any
standard parallel printer cable to make the U-Net network connection.

Option C - LanDapter $175
Includes registration and supply of adapter as above but offers extra features;
- File Copy and Transfer Utility
- Ability to link to major networks; Novell, LanManager, or Lantastic
- Convenient travelling carry case
- Full telephone technical support

Please print and use the form at the end of this file to register and order
any of the above options.

This second release of U-Net, U-Net II offers support for DOS 5, most OEM
versions of MSDOS and disk partitioning software. Also the printer
redirection (to share the server's printer) is activated now using a
pop-up menu. The programs are no longer device drivers that need loading with
the CONFIG.SYS file, but can be run after the systems are booted. Both
programs also now can be unloaded when not required.

Please be sure to keep your Registration Number available and quote this on
all technical support correspondence. Should you have chosen the LanDapter
option then you will be advised the technical support phone line for contact.
We appreciate your support of our product and the Shareware concept. Your
registration enables us to further develop U-Net and other innovative products
and provide them to you at affordable prices.

Page 3

Technical Requirements

* Computers must be IBM or compatibles. They can be any mix of PC, XT, 286 AT,
386, 486 or PS/2 Microchannel computers.

* The main (SERVER) computer must have a hard disk drive. The other computer
(WORKSTATION) must have at least one floppy disk drive.

* Each computer must have a standard parallel port available. If there is none
free then you may have to add a second or third parallel port.

* Any printer that you wish to share has to be connected to the SERVER's first
parallel port (LPT1).

* It is recommended that the SERVER computer have a minimum of 640Kb RAM.

* It is recommended that you use MSDOS 3.3 or later and the same version of
DOS on both computers.

* The maximum recommended cable length between the computers is 10m (30 ft).



Page 4

U-Net II Software Installation

The following files should be on your Installation Diskette;
UNET.EXE
ATTACH.COM
README

Insert the Installation Diskette in Drive A of the computer designated to
become the SERVER (the computer whose hard disk drive(s) and printer you wish
to share) and type in;
A: <Return>
COPY UNET.EXE C: <Return>

Now insert the Installation Diskette in the other computer (called the
WORKSTATION) and type in;
A: <Return>
COPY ATTACH.COM C: <Return>


Page 5

Cable & Port Connections

U-Net requires the linking together of the two computers using standard
Parallel Ports with a special cable. You can either make this cable yourself
as described below, or order a special Adapter (see registration options on
page 2) that connects with a standard printer cable to make the connection.

We recommend a maximum cable length of 10m (30ft).

Use data grade cable, 11 wires with shield and male DB-25 connectors. Wiring
is as follows;
Pin 2 to Pin 15
- 3 -- --- 13
- 4 -- --- 12
- 5 -- --- 10
- 6 -- --- 11
- 10 -- --- 5
- 11 -- --- 6
- 12 -- --- 4
- 13 -- --- 3
- 15 -- --- 2
- 25 -- --- 25
(Also connect both pins 25 to shield)

Port Connection
Be sure to connect the cable to LPT2 if there is more than one parallel port
in the computer.


Page 6

Using U-Net II

Simply type on the SERVER;
C: <Return>
UNET <Return>
Within 5 to 8 seconds you will get the screen message;
Installed for Port XXX
(XXX being the port U-Net uses)

Ensure the cable is connected between the Parallel Ports on the computers. The
cable should be connected to LPT2 if there is more than one Parallel Port in
the computer.

Type on the WORKSTATION;

C: <Return>
ATTACH <Return>

You will notice on the WORKSTATION that extra virtual drives have been added
(being the SERVER'S drives). They can be accessed as though they are
physically present in the WORKSTATION Computer using normal DOS commands.
They will appear as the next logical letter(s) after any local WORKSTATION
hard drive(s).

Both the SERVER and the WORKSTATION retain all of the features they had as
standalone computers, however now the WORKSTATION can concurrently access the
SERVER'S hard disk drive(s) and printer.

To access the SERVER'S printer from the WORKSTATION press the CTRL key and
Right Shift key simultaneously and select on the pop-up menu to redirect
printing to the Server's printer. Use this menu to change back printing to the
local printer should you wish to do this. The WORKSTATION printing normally
defaults to it's local printer on booting up.

To STOP the network running (i.e. unload U-Net);

On the SERVER Type in UNET/U <Return>
On the WORKSTATION Type in ATTACH/U <Return>

U-Net gives you the ability to share software and datafiles when using LAN
(local area network) or multi-user versions of your application software by
running SHARE (a DOS program included in DOS 3.3 and later). This gives you
file and record locking facilities.

Page 7
Trouble Shooting
* It is recommended that you use MSDOS 3.3 or later and the same version of
DOS on both computers.
* The cable must be connected to the LPT2 Port if there is more than one
parallel port in the computer.
* U-Net software takes 20Kb (approx) of the SERVER'S first 640Kb RAM and
16Kb on the WORKSTATION Computer. It is recommended that you have 640Kb
or more RAM in the SERVER computer.
* Only use SHARE on the SERVER computer when using multi-user or LAN versions
of your application software as it takes up memory and will slow performance

* Some "non-compatible" IBM clones; some Tandy models, Amstrad, etc are not
fully compatibile and will not work.
* Mixtures of DOS between SERVER and WORKSTATION can give problems.
* Computer Games and Formatting of Diskettes should be avoided on the
SERVER Computer while U-Net is running as this can cause problems.
* Number of files open in the Config.Sys file on the SERVER may need
increasing as it must open enough files for the WORKSTATION also.
* If WORKSTATION programs are halted abnormally then it may be necessary to
reboot the SERVER to ensure any open files are closed.
* If using different screen types (mono and color) then a sub-directory on
the SERVER with different configurations of the software may be required.
* Sometimes PATH commands and AUTOEXEC files on the WORKSTATION need
modifying to allow for files residing on different virtual drives.
* There may be a conflict in the SERVER between the U-Net software and some
other TSRs running. If this occurs you should ensure that U-Net loads
first which may solve the problem.
* Cables of too great a length or inadequate quality can give problems.
* ERROR - SERVER not responding, U-Net II installation cancelled.
indicates that either the SERVER is not running the program UNET or the
cable is not properly connected. Re-plug the cable and re-run the programs.
* If the appended virtual drives do not appear to be mapped correctly then the
LASTDRIVE parameter should be set in your CONFIG.SYS file on the WORKSTATION
e.g. LASTDRIVE = G (allows drives up to G:)

* If having the cable connected appears to interfere with either computer
booting up, then boot both computers before connecting the cable or ensure
the SERVER program UNET is running before booting the WORKSTATION computer.
* Transfer speed with U-Net is dependent on the speed of the slowest computer.
For best performance fast 286 or 386 computers are recommended.

Page 8

Appendix

U-Net II Program Files

ATTACH.COM
This is the program that allows your WORKSTATION Computer to access the SERVER
Computer. It adds approximately 16Kb to the memory used on your WORKSTATION
Computer.

UNET.EXE
This is the program that is executed on the SERVER Computer to allow the
WORKSTATION Computer to communicate with it. This program takes approximately
20Kb of the SERVER'S first 640Kb RAM.


Page 9

ORDER FORM

MAIL TO:

Supa Corporation
11545 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd
Suite 1017
Scottsdale, AZ 85259 USA

NAME ...............................................
COMPANY ...............................................
ADDRESS ...............................................
" ...............................................
CITY ...............................................
STATE ZIP...............................................
COUNTRY ...............................................


REGISTRATION OPTIONS (see Page 2 for details)

OPTION A Registration & Latest Version $40.00 includes shipping

OPTION B As above but with adapter $65.00 includes shipping

OPTION C Full LanDapter Package $175.00 includes shipping

Check or Money Order enclosed for the amount of $..................

Chuck(G)
May 13th, 2014, 08:50 AM
Reminds me of iModes' "The $25 Nework" back in the 90s. I used that quite successfully.

k2x4b524[
May 13th, 2014, 11:44 AM
Can you use the menu feature for config.sys in dos 5.0? if you can, why not just set it up to load the cd-rom only when you want it to, otherwise, leave it as is, just reboot, pick your config, and go?

Chuck(G)
May 13th, 2014, 02:16 PM
I believe (but may be wrong) that CONFIG.SYS menus came in in DOS 6, but you can always use a third-party tool to load a device driver after the boot process has completed. Should be something in the SIMTEL collection...

Malc
May 13th, 2014, 03:58 PM
It's been a long time since i used my backpack CD-ROM drive on a regular basis but IIRC in the Autoexec.bat file i used " IF EXISTS " etc. To load mscdex.exe "IF" the backpack is connected, Or as Chuck suggest's use a third-party tool after the boot process has completed.

Chuck(G)
May 13th, 2014, 04:32 PM
If we're talking about a "normal" CD-ROM setup, MSCDEX is a network redirector (i.e. EXE file) that won't load unless the CD-ROM device is known. It stands to follow that the CD-ROM device driver presence is contingent upon the CD-ROM being attached. So if you don't want the CD-ROM-related memory, just unplug the CD-ROM device. No special menus needed.

k2x4b524[
May 13th, 2014, 09:05 PM
good point. if no cd-rom is there, the driver simply won't load, but I don't know if that applies to backpacks too

fantasma
May 14th, 2014, 04:43 AM
SCSI CD-ROMs were also used on XTs.

Definitely, this thread made me remember of this strange unit I've seen on a documentary, it's running in a 5150/60/XT. Skip to 08.43:


http://youtu.be/Ok_tcAEbHHw

Maverick1978
May 14th, 2014, 08:10 AM
I've never seen a DOS-based CD-ROM payload that didn't require a driver loaded from CONFIG.SYS and then the network redirector MSCDEX.EXE from AUTOEXEC.BAT. These usually take ~60kb of memory, combined. In a 486 machine, I usually loaded the higher of the two high with DOS and my mouse driver. The other was almost always stuck in conventional RAM. With a 5150 configuration, you're stuck with loading it all in conventional RAM.

I used to solve this conundrum back in the day with multiple boot options: config.cd/autoexec.cd, and then my batch-driven menu system always had an option to restart with CD mode, and I would rename current autoexec.bat/config.sys to *.ori, then I would copy autoexec.cd/config.cd to autoexec.bat/config.sys respectively and throw a quick warm reboot. - quick down-and-dirty way of doing it.

That said, DOS 6.0 introduced menu-based config.sys and autoexec.bat for multiple configurations. But DOS 6.0 is WAY overkill for a 5150, and eats up much more conventional RAM than is necessary. DOS 5.0 is what I normally use, as it's a good cross between the more advanced functionality of later DOS systems while not having quite the memory hit of DOS 6+.

ISTR having tried out Boot Commander and BootSy back in the say as well prior to going with my much-simpler-for-my-purposes batch system described above.

All of that said.... I still think that for day-to-day use, a parallel port ZIP drive is the way to go here if a network is out of the question :)

Chuck(G)
May 14th, 2014, 08:36 AM
I suspect that a selective-load driver capability is available from someplace in DOS 5.0 or earlier. After all, you have the basic DOS calls available in a driver and it's up to the driver to load or not. Again, I'd scour the SIMTEL library for a utility program of this nature. Microsoft rarely invents things themselves.

pl212
May 14th, 2014, 09:25 AM
Definitely, this thread made me remember of this strange unit I've seen on a documentary, it's running in a 5150/60/XT.

Looks like a very early rewritable optical disk..? Googling for "magstore" returns results such as..


MAGSTORE MEGABOX LF7010E
MAGSTORE MEGABOX DES7001