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tempest
April 16th, 2016, 06:05 PM
I have what I believe is an AT clone of some sort. The outer case looks like it says BAS 4SX-33 on it (the BAS is in some odd stylized block lettering so it's hard to make out) and the motherboard said Multitech MPF-PC on it. I'll try and get a picture of this thing up soon. I tried booting it but there must be something amiss because I got some boot error beeps (one set was three short and one long and the other was three short and a long but the long went up a note). It has some cards including a VGA card and appears to have a half-height hard drive.

The reason I ask is that it does have a nice 360K 5.25" drive which I'm in need of, but I don't want to start scavenging part from this machine if it's something rare.

Caluser2000
April 16th, 2016, 06:10 PM
Are you sure it's a 360k drive and not a 1.2meg offering? By your description of the system it sound like it is a generic 486SX33 based unit. These were generally shipped with 5.25" 1.2meg and/or 3.25" 1.4meg floppy drives.

tempest
April 16th, 2016, 06:30 PM
No I'm sure it's an AT or XT clone. It has a 5 pin din keyboard port and I checked the drive part number online, it's 360K.

One other thing I forgot to mention. On the back it says:

Model: Control #
Serial: ET-015-05

Applied Digital Data Systems (ADDS)
PC/I

tempest
April 16th, 2016, 06:31 PM
Double Post

Chuck(G)
April 16th, 2016, 07:50 PM
I may have the manual for the system--I'll have to check.

But ADDS mostly made terminals, like the Viewpoint. But they weren't Multitech, so I suspect that this is either ADDS property or a rebadge of some sort.

SomeGuy
April 16th, 2016, 08:36 PM
Either way, pop it open and post pictures. XT/AT clones can range from boring bog standard to loaded with odd stuff.

tempest
April 17th, 2016, 04:29 PM
Ok here are some pictures:

Front
30671

Back
30672

Inside 1
30673

Inside 2
30674

SomeGuy
April 17th, 2016, 05:48 PM
Applied Digital Data Systems ADDS PC/I or PC/II.

https://books.google.com/books?id=EFea26Iy2kQC&lpg=RA1-PA37&dq=applied%20digital%20data%20systems&pg=RA1-PA37#v=onepage&q&f=false

It looks to have been upgraded and rebadged by BAS Bioanalytical Systems Inc. Perhaps to accompany some other specialized equipment.

Edit: A couple more notes:
This is a ~1985 XT clone that uses a proprietary form factor motherboard that puts some I/O devices on the motherboard.
Is that an 8087 co-processor next to the CPU?
Check the clock battery on the I/O card - it may have leaked and made a mess.
Perhaps try removing the I/O and hard drive controller cards and see if it boots.

Chuck(G)
April 17th, 2016, 06:31 PM
Looks familiar--if the power supply is sort of long and slender and occupies the left side of the case (rather than a box on the right rear of the case), that's the baby; a Multitech XT, made in Taiwan.

Really got to wonder what the -33 is all about in the name.

tempest
April 17th, 2016, 07:22 PM
I can check on the details tomarrow. It's a PC/I or at least that's what it says on the back of the case.

Is there anything all that special about it? I was thinking about grabbing some parts from it for my other systems.

I should look at what all the cards are in it.

Chuck(G)
April 17th, 2016, 07:48 PM
ADDS didn't make PCs--this one was (I suspect) OEM-ed from Multitech, who never sold much in the USA under their own name (trademark issues). As an example, think about how few PCs you've seen with the "Foxconn" label--yet chances are a PC was probably made by them.

It's "Multitech Industrial Corp.". Back in the day, I had some dealings with them regarding fault-tolerant PCs. Here's a news article from that time (http://taiwaninfo.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=119291&ctNode=103).

In the US, they were known as "Acer".

Anonymous Coward
April 17th, 2016, 09:29 PM
I think the 4SX-33 sticker came off another system. It looks like it may have been a Gateway 2000.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/lZ3x9NaKjCs/maxresdefault.jpg

tempest
April 18th, 2016, 05:18 AM
I'll check but it didn't look like a sticker someone slapped on there, but who knows. Like I said, I don't know where this thing came from or what its story is.

SomeGuy
April 18th, 2016, 05:58 AM
If this machine was a companion to some kind of lab equipment then I would expect "4SX-33" to refer to the model of that equipment. It is funny it sounds like a 486 brand. Either way, it is clearly not directly related to this specific XT clone model.


Is there anything all that special about it? I was thinking about grabbing some parts from it for my other systems.
I'd expect there are few if any similarly branded machines still out there, but unlikely anyone is looking for them. The down side to this machine is it a propriety form motherboard, and the motherboard seems to be of unremarkable Taiwanese origin. Motherboards with everything built in can sometimes be a pain to expand as some devices may conflict with the on-board devices.

On the plus side, the case looks in decent condition in the photos.

It is up to you, but if it were me, I'd gauge the operational condition first... Then steal the parts out of it :p and then store the rest away in case I wanted to put it back or pick other parts out of it.

Another thought, if that is a VGA card it must be 8-bit compatible. Those are very useful.

And what model of hard drive is in that?

Actually, if you can get the machine to boot, you might learn more about what it was used for.

vwestlife
April 18th, 2016, 06:15 AM
"4SX-33" was Gateway 2000's name for their 33 MHz 486SX systems -- and they used that same font on their case badges. Probably someone took the badge off a Gateway and stuck it on this obviously much older machine as a joke.

tempest
April 18th, 2016, 10:09 AM
I can see about getting it up and running. I know when I turned it on I got two sets of warning beeps, I think one was the no-video card beep, but the other one was something like three short beeps and then a longer on that went up a note. IIRC there was something odd about that VGA card, like there was a set of pins on the card that weren't in the slot. Maybe it was for another system and they just tossed it in there to be cute (like the sticker on the front). I'll try and take a look at it tonight and see what's all in there, but I think I'll need a video card first.

SomeGuy
April 18th, 2016, 12:03 PM
IIRC there was something odd about that VGA card, like there was a set of pins on the card that weren't in the slot.
Most 8-bit compatible VGA cards have a 16-bit ISA card-edge. When used in an 8-bit ISA slot, the extra unused part just hangs over the motherboard. (Got to be careful there are no chips in the way it might short with it).

But good point. We don't know that someone didn't just shove something in there that didn't work.

Chuck(G)
April 18th, 2016, 12:08 PM
If you remove the VGA card, do you get the second set of beeps?

tempest
April 18th, 2016, 12:27 PM
Most 8-bit compatible VGA cards have a 16-bit ISA card-edge. When used in an 8-bit ISA slot, the extra unused part just hangs over the motherboard. (Got to be careful there are no chips in the way it might short with it).

Maybe the VGA card is legit then, that's exactly what it looked like. I couldn't get a signal on my VGA monitor though (CRT) but there might be other reasons for that.


If you remove the VGA card, do you get the second set of beeps?

I'll have to play with it tonight and see. I really wasn't paying too much attention to the system when I first played with it. I was just curious if it even worked.

tempest
April 18th, 2016, 05:16 PM
Ok I had some success tonight. It turns out the hard drive card had a cable come loose, once I fixed that the system actually booted. Unfortunately there's not much to report. It appears the hard drive is dead, the light goes on but there's nobody home. I tried booting with a DOS 3.3 boot disk I had laying around and found out that at least the disk drive works. I tried running the FDISK command but it game me a ERROR READING FIXED DISK error.

The BIOS screen reads

ZyMOS Poach51 16-bit VGA BIOS Version 2.20 40Mhz
512K DRAM VGA Analog Mode

The it goes to a screen that has some RGB test stripes at the top and asks if you want to do a memory test. Saying Y reads all 640K correctly. Then it goes to a black screen that says BIOS 3.2 at the top. Then tries to boot from the hard drive, fails, tries to boot from the disk drive, then back to the hard drive again and just hangs.

Oddly enough inside the system there's a chip taped to the power supply that says OLD BIOS and appears to be an EPROM of some sort. In the BIoS socked is an EPROM that says 'New Multitech BIOS' on it. They must have upgraded it at some time I guess.

The system gives me a one Long and two Short beep code at the beginning which mean "Video Card Error, or Incorrect Video Switch Setting". Not sure what that's about. There are three cards in the system: the VGA card, the fixed disk card (an Adaptec something or another), and what appears to be a Multitech 'SixPacPlus' kind of memory card.

That's about all I can do with this system at the moment since the hard drive is dead. I did verify it was an XT system since I have a fixed disk testing program but it will only run on an AT. When I booted that it said that the system wasn't an AT.

Oh that 4SX-33 thing was a sticker. A damn good one though.

EDIT: Looks like the system does have an 8087 math coprocessor in it. I suppose I could put it in the 5150, although I'm not sure what good it would do me.

SomeGuy
April 18th, 2016, 05:33 PM
If the hard drive cables came loose, double check that neither are on backwards, and that the smaller data cable is connected to the header intended for the first drive.

If the hard drive contains read errors on the first track, then DOS can appear to hang when it loads. Usually if you wait a few minutes it may finish booting.

What you describe though sounds like a damaged drive.

As for diagnosing, SpeedStor might be able to tell you something, although that is more of a low-level formatting tool.

tempest
April 18th, 2016, 05:50 PM
Hmm... I suppose it could be a one of the cables is backwards. How do you know which way the red stripe goes?

EDIT: Just by looking at it, the board itself has a red line at one end of the connector which I assume is the direction the red stripe on the cable goes. On the hard drive itself there's no marking but from looking at the disk drive I'm going to assume that the red stripe goes towards the the notch end of the connector. I let it run for 3 or 4 min, but it never ended up actually booting. I think the disk may be dead.

SomeGuy
April 18th, 2016, 06:51 PM
Must have mis-read your previous post, I thought it was hanging while booting from the floppy.

Anyway MFM/RLL hard drives are rare enough it would probably be a good idea to try and further test and/or low-level format it, although doing so on untested hardware can be a headache.

Chuck(G)
April 18th, 2016, 07:24 PM
You can often tell where the "stripe" side of a cable goes by looking at the silk screening on the controller and drive at the connectors. Most often, this is marked with a 1 or 2 near the connector. That's the stripe side.

That the hard drive is bad, isn't unusual for something of this age, but it's worth a shot trying to get it going.

tempest
April 18th, 2016, 07:36 PM
What program can I use to try and either fix it or reformat it? I tried FDISK from dos 3.3 but it gave me an error.

Chuck(G)
April 18th, 2016, 09:16 PM
1. Does the system see the hard drive? That is, does the bootup say something like "1 HARD DISK"--or is there an error message displayed?

2. Forgive me if I've lost track during this thread, but what's being used as the hard drive controller?

SomeGuy
April 19th, 2016, 05:06 AM
Also, what model of hard drive is in it?

A low-level formatting utility that might make things easier is SpeedStor http://minuszerodegrees.net/software/speedstor.htm

But if that does not recognize your hard drive controller, you may need to use a special formatter in your controllers ROM Bios.

tempest
April 19th, 2016, 05:17 AM
1. Does the system see the hard drive? That is, does the bootup say something like "1 HARD DISK"--or is there an error message displayed?

2. Forgive me if I've lost track during this thread, but what's being used as the hard drive controller?

1. Yes I believe the system is seeing the hard drive. The light goes on during the boot cycle and when I tried to use FDISK on it the light went on for a bit before giving me the FIXED DISK error.

2. I'm not sure what the controller is, I'll have to check. The card had some Adaptec labels on a few of the chips if that helps.



Also, what model of hard drive is in it?


That I don't know. All I can see is that it's a half height MFM drive. I'd have to take it out of the holder to see the labels on it. I can do that tomorrow.



A low-level formatting utility that might make things easier is SpeedStor http://minuszerodegrees.net/software/speedstor.htm

But if that does not recognize your hard drive controller, you may need to use a special formatter in your controllers ROM Bios.

How would I access the formatter in the ROM BIOS?

Chuck(G)
April 19th, 2016, 05:46 AM
Many low-level formatters (but by no means all) can be accessed from the DEBUG utility prompt by typing

G=C800:5

At least, without knowing the controller, that's the first thing I'd try. At worst, it'll hang the system and do nothing.

tempest
April 19th, 2016, 05:56 AM
Out of curiosity, if I get this hard drive working can I use it in my 5150? Or can the 5150 only use full height MFM drives?

Chuck(G)
April 19th, 2016, 06:32 AM
The drive is paired with the controller, once it's been LL formatted. If your 5150 accepts cards with BIOS extensions (pretty much all but the earliest BIOSes do), the pair should work just fine.

tempest
April 19th, 2016, 06:46 AM
Great. I have a full height drive in the 5150 right now, but I know those put a serious strain on the 63W power supply so I don't want to push it. Hopefully this one (if I can get it working) is bigger as well. My full height is only 20MB.

tempest
April 19th, 2016, 07:52 AM
Any chance that this VGA card (ZyMOS Poach51 16-bit VGA according to the BIOS) will work in my 5150? VGA isn't ideal but at least I'd have a video card to test it with.

EDIT: Apparently it will (http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?12302-What-gfx-card-is-this&p=71154#post71154)

tempest
April 20th, 2016, 05:07 PM
I tried using SSTOR on the hard drive. It actually did see the drive (it's a 10MB drive I believe). I ran some of the tests and they seem to go ok, but then the drive started making a nasty noise so I turned the PC off. When I turned it back on I started getting 1701 errors and SSTOR no longer recognized the drive. I think it's dead now. Oh well, I tried. I guess it will take its secrets to the grave.