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clh333
April 28th, 2017, 04:43 AM
Just acquired an AT&T "WGS" 6312 (AT compatible) which has a 12 MHz 80286 CPU, AT&T AT-style keyboard and proprietary 318H color monitor. Cables included but no documentation or software. Arrived yesterday in a cloud of plastic peanuts, booted this morning.

BIOS reports "PASS" on everything but the clock and HD. From reading Trixter's blog I conclude that the clock battery is rechargeable and now flat. Replace as a matter of course?

Motherboard appears clean but I count 8 little electrolytic capacitors. Also targets for replacement?

Combination FD and HD controller communicates successfully with FDD but FDISK (run from the boot floppy) reports no hard disk found. Next steps?

Thanks for suggestions.

-CH-

KenEG
April 28th, 2017, 07:39 AM
Just acquired an AT&T "WGS" 6312 (AT compatible) which has a 12 MHz 80286 CPU, AT&T AT-style keyboard and proprietary 318H color monitor. Cables included but no documentation or software. Arrived yesterday in a cloud of plastic peanuts, booted this morning.

BIOS reports "PASS" on everything but the clock and HD. From reading Trixter's blog I conclude that the clock battery is rechargeable and now flat. Replace as a matter of course?

Motherboard appears clean but I count 8 little electrolytic capacitors. Also targets for replacement?

Combination FD and HD controller communicates successfully with FDD but FDISK (run from the boot floppy) reports no hard disk found. Next steps?

Thanks for suggestions.

-CH-

Inspect the battery and the area around it for leakage. If there is leakage, clean the area of residue and replace the battery before proceeding. If no leakage, go into setup and see if you can set up the hard drive. Autodetect if it is an option or find the drive's parameters and enter them. Set the time. Save setting and reboott. If the hard drive is found, leave it on to see if the battery will take a charge. After an hour or so, you should be able to turn it off for a few seconds and then turn it on and still have the settings and time. If not, replace the battery.

These are my suggestions, but I am far from an expert.

Stone
April 28th, 2017, 09:15 AM
Motherboard appears clean but I count 8 little electrolytic capacitors. Also targets for replacement?Hey, if the board works....



Combination FD and HD controller communicates successfully with FDD but FDISK (run from the boot floppy) reports no hard disk found. Next steps?What kind of drive is it?

What model?


If it's an MFM, RLL or ESDI you could try a LLF. FDISK won't find a disk that needs a LLF.

1ST1
April 28th, 2017, 11:34 AM
Just checked photos of WGS 6312. Wondewrful, that is a repainted Olivetti M28. So it is using MFM or RLL disk.

clh333
April 28th, 2017, 12:07 PM
... go into setup and see if you can set up the hard drive. Autodetect if it is an option or find the drive's parameters and enter them.

Okay, if there are no dumb questions this one is borderline: How do you enter Setup? F1? Ten-finger salute?

-CH-

clh333
April 28th, 2017, 12:09 PM
Just checked photos of WGS 6312. Wondewrful, that is a repainted Olivetti M28. So it is using MFM or RLL disk.

I was thrilled to find it. If I could have afforded one back in the day, I'd still be using it.

-CH-

clh333
April 28th, 2017, 12:18 PM
I copied a boot disk from the PC 6300 and booted with that. I set the date / time and let the machine run all morning, then shut down and restarted after twenty seconds' pause. Date and time were accurate but machine warned that CMOS backup was low and recommended entering Setup, prompting MSQ above.

I looked for signs of leaking around the battery and I think I will replace it just on general principles. 3.6V rechargeable lithium is only a few dollars and I happen to have one on hand. Not sure if the board connector pin spacing is the same but I can re-use the one from the OEM battery.

Thanks to all for their suggestions.

-CH-

1ST1
April 28th, 2017, 12:41 PM
By the way, please note, that such old Olivetti AT (286, 386, 486) don't have ROM based setup. You need the customer test diskette. On that one you have DOS based BIOS setup. Every Olivetti PC has it's own customer test diskette.

Caluser2000
April 28th, 2017, 01:48 PM
I had an Olivetti 486 and it had a pretty standard AT clone mobo.

1ST1
April 29th, 2017, 01:20 AM
Yes, later models which did not use the Olivetti specific BIOS, but AWARD/AMI/Phoenix instead. But machines like M28, M29, M280, M290, M380 (all models), some M300, M400 series, LSX50xx need customer test disk or even Olivetti EISA Setup disk (LSX series, M486, CP486, generic EISA setup utility like AMI-Ecu does not work properly). Some M300, M400, also the S16, S20, D33 laptops with Olivetti BIOS have also build in setup, then they key combination to enter it (from anywhere in DOS) is control+alt+shift+del.

clh333
April 29th, 2017, 02:12 AM
Yes, later models which did not use the Olivetti specific BIOS, but AWARD/AMI/Phoenix instead. But machines like M28, M29, M280, M290, M380 (all models), some M300, M400 series, LSX50xx need customer test disk or even Olivetti EISA Setup disk (LSX series, M486, CP486, generic EISA setup utility like AMI-Ecu does not work properly). Some M300, M400, also the S16, S20, D33 laptops with Olivetti BIOS have also build in setup, then they key combination to enter it (from anywhere in DOS) is control+alt+shift+del.

Thanks for the information. I have the original PC 6300 customer test diskette which I will attempt to use to resolve this dilemma. If unsuccessful I'll have to see if I can locate one specific to the 6312.

-CH-

clh333
April 29th, 2017, 05:29 AM
Upon further inspection:

Battery shows no signs of leaking. It is held to the side of the drive cage with Velcro and plugs into the mobo with a keyed connector.

HD/FD controller is a WD1003-WA2, 16-bit MFM controller.

The drive cage has room for a second FDD; no word yet on whether BIOS supports 3.5-inch drives.

The motherboard is pristine but the layout is unfamiliar. I'm having a hard time identifying some of the ICs; multiple jumpers but no idea what they control.

Particularly fascinating is an array of 8 LEDs in line with one of the ports. Diagnostic?

Pictures attached.

-CH-

38106 38107 38108 38109 38110 38111 38112 38113

1ST1
April 29th, 2017, 07:30 AM
Thanks for the information. I have the original PC 6300 customer test diskette which I will attempt to use to resolve this dilemma. If unsuccessful I'll have to see if I can locate one specific to the 6312.

-CH-

6300/M24 is an XT. They don't have BIOS setup. Also at Olivetti not. (M19, M15, M21, PCS86, Prodest PC1, M111, Quaderno, ETV 260, ETV 2700, ETV 500, ETV 2900, Editor 100 also not, they all are XTs)

1ST1
April 29th, 2017, 07:38 AM
Upon further inspection:

Battery shows no signs of leaking. It is held to the side of the drive cage with Velcro and plugs into the mobo with a keyed connector.

HD/FD controller is a WD1003-WA2, 16-bit MFM controller. So it is having a 20 or 40 MB HDU, that were the usual options for MFM.


The drive cage has room for a second FDD; no word yet on whether BIOS supports 3.5-inch drives.
It supports 1.44 MB drive

The motherboard is pristine but the layout is unfamiliar. I'm having a hard time identifying some of the ICs; multiple jumpers but no idea what they control.
Have a look into Olivetti Field service Pocket guide for early systems. See M28 (8Mhz) and M280 (12 Mhz) -> https://www.dropbox.com/s/73czbnext3bf68o/PC_Poket_service.pdf?dl=0

Particularly fascinating is an array of 8 LEDs in line with one of the ports. Diagnostic?
I don't remember anymore.

Pictures attached.

-CH-

38106 38107 38108 38109 38110 38111 38112 38113

clh333
April 29th, 2017, 12:15 PM
Progress...

Referring to Trixter's account I found the NCR source for the 6312 Customer Test diskette info. It is one file, approximately 280K, but a self-extracting compressed archive which requires a larger drive than 360K.

I used the AT&T PC 6300 boot disk (360k) to boot the "tweener" PC (Win98 SE) with a 1.2M 5.25 disk attached. Once the OS was installed I formatted a DSHD 5.25 disk and transferred the system to it. I moved the already-extracted files over to the tweener, using a flash drive, and then transferred all but the IBM??? files over to the 1.2 floppy.

Earlier in the day I removed the battery and installed its leads and connector on a 3.6V lithium rechargeable I had obtained for use with another mobo. I glued the Velcro strip to the replacement but I guess the term "sets fast" means "relative to the passing of the Pleistocene Era".

While I was waiting for the glue to dry I decided to see if the diagnostic disk would boot. It did, and presented me with a diagnostic screenful of options. Time and date were flagged, as was HD and a few other items. Ignoring the clock issue, I headed for the "HD not present" issue. Trixter's blog mentions his procedure for determining the proper geometry; ingenious but time-consuming. I don't have Norton Diagnostics at the ready so I took a short cut: I guessed my HD would be the same as his and I selected 20 Mb.

I also changed the EGA setting from 40 column to 80 column. Then I rebooted (CTL-ALT-DEL), disk still in drive A: My changes were preserved, as the diagnostic screen attested. I rebooted again, this time removing the floppy. I expected to be prompted for another disk but to my surprise the machine booted from the HD and left me at a C:\ prompt. I turned the machine off and when I turned it back on it booted from the hard drive once again.

This is all without the backup battery. Apparently the CMOS is flash ROM. We'll see what happens overnight.

More to come,

-CH-

1ST1
April 29th, 2017, 11:11 PM
No, it's not flash. Maybe the onboard capacitors kept the power over your short power off/on.

To determine the parameters of the drive you also can just read the brand and modelname from a sticker on the drive and then google this. Usually it is 615 cylinders, 4 heads for 20 megs (Seagate ST225 and many others, Olivetti OPE 5120/3120), and 615 cylinders and 8 heads for 40 MB (NEC drive).

clh333
April 30th, 2017, 06:21 AM
True, it's not flash memory; the settings evaporated overnight. I attached the new battery this morning and reset everything. Doing so raised another question:

The hard drive is an NEC D5126H, which has 615 cylinders and 4 heads, for a total of 20 Mb (thanks, NEC! https://support.necam.com/Legacy/Harddrives/d5126h.cfm). In the configuration utility there are several choices for 20 Mb hard drive, presumably with different geometries. I did not see an explanation of the differences between the choices, however. Last time through the setup I picked choice #20. This time I picked #2. Each appeared to work but I'm not sure either is correct as there was at least one other choice for 20 Mb. Is there somewhere a list of the particulars for each choice?

In examining the label on the NEC HD I removed the FDD, which is a Panasonic JU 475. I have another of the same drive, it happens, and could add it to the machine except for the fact that the drive is mounted with two plastic rails attached to either side of the drive body. The rails sit on ledges in the drive cage and are fastened in place through a wing on the front of the rail. Any idea where I might find additional rails?

Ran all the diagnostics I could with the diagnostic disk; everything passed except for keylock (don't have the key). There's a little pincushion on the display but I'm sure that's correctible. Machine was apparently last used by an AT&T employee, female, who last used it in 1994, according to file dates and software registration. Word Perfect 5.1, Lotus 123 and DBASE III are installed on HD.

Thanks again for all responses.

-CH-

Pictures attached.

38153 38154

1ST1
April 30th, 2017, 07:39 AM
There are no such rails available anywhere, maybe someone has some spares (I haven't, they are all in use), or you must try to make something by your own, maybe using metal stripe, cut and bend it that it fits. The different 20 MB disks may differ only in landing zones, precomp and such secondary parameters. Have you had a look in the pocket service guide, maybe it has information on this.

Stone
April 30th, 2017, 07:57 AM
Any idea where I might find additional rails?Do you have a pic of these rails. I have some oddball WGS stuff.

Chuck(G)
April 30th, 2017, 09:29 AM
Do you have a pic of these rails. I have some oddball WGS stuff.

Check the photo a couple of posts above. They're the L-shaped plastic (nylon? delrin?) things attached to the side of the drive.

Stone
April 30th, 2017, 11:28 AM
I also have the drive power-Y cable with three male molex connectors on it.

The rails I have are brown but appear to have the same functionality:

http://www.vcfed.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38163&stc=1

http://www.vcfed.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38164&stc=1


3816338164

clh333
April 30th, 2017, 11:34 AM
I also have the drive power-Y cable with three male molex connectors on it.

The rails I have are brown but appear to have the same functionality:



I'll take any of the above if you can spare it. Thanks.

-CH-

Stone
April 30th, 2017, 07:34 PM
Looks like I have four rails and one power Y.

clh333
May 1st, 2017, 06:59 AM
Another little oddity: While powered off overnight, with the 3.6V battery connected, the CMOS settings were retained; i.e. the HD was recognized and booted. However, when I checked the system date and time they were yesterday's entries. I recall updating them after running system setup.

I reset the date and time this morning, and the system kept time as long as power was on. However, when I restarted the unit later this morning the time said ~ 9:30 AM, the time of shutdown, instead of ~ 11:00 AM when power was reapplied. Rechargeable battery problem is one possibility, bad clock chip another.

Later versions of the Dallas chip had CMOS and clock in one chip; one version had backup battery inboard, another had external inputs for voltage. I assumed that was the case here. Maybe not?

Suggestions welcome.

-CH-

1ST1
May 1st, 2017, 08:05 AM
I am not sure about the follwoing... Which DOS-Version is installed? Is it an AT&T or Olivetti branded one, or not? Maybe those branded ones have patch for Olivetti clock hardware.

clh333
May 1st, 2017, 10:30 AM
Have a look into Olivetti Field service Pocket guide for early systems. See M28 (8Mhz) and M280 (12 Mhz) -> https://www.dropbox.com/s/73czbnext3bf68o/PC_Poket_service.pdf?dl=0

I did view and download the pocket guide, which apparently presumes a very large pocket (> 400 pp.) Very useful information and especially relieved to find out what the jumpers are for. Unfortunately could not find any info about which drives are supported or what their ordinal representation in the setup utility is.

Thanks for making this resource available.

-CH-

1ST1
May 1st, 2017, 11:19 AM
I have that pocket guide also as a original paper book, it's a bit less than half A5 size, so it's really made for pockets.

Chuck(G)
May 1st, 2017, 11:23 AM
The original battery pack was 6V (2 3V lithium rechargeables in series). Why would you expect 3.6V to work correctly?

clh333
May 1st, 2017, 12:23 PM
Thank you for catching that; you are correct.

I saw two cells and "3V" and assumed each was 1.5V. I know that 3V is the value of lots of other CMOS backup batteries and made the (unwarranted) assumption that a 3.6V rechargeable would do. More like hope than expect, as it was the only rechargeable I had around. (Hope, they say, makes a good breakfast but a poor supper.)

Thanks again for your input.

-CH-

clh333
May 1st, 2017, 12:25 PM
I am not sure about the follwoing... Which DOS-Version is installed? Is it an AT&T or Olivetti branded one, or not? Maybe those branded ones have patch for Olivetti clock hardware.

MS-DOS Version 5.00, Revision A is on the HD.

-CH-

Trixter
May 1st, 2017, 06:04 PM
The DOS that came with the 6312 WGS was, IIRC, AT&T-branded MS-DOS 3.3. The AT&T 6300 shrine has diskette images of that you can download. Glad you got it working :)

1ST1
May 1st, 2017, 09:46 PM
MS-DOS Version 5.00, Revision A is on the HD.

-CH-

Not AT&T/Olivetti branded? That might be the point. Try branded one. Take the one from the shrine page even if it's older. I could provide you Olivetti branded DOS 5.0, but it's in german language and I am not sure if it is having a clock patch for early Olivetti ATs as it was only shipped with later systems.

For a test, booting such a branded DOS from floppy disk should be enough to verify if it fixes the date/time issue.

clh333
May 2nd, 2017, 02:58 AM
Not AT&T/Olivetti branded? That might be the point. Try branded one. Take the one from the shrine page even if it's older. I could provide you Olivetti branded DOS 5.0, but it's in german language and I am not sure if it is having a clock patch for early Olivetti ATs as it was only shipped with later systems.

For a test, booting such a branded DOS from floppy disk should be enough to verify if it fixes the date/time issue.

I revisited the shrine site and obtained the 3.3 DOS images. I'll post results ASAP.

Why does the name Jim Leonard sound familiar? What else has he been associated with?

German in my ancestry but not in my vocabulary.

Thanks again,

-CH-

Trixter
May 2nd, 2017, 10:14 PM
Why does the name Jim Leonard sound familiar? What else has he been associated with?


Off the top of my head: mobygames.com, the demoscene, various 8086-era software projects, helps run Vintage Computer Festival Midwest, and contributes to the "living museum" area of Midwest Gaming Classic.

clh333
May 3rd, 2017, 02:57 AM
Off the top of my head: mobygames.com, the demoscene, various 8086-era software projects, helps run Vintage Computer Festival Midwest, and contributes to the "living museum" area of Midwest Gaming Classic.

Well, first and foremost, thanks to you and Jim and anyone else who maintains or contributes to the site. It's a great resource.

I have OEM 3.30 AT&T distribution disks that came with my 6300 years ago; in addition to the installation, startup and help disks I have the customer diagnostic, mouse driver (original release and update) and a tutorial disk. If you don't have any of these let me know and I will be glad to submit them.

-CH-

clh333
May 3rd, 2017, 03:34 AM
Not AT&T/Olivetti branded? That might be the point. Try branded one. Take the one from the shrine page even if it's older. I could provide you Olivetti branded DOS 5.0, but it's in german language and I am not sure if it is having a clock patch for early Olivetti ATs as it was only shipped with later systems.

For a test, booting such a branded DOS from floppy disk should be enough to verify if it fixes the date/time issue.

I visited the AT&T shrine site (https://sites.google.com/site/att6300shrine/Home) and downloaded the image files of the AT&T 3.30 DOS (4 360 disk images in a zip file). I was able to download and unzip the package, but then ran into a problem transferring the images to DSDD disks. WinImage was able to open the images, and I was able to extract the files from the image, but unable to write the image to a disk.

The download machine is a 64-bit Win7 PCI / SATA machine and can't drive a FDD directly (except for a USB-interface 3.5 floppy). The "tweener" runs Win98SE and can write to a floppy, but could not make heads or tails out of the images. Diskcopy.exe thought the image was corrupt. ImageDisk could not understand the format. I tried installing an earlier version of WinImage on the tweener: it could open the images but when I tried to write them to a floppy the program threw an exception and terminated. I even tried using HxC to translate the image to a different format - .scp (SuperCard Pro streaming format) - which the SCP interpreted as an Amiga disk, and raw image, all without success.

In the end I used the OEM distribution disks that came with my original PC 6300. These are v. 3.30 as well, and I was able to install on the 6312 using these. I first ran Spinrite, which changed the interleave from 3 to 2 and did a "deep" analysis of the disk; that took 6+ hours. After that I ran INSTLDOS.exe from the floppy, formatted the hard disk and installed AT&T DOS 3.30.

Yesterday I noticed that the clock was keeping time during the course of the day. This morning, however, the date was yesterday's date and the time yesterday's shutdown time. The CMOS settings are apparently being kept; the machine "passes" every item on its POST, but the clock does not appear to be advancing unless the machine is on.

ChuckG points out that my battery backup is too low-voltage. I don't have anything to replace it with at the moment, but I did retrieve the original backup battery and try recharging it yesterday. After several hours connected to a "nominal" 6.7VDC "wall-wart" (measured voltage 7.5VDC) the battery climbed from 0.5V to 5.3V. I disconnected it last night and this morning I measured about 3.5V. I reconnected it to the charger and will see what happens with more charging. I am not hopeful for resurrection, however.

Thanks to all for their suggestions.

-CH-

clh333
May 4th, 2017, 04:21 AM
Adding a second Panasonic JU-475-4.

Just to confirm: Because of twist in cable both drives should be configured as Drive 1. Last drive on cable should have termination enabled; middle drive should not. Correct?

-CH-

clh333
May 4th, 2017, 02:29 PM
AT&T 6312 has 1024 bytes of memory on board. Can a memory expansion board be used in addition to this? Apparently there is a dedicated Olivetti memory board; will any others, e.g. AST or Intel, be usable as well?

Thanks,

-CH-

Stone
May 4th, 2017, 03:38 PM
Depending on what you are planning to do with the memory you need either an expanded or extended memory board. I don't think AST boards supply this type or memory.

Trixter
May 4th, 2017, 09:24 PM
I was able to download and unzip the package, but then ran into a problem transferring the images to DSDD disks. WinImage was able to open the images, and I was able to extract the files from the image, but unable to write the image to a disk.

The images are raw dumps, so next time, just use rawrite on your tweener. (or img2dsk which can be found at ftp://ftp.oldskool.org/pub/misc/Software/DiskDumps/progs/ )


AT&T 6312 has 1024 bytes of memory on board. Can a memory expansion board be used in addition to this? Apparently there is a dedicated Olivetti memory board; will any others, e.g. AST or Intel, be usable as well?

The AT&T 6300 and AT&T 6312 are different beasts; The 6312 is an 80286 while the 6300 is an 8086. The dedicated 6300/M24 memory board is an AST OEM board that provides LIM EMS 3.2, and only works with a 6300/M24, so that's not what you want. You can, however, use any third-party EMS or extended memory board for any generic 286+ computer (like the Intel Aboveboard) and it should be able to extend the amount of memory available.