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Thread: Running an ISA SBC in my desktop

  1. #1
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    Question Running an ISA SBC in my desktop

    I'm playing with an industrial ISA SBC, it's got onboard VGA, network, and compact flash.
    I would like to put this board in an ISA slot of my desktop. I want the board to be isolated so that it doesn't see any other ISA boards in the bus and also so that the desktop doesn't see the SBC either. It should basically sit in the bus and draw power. Can anybody advise me on what lines I should cut on the ISA interface of the SBC in order to accomplish this? I suppose I could go through and cut every line except for the power and ground lines, but is there just a handful of critical signals that I could eliminate to accomplish the same thing?

    Thank You!

  2. #2
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    The problem is that the Industrial cards are made to be bus masters, not slaves. I don't know if you could successfully get your card to communicate with the CPU on your motherboard. They were built for passive backplanes.

  3. #3
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    There are only a few signals out of 80ish that are pure inputs to a master card and even those would cause serious issues to a master if fired out of context. You would need to cut everything but power. Also be careful there are no termination resistor packs beyond the card on the trace paths or the idea wont work.
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

  4. #4
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    Thank you eeguru for the reply, you understood my question perfectly. That's exactly what I was wondering. I have no need for this SBC to communicate with the CPU on the motherboard. I want to logically isolate the SBC from the motherboard and needed to know if this could be accomplished by cutting a subset of the ISA lines on the SBC or if all lines except for power and ground should be cut.

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    If you're going to do that, why not pick up a cheap ISA riser board and just apply power to that?. Why take the chance of completely screwing up a functioning motherboard?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    If you're going to do that, why not pick up a cheap ISA riser board and just apply power to that?. Why take the chance of completely screwing up a functioning motherboard?
    I'm planning on cutting the traces on the ISA SBC itself right were they connect to the finger pads that slide into the bus. The motherboard itself won't require any modification. I like the riser board idea too though, thanks for that suggestion.

  7. #7
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    I would get a roll of kapton tape of ebay and cover the pads of the SBC instead of cutting traces.
    Then you don't risk cutting to deep and you can restore the SBC if you ever need to.
    To find out what pads to cover look on the many sites that list the ISA pinout.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by pietja View Post
    I would get a roll of kapton tape of ebay and cover the pads of the SBC instead of cutting traces.
    Fantastic! This would be even better, I was not aware of the existence of kapton tape, thank you very much, I am going to try this suggestion first!

  9. #9
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    It would be easier to get a passive backplane board to plug the sbc into. I might have one I could part with. If not, ebay should have some listed.

    Tom

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