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Thread: 486 random hangs/errors.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Default 486 random hangs/errors.

    Hello all.
    I recently acquired a rather clean looking 486 machine via everyone's favorite auction site.

    Everything seems to work normally until it doesn't.
    For example:

    Install windows 3.11 or 3.1 successfully, hangs on first boot after restart.
    Randomly says its out of memory when trying to run games you ran ten minutes ago.

    Random crashes when you get windows running, namely after trying to run something from a floppy disk or the hard disk. (installers, games that will run fine in dos, etc)

    The machines specs are as follows:

    Seanix 486VLP motherboard. (Unsure if Rev 1.1 or 2.0)
    Cyrix 486DX2-50 with write back cache
    12MB ram
    VIBRA16 sound card
    Cirrus Logic GD5420 video card
    And a floppy/ide controller card I am not sure of the model of.
    There is no L2 cache installed.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Start by testing the memory with the older version of Memtest86+ (download it, create a boot disk and boot it, then let it run for a few hours).

    IBM 5160 - 360k, 1.44Mb Floppies, NEC V20, 8087-3, 45MB MFM Hard Drive, Vega 7 Graphics, IBM 5154 Monitor running MS-DOS 5.00
    IBM PCJr Model 48360 640kb RAM, NEC V20,, jrIDE Side Cart, 360kb Floppy drives running MS-DOS 5.00
    Evergreen Am5x86-133 64Mb Ram, 8gb HDD, SB16 in a modified ATX case running IBM PC-DOS 7.10

  3. #3
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    Heatsink and fan on the CPU? With a DX2/50 you should be able to get away with just a heat sink, but Cyrix tended to run hot.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by lutiana View Post
    Start by testing the memory with the older version of Memtest86+ (download it, create a boot disk and boot it, then let it run for a few hours).
    Tried this as soon as I saw your reply (actually not sure how I didn't think of this, thank you!), but even Memtest86+ caused hangups, which made me check the memory physically. Seems one of the modules was toast, as the machine wouldn't work with just it installed, but works with the other module installed.
    So I'm down to 8MB of ram, but seeing proper stability now.
    Windows 3.1 loads and runs fine, and I'm considering upgrading it to 3.11 though I can't justify it yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by eswan View Post
    Heatsink and fan on the CPU? With a DX2/50 you should be able to get away with just a heat sink, but Cyrix tended to run hot.
    Definitely has a heatsink, and I just installed a small fan on it today because, yep, Cyrix chips do run pretty hot compared to Intel/AMD



    Considering putting a 5x86-100 in here and installing some cache and bigger RAM.
    Also was wondering if anybody knows anything about installing multiple floppy controllers to allow for more than two floppy drives.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galaxian View Post
    Also was wondering if anybody knows anything about installing multiple floppy controllers to allow for more than two floppy drives.
    Note that controllers exist, such as the one shown at [here], that can have more than two drives attached.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by modem7 View Post
    Note that controllers exist, such as the one shown at [here], that can have more than two drives attached.
    Ah yes, the elusive (for me) kind of controller. Sadly I'll have to add a second controller. I'm only doing it so I can add a gotek. A lot of my old disks are beyond worn out.

  7. #7

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    What clock is the motherboard set too? The intel dx50 was originally meant to run at 50mhz, but due to problems it was scaled back to a clock of 25mhz, I believe your Cyrex should be running at 25. Also you might want to check if your system was made for cyrex, if not you can find 486 cheap on eBay, I got a couple for around $20, dx2 66 and dx4100.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galaxian View Post
    Windows 3.1 loads and runs fine, and I'm considering upgrading it to 3.11 though I can't justify it yet.
    Windows for Workgroups 3.11 supports network.

    Also was wondering if anybody knows anything about installing multiple floppy controllers to allow for more than two floppy drives.
    As mentioned before, there are cards around that support four floppy drives.
    Then please have a look at https://github.com/skiselev/floppy_bios
    With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen

    www.baltissen.org

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