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Thread: frustration over 9000

  1. #1

    Default frustration over 9000

    Hi again, last summer i asked for help here on this forum about an old rig i wanted up and running again. After many installs, headaches and frustration i had a nice retrocomputing machine working but several issues weren't solved completely, and recently things got even worse.

    Here's a quick summary of the rig:

    VTECH INDUSTRIES MB520N - https://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherb...um-MB520N.html
    Pentium 200 MMX
    2x32 MB EDO DRAM (64 MB total)
    Maxtor HDD 16 gb (no sector errors, works perfectly)
    BENQ 52x24x52 cd-rw
    Floppy Drive A:

    PCI slots:

    D-LINK DFE-528 TX rev. E network card
    S3 Trio64V2 1 MB
    3dfx Voodoo 2
    NEC USB 2.0 PCI Card with a generic "chinese" optical mouse connected

    ISA slots:

    Yamaha OPL3-SAx audio card

    PS-2 port: standard keyboard (perfectly working)

    OS: Windows 98SE + win98SE2ME + nusb33 (and several other tweaks like kernelEx and such). I followed an italian guide about getting the most of windows 98SE without installing the rigged WinME.


    ------ ISSUES -------

    1) windows 98 won't shutdown / show the message about being free to power off (the best way is to select reboot and then poweroff when computer restarts)

    2) USB flash drives cannot be detected anymore. Before this mayor issue, i had "minor" issues like the computer completely hanging randomly during file transfers. USB mouse connected to the same USB 2.0 card still working perfectly. Sometimes, when i hit "Refresh" on device manage an "unknown device" with a red X (like a disabled device) will pop up.

    3) The D-Link network card doesn't appear on device manager on startup. Again, if i hit refresh several times it does pop on device manager with a red cross over it. An error 22 code is shown (A windows driver has disabled this device) Before this strange bug, the network card worked (for some while) and i was even able to create a network link with a Windows 10 laptop and to transfer files both ways (was limited to 10 MBps transfers though)

    My main concern now is to not being able to have any way to transfer files again to this rig. My CDRW drive is working nicely but dont have any rewritable discs available (will probably get one soon). The D-link, NEC and nusb drivers should be inside windows directory somewhere... i don't have the original installers and drivers packages (shame on me should have kept a backup).

    Any hints on getting again a way this rig connected to the outside world?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    2,384

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    1) The BIOS on the motherboard may not be ACPI compliant, or has ACPI bugs that prevents proper shutdown. This was a common problem on machines of the time period. There's not much that can really be done about this other than disabling ACPI so that Windows 98 will send you to the "it's now safe to turn your computer off" screen. There are a couple of ways to do it, the best being during Windows 98 setup by pressing F2 at the start of setup and selecting non-ACPI compliant computer. You can do it with registry hacks though:

    https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=66926

    2) It could be problems with dirty/tarnished USB connectors causing connection issues. I'd recommend getting a can of Deoxit Gold G5: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FC4YO60/ and hosing down the USB connectors and then inserting/removing the offending USB device several times. You'll want to do this with the power off since it can cause bus glitches. Deoxit Gold itself is not conductive so you can power on the machine with it still "wet". You'll want to wipe away the excess solution though.

    3) Same problem as #2. Card slots as well as card edge connectors themselves get tarnished over time and can become oxidized enough to not make proper connection. I'd again recommend Deoxit Gold, hose down all of the ISA/PCI/AGP slots in the system and insert/remove cards from the slots several times. Wipe off any excess that drips out of the slots.

    I often have problems with hardware misbehaving because of tarnished contacts/connectors. Here in the south, the humidity is always really high, even indoors and any sort of exposed metal will eventually rust or tarnish if not protected. Deoxit Gold is one of my go-to products to help with the problem, but there are others like Lectra-Motive contact cleaner and CRC precision lubricant that do a decent job as well.

    If you live in a high humidity area, you might consider storing your vintage gear in air-tight containers with desiccant bags while not in use.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    3,802

    Default

    The "disabled devices" sounds a lot like a resource conflict. However, it does not sound like there is a lot of stuff in that machine. Might just start by removing the voodoo and sound card. Then either remove the network card and see if USB works or remove the USB card and see if networking works.

    PCI associates specific resources with each physical slot. So you could try re-arranging the PCI devices. (ISA slots aren't like that, all slots are identical)

    The one catch is Windows may ask for card drivers again, so you may need to provide drives from floppy, CD, or if you were smart - from a folder already on the hard drive.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeGuy View Post
    Might just start by removing the voodoo and sound card. PCI associates specific resources with each physical slot. So you could try re-arranging the PCI devices. (ISA slots aren't like that, all slots are identical)

    The one catch is Windows may ask for card drivers again, so you may need to provide drives from floppy, CD, or if you were smart - from a folder already on the hard drive.
    I actually already tried to remove voodoo2 and the network card (or usb). I also tried to relocate the cards and do a CMOS reset shorting the JP17 jumper. No luck. Maybe it is oxidization, but i think it is more like driver/OS settings issues. That's because
    other cards like the s3 trio especially just works perfectly for hours on ANY slot (for example playing games like Diablo or Build games like blood), so im a little puzzled by these issues..

    i tried ipconfig /all and the network card is listed but with FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF mac address (that's not the network card mac). Also tried to remove in safe mode all usb and network devices listed in device manager (there were many, several disabled) and to do a fresh manual reinstall of the driver on the next bootup with the files for the network card already on C:\Windows and C:\windows\system directories... i know, really not the best option to use files already on the system that might be corrupted or else but still...

    I also disabled parallel and serial ports i don't need, heck even the usb 1.1 port from bios to avoid conflicts, but when i check for IRQs on device manager i notice there are still several IRQs with multiple devices on the same IRQ. For example, the usb card is on IRQ 11, the same IRQ of S3 Trio64V2 video card and even another one (pci steering i-don't-know what it is). But still, "no conflict" message is shown on device manager for these devices.
    Last edited by vintagely; February 10th, 2021 at 12:59 AM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Another update: dunno what happened, but after a strange hardware conflict where the s3 trio was stuck at 16 colours, the usb flash drives magically started working again (!) and got the opportunity to copy full win98se disk onto hdd, ethernet drivers and other things. After a reboot and replugging other cards the usb flash drives stopped working again... but im confident there must be a way to get this thing working.

    the ethernet card i think is gone, i tried to clean with absolute alcohol, scratch pins with rubber, the card doesn't even show the tx/rx lights on starting up the pc. only thing sometimes when hitting refresh button on device manager, it shows up but clearly isn't there or working properly anyway.

    Soooo i bought a 3Com 905 model C on ebay... let's see how it goes...

  6. #6

    Default

    How old is your power supply? Maybe it could be failing and the PCI cards happen to be more fussy than what's on the motherboard?

  7. #7

    Default

    My 3Com 905 i ordered on ebay is now perfectly installed with windows 98 SE CD drivers and fully working. I guess my system didn't like the d-link card. Now i'll try again to fix NEC usb card issues with flash drives. I do plan to uninstall nusb33 and try to install nusb36 to see if the card works properly again. Btw, if you have any suggestions on how uninstall nusb files safely let me know. I actually opened the nusb33 package with 7-zip and saw the file list but i don't feel like manually removing them from the windows/System directory.

    Also, i tried the regedit fix for the windows shutdown issues but still got no "it is now possible to power off computer" message". Maybe the shutdown image has changed? what is the image file that windows reads when computer is ready to push power off button?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Southsea, United Kingdom
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vintagely View Post
    what is the image file that windows reads when computer is ready to push power off button?
    LOGOS.SYS, which I think should be in C:\WINDOWS. If that file doesn't exist, the screen should display the "It's now safe ..." message in text mode, but as GiGaBiTe mentioned earlier, it could be something to do with the ACPI configuration of the BIOS, or the capabilties of the mainboard itself. Does your system show as being "ACPI compliant" in device manager?

    M.

  9. #9

    Default

    I also have a Pentium 200 MMX system that has a Win98 shutdown bug. There are a few patches here: https://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=90

    None of them worked for me but you may have better luck. No Regedit love for me either.

    Also, the D-Link NIC card issue you had was exactly the same with my D-Link card. First it stopped working, then intermittently would show up in Device Manager, then plugging in the RJ45 connector would show a link light for a brief moment that would slowly fade to off. I've had more than a few D-Link NICs do this to me over the years. Seems like a common D-Link issue, especially with the PCI versions.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kc8eyt View Post
    Also, the D-Link NIC card issue you had was exactly the same with my D-Link card. First it stopped working, then intermittently would show up in Device Manager, then plugging in the RJ45 connector would show a link light for a brief moment that would slowly fade to off. I've had more than a few D-Link NICs do this to me over the years. Seems like a common D-Link issue, especially with the PCI versions.
    Well the 3Com is now working but i'm getting very bad network transfer speeds. Like 500-700 kb/s. Transfer and backup of data is huge pain in the ***. Shouldn't PCI 2.1 and 66 mhz bus being able to transfer data up to 133 MB/s? I hope the problem isn't HDD bottleneck (DMA is enabled though). Also i don't think it is due to the slow pentium 200 mmx since during transfer i see only 15% of the cpu used and 85% on Idle... Something is simply forcing 10 mbps on the network...

    This is actually a big problem because i was planning to do a full image backup of the hdd through some DOS utility or live CD when everything is installed and correctly configured... By the way i tried Hiren's Boot CD (the last version that had Win98 mini OS) and many built in programs don't work with this particular system (probably due to low RAM). I do have a spare 120 gb HDD but it is sata. Guess it is time to get a couple ide-to-sata adapters from startech...
    Last edited by vintagely; February 15th, 2021 at 01:01 PM.

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