• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here

Compaq Portable I Lo-Tech ISA XT CF adapter boot issues

acenewman

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
113
Location
Farmington MI
Got around to trying to install a Lo-Tech ISA XT CF adapter in my Compaq Portable. Experiencing some very strange results. Occasionally when I power it on it will successfully boot off the CF card. Most of the time the motherboard power light lights briefly and then goes out. If I power cycle it it will continue to light only briefly. If I pull the Lo-tech card out it will immediately power up and boot off a floppy just fine. I have tested the CF card in my 5170 and it boots up fine with no issues. If I let it sit for an extended period of time it will again boot, but only once before it starts the immediate shutdown routine when power cycled. Any thoughts on what might be going on? Anyone else using a Lo-tech CF card in there Compaq portable??

I would try the lo-tech card in another XT class machine but I don't have one. Thanks, Chris
 

ibmapc

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2010
Messages
1,030
Location
Albany, OR USA
Hmm... That sounds like a combination of a weak power supply on the Compaq and a wonky capacitor on the Lo-Tech. If you let it sit, the capacitor discharges and and it looks like a normal draw on the power supply on power up. If you "power cycle", the capacitor on the lo-tech is still charged during power up and looks like a short or high current draw and the power supply shuts down. Have you checked the output volts on the PSU? Others here can lead you to some better diags than I can. Just thought I'd put in my one cent worth so that this thread stays visible.

Greg
 

Eudimorphodon

Veteran Member
Joined
May 9, 2011
Messages
4,877
Location
Upper Triassic
I +1 on the previous that it almost must be something on the card that at least intermittently looks like a short. Did you assemble the card yourself or buy it pre-built? I'd probably start looking at the electrolytic cap(s) and making sure the polarity is correct.
 

acenewman

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
113
Location
Farmington MI
I purchased the card already assembled from TelElec last time I bought some keyboard foams.

What would cause the power supply to be week? Aging filter caps? I have two compaq portables and it behaves the same in both of them.

The PCB isn't silk screened that I can see, perhaps its under the capacitor. Guess I will pull the cap off an take a look.
 

acenewman

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
113
Location
Farmington MI
removed the orientation specific capacitors (1 electrolytic and 1 tantalum) No change. Powers up first time only. Won't on power cycle till I remove the card.

From what I can tell they were both correctly oriented related to the silk screen. Guess the silk screen could be wrong. either way with them removed the problem still remains.
 

SomeGuy

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,180
Location
Marietta, GA
What would cause the power supply to be week? Aging filter caps? I have two compaq portables and it behaves the same in both of them.
That is very weird. Electrolytic capacitors in power supplies can slowly go bad in such a way that the supply puts out less and less power, often causing non-obvious intermittent problems. But I would not expect two units to be at the exact same level of failure.

What exactly do you have attached to the XT CF? Does the problem occur if there is nothing attached to the XT CF?

Can you verify that the contacts on the card line up 100% with the ISA slot? Sometimes things don't always fit properly.
 

Eudimorphodon

Veteran Member
Joined
May 9, 2011
Messages
4,877
Location
Upper Triassic
Which XT-CF card do you have? Is it the one with the CF slot built onto the card, or is it the one with the 40 pin IDE connector that takes an external adapter? If it’s the latter, I wonder if your adapter could be cross-shorting the power-on-pin 20 feature.
 

acenewman

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
113
Location
Farmington MI
I have the card without the integrated card interface. If behaves the same even when I have no cable or card attached to the interface.
 

Eudimorphodon

Veteran Member
Joined
May 9, 2011
Messages
4,877
Location
Upper Triassic
That is genuinely puzzling. That card should draw very little power (in the grand scheme of things) and it frankly just isn't that complicated.

This is an out-of-left-field suggestion: There's a jumper on those cards for PC-XT slot 8 enable; anything change if you change the state of that jumper?
 

acenewman

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
113
Location
Farmington MI
works only when the slot 8 jumper is set for slot 8 use. when not set for slot 8 it gives a disk access error message.

still has the issue with tripping the supply if the slot 8 jumper is used.
 

SomeGuy

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,180
Location
Marietta, GA
A couple more grasps at straws then - you say with the XT CF card in it will only power up once after being powered down for an extended amount of time. About how long is that? If we are talking perhaps 5 minutes or more, perhaps try removing the other ISA cards from the system (within this extended amount of time) and see if it powers up.

What about with the floppy drive unplugged? I don't recall there is anything else that is easily disconnectible.

When it does power up with the XT CF, does anything seem to get hot? Does the machine actually stay on for an indefinite amount of time until power cycled?

Do you have any other random ISA cards you can plug in? (Perhaps borrowed from the other Compaq? Anything that conflicts and prevents booting is fine as long as you can see it is powering up or not)

With the XT CF plugged in and the machine powered down, perhaps check with a volt meter for stray voltages. Might be worth checking the power voltages while powered on (with or without the XT CF card) to see if they are close to normal.

Any issues with your power outlets? (Properly grounded, not backwards, using a good bar strip, nothing else sucking power on that circuit?)
 

Trixter

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,212
Location
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
works only when the slot 8 jumper is set for slot 8 use. when not set for slot 8 it gives a disk access error message. still has the issue with tripping the supply if the slot 8 jumper is used.

I don't see this covered in previously in the thread, but: When you configure it *not* for slot 8 use, have you tried every single slot in your system, shuffling around the graphics card to accommodate?

Most of the time the motherboard power light lights briefly and then goes out. If I power cycle it it will continue to light only briefly.

Have you used a multimeter to check the power coming from the PSU? Are the voltages and current within spec?
 

acenewman

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
113
Location
Farmington MI
quick update. I have done a little experimenting and it seems that as long as I give it 1.5-2 min after power down it boots right back up every time. It will do a hot reset with out any issues.

Now that I have gotten some software onto the CF card and started using it it's not the huge inconvenience I initially thought it would be.

I did do a little experimenting, unplugging one or both floppy drives and trying different slots with the slot 8 jumper set and not and none of it made a difference.

Still struggle with the whole weak power supply theory as it behaves the same in both machines. Plus the machine has no issues when I fill all of the expansion slots with cards. One of them being a memory expansion.

Time to go play around in Lotus123 and WordPerfect. I want to test a Victor 6020 printer I picked up recently.

Thanks for all the suggestions, Chris
 

Trixter

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,212
Location
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
You wrote previously "I have tested the CF card in my 5170 and it boots up fine with no issues." but then just now you wrote "Still struggle with the whole weak power supply theory as it behaves the same in both machines." Hard to offer troubleshooting advice when we're getting mixed messages...
 

acenewman

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
113
Location
Farmington MI
sorry if I was not clear with my previous post. I tried the adapter and CF card in both of my Compaq Portables with the same results.

When I mentioned trying the CF card in my 5170 I meant only the CF card itself. Just to verify that there were no issues with the CF card or the DOS install on it. I did not try the card adapter in the 5170. I have a completely different CF card reader setup in the 5170. Again, sorry for any confusion. Chris
 

ibmapc

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2010
Messages
1,030
Location
Albany, OR USA
Very strange that it doesn't work without the slot 8 option selected. The compaq doesn't have the slot 8 card select signal requirement that the IBM XT has for slot 8 only. Do you have the optional SMD components on the back side of the card? Have you tried to contact the creator of the XT-CF? He is a member here pearce_jj but I don't think he's been active this year.
 

Malc

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2009
Messages
2,098
Location
UK
...... I did not try the card adapter in the 5170. I have a completely different CF card reader setup in the 5170......
Can you try the lo-tech ISA - CF adapter in your 5170 ? or another AT PC with ISA slots, Setting Hard drives to "None" in the system BIOS setup. and see if it still gives the same issues ?,
 

acenewman

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
113
Location
Farmington MI
I have to pull the AT out to look at some issues with the serial card soon. Will try the card in it as well. Wont be tomorrow, but probably in the next week or so.
 

Trixter

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,212
Location
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
The 5170 and 5162 (IBM AT and XT-286) can't use XT-IDE cards as there is an incompatibility with the XUB and the BIOS on those systems. The only way the XUB works on them is if the BIOS is replaced with one from AMD. So the 5170 and 5162 are not good systems to test XT-IDE cards in.
 
Top