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Generic 386 - BIOS conflicts?

SpidersWeb

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So I got a rusted junk 386SX/16 that wasn't working a month or so ago, and have got it running.
It wouldn't power up because of a shorted cap on a expansion card, which when removed it fired up fine.

Anywho it's current setup is:

- 1Mb RAM on board (384 used as extended)
- Phoenix 80386 PLUS 1.10.20 BIOS,
- Everex EV-135 with 3Mb RAM (configured as extended)
- Goldstar Prime II multi I/O (IDE/FDD/LPT/COM1/COM2)
- Trident 9600 512K VGA (16 bit mode)
- D-Link DE-220 rev D1 with XTIDE Universal BIOS fitted (300H IRQ 3, PnP disabled, half duplex mode, 16K BIOS @ D000)

The onboard CMOS battery is worn, it forgets the RTC settings if left off for too long, but the CMOS seems to keep all it's settings (HDD,FDD,RAM etc) and it only ever complains about the clock.

Now before I fitted the XTIDE BIOS chip last night, I configured the D-Link and enabled the Boot ROM and set it to D000. After doing this, the video card kept going to black and white mode. Occasionally it'd come up in colour but mostly black and white. If you remove the network card, it'll boot up in black and white, then power cycle again and you get colour and it stays in colour mode.

This continued after adding the BIOS chip.

I tried a few things, and disabling the "Extended Features" option of the Phoenix BIOS seemed to improve things, but occasionally I still get black and white.
When the black and white issue happens it will boot of HD fine, but any app that loads from AUTOEXEC or the command line will cause a hardware lock, calculating free space also does this, so does changing the current drive - if I boot from floppy this doesn't happen and I can access the HD no problem. When I do a DIR it lists the drive but when calculating the free space I get about 10 lines of random ASCII characters before it locks.

On a colour boot, if I press CTRL+ALT+DEL there is a strong chance it'll come back up in black n white mode. It can take 1 to 3 power cycles to get it back in colour mode.

If I cycle the power until I get colour on the Trident BIOS startup, the machine works perfectly. I ran MSD and the XTIDE BIOS is definately 16Kb at D000 and there is nothing else even near it. The VGA occupying the usual places.

I have tried:
- changing slots
- changing the BIOS position on the NIC
- video card in other machines (was fine)
- adding wait states, disabling shadow, dropping CPU speed - but disabling Extended Features seems to have helped increase the chances of a colour boot.
- just realised I should run MSD from floppy in the bad mode to see where it's being allocated
- installed CheckIt Pro and did a full suite of tests - no errors at all (when the video card is in working colour mode)
- DE-220 passed its internal diagnostics on the OEM disk
- two known good hard drives (4.3Gb and 20Gb)

Going to try when I get home
- using a 3C509B instead of the DE220

I also have a spare VGA card coming in the mail soon to try (yes I only have one)

Because both the video and IDE play up when it happens, I'm pondering it being a case of the two cards conflicting with ROM addresses but they shouldn't conflict at all in theory. It happens with the BIOS chip removed (as long as the BootROM socket is enabled) too, so it's not an XTIDE software issue.

So I have more things to test, but wanted to get some other opinions, perhaps someone has had this before or can add something I don't know?
 
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Chuck(G)

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In all likelihood, there's nothing wrong with your system or your BIOS.

Monitor identification has changed over the years. See: this article. I'm guessing that you're using a monitor that's younger than the card.
 

SpidersWeb

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Cheers, I am using a fairly modern Dell 19" I will try another monitor and see if it has an effect. I have a range to choose from, although never had that problem before.
Also black and white is just a symptom, I'm more worried about not being able to boot off the HD when it happens.

If it boots with a colour Trident BIOS message, I'm good to go, runs perfectly.
If it boots in black and white, then give up, it will crash as soon as I change drive, get a directory listing, run a program.

It's painfully random, which I just despise. It's more likely to happen on warm boots, and less likely to happen after a CMOS save. I have the case closed and on a stable desk, so there is no physical changes/movements.

On a good boot I find the VGA at C000, and XTIDE at D000 with lots of room either side and both the hard disc and video card work perfectly.
When I get home I'll do a network card switch with another machine and move the BIOS over - see if anything changes (it was 1AM before I put down the keyboard last night heh)

Edit: can't fix it now, but title of thread really should've been "ROM conflicts" not "BIOS conflicts"
 
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SpidersWeb

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bah, removed NIC and it still does it, tried a couple of different screens.

If it boots in black and white, crashes in DOS.
Will report back when my VGA card arrives in the mail I guess :/
 

Maverick1978

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Are you sure that your video card was tested/good for extended periods of time? I had an old ISA VGA that would work GREAT for about the first 10 minutes the computer was on, and then would go to black and white... The card had a bad RAM chip that needed replacing. Simple troubleshooting - the bad chip was about 5x hotter to the touch than the good chips.
 

SpidersWeb

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I'd used it numerous times before, and if it boots in colour it stays in colour until reboot/power off. But last night I had some more developments with it that simplifies things a LOT.

Basically it is the video card, starting in mono mode, might be a bad chip or joint as you said. It must have become slightly damaged with being moved from machine to machine as a test card (can't blame it to be honest).

Somehow the 'corrupt data' issue in black n white mode got fixed, but I hadn't noticed because at that stage I'd run memmaker and EMM386 was using the mono section of the Video RAM as upper memory, so despite the fix it'd crash anyway and for obvious reasons. So now it boots in black and white fine, it's just the black and white. No doubt it'll be fine with a new video card.

As an aside, I removed the Everex EV-135 just to make sure it wasn't the issue, and found the motherboard had 2Mb of RAM. Previous owner must not have setup the card correctly, so I set the start point at 1024K (which is really 2048K in the grand scheme), and viola, now have 5Mb of RAM :D and it means the first meg of extended is actually fast now.

I left it overnight with a null modem cable and a Toshiba T3200SX which has network access, thieving files from my network server. Will finish it off tonight awaiting the new video card. Must give thanks to everyone in the XTIDE project, when it arrived with a seized hard drive, dead MFM controller and rust holes plus no custom BIOS drive types I thought it'd be in the parts pile for a long time, but it lives!

(Edit: actually does anyone know how to set type 46 and/or 47 on a Phoenix 80386 ROM BIOS Plus? Is there a magical key stroke or setup tool? Asked before but figured I'd ask again :p)
 

MikeS

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...Must give thanks to everyone in the XTIDE project, when it arrived with a seized hard drive, dead MFM controller and rust holes plus no custom BIOS drive types I thought it'd be in the parts pile for a long time, but it lives!
Just curious: why would you use an XTIDE card/ROM in a 386? For the ability to set custom HD parameters I presume, or is there another advantage over a standard 16-bit IDE or combo adapter?
 

SpidersWeb

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Can't configure type 46/47 (custom) and no drives handy that match an AT type 0-45 (well that haven't already been claimed by my XT or XT286 clone)
Hard drive and controller it came with are both unusuable.

It's booting off a spare 20Gb I have, and I'm using the AT ROM in a NIC (not the actual XTIDE card).

Thanks for link Chuck :)
Edit: I can get in to the BIOS no problem, CTRL/ALT/ESC, it just wont let me set type 46 or 47, there is no key I have found to move the cursor to the CHS options when 46 or 47 are selected - they just say '0'. So now I just leave it at None and use the XTIDE ROM. If I could set the CHS, then I wouldn't need the ROM and could just use one of my 200-500Mb drives.

1.4MB/s and 8ms random seek (short-stroked lol) - can't complain.
 
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MikeS

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Edit: I can get in to the BIOS no problem, CTRL/ALT/ESC, it just wont let me set type 46 or 47, there is no key I have found to move the cursor to the CHS options when 46 or 47 are selected - they just say '0'.
Odd; if they show them at all they usually let you change them somehow, but I guess sometimes they just left the 46 & 47 entries for the OEM to customize. Frustrating.

I hadn't followed the XTIDE threads too closely so I didn't even realize that the ROM also worked in a 16-bit system; live & learn.

Thanks
 

SpidersWeb

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Yeah I was pretty stoked when I found that out :)
It's on a 64KB EPROM, so had to mess around with offsets, but got it right on the 3rd attempt.

Anyone know of a tool that'll force the card in to colour mode? Searching for the model didn't turn up anything, but wondering if there is a generic tool?
Because if there was, I could just run it on startup and ignore the issue.
 

SpidersWeb

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Found it.

"º Select Monitor Type (Color/Mono) .\UTILITY\SMONITOR.EXE"

I got the model number wrong, it's 8900 not 9600, and I found the install disk on the interwebs.
 

SpidersWeb

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What was the file Krille?

It wont let me download it :/

Edit: oh and in other news, replaced video card, no more accidental black and white dramas. Machine is happy but painful when using memory above 2Mb (Everex card covers 2-5Mb).
 

twolazy

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Does your video card have a 13h jumper? I think thats what it was, int 13h ( aka fast mode). I remember having to jumper that to off like 10 years back on a server, while installing an IDE raid isa card (Client wouldnt let go of an old novell netware print spooling setup). Downside is degraded video performance. :(
 
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