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Not mine - eBay embedded 386 boards - $30 each

IBMMuseum

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Aug 28, 2006
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1,433
Okay, I'll bite. What's a 386EX? I know about the SX, but EX?

I even saw a tray (selling by the each) of 386CXs on eBay last night...

Whether they were truly overstock from Dell (as what was advertised on the listing) is up for speculation...
 

Trixter

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Aug 31, 2006
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I almost bought one until I double-checked they have no embedded video output, just an interface to drive an LCD (not an LCD VGA monitor, but an LCD). That kind-of puts the kibosh on using these for retrocomputing, unless you only want to run a small *nix server (for which they would excel at, since they have com ports).
 

Great Hierophant

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I almost bought one until I double-checked they have no embedded video output, just an interface to drive an LCD (not an LCD VGA monitor, but an LCD). That kind-of puts the kibosh on using these for retrocomputing, unless you only want to run a small *nix server (for which they would excel at, since they have com ports).

It also doesn't have a keyboard controller, but the TS-9500 adds both. A sound module can be added to complete the system.
 

Unknown_K

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Why would you want an embedded 386 compared to a 486 laptop? I snagged a couple PC104 (I think they are called) 486 boards stuck onto ISA cards used for remote controlling servers (I think). I wonder if the effort of tracking down who made them and then figuring out how to run them off of the ISA card is worth the effort.
 

gslick

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I picked up a couple of these TS-3300 boards. They are probably not too interesting as a generic retro PC on their own, but might be interesting for embedded controller projects.

One thought I had was to try to use one as a loader device for one of my HP 1000 systems and interface the DIO lines on the TS-3300 to a 12566B Microcircuit Interface in the HP 1000 as a paper tape reader emulator. For a project like that a simple character LCD display and a few button inputs to scroll through and select tape images stored on a CF card would be sufficient. No need for a video display and full keyboard. I have lots of projects that never get further than an idea, but I should really make the time to try this one.

In a separate eBay listing I a picked up a couple of TS-9500 video/keyboard/mouse boards for a cheap price so I might try setting up a TS-3300 as a generic retro PC too and see how that works.

-Glen
 

Chuck(G)

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Used to be that EDN and ED's back sections were full of this type of SBC. Not so much any more, however. I suspect that many embedded functions on new gear are being assumed by modern MCUs, such as ARMs.

Fairly low power, but sadly, no USB, which may limit its utility to a lot of people.
 

gslick

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Along with the TS-9500 I also picked up a couple of TS-5500 in the same item listing. I could try doing something with those if I really needed USB host support.

http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-5500

If you need USB device support their newer ARM based SBCs have USB host and device support, but then you loose the retro appeal if you were interested in that. And if you have to pay full retail they aren't exactly cheap.

http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/arm-sbc.php
 

Chuck(G)

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Well, if the SBC thing interests you, and you don't want or need the retro thing, perhaps the RaspberryPi (still on track for launch this month) might be a better choice, as it supports modern hardware--and costs about the same as this thing.
 

Pepinno

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Apr 16, 2007
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Barcelona
I picked up a couple of these TS-3300 boards. They are probably not too interesting as a generic retro PC on their own, but might be interesting for embedded controller projects.

According to the manufacturer, these TS-3300 boards come out of factory with either DOS or Linux in ROM/Flash (can't remember exactly), and the ROM/Flash chip is soldered to its socket.

The problem with this eBay auction is that we don't get to know if the boards come with DOS or with Linux.

I suspect they come with DOS as it's the most common OS, and you could always use that DOS to boot a Linux from an add-on Compact Flash card... but still the eBay listing for this auction is quite poor in details.

Also, the RAM is not user-upgradable, as is comes soldered to the motherboard, and the boards from this auction only come with 8 MB of RAM, which is too little to build a comfortable text-based user-oriented Linux system (in my opinion).
 

Matthew T.

New Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2015
Messages
1
If you need more RAM or if your project will have more specific specs, I think you can try embedded boards. Not only that the specs that you exactly need can be placed in your boards but you can also customize the size to consider mobility as everything now needs to be small when it comes to boards and chips.

I also think that going for direct manufacturers than going to Ebay could be a nice option. Just an idea though.
 
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