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My retrochallange project

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My retrochallange project

Postby jknightandkarr » Tue Sep 26, 2023 4:06 am

I am working on a Zenith Z-Star EX I got from Granz.

About the device:
CPU: Intel 486 DX2 50 MHz
RAM: 3Mb
HDD: 210 Mb
FDD: 3.25"
OS : DOS 6.20
WIN: 3.10

Issues:
Laptop has a bad/leaking CMOS battery and there is an unknown issue with the HDD making it sometimes not reliable.

Current modifications:
-OPL2LTP V2- An Adlib sound card based on the Yamaha OPL2 chip, purchased from https://www.serdashop.com/OPL2LPT, works well as an alternative to the PC speaker since the laptop lacks a sound card.
-Compact Flash to 44-pin IDE to replace the HDD, so far only failure, device will not even attempt to boot up.
-PS/2 to USB adapter powering a modern laser/optical mouse. Works surprisingly on the old mouse drivers in Windows 3.1x

Things todo:
-Repair the backup battery
-Fix or replace the HDD issue.
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The Laptop

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486 CPU, Surprised there is no heat-sink.

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Battery holding area corrosion.

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Battery, positive wire broke off due to the corrosion

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Terminal Corrosion
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It's shot.... 4.5 V rated

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44-Pin IDE drive, 210 Mb
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Last edited by jknightandkarr on Tue Oct 10, 2023 12:31 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby jknightandkarr » Tue Sep 26, 2023 4:26 am

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Compact Flash adapter and LTP sound card.
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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby Granz » Tue Sep 26, 2023 7:23 am

Nice start. Looking forward to seeing what you do through October (sometimes the hard part is waiting for the start of the "contest.")
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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby jknightandkarr » Wed Sep 27, 2023 12:26 am

So far getting a 4.8V battery is going to be tricky.... No luck on the number on the battery or other options... Gotta be something to do.... Got space in the whats supposed to be the sound card spot, and the PCMIA ports, so Thar be a will thar be a way Mr Granz! *Insert pirate image here* lol

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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby Savage///Circuits » Fri Sep 29, 2023 10:08 pm

jknightandkarr wrote:So far getting a 4.8V battery is going to be tricky.... No luck on the number on the battery or other options...


Can you show more of the information on the battery?
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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby jknightandkarr » Fri Sep 29, 2023 11:23 pm

Actually there is a battery place near me called batteries unlimited, going to see if it can be rebuilt, uses 4-1/4AAA batteries. Never knew they had such a thing

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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby jknightandkarr » Sun Oct 01, 2023 8:57 pm

Well I have found possible way for getting the BIOS battery redone. It uses 4 of whats called 1/4AAA cells. EX: https://www.batterybob.com/products/5962-14-aaa-nimh-rechargeable-battery-14aaa-80nm/, at a place local called Batteries Unlimited, who currently have it. Also I have contacted the You-tuber, The 8-Bit Guy about my hard drive issue, and possible fix since my Compact Flash adapter will not function.

Well I guess on the HDD it don't seam bad, but not good either. It does infact work, checked it with Fdisk or ScanDisk, can't remember which, but it not showing bad sectors or anything, but what it does is it will start acting like its got reading issues, so maybe thinking a short or break in trace or component(s) on the hard drives built in control board. If I restart the system, drive works again, so strange issue. As for the Compact Flash adapter, if I swap the adapter out from the HDD, the computer won't even power on let alone boot, and once HDD is reinstalled, system powers up and works fine.

On a side note, funny to myself anyhow, but I picked up an old laser/optical mouse that was in the trash had USB to PS/2 adapter, and oddly enough, Windows 3.x drives WORK with it just fine! Did NOT expect that. lol :lol:

The only other thing I am going to try and do is since the laptop has multiple power ports, never seen this before, going to try and use one to power the OPL2LPT V2 sound card. Works on its own from the power on the Parallel port, but figure might as well power it properly, as well as possible powered speakers, since it has no built in speakers, not incl the pc speaker. It's an Adlib device and sounds great! I might as well try and make a 3D printed case for it, or order one from the one who made it. Anyway, other then that, that is the current status, of my project, sadly no gameports, so no gamepads or joysticks, unless I can find plans to make one using the 9 pin serial port.

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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby Granz » Mon Oct 02, 2023 8:05 am

jknightandkarr wrote:... Anyway, other then that, that is the current status, of my project, sadly no gameports, so no gamepads or joysticks, unless I can find plans to make one using the 9 pin serial port.
Nice intro to your project.

BTW, you can easily build a joystick port for your printer port (for the digital Atari-style joysticks - the ones with four buttons in the stick, plus a single button for "fire.") Just wire each button to a different bit of the input pins (depends on how your printer port is configured - EPP, ECP, etc.,) then you would just have your program read the printer data input port and respond accordingly. The Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_port) is pretty good, and Jan Axelson has an excellent book (http://janaxelson.com/parprtib.htm) on the port. Her book includes a DLL for accessing the printer port from within Windows (if you stick with DOS, you don't need anything except INP and OUT commands in GW-BASIC, or whatever language you use.)
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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby jknightandkarr » Mon Oct 02, 2023 12:50 pm

Granz wrote:
jknightandkarr wrote:... Anyway, other then that, that is the current status, of my project, sadly no gameports, so no gamepads or joysticks, unless I can find plans to make one using the 9 pin serial port.
Nice intro to your project.

BTW, you can easily build a joystick port for your printer port (for the digital Atari-style joysticks - the ones with four buttons in the stick, plus a single button for "fire.") Just wire each button to a different bit of the input pins (depends on how your printer port is configured - EPP, ECP, etc.,) then you would just have your program read the printer data input port and respond accordingly. The Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_port) is pretty good, and Jan Axelson has an excellent book (http://janaxelson.com/parprtib.htm) on the port. Her book includes a DLL for accessing the printer port from within Windows (if you stick with DOS, you don't need anything except INP and OUT commands in GW-BASIC, or whatever language you use.)

Thanks, I wonder if that joystick idea will interfere with my Adlib sound card for the same port??

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Re: My retrochallange project

Postby Granz » Mon Oct 02, 2023 3:16 pm

jknightandkarr wrote:Thanks, I wonder if that joystick idea will interfere with my Adlib sound card for the same port??

Yeah, it probably would. You will need switch to whichever parallel port device you need - one at a time. There are (rare) PCMCIA parallel ports, but they cost a lot (https://www.ebay.com/itm/334964837651?hash=item4dfd75cd13:g:GkAAAOSwafZkwbnG&amdata=enc%3AAQAIAAAAwF127Wrk4mmJ9UljdV1%2FQgoHu2NYEEX%2Fo6ZBttmjatu0Z8vDVW1lphqxxveFJbiNwMjiIHiqWLhmrczZ8hej1CnrfBlJXNytDK2JHh8GMtJ6aK4%2B3nxsCha7rlZVApvGIW7a7nRqTFlqNgEbddLkI0GKsx8Wpn%2BAOO1uXIdO9mD28%2FLj5iOwN9wzJXzRRXlhYfliZzUG07FG9urzFc%2F5jgUbZR1Fue9cBp0Wd1tg6%2Bein7CzfKDcwWQcdZIyhuLF4A%3D%3D%7Ctkp%3ABk9SR86n7pzeYg.)
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