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x86 card revival thread

jeremywork

Well-known member
I picked up a IIci off eBay today found this installed inside.
Nice find! It'll boot from a disk image file on the Macintosh SCSI bus, so as long as you have free space you should be fine. I imagine you could add an IDE ISA card and use a physical drive, but I haven't tried or heard of this yet.
 

Unknown_K

Well-known member
My 386 class boards use a virtual file on the Mac HD for booting plus the Macs mouse and video for control.

The ISA slot would probably be used for a network card.
 

mg.man

Well-known member
I'll need to get my IIci working first, then I'll decide...
Sure, understood. It's a shame we're on opposite sides of the pond - I have a couple of IIci 'boards I've re-capped and are working fine. I also have a US address if you decide to let the PC card go. Good luck!
 

Bolle

Well-known member
I have a similar card with an ISA slot and used it with a chip programmer that uses a proprietary interface/ISA card. Fun stuff.
 

Nathan_A

Well-known member
I've been having some irritating troubles with my OrangePC 660 card. I've thus far gotten it to halfway boot into the PC environment exactly one time. The one time it "worked" this is what happened:
  1. Ran the OrangePCi application (forgot to delete the preferences from the last time I ran my OrangePC 620 card).
  2. It prompted me to pick a drive, I accidentally picked a drive image I'd backed up from my OrangePC 290 Nubus setup.
  3. The OrangePC 660 got to the post screen and called my 500 MHz AMD K6-III+ an "Unknown-S 400 MHz" (which is a pretty typical labeling for 'plus' CPUs when the explicit BIOS support is missing).
  4. It tested the RAM, loaded the PnP BIOS extension, and loaded the Orange Micro BIOS extension.
  5. Then it froze (which isn't surprising considering I'd pointed it at a drive image that made absolutely no sense).
  6. I was still able to use the keyboard command combo to switch back to the MacOS side of things.
  7. I quit the application, realized my menagerie of screw-ups, deleted the preferences, created a blank emulated drive image, and...
  8. ...it's never worked again. I can't even get the OrangePC to successfully switch to the PC environment video output to see the POST. It just freezes my entire machine in the Mac environment before even managing to draw the OrangePC splash screen or un-drawing the OrangePCi settings dialog.
I've tried other CPUs, including the K6-2 that it came stock with. I've tried various RAM sticks that I know work, and made sure not to use any greater than 128 MB just in case.

I have no idea what the problem is. The OrangePCi software doesn't complain about the card. It sees it just fine. My current thoughts are:
  • The OrangePC 620 preferences file tried to write CMOS values for a 620 to the OrangePC 660 and that did something nuts to the card, but completely removing it from power multiple times seems like it should fix this. Also, I can't find any way to otherwise clear the CMOS on the card, and as far as I know they're sent and set dynamically because the defaults are stored in the OrangePCi application, then written to the preferences file on the Mac and then when you make changes in the OrangePC card's BIOS settings screen they get persisted in that preferences file.
  • Using the card for the first time after who-knows-how-long since it'd last been used stressed the few electrolytic caps and/or voltage regulators on the board, and they've failed somehow non-obviously as there are no signs of leakage nor bulging and no magic smoke came out of anything.
It's very frustrating, of course.
 

Nathan_A

Well-known member
Oh, I also thought maybe the issue was that my PowerTower Pro suddenly wasn't able to feed the card enough power via the PCI slot anymore, so I removed the G4 CPU card, put in a G3 CPU card, and pulled all the PCI cards except the ATTO card that the boot drive is connected to and the Formac video card that's providing primary video. None of that resulted in any change.

That said, I do think it's basically insane that Orange Micro didn't attempt to provide additional non-PCI bus power sources (like a molex 4-pin connector or something) to drive these things since they're a whole high-performance (for the time) Super Socket 7 PC on a card.
 

jeremywork

Well-known member
I've only spent a couple hours mucking with my 660, but I had a similarly frustrating time getting it to reliably switch over.

One of the first things I found was someone had set both CPU and bus speeds to the absolute maximum settings via the dip switches, and even when returning them to stock I found the 500MHz K6-2 would heat up but not work. Installing a replacement CPU brought me to a semi-working state.

It's in my 9600 with some other hardware variables I've yet to isolate, but I quickly noticed in some OS versions it would switch video and begin RAM tests without complaint, and other OSes would either freeze or error out before switching the video source. I don't remember which ones worked, but I don't think 7.6 or 8.6 were very happy with it. 9.2.1 may have worked best... I also faintly remember it wanted to look for the drive image on its native SCSI; wasn't happy with the file on one of the PCI SCSI or ATA drives.

In the time since I managed to get a Blue and White G3 up and running, which I've wanted to test with to see if I have better luck. Orange Micro outlines OPCs 665 and 625 as versions of the 660 and 620 which work specifically with the G3. It could just be a different software bundle, but if it's something in hardware it's possible that's been my hangup.
 

Nathan_A

Well-known member
I've only spent a couple hours mucking with my 660, but I had a similarly frustrating time getting it to reliably switch over.

One of the first things I found was someone had set both CPU and bus speeds to the absolute maximum settings via the dip switches, and even when returning them to stock I found the 500MHz K6-2 would heat up but not work. Installing a replacement CPU brought me to a semi-working state.

It's in my 9600 with some other hardware variables I've yet to isolate, but I quickly noticed in some OS versions it would switch video and begin RAM tests without complaint, and other OSes would either freeze or error out before switching the video source. I don't remember which ones worked, but I don't think 7.6 or 8.6 were very happy with it. 9.2.1 may have worked best... I also faintly remember it wanted to look for the drive image on its native SCSI; wasn't happy with the file on one of the PCI SCSI or ATA drives.

In the time since I managed to get a Blue and White G3 up and running, which I've wanted to test with to see if I have better luck. Orange Micro outlines OPCs 665 and 625 as versions of the 660 and 620 which work specifically with the G3. It could just be a different software bundle, but if it's something in hardware it's possible that's been my hangup.
Interesting. Well I'm running 9.1 currently on that machine. According to the Orange Micro manual for the devices it looks like 8.1 or newer was the recommendation. Maybe the issue is actually that 9.1 is too new? Though I can get both of my 620 cards to work fine with all my non-'plus' AMD K6-2 & 3 CPUs on the same machine. The 'plus' versions actually exhibit similar "never switches to POST" behavior in my 620s.

When you say "native SCSI" I assume you mean drives attached to the Mac's onboard SCSI interface?

Insofar as I know the "x" in the 62x and 66x designations were just numbers indicating the default CPU & RAM config that the cards shipped with, FWIW.

Maybe I'll try lowering the FSB setting from 100 to 66 and see if that helps at all.
 
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Byrd

Well-known member
Any chance you've another brand of CPU - vanilla Intel Pentium MMX? You've noted an issue with the CPU microcode of the K6-2 on the first boot, and clutching at straws perhaps switching to another manufacturer might bring it to life.

That's a killer PC card though - the Riva 128 would be a dream on such an upgrade.
 

jeremywork

Well-known member
When you say "native SCSI" I assume you mean drives attached to the Mac's onboard SCSI interface?
Yeah, that's a better word for it :)

I've never had trouble switching OS with my older OrangePCs, so I'm not sure why it would make a difference on the 9600/660. I'll report back next time I mess with it.

Re-reading, this note indicates OMI had been working on revising the 600 series firmware for the B&W G3, but this was cancelled upon Apple's release of B&W FW Update 1.0.2 which resolved the incompatibility. So even if the 625/665 nomenclature existed, it seems it never practically mattered.
 

Nathan_A

Well-known member
Any chance you've another brand of CPU - vanilla Intel Pentium MMX? You've noted an issue with the CPU microcode of the K6-2 on the first boot, and clutching at straws perhaps switching to another manufacturer might bring it to life.

That's a killer PC card though - the Riva 128 would be a dream on such an upgrade.
I do indeed. Though just to be clear it's only the 'plus' versions of the K6 CPUs with the Enhanced 3DNow! and PowerNow! stuff that I've never gotten working in an OPC 620, and the K6-III+ did get to POST the one time on the 660.

I'll throw a Pentium MMX 233 in there and see what happens.
 
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