How to Get Video on a 286

February 10, 2011 at 16:41:30
Specs: DOS 6.22, 286-10/S - 640K
I am the proud owner of a Northgate 286 computer system (wanted something to play Crysis on) /s. The graphics card included with the system, a Top Sega 800, only has a DIN-9 pin output. Alas, I don't own a monitor that antique.

The Trident I threw on the board (TVGA9000B) has a VGA output.... that doesnt put anything out. This may have something to do with the fact that the motherboard is expecting only a CGA/EGA card. Ideas anyone?


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#1
February 10, 2011 at 21:30:52
I haven't messed with a 286 or a Trident card since about 1997.
I gave away my 286 and older computers and their manuals years ago.

"This may have something to do with the fact that the motherboard is expecting only a CGA/EGA card."

According to the mboard link in your other Topic it's Mono/Color.
The jumper on the mboard may need to be set to color. See your mboard link in your other Topic

This may help - apparently the card can be set to work in an 8 bit or a 16 bit slot:
http://www.rainbow-software.org/man...


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#2
February 10, 2011 at 23:14:53
As far as I know the mono/color jumper is only for old mono or cga cards with no rom chip. EGA and higher cards ignored that motherboard jumper.

The VGA card you tried should have worked if it was good but it may have some jumpers that need to be changed.

How about those Packers Steelers Packers!


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#3
February 11, 2011 at 07:07:26
Thanks for the replies! Glad to hear from you again DAVE.

The card was known good about a month ago. I'll try it in another computer to be certain.

I was lucky enough to get the original manual for the mobo. I read through it and changed the color/mono DIP switch to color before I even tried booting up.

Thanks for the link, Tubes. The manufacturer must have removed the 8/16-bit settings on the B revision of the card, I don't have Jumper 9 at all. The holes are full of solder.

I don't think I'd want to change the autodetect setting, so that leaves me with only the scan rate jumper to play with. I guess I'll switch that one and give it a go.


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#4
February 11, 2011 at 08:07:07
"The manufacturer must have removed the 8/16-bit settings on the B revision of the card, I don't have Jumper 9 at all. The holes are full of solder."

In that case it probably must be in a 16 bit slot (a longer one).

I still have one Trident ISA card somewhere. I'm not sure what model it is. I kept it because it was better than any other ISA card I had.

I think I also have an ATI Graphics Ultra Plus somewhere that was used in the Sanyo 286.


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#5
February 11, 2011 at 12:41:05
Alright, I just tested the Trident, and another ancient Headland Technologies monochrome card I have laying about. Both work in a Baby-AT board.

The Trident is indeed a full-length ISA card.

This is the second card I'm talking about:
http://82.114.193.227/vga2/index.ph...

So now it appears the weak link here is the motherboard...


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#6
February 11, 2011 at 13:23:51
Do you have a case speaker connected to the mboard ? If you don't you may be not hearing error beeps.

If you do,do you hear one beep while attempting to boot ?

Are there beep codes listed in the manual ?

Those old mboards with the individual ram chips in sockets had problems with "chip creep" and developing poor connections.You could try carefully prying each one upwards at the center of each end of the chip then pushing it down again.

Use good lighting and examine the slots to see if you can see any damage.If you do, don't use that slot.
Try all the 16 bit slots if you haven't already done so.

If those things don't help someone has probably damaged the mboard.


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#7
February 11, 2011 at 16:27:23
Yeah, try the other slots. The only other thing I can think of is some cards were more dependent on a particular IRQ. There'd be a jumper on the card and/or the option to reserve an IRQ for VGA in cmos/bios setup.

How about those Packers Steelers Packers!


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#8
February 12, 2011 at 18:23:21
Chip creep! What an apt term!

The chips on the motherboard all seemed pretty well set, though the second BIOS chip slid the furthest back into place. The chips on the Trident were nearly off, yet that still worked...

Tried all the 16-bit slots, no dice. They are all in prime condition. There is a speaker attached to the board but it gives me the weakest "blip" on startup, and a replacement doesn't beep at all. However, the LEDs attached to the board light up appropriately, and the turbo and reset switches function. The guy I bought the board from insists it should be functional, and that he powered it up before shipping it. I believe him; the mobo does act like it's alive and was packaged well.

The system battery (2 lithium coins) are dead and removed, and likely weren't live when the board was successfully powered on before shipping. I don't think this would affect anything, could be wrong though.

Looking over the other jumpers on the mobo now. Power good signal? I'm using an ATX PSU with an AT adapter and switch, could that get in the way? What about the I/O wait state config? Should that be monkeyed with? Here's the link to the Total Hardware page on my mobo again:
http://artofhacking.com/th99/m/I-L/...


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#9
February 12, 2011 at 18:50:34
I assumed you had the board working at one time. But if that's not the case then it's unlikely the video card is the problem since you've tried other cards and slots.

How about those Packers Steelers Packers!


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#10
February 12, 2011 at 18:53:18
Just found the config page for the graphics card that worked with the board:

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/graphic...

Maybe the settings of its jumpers would be useful to know? Starting from the top of that page:

JMP3 - Enhanced color display mode (Pins 4 and 5 are jumpered as well...?)
DIP 1-4 - On off off On (First line, Color 40 x 25, Monochrome secondary...)
DIP 5-6 - off off, Graphics compatibility = Downward MDA, Hercules
JMP1 - 2+3 jumpered, 5+6 on JMP3 are jumpered, must match up? = 27256 Eprom BIOS selected
JMP2 - 1+2 jumpered, BASE I/O ADDRESS SELECTION = 2xxh

Doesn't that BIOS selection stuff sound fishy? Matches up with the BIOS on the motherboard...


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#11
February 12, 2011 at 20:47:56
"The chips on the motherboard all seemed pretty well set.."

Did you try prying them or did you just look at them?

"Tried all the 16-bit slots, no dice."
"There is a speaker attached to the board but it gives me the weakest "blip" on startup, and a replacement doesn't beep at all."

That doesn't sound good.

"The guy I bought the board from insists it should be functional, and that he powered it up before shipping it."

Can you still contact him ? If so, ask him if he tried a video card with it.

"The system battery (2 lithium coins) are dead and removed, and likely weren't live when the board was successfully powered on before shipping. I don't think this would affect anything, could be wrong though."

The batteries must installed and be okay in order to retain bios Setup settings.However, that should not affect whether you can get video at all.
Does it say anything in the manual about how to access the bios ?

"Looking over the other jumpers on the mobo now. Power good signal? I'm using an ATX PSU with an AT adapter and switch, could that get in the way?"

I've never heard of such an adapter being used with an AT mboard. It didn't come with an AT power supply? Do you have an AT power supply ?

"What about the I/O wait state config? Should that be monkeyed with? "

NO.
..........................................................................

"Just found the config page for the graphics card that worked with the board:"

Which mboard ? The subject 286 or another one ?

If you don't have a monitor with a 9 pin end connector (EGA, CGA, or mono), how do you know it even works ?

Same one here:
EXPERT COMPUTER INTERNATIONAL, INC

TOP SEGA 800

http://th99.dyndns.org/v/E-H/54025.htm

"JMP3 - Enhanced color display mode "

= EGA - Enhanced Graphics Adapter - 16 colors
The other setting is for Mono or CGA - Color Graphics Adapter - 4 colors

"(Pins 4 and 5 are jumpered as well...?)"

There may be more than one version of the board.

MONITER CONFIGURATION SELECTION
SW1/1 SW1/2 SW1/3 SW1/4 Enhanced Monochrome Color/Graphics

On Off Off On Color 40 x 25 Secondary Disabled

"DIP 1-4 - On off off On (First line, Color 40 x 25, Monochrome secondary...)"

That's the 40 x 25 resolution.

BIOS SELECTION
Setting
JMP1

27128 Eprom
Pins 1 & 2, 4 & 5 closed

27256 Eprom
Pins 2 & 3, 5 & 6 closed

"JMP1 - 2+3 jumpered, 5+6 on JMP3 are jumpered, must match up? = 27256 Eprom BIOS selected"

"Doesn't that BIOS selection stuff sound fishy? Matches up with the BIOS on the motherboard..."

That's regarding the video card's bios chip, not the mboard's. Yes that must be right. Look for a 27256 chip on the video card.
..............

Another one ? here:

UNIDENTIFIED

TOP SEGA 800

http://th99.dyndns.org/v/U-Z/50341.htm

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/graphic...


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#12
February 12, 2011 at 22:42:36
Thanks for the reply, Tubes. I appreciate it.

I did not try prying out the memory chips, just went over them a couple times to make sure they were in full contact with the board.

I need to be more clear. The Top Sega 800 EGA graphics card I referred to is original to this 286 motherboard. I bought it and the 286 in a bunch of parts from one Northgate system. That Top Sega was the video card used in conjunction with the 286 to determine that the motherboard was functioning before shipping.

I don't have a 9-pin monitor, but I bought an adapter. Waiting for that to come in.

The seller answers all my annoying emails.

Not sure how to access the BIOS. Manual doesn't say. Could be with the 5.25" utility disk I got. Need to get the video working first though.

I can swap out an AT power supply if need be. Didn't think I'd have to though, because my ATX to AT adapter worked just fine with my 486. The adapter is very much like this:
http://www.antronelectronics.com/im...


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#13
February 13, 2011 at 06:17:57
"The adapter is very much like this..."

What the ? is the connector next to the switch for ?
The orange wires are 3.3v - not used on an AT mboard.

Are you sure you have the two on the left in the power socket,the grounds - black wires - in the center ?


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#14
February 13, 2011 at 10:17:57
The "P10" connector is an auxiliary connector. It was used to provide extra power in some P4 boards. I don't use it.
http://support.gateway.com/s/POWER/...

Yep, the black wires touch in the middle, I made sure I got the orientation right by looking at the pinout before connecting it up. Really didn't want to fry the board first thing.


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#15
March 1, 2011 at 16:31:52
Alright, my 9-pin to VGA adapter came in. I used it with the Top Sega and got the same results: as soon as I turn on the motherboard, the screen immediately goes into "off" mode, replacing a floating "no signal" box. Tried all the slots. Tried 2 different monitors. No dice.

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#16
March 1, 2011 at 16:44:49
Sure sounds like the mboard is fried, unless you've changed jumper settings on it that you should not have changed.

Did you try the same card with the other mboard with ISA slots along with the 9 to 15 pin adapter connected to the monitor ?

NOTE that a simple 9 to 15 pin gender adapter won't necessarily work with all 15 pin monitors.


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#17
March 7, 2011 at 13:48:49
So the same Top Sega does not work on other motherboards with the adapter either. Any way you can think of to test further? I could pay to ship the original monitor, but that would be a bit ridiculous.

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#18
March 7, 2011 at 18:54:00
I used to have combo EGA / VGA monitor but it died after about 12 years of use about two years ago. Something on the board fried - buzzzzzz like electric arcing.The display was fine up until then.
It came with a 9 to 15 pin adapter.
Mitsubishi Diamond Scan ?

I still have a couple 9 pin mono monitors and a HGA / CGA card or two, and one Trident ISA VGA card, but I not longer have any mboard as old as yours to try them with.

You could try looking on the web or in local classified ads for a 9 pin EGA or combo EGA / VGA monitor.


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#19
May 29, 2011 at 11:46:55
To bring some conclusion to this thread, I acquired the monitor originally used with the 286 and still got no video output. Tried a few different DIP settings, nothing. A tip of the hat to DAVE and Tubes, sure looks like this board died or fried at some point. Thanks again for all your help

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#20
May 29, 2011 at 17:41:42
You're welcome. Thanks for posting back.

Ding dong the witch is dead. . . .


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#21
June 4, 2011 at 11:37:42
Thanks for the update.

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