Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

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Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby SpidersWeb on Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:37 pm

Had some fun this weekend with my old reliable 386SX-16 laptop, and felt like sharing.
If anyone doesn't know, these laptops can take a full length 16 bit ISA card and a half length 8 bit ISA card, basically portable desktops with no battery and a weight of 8.6Kg.

Removed the faulty ESS Audiodrive 1688 and replaced it with a newly aquired Creative Labs SoundBlaster16 VALUE.
Once securely mounted, I ran the CLabs software to make sure it was all dandy and to setup my BLASTER/MIDI variables, and it worked like new.
Pretty easy, loaded up Wolf3D and got my precious sound effects.

Next, the laptop needed network access - mostly so I didn't have to back up all the custom software by floppy disk.
So a 16 bit PnP DE-220 10Base2/T network adaptor was dropped in to the 8 bit slot. Ran the D-Link software, no worries, configured the card and rebooted. Didn't go tooo well, I'd selected an IRQ whose pin was on the 16 bit pard of the slot (IRQ 9 or 10 I think). The machine would not even power up until I'd removed the card. If there is an issue with the expansion cards, this machine will simply just not start.

After a clean start and shutdown, I readded the card, and it powered up, went back in to the install software and I made use of IRQ 3, this time it was a success. 16 bit PnP in an 8 bit slot on a 1989 Laptop - no problems, and it works with NE2000 drivers if you're like me and forget the folder structure for the driver disk in the middle of the LANMAN install :(

After some issues with MS Client 3.0 I reverted to MS LanMan for DOS and things started working. NET VIEW still does not work, but I think that's because LANMAN appears to be centered around having a domain rather than a workgroup. But NET USE did, and I was able to mount a special folder on my media server as E drive. Backed up every important program - most valuable here were the old Accent PC drivers (text to speech) and associated software and plugins for WP5.1.

I was hoping to be able to run games off the network - but with LanMan running and doing all the memory enhancements, I can't get more than 460K conventional free - even Windows 3.1 can't start filemanager unless I go 'NET STOP'. Unlike MS Client, when I go NET STOP, my memory jumps back up to a healthy 605K. This is fine though, means I can copy files on/off without floppies now. Technically it also has internet access now, I just haven't installed any apps to make use of this.

Also spent some time looking at the WP51 documents folder. It appears this machine was used at both work and home by a Hamilton family from 1990 to 1999, and the family father was partially sighted - which explains the Accent PC install. There is nothing on the machine past this date, so I suspect it's done a decade of hard work, followed by a decade of storage before I aquired it. Quite neat knowing the history.

Now I'm eyeing up that 5200/100 on trademe, its the high end model but from a year earlier, 'hard drive controller error' - sounds like a dead IDE hard disc to me, so if I get it my first task is going to be finding one that has a 500Mb limit jumper or smaller. In other news, will have my IBM XT, 286 clone, and dead 386 clone next Saturday.
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Re: Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby Carcenomy on Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

I vaguely recall the big Toshiba T-series machines. My dad had a T2000 I believe it was, many many years ago. Was a 286 based machine, amber gas plasma display. Very very cool though, he ran that for accounting stuff right through until 1996. I've got a T2450CT personally but it's many generations newer than those old weapons :)
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Re: Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby SpidersWeb on Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:10 pm

Toshiba still have the product page up:
http://www.toshiba-europe.com/bv/comput ... index.shtm

:)

Also oddly mine has no external keyboard plug, its covered up, but yesterday when I looked inside I can see it right there!! Plastic is just covering it. So I'm guessing you paid $$ extra for the external keyboard interface and Toshiba just sold the machine with the plastic removed haha

Three things I need to do:

- tidy up the software and startup process
- work out if its 30 pin or 72 pin RAM so I can give it an extra meg or 3 (its got the factory 1Mb installed only)
- work out what type of battery the CMOS takes
Didn't feel like doing a complete dismantling this weekend, but in the future.

Also need to check if that hard disc is proprietry ESDI or IDE. T5200 from 1988 was IDE, and so was the T3200SXC but some people say on the internet the T3200SX is a custom ESDI and others say IDE. Wonder if I could use an old DOS app to get the drive model number... hmmm. Something to google tomorrow.

Edit: turns out it's IDE, same for the 5200/100, but the BIOS needs to be modified/reburned to support other hard discs and they must be from the Conner CP series, so may pass on that 5200 :/ would cost me too much to get running at this point.
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Re: Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby SpidersWeb on Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:04 pm

blah, so I found cheap EPROM programmers on ebay and changed my mind AGAIN.

T5200/100 auction won (sorry vic :oops: ), now just to get that 400Mb Seagate (not a Conner :/ ) and diagnose / hack if necessary. Also have to hope that drive even works.
Anydrive.zip should get me temporarily past the BIOS type locking but the drive isn't a Conner CP - so crossing fingers that check isn't there.

If it is, it's ROM deassmbly time, have been studying it in my spare time the last few days, quite a bit of good info out there.

Edit: won 400Mb hard drive + joystick combo for ten big ones. Wayyyy cheaper than getting one off ebay. Wonder how much it would've gone for if the seller actually listed it in vintage?
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Re: Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby SpidersWeb on Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:07 am

Just an update on the Toshiba's.

Both now have new CMOS batteries, but for any other T3200SX owner who wants to change the CMOS battery, I strongly recommend using a stock replacement - 3.6V Lithium same size/shape as a normal AA with tag leads.
This is because the layout of the T3200 makes it damn near impossible to fit a dual AA holder properly, mine is now firmly squished against the IDE and FDD cables :/ its firm and the machine didn't mind, but it's not as tidy as the T5200 where the AA holder fits perfectly in the original position.

I'm still having the random crashes with the T3200SX - usually when its cold - once it's been use for a while it'll run for hours on end no problems. It looks like the keyboard controller resets because the num/caps/scroll lights flash for a second then it hardware locks. I get the same thing from the T5200 when I was using it with the keyboard out when the cable got bumped/vibrated, but I removed/refitted the T3200SX cable and couldn't see any defects, 90% of the time it happens when I'm typing but on a few occasions it's just done it while I haven't been near it. Possibly by fluke, but it's never done it in Windows 3.1 or games - just DOS prompt and DOS utils.

With the RAM I went through the rather large collection of 30pins that was donated, and most returned instant parity errors - some because they were non-parity but some it just didn't like.
I found out what it does like though, one pair DID work, they're 9 chip 120ns and either 2Mb or 4Mb in capacity - the extended memory test stopped at ~2400KB with a read/write error (not a parity error). None of the others worked, so I need to work out if they're the magic 2Mb SIMMs and that's why it worked, or if they're general 4Mb parity SIMMs - in which case I'll have to hop on ebay.

Another thing I'll add is the T5200 and its detachable screen makes it awesome to work with.
The T3200SX however was a real pain.

But both are back and assembled again, behaving as usual. Network card for the T5200 is sitting at NZPost and I can't grab it until next weekend (neato) and I need to sort it's floppy drive out at some stage. (For those that missed it in another thread, the factory 104Mb is working now, and the 400Mb I got off trademe was a dud).
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Re: Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby recycled on Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:40 pm

SpidersWeb wrote:With the RAM I went through the rather large collection of 30pins that was donated, and most returned instant parity errors - some because they were non-parity but some it just didn't like.
I found out what it does like though, one pair DID work, they're 9 chip 120ns and either 2Mb or 4Mb in capacity - the extended memory test stopped at ~2400KB with a read/write error (not a parity error). None of the others worked, so I need to work out if they're the magic 2Mb SIMMs and that's why it worked, or if they're general 4Mb parity SIMMs - in which case I'll have to hop on ebay.

I am disappointed that so much of the RAM has failed a simple check. Though at least you got to see what was going on. My little PS/2 just ignored most of them and reported no memory installed. I can say that NONE of those SIMMs are 2MB, of that I am completely confident.

You can work out what size they are by reading the part numbers on the chips (cheat by getting google to pull in the details for you) then apply the knowledge here; http://arstechnica.com/paedia/r/ram_id-1.html
They are most likely 1MB. These bad boys (30 pin SIMMs) are not as sensitive to being used as matched pairs, so if you can determine which SIMM is likely at fault, put it to one side and try to track down another partner for the good one. 9chip and 3chips SIMMs work together, just match up the speeds.

Toshiba's site is a pretty good resource still for these old tanks.
http://www.toshiba-europe.com/bv/comput ... oduct.shtm
Since this system does work with standard SIMMs, the details given for the memory upgrade kits indicate that this system will probably only take 1MB SIMMs (2MB kit), with the 4MB kit being a designer dream for the marketing people to convince prospective buyers with how 'future-proof' you would be to buy one of these systems. Check out the brochure. Only suit wearing yuppies are the target market, not computer savvy nerds like us. (8MB+ download)
http://resource.toshiba-europe.com/euro ... 00sx_e.pdf

One day I'll have to get out my 286 Fox and have a go at grinding the A11 pads off a couple of 4MB SIMMs (making them 2MB) and see if they are still recognised. Then I'll know if 2MB could have been a designed for option in the standard.

Still, have a good laugh at the specification list at some of the sites that want to sell memory for this system!
http://www.memorystock.com/ram/ToshibaT3200SXRAM.html
That's some FSB speed for a 16MHz CPU, never mind the 3d ability of the built in graphics! If there really is a 16bit upgrade card, that could be some piece of kit to get!
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Re: Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby SpidersWeb on Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:19 pm

Cheers for that :) Inspired me to do more poking around!

The SIMMs that it responded to are Mitsubishi 120ns 256KB but it appears it's hardcoded for 1024KB modules - it must have pretended they were 1024KB (if I add up the failure point + 640KB conventional I get a perfect 3MB). SIMM model number was Mitsubishi MH25609BJ-12 (and I checked the chips are in fact 256-12 models). It must have overwritten the SIMM modules 4 times in the test, and I wonder if those Mitsubishi chips are wired to allow this and that's why they worked? (I need to study more on this topic I think :) ).

So some 1MB 9chip modules is what I will be keeping an eye out for. I think in the bag there are a few 1Mb SIMMs but they're non-parity (solder pads and a missing chip).

I'm sure most of the SIMMs are fine, I think it's being picky and for all except those two Mitsubishi's it gave a parity (not read/write error) at 0KB - which seems like a pretty crazy statistic given how many there are, unfortunately don't have a generic motherboard with 30 pin SIMM slots here for verification (my 386 has 41256 chips) but I will once I get a machine that does.

I have another but much much smaller bag of 30 pin SIMMs coming which I got off trademe not long ago, so will see what' s in there. Until then I have the T5200/100 on 386 WIN duty (which has 2 x 2MB + 1 x 1Mb), and the T3200SX on 386 DOS duty :)

lol yeah some of those foreign memory sites making use of 20 year old lists in new systems to get website hits :) They're never in stock too.
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Re: Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby SpidersWeb on Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:31 pm

Oh and I found a good quote from one of those brochures for these machines (either the T3200SX or the T5200), something along the lines of "Put the computer in your desk drawer, and never worry about unintended access again!"

Apparently hackers could not operate desk drawers in 1988/1989 :)
Also dont think I've owned a desk the a drawer big enough and rated for 9kg but never mind :)

They also advertise a feature which lets you lock the laptop to the desk - I found this on mine, its a tiny flimsy piece of metal which folds out and has a hole for a chain/bolt, a tug could break it off IMO.

The LapLock on the T5200/100 is epic though, gold briefcase lock, love it.

The fact they keep all that old material online is awesome. I've had great fun reading through the Toshiba Europe site.
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Re: Tarting up a Toshiba T3200SX

Postby SpidersWeb on Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:10 am

Just ordered a set of 4x 1Mb 9 chip 30 pin SIMMs with a DOA warranty.
Probably take a month to get here, but see what happens then :)

Thanks for your help recycled, much appreciated.
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