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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
[SOLVED] Which Puppy for this tiny computer?
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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2751
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 18:13    Post_subject:  

The manual I found here:
http://www.spectra.de/produkte/111749/web/Handbuch-LE-370.pdf
seems to suggest the VGA output is standard analog so unless it's fried you can hopefully find an old crt to run from it.

Also lists a pin for cmos reset so I don't know if pulling the battery will be enough. Do some mobos have flash for bios?

P25 lists the LVDS pinouts. And has a jumper for 3.3 or 5v by the looks. (of course I've been wrong before...) Smile

Sweet lookin' board. I'm jealous.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Feb 2013, 18:47    Post_subject:  

VGA output is what I'm using -- the only display that even remotely works is an antique Samsung that's too primitive to reject a bad signal.

~5mb fairly short video of the screen output, downloadable here --> http://www.datafilehost.com/download-d49c97ce.html

This is part of the boot sequence for Puplite5. The video is a WMV, with an ASF extension. If it won't play on Linux, LMK and I'll see if I can convert it somehow.

My thinking remains that someone mucked up the settings to get it to display on a weird flat panel somewhere -- IIRC 75hz monitors are not uncommon in medical equipment -- and the board is just too bloody stupid to realize that it needs to override that now.

Re: BIOS flashing, etc. -- can't do that. The BIOS flash utility requires windows ("this program will not run in DOS mode") and I can't use a mouse without a working screen! (I can use a CLI without a working screen, if I know exactly what to type where, but that doesn't help me here...) I've used the clear-CMOS jumper and I've pulled the battery twice now. No joy. (Shouldn't need both!)

Per one of my last posts, I can't get a cable made -- even if I had the pinout for the LCD (I've five of them, all from laptops, all with unidentifiable, unpublished pinouts) I couldn't do much because I don't have a source for a custom cable. The only company I know that will do that, requires a minimum order quantity of 100 cables for custom work. The voltage jumper is useless because the datasheet is incomprehensible as to which pin corresponds to which voltage where.

I have to admit I'm feeling a little frustrated, in that I'm repeating myself several times on some of this info and I'm not sure why I'm needing to do that.

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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 1319

PostPosted: Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:16    Post_subject:  

I suppose there is no chance of pulling that BIOS and flashing it back to manufacturer's original specs in another board, is there? I've done that with some socketed BIOS chips when I had two boards of the same type, but I've never gone as far as Sage has: unsoldering a chip, adding a socket, and hot-plugging in another machine. After you boot from a BIOS, programs generally run from RAM. This sometimes makes it possible to hot-swap chips, flash to a different BIOS, then pull the foreign BIOS before you reboot. Admittedly, this is living dangerously.

Of course if you have a commercial flash-ROM programmer this isn't necessary, but who has those?
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Feb 2013, 11:26    Post_subject:  

I'm embarrassed to admit I don't even know which chip is the BIOS on this board Embarassed

I'll be out most of this morning but I'll try and remember to check when I get home -- if it's easily ID'd and it's socketed, I can try that.

EDIT: chip is socketed. Standard PLCC. I'll have to get a puller somewhere, as I don't have one right now and those are a mess to get out if you don't have one. Looks like they're about $5 on eBay ($2.19 + $2.95 shipping).

EDIT2: I've asked on my other forum about this idea -- I'm not very confident about it, but if they say it can be done without smoke, I'll consider it.

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Feb 2013, 12:47    Post_subject:  

Monitor config is not stored in the bios.

Managed to flash it, half-blind, successfully. Monitor config remains.

Still trying to find a solution.

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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb 2013, 11:43    Post_subject:  

Congratulations on the reflash. This eliminates one variable.

I'm now at the point of wondering just where configuration for video originates. If it is not changed by flashing BIOS or clearing non-volatile RAM, what you are seeing ought to be the behavior described in the manual. (Could the problem be with the voltages chosen by the jumper for the LCD (J VLCD), even though you are not using an LCD? I'm getting crazy ideas.)

Simply having a 75 Hz vertical refresh doesn't disqualify this from working with many common monitors. Looking back over the thread I don't see mention of the raster you think it is trying to use. An unusual raster could be one problem, though I can't imagine why it would be using anything unusual if it has been reset to factory specs.

Another possibility has to do with the definition of sync signals. Some devices running off vga ports require a small amount of added logic to extract sync signals which are supplied separately on other devices. Sync levels may also vary. I remember a battle with one using "sync on green", (though the details have become hazy.) When this fails the monitor typically says there is no signal at all.

What happened on a number of those Intel 810 chips with shared video RAM was that the behavior changed with different RAM timings. You may need to find actual 333 MHz DDR DRAM. I have one machine that requires this, 400 MHz DDR may be better, in some sense, but not if the stupid thing blindly follows the timings in the SPD.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb 2013, 12:11    Post_subject:  

Ram that came with it is DDR400. Ram that's in it now is spare DDR333.

It has a Winbond chip on it. Typically these are "super IO" chips that provide little extra features, like parallel ports and floppy drives, where they'd otherwise be unavailable.

I'm beginning to suspect that the config is stored on the Winbond chip.

I'm pursuing a two-phase nearly-sure-to-fly solution right now. Phase I, take it to the techno-wizard at the local computer shop. Talking to him teaches me things -- and I know a fair bit about computers. If he can't fix it, I'll be quite surprised -- but then it's onto phase II. That would be a cobbled-together riser card for this board, and a PCI graphics card. The board can't set the card's frequencies, I don't think Wink

Yes, the board has PCI. No, it's not a slot. It's a cardedge connector, exactly the type and pinout you'd find on, eg, a PCI sound card. All Commell did when they designed this board, was to ensure one would need a slot-to-slot riser. You can't get those on eBay, so you'd have to get one from Commell.

Or not. Take one PCI two-slot riser, keyed appropriately (I'm using a Dell PCI-X riser cuz it's as close as I can get -- the differences are minimal), and insert the computer in one slot. Insert a flexible PCI riser (yay for ribbon cables) into the 2nd slot, and insert the graphics card into that. As long as the two-slot riser is just wires, it'll fly (ones with "bank-switching circuitry" --I've no idea what that is-- won't work here).

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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb 2013, 14:39    Post_subject:  

Any chance of getting an oscilloscope onto the hsync and vsync pins to confirm timing?
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb 2013, 17:46    Post_subject:  

Heck no. I don't even know anyone who has an o-scope. BUT --

I took the board (and a few necessary peripherals) to my local tech shop. The guy there should've been named Mister Wizard by his parents -- he got it (almost) fixed. I can use a screen with it now, correctly, as long as I'm in text mode. There's some graphical config issues that need sorting out, but I can get that working in the BIOS as long as I don't muck anything up further along the way.

...come to think of it, Mister Wizard might have an o-scope. Not sure tho...

He did an lspci -nn for me while I was there and gave me a hardcopy of it. I'll type it back up and post it when I can -- I've got some household crunk calling my name right now so it'll be probably later tonight (I'm on US Eastern time, if that's any help).

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb 2013, 19:36    Post_subject:  

Here's the results of that lspci -nn command Wink this is typed up from a sheet of paper; I'll gladly scan the sheet if there's any confusion.

Code:

00:00.0 Host bridge [0600]: Intel Corporation 82852/82855 GM/GME/PM/GMV Processor to I/O Controller [8086:3580] (rev 02)
00:00.1 System peripheral [0880]: Intel Corporation 82852/82855 GM/GME/PM/GMV Processor to I/O Controller [8086:3584] (rev 02)
00:00.3 System peripheral [0880]: Intel Corporation 82852/82855 GM/GME/PM/GMV Processor to I/O Controller [8086:3585] (rev 02)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation 82852/855GM Integrated Graphics Device [8086:3582] (rev 02)
00:02.1 Display controller [0380]: Intel Corporation 82852/855GM Integrated Graphics Device [8086:3582] (rev 02)
00:1d.0 USB Controller [0c03]: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #1 [8086:24c2] (rev 02)
00:1d.1 USB Controller [0c03]: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #2 [8086:24c4] (rev 02)
00:1d.2 USB Controller [0c03]: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) USB UHCI Controller #3 [8086:24c7] (rev 02)
00:1d.7 USB Controller [0c03]: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-M) USB2 EHCI Controller [8086:24cd] (rev 02)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 82801 PCI Bridge [8086:244e] (rev 82)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge [0601]: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL (ICH4/ICH4-L) LPC Interface Bridge [8086:24c0] (rev 02)
00:1f.1 IDE interface [0101]: Intel Corporation 82801DB (ICH4) IDE Controller [8086:24cb] (rev 02)
00:1f.3 SMBus [0c05]: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) SMBus Controller [8086:24c3] (rev 02)
00:1f.5 Multimedia audio controller [0401]: Intel Corporation 82801DB/DBL/DBM (ICH4/ICH4-L/ICH4-M) AC'91 Audio Controller [8086:24c5] (rev 02)
01:08.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: Intel Corporation 82801DB PRO/100 VE (CNR) Ethernet Controller [8086:103a] (rev 82)


I'll note that this is using Mr Wizard's own homebrew linux distro for his own tech-service needs (he does own the tech shop, after all!), so I'm not sure what version of lspci he's using or if that even makes a difference.

I'm going to go make dinner now, and then afterwards I'll muck around with the board some more, see if I can figure out what's making the screen want to dodge graphics mode... any insight you folks can provide is of course quite helpful!

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Feb 2013, 21:32    Post_subject:  

The last two posts were done without any home monitor testing.

I'll be going back to the shop tomorrow -- I still don't have a working display on any of my screens at home!

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prehistoric


Joined: 23 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Feb 2013, 12:45    Post_subject:  

Be sure to post the outcome, whatever it is. If the Winbond chip is doing this that would be unique in my experience.

Getting a stable video text display at the shop, but not at home, simply means your home monitors lack the particular video mode necessary.

I had thought about that riser card idea when I saw the edge connector, but held off until less wild configurations were exhausted. I'm convinced you will get this to work very soon -- one way or another.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Feb 2013, 13:09    Post_subject:  

I've given up on making my home monitors work with the card. I think the refresh rate --or whatever config is messing with this-- is hardwired.

Fun.

I have a PCI graphics card, and a riser as well. No, not the Commell-sponsored one. I have a quote into a Commell distributor (Global American) to find out how much that will be. If it's too much I'll ask for photos. If they won't, I'll ask Commell for a datasheet on it that includes pinouts.

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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Feb 2013, 20:22    Post_subject:  

starhawk wrote:
I've given up on making my home monitors work with the card. I think the refresh rate --or whatever config is messing with this-- is hardwired.

Or maybe mis-wired? Could it be an open circuit track on vsync or hsync? Or in the monitor cable?
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Feb 2013, 21:20    Post_subject:  

No.

It works on the monitors at the tech shop just fine.

Tech shop dude won't give me his monitors -- the one I've been using is actually a CRT that someone had purchased but not yet picked up. It was his suggestion (not mine) to use that monitor, and I assume it's fairly bulletproof.

My screens are as follows:

2x eMachines (branded) eView 17F2 CRTs (flatscreen, 17")
1x Samsung SyncMaster 510MP (attached to Mom's desktop so not always available)
1x Samsung CVL-4955 (from 1991)

That's it for now -- I've another LCD that I rescued from the tech shop's recycle bin, but I'm not using it until I replace the busted capacitors on the power supply board.

Since the 510MP screen can go up to 75Hz and the 17F2s go up to like 160Hz (not kidding) I'm starting to think this is just a board with a slightly addled graphics chip.

On another note, I managed to order the wrong PCI riser. It came today. 3.3v keying, which is what I thought I had until I realized I was effing blind and looking at the wrong side of the board when I ordered the thing (hint: 5v keying is towards the front of the board, and 3.3v is closer to the back where the ports are).

I've contacted the eBay seller and let them know that I'd like to get a refund... and in the meantime, a 5v riser is on its way from a different eBay seller.

I feel like a total moron for that one. Should've realized something was up when I did a test fit (no power of course) and the graphics card was upside-down but the motherboard was right-side-up. Whoopsie.

I think I'll be using the graphics card from now on, instead of trying to make this insane-o board behave.

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