Sunday, July 26, 2020

Drobo Series 3: Added a new drive I checked, now there are 3 Red Lights and one Flashing Red light.

Don't panic.

I added a 3TB drive I surface scanned twice, had only about as many power on hours as my SSD, and the SMART data all checked out. It is an Hitachi Enterprise grade drive I got JUST out of warranty but it was super clean too.

Betting it was sold off because the warranty ended. I got it with a 1 yr Squaretrade warranty for about 40 bucks and it's going into my storj node.

I digress.

I cleaned it a little with uncompressed air before all this.

I pulled the smallest drive and got the above lights twice on power up.

Powered it down a third time and after that re-seated all the drives.

Worked fine and it's rebuilding now...9 hrs to go but I think that's a bit on the high side as it was only originally a 1TB drive.

Of note: sometimes the Drobo ejects off my MAc but I think the power supply may be getting old, or it's the aftermarket USB3 card in my Mac.

Disk First Aid always checks out, so, I guess it's fine.

And yes I'm planning a Cloud/image backup here shortly. :)



Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Migrating from Parallels 8 to VirtualBox: The Lazy Way

This is not exhaustive, or complete. At most, it's a set of clues...there's my disclaimer.

Make a copy of your virtual machine. Then if you screw up, no big deal.

What finally made me do this is Parallels could actually GREY SCREEN and reboot my Mac Pro desktop. Ya done, ancient copy of Parallels running an ancienter OS.

If you need to change from the expanding format hard drive image in Parallels, this has some good info:
https://www.rational-pi.be/2016/10/converting-a-parallels-virtual-machine-to-virtualbox/

The command line tools mentioned there are in the same place on version 8.

Fortunately, my hard disk was already in plain disk format.

The next hurdle is the VM locks on agp440.sys just like back in the day when you tweaked XP too much.

Step 7 here https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Migrate_Windows "Enable IO APIC" got me to the user listings screen.

It took a while but I got logged in via safe mode with command prompt.

Windows did some driver work, some it couldn't find, etc. Rebooted and I could log in.

Hardware I'm on:
Mac Pro 4,1 flashed to 5,1
XP 32 Bit OS from a ZE4100 laptop. It had 192 megs of RAM. Wow.
Virtualbox Version 6.1.8 r137981 (Qt5.6.3)

Reactivating Windows XP in 2020:
Worked fine via the internet in the virtual machine via the virtual network adapter.

Did I help? Send me a dollar. :) -=> paypal.me/robbullock

Ask questions in the comment section. I do respond.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Free Faster Hotel WiFi Hack

The free WiFi you get is usually slower than the paid, but here's how to get faster WiFi for free: use a USB WiFi adapter in addition to the built in laptop WiFi.

Things you will need:


  1. A USB WiFi Adapter like this very cheap one that I personally use: https://amzn.to/2X36LpZ It's 802.11ac Windows 10 works with no additional drivers.
  2. A Speedify Account. Free for 5 gigs a month, and it's a VPN which I highly recommend for public wifi. Really, you shouldn't use it without a VPN. Speedify. I have a paid yearly account. It's pretty cheap.



The way it works is you will get 2 'slots' vs. 1 slot so if the network is overloaded, you get a bigger piece. If it's limited to a certain speed because you're not paying for the higher speed, you get two pieces of pie vs. one.

All you have to do is connect your laptop wifi first, and once it's done, disable that connection temporarily.

Then plug in the USB and set that up. Re-enable your laptop WiFi.

Speedify will combine the links.

You could actually do this as many times as you have USB ports and you could also use one USB adapter as a shared hotspot for your other devices so you don't have to log into hotel WiFi with those.

Enjoy, and use my Amazon link above to support my blog. Or click here for ANY purchase. I get a tiny commission: https://amzn.to/2UTwiza

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Best Backpack Bag for Disney World or Disneyland Park. Easy Security Check!

This is what I always bring to the parks.

Couple of reasons.

1. Easily pass through security because they can see through the bag. If you don't have much in it, they will often not even open the bag because it's see through.

2. The less obvious reason is that the bag BREATHES so your back stays cooler. It's full of holes. :)

Support my blog and buy one you like on Amazon. There are many choices: https://amzn.to/32SlIw8

I have one with the external pocket.

One idea, depending on what's in the bag and the weather, is a frozen water bottle against your back in the bottom of the bag.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

K150 Ebay PIC Programmer for $7. And how to get it working under Windows 10. Prolific

First, the chip that gives the problem is the Prolific PL 2303HXA. It's a USB to serial.

Windows 10 will install drivers when you plug it in but they don't work. You'll see a message in device manager about contacting your supplier.

(I may experiment here a bit later with drivers...update to come...but it may be academic. I just like to have official drivers when possible.)

So a bit of backstory:

Supposedly this chip is End of Life and 'not supported'. Or another story is Prolific wrote their drivers so counterfeit chips won't work. But others have surmised that even older devices from reputable vendors are also rendered inoperative on OS versions they are supposed to work in.

So he said, she said.

There are good directions and a download for drivers from before Prolific broke them here:

http://leftbraintinkering.blogspot.com.br/2013/05/usb-to-serial-prolific-2303-device.html

The way *I* installed it is plugged it in and went thru Device Manager and did a driver 'Update' but I clicked on the option to select the driver myself from the directory I extracted the above ZIP file to.

Windows did not complain and AVG did not see any threats.

Here's a video explaining  how to get it to work. One major thing is I don't think the software appears to work until you do an operation on the PIC in the socket. It will do read/write/verify but the software always complains that it can't communicate with the board.

I'd be really ticked if I'd spend the $59 original price with that level of software quality...


The software the video shows is at the top of this page:

http://www.kitsrus.com/pic.html

...which was a bit tricky to find.

ALSO. Apparently there are different versions of http://www.kitsrus.com/zip/DIYpack25ep.zip for the firmware the PIC on the programmer uses. The longest DIP on the board is a 16F628, and that holds the firmware. The software has to match.

So if you want to update the firmware, you have to install a new PIC. So if it's soldered in, FUN.

Still wondering why these are $7?

Anyway, you're doing this for fun right?

Here's the one I bought on Ebay.

Did I help collect all the info you're looking for in one spot? Buy me a cup of coffee on the Ebay link on the right.

To do:
Verify that mine works and note the firmware. I'm waiting on PICs to arrive. As I said, it won't do anything until a PIC is put in the ZIF socket, apparently.

Misc Notes:
There are 3D printable cases on Thingiverse, and the one I tried was KINDA close. Took a little cutting and I just taped it closed. YMMV. Better than nothing.

Prolific has a CheckChipVersion.exe program that could talk to the chip once I got the drivers installed and it did tell me the chip I have was a PL2303HXA. I don't know if it's a 'real' one or not.





Saturday, January 04, 2020

Super Old Amiga 1000 Floppy Notes

Most "modern" floppy drives don't use 12V. But apparently the Amiga 1000 one DOES. Or at least this one does. Here's the label:


In further weirdness, it has a rotation indicator on the spindle that passes a sensor for speed pickup. Wild.

For Googlers, it's a JU-363-03

Shop Ebay for Amiga Floppy stuff and support my blog: https://ebay.to/36l4acK

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Gotek Floppy Emulator not Working after Flashfloppy upgrade

Ok, this probably won't solve your problem but as far as I can tell, it solved mine.

The short (pun intended) version:

The jumper on S0 for using a Gotek as DF0 on an Amiga looked sketchy. Like the metal stuck out too far, seemed kind of loose in the plastic housing...so I replaced it. It also looked different than the thousands of jumpers I've seen since the 90s...dating myself here...

Then it started to work again.

If you do vintage stuff, buy a bag of 50 jumpers here for about $1.30. That's my source. I got blue.

Want more of the story?

Symptoms were:

LED lit indicating ADFs were being cycled on the drive and that Flashfloppy was running...it was just that the Amiga wasn't doing anything with it. This matches with the jumper issue. The drive wasn't being seen by the Amiga without any jumper at all set for S0.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Fix for Nissan Leaf Pilot Fault when Charging at Commercial Stations such as Blink, EvGo, Chargepoint, etc.

(Photo is from my repair. You will receive a ready to install and heat shrinked diode crimped into connectors...which is slightly nicer.)

This started happening to me. Leaf would charge at home but not at work which was a Blink station.

It gives you a message about a pilot fault.

Unfortunately, this requires some tiny parts and a bit of labor but it isn't that hard.

I used this fix on my own car. It's been working for at least a year.

You can buy the little kit I put together as well that makes it easier.

You're not paying for JUST for the kit, you're paying for my help if needed. :) I've made the install a little easier.

All you need is a wire cutter, stripper, and crimping tool but in a pinch you could use just a knife...but I like to do things the right way.

NO soldering involved, no wire shrink tubing, etc.

Mine looks like this tool on Ebay.

What you get:


  • Diode pre-crimped in push on connectors that are marked for easier install
  • Connectors to crimp to the wire on the car
  • Clear Instructions with pictures making this nearly foolproof
  • MY HELP if all of the above isn't enough


Disclaimer: I take NO responsibility for any of this. But many people have done it, I have done it, and even if you somehow (how did you manage?!) install the diode backwards I don't THINK it would hurt anything, it just wouldn't work...but again, you assume all liability.

Benefits: if the diode fails later, it's a simple to remove and replace. No soldering, cutting, etc. to do that. You just get a new diode and put it in. I can send you that if ever needed FOR FREE (you pay for the stamp. :)

Click the PayPal button to buy it now. $40 shipped. Technical support included.



Thursday, December 26, 2019

Amiga Explorer: What Cables and Adapters do I need?

Link for Amiga Explorer Software:
https://www.amigaforever.com/ae/

Here's a pretty exhaustive way to set it up using only AE and a serial cable. But you have to be at least booted to Workbench on the Amiga: https://www.everythingamiga.com/2017/05/amiga-explorer-pc-to-amiga-data-transfer-without-a-gotek-or-compact-flash.html

THIS is the cable USB to serial cable you want. Trust me. It's what I've got.


Don't cheap out on one with crappy drivers or a no-name serial chip. 

It uses the TI chip, which is pretty much the standard for drivers and support, IMHO.

It's also capable of 230Kbps serial transfer.

For the cable from the Tripp Lite adapter, just use Ebay if you want the lowest cost and aren't in a hurry. 

There is nothing special about the serial cable. So buy the cheapest one with the appropriate ends.

One end will need to be female, to plug into the Tripp Lite and the other will most likely be male or female 25 pin depending on your Amiga. For example, IIRC, the 500 and 1000 had different ports.

You might even buy the cable and a gender changer if you have various machines.

Cheap Cables: Search on Ebay. <=-Use this link so we get a small commission.

I'm considering listing a floppy creation service on Ebay with a bootable floppy that has Amiga Explorer on it.

I.e., I'm charging for my time, the disk, the fees, wear and tear on my vintage gear, etc. and NOT the software.

Here's my Ebay account: https://ebay.com/neptunecat

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Building a Passive (wires and cable only) Amiga to VGA Cable

Work in Progress...more to come.


I used this pinout:

The diagram above probably should have pin 20 on the Amiga tied to ground, so I just jumpered that to pin 19. YMMV.

On the Amiga, all the pins on the middle row on the VGA connector (6-11 pins) measured out to power supply ground on my Amiga 1000 anyway. So I don't think the wiring needs individual returns for ground as it all ends up in the same place anyway....probably. Feel free to comment if you know better.

Displays that WON'T sync (unsurprisingly...way too new):
Samsung C27F591
Samsung Syncmaster (ha) 2343BWX

What works:
Well, there is signaling happening. The Samsung displays gave me a 'suboptimal range' or something like that and did at least find activity on the input by autoselecting the source.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Gateway 2910A/I SCSI PCIe DOS Drivers

First off, you've probably found this info NOWHERE else. This took me a while.

So consider a Paypal Donation!

Here's the info on the driver I used to be able to recognize hard drives. From some readme I found somewhere.

-----Pasted portion-----

ASPI8DOS.SYS
------------

   ASPI8DOS.SYS is Adaptec's ASPI manager for AIC-7850/7855/7870 based 
   PCI SCSI host adapters.  Running Adaptec EZ-SCSI will automatically 
   detect which host adapter you have installed, which ASPI manager needs 
   to be loaded, and what the correct command line switches are.

   o  If you have an Adaptec PCI SCSI host adapter installed in your system,
      and you have EMM386.EXE loaded from MS-DOS versions up to 6.2, your
      system might hang if loading the ASPI manager after EMM386.EXE.  This 
      has been fixed in the EMM386.EXE that ships with MS-DOS 6.22 and 
      later.  If you experience this problem, you will either need to load 
      ASPI8DOS.SYS before EMM386.EXE, or upgrade to MS-DOS 6.22 or later.  
      If the ASPI manager detects a conflict, a message will be shown 
      explaining how to work around the problem.  Other ASPI modules 
      (e.g. ASPICD.SYS) can continue to be loaded high.

   o  There are several techniques for a driver to determine if its PCI SCSI
      host adapter is installed in your system.  ASPI8DOS.SYS will determine
      which is the best method, and has been written to work around the
      EMM386.EXE problems discussed above.  There are three command line
      switches you can use to force the ASPI manager to use a specific
      method.  These are:

        /MB - This command line switch will force the driver to use the
              PCI BIOS calls (INT 1Ah) to scan for PCI SCSI host 
              adapters.
        /M1 - This command line switch will force the driver to use the
              "Mechanism 1" method for scanning for PCI SCSI host 
              adapters.
        /M2 - This command line switch will force the driver to use the
              "Mechanism 2" method for scanning for PCI SCSI host 
              adapters.
              
      For example, if you want to force the ASPI manager to find your PCI 
      SCSI host adapter using PCI motherboard BIOS calls, your CONFIG.SYS 
      would be:

        DEVICE=C:\SCSI\ASPI8DOS.SYS /D /MB

      NOTE:  Most PCI systems do not support all three methods for scanning
             for PCI cards.  It is recommended that you let the ASPI manager 
             determine which method is suitable.

   o  If you would like ASPI8DOS.SYS NOT to reset the SCSI bus, during 
      driver initialization, you can use the /NORST command line switch.  
      For example:

        DEVICE=C:\SCSI\ASPI8DOS.SYS /D /NORST

      If you would like ASPI8DOS.SYS to always reset the SCSI bus, during
      driver initialization, you can use the /RESET command line switch.
      For example:

        DEVICE=C:\SCSI\ASPI8DOS.SYS /D /RESET

   o If there are more host adapters that ASPI8DOS can support, ASPI8DOS will display "Not enough 
     memory for all host adapters". In this case, the user should manually add more lines of 
     "DEVICE=ASPI8DOS.SYS" to CONFIG.SYS to support the extra host adapters. EZ-SCSI only installs  one entry in config.sys for ASPI8DOS.SYS.
-----

--End Pasted Info--

I actually have a DOS FLOPPY (!!) of Adaptec EZ-SCSI 1.0 and I found some later drivers I upgraded.

Using INSTALL.BAT on EZ-SCSI 1.0 floppy DOES NOT recognize the Adapter. Probably because it's too new: it's a PCIe card.

As of this writing, the ASPI Manager for AIC-78xx/-75xx v1.32 recognizes this controller card and an attached SCS2SD device with 2 SCSI LUNs.


Monday, December 09, 2019

Amiga 2000 Fixes

A common troubleshooting on technique on Amiga 2000 boards, at least for Rev 6.x for non-moving mouse is that the mouse won't move but the buttons still work.

The problem with that is you need an original mouse to use that technique.

If you have a micro controller or other adapter and a PS/2 or USB PC mouse then the buttons also won't work.

Why?

When F1 (Fuse 1 on the motherboard) blows, it disables the 5V line on the joystick ports. This is why your optical mouse no longer lights up, and the micro controller is recieving no power, therefore it can't send a 'click' that the Amiga see.

What you need is a 4 Amp pico fuse. These are very fast acting. They aren't expensive and you don't even have to remove the board to replace it. It blows open, so you can solder the new fuse in parallel with the old, or just clip the leads close to the fuse body and solder the new one to those leads. I'm considering adding a header pin set here and putting the fuse in some sort of jumper block. But that's another post.

Click here for 10 fuses for under $9. https://amzn.to/2DYUU1z This is what I got. I get a small commission.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Apple IIGS GSOS Low Memory Causing Lockups

I have a 4MB expansion. 800K was cache and 2400K was RAMDISK. Leaving about 980K free.

Unarchiving a simple 50K archive would lock the machine when quitting GS Shrinkit.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Building an ADF-Copy Board for Reading and Writing Amiga Disks with a PC Floppy

Pics to follow. I just built this. Notes for now, cleaner post/video later.

These are cheaper on Amazon than Ebay by about $6. -=> https://amzn.to/335jsjt (Using my link makes me a dollar or so...I appreciate it.)

The pics/video will make my notes clearer.

https://nickslabor.niteto.de/projekte/adf-copy-english/


  • -You must have a floppy drive connected or the front end software won't detect the hardware. An Amiga floppy works for testing the connection.
Not immediately obvious to me:
  • the Teensy micro USB connector is comm and power for the teensy only
  • -the OTHER usb connector is power only for the floppy drive.
  • The headers for D-/D+ aren't needed at this time. +5V can be used to feed floppy power as it's common. GND can come in at the floppy power pin.


I recommend just buying some breakaway .100 header strips and using that to connect a floppy cable, floppy power and USB power. Way cheaper and flexible. You can now put it in a case or wherever vs. having to plug the baord into a drive. Board clearance on some drives now no longer an issue.

You can cut arduino wires (,100) and solder those to a USB cable to make the power connection.

Power out via .100 header pins can now use a standard 3.5" power cable. Break off 3, cut the center one flush and then solder it in the holes on the PCB.

Cheapest build:

Use nothing but header pins and the teensy. Though I'd recommend socketing the teensy.

You don't even need the capacitor if you use a 1amp (iphone charger for example) power supply to feed the +5V for the floppy.

 
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