The 486DX-50 project – part 2: Figuring things out

Adding a mouse

I ordered a serial to PS/2 adapter. But it turns out that it is a male to male connector and I needed a female to male connector. Doh!

Replacing the harddisk

I bought a IDE to compact flash adapter with a PCI bracket. It needs power from a small floppy molex connector and it turns out that the PSU only has one small molex connector for a floppy drive. So I’ll need a splitter for that. The ROM on the VLB I/O board has been flashed with an XTIDE Universal Bios. This has some advantages over the old BIOS. Mostly that it enables DOS machines to work with large hard disks. With MSD I determined that the CF card got properly recognized by the system. I had set the jumper on the adapter board to slave.

I need to remember to check all the handy tips that are mentioned on the XTIDE website. It goes into some detail about the advantages of enabling shadow ROM and RAM. And of IDE controllers on PCI and VLB cards.

I used FDISK to delete all existing partitions on the CF card and create a new primary DOS partition. Then I formatted the drive and copied all files over from the C and E partitions on the regular harddisk. Somehow, after using FDISK on the CF card, it had become the D drive. I had to be extra careful not to delete all things from the existing D drive, which now had become the E drive. Not that there was much on it, but still. I had to lookup how to copy all files and directories: XCOPY C: D: /S.

So that all worked fine. But after I decoupled the harddisk and connected the IDE to CF adapter to the master IDE connector it refused to boot up. Of course, I had first put the jumper on the adapter back to master. Too bad. I tried the IDEINFO program and that didn’t show any weirdness. I think I will try to reset the master boor record with FDISK /MRB. I think that will only work when the CF card is the only harddisk while booting from floppy though and there is only one floppy power connector in this system. Maybe it will work in the Athlon XP pc.

At least the CF card is readable on my laptop with Windows 10.
Oh, and for this to be a neat solution, I also need a longer IDE cable.


I’ve added a AZTECH Sound Galaxy 16 sound card. It has a Yamaha YMF262 chip for OPL3 sound and Sound Blaster 2.0 support. I tested it out with the only game that was “installed” on the harddisk, namely Blake Stone and that worked. I still need to connect the audio out from the CD-ROM to the audio-in on the card though.

Tried a Gotek

I tried to replace the floppy drive with a Gotek drive, but the images aren’t readable. The Gotek drives I have are for the Amiga though, so maybe that’s the reason it doesn’t work. I should try to get my hands on another Gotek drive. There are some being sold at Ebay that are advertised as 1.44MB specific drives. It doesn’t matter for now though, I only want to work with this machine after I get the compact flash situation sorted. And then I also need another small molex connector.

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