Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby evasive » Sun Jan 31, 2016 2:29 am

You are running software on this thing so I assume it starts. When you turn it on or hard reset the thing it will show some info on the screen. There should be a line like this:
ACR2FE00-I08-970328-R01-C0

In there. The charactres may be completely different but it should start with ACR. Can you re[produce that line please? That might be our best shot at getting this thing identified. Can't find matches on any of the motherboard markings or the case markings, FCC ID whatever. Quite a mystery. Could be a "supermarket" model where an OEM releases a single special edition for Wal-Mart, Tesco, Asda....
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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby Psybulon » Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:53 am

Thank you for your reply.

It boots and works wonderfully.
There is no bios string unfortunately and any bios identification-tool i run states either "No info found" or "Acer Bios".
I can try to videotape the boot, maybe I am missing something.
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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby Karlsweldt » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:52 am

Almost all computer systems post a string of characters in the lower left corner of the first video image. This is the BIOS string, a positive ID of the system and creation date. Some post only the brand logo until the POST process is done. May be a command line in the BIOS to show the info.
A small diagnostics program such as CPU-Z from http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html can reveal this and a lot of other details. But it requires a Windows OS. But for a DOS environment, a command line is required. You could try to halt the POST process with a critical error, such as 'no keyboard found' by pulling the keyboard before starting.
This link shows a screen image of what to look for..
http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000234.htm
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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby evasive » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:33 pm

yep that would be a good thing to try.

I have to think what tool you can use for that era of Acer bioses to get the string shown somehow...
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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby dagdamor67 » Sun May 06, 2018 11:07 am

Were you ever able to find more information on the motherboard or the cache module? I have an Acros 200P/433 desktop with the exact motherboard with the only difference that I can see being mine has 4 MB onboard main memory instead of the 2MB that you show.
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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby Karlsweldt » Mon May 07, 2018 6:30 am

Some early 80486 motherboards had a single memory slot near the CPU. It may appear to be a 72 pin SIMM socket, but keyed differently. Or may appear to be an SO SIMM socket but still keyed differently. Other motherboards had groups of DIPP chips ranging from 4 to 16 for the CPU cache. Cache memory ran at the same or half speed of the CPU core. Standard system memory ran at slower speed. Cache memory speed could be at 15~20 µs while main memory speed would be 60 µs to 100 µs depending on CPU speed. The earliest socket type for 80486 was a #2 design (before 1992), and improvements went to a #3, #4 and #5. The Socket 7 and Super Socket 7 also were part of the group for 80486. Early designs had only a 5 volt requirement, but later designs had a 5 volt and a 3.3 volt need. Several jumpers to set for proper core voltages.
Embossed on memory chips are the specs. A letter or two denotes the manufacturer, then some part no. info, maybe a dash or space, and lastly the speed. Main memory modules may have an ID tag on them, but may or may not be the same brand as the chips on the modules. Just for quick ID and type.
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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby dagdamor67 » Mon May 07, 2018 1:47 pm

The cache socket on the motherboard looks like this which is what threw me. I am familiar with the single slot type and the chip socket type.
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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby Karlsweldt » Tue May 08, 2018 7:53 am

That raised multi-pin header was another version of cache memory setup. Doubt you could ever find another of that vintage, being more than 20 years old. Acer, Asus, AST and a few other brands did use that design feature. Some models did have what looked like a 16-bit ISA slot, but had 3 slot sectors, for a dedicated memory expansion card.. up to 16 MB.
Possibly a reference to what you have can be found from this site.. http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherboards/
Another reference site is http://www.elhvb.com/ .
Those 12 DIPP chips nearby show a "-80" on the top line, indicating an 80 µs speed. The "TI " to the left indicates made by Texas Instruments. Second line is the model/version and capacity of the chip. Third line is manufactured date. That is your on0board 4 MB system memory. Note the "1024" in the second line, indicating a 1 MB capacity. But those older cache (and main memory) designs had separate odd/even register banks. So you needed double the required amount, plus a 'tag' memory amount for parity. "Odd" bits of memory are 1, 3, 5, 7 and so on. "Even" bits of memory are 0, 2, 4, 6, and so on. Yes, "zero" is a physical statement with data info!
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Re: Old - AcerPower 486SX - A hard nut to crack...

Postby evasive » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:17 am

Can you push Ctrl-Alt-Esc at boot time to enter the bios and see if you can find ANY identification strings?
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