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Another old PC acquired

June 18, 2009 — BarryK
I stopped off at the same little "opportunity shop" where I had previously acquired the Presario, and there was another PC, a complete bundle with 17 inch monitor, keyboard, mouse and Epson Stylus C41SX inkjet printer, for $25. No brand label on the PC and I could see it was pre-USB, had no idea if it was even a Pentium-class CPU, but bought it anyway.

It turned out to have a 533MHz Celeron CPU, BIOS is dated year 2000, motherboard has SiS chips, a PcTel HSP56 modem, 64MB RAM, 9.5GB hard drive. Good system to add to my testing suite.

Fortunately I have recently been given a slim bench, which I have placed in my guest bedroom. This bedroom now has three computers set up in it, and soon I will assemble a fourth on remaining bench space, that currently is scattered on the floor. Every room in the house has PCs (not yet the bathroom though!).

Anyway, testing my new acquisition, I discovered a couple of bugs. Good! One of them was the Xorg Wizard bug mentioned in my last post, now fixed. I'm testing with the Woof-built 413, kernel.

The second bug is strange. No sound, yet when I looked at PupScan (see 'System' menu), it showed that the 'snd-cmipci' module should have loaded for the sound hardware, but it didn't. Hmmm, the audio chip is a C-Media CM8738 (vendor:chip ids = 13f6:0111).

Is the module blacklisted? -- no. Did it try to load and failed? -- no, I can load it manually, and it works. I haven't solved this one yet. The only other possibility that I can think of is it is a udev rule that is messing things up.

Ah ha, I have just discovered a 3rd bug. That's good too. Why good? because users report problems with various old hardware and often I can't reproduce it, so can't fix it. The more old hardware I get though, the more I encounter these strange bugs, so can tackle them.

So, these two bugs are today's challenge!


Old gear
Username: Sage
Ask Travolta to stop by in his 707 one day and I'll fill your porch, garage and garden with old kit in perfect working order for A$0. It all has to go - anyone else in need contact me via the Forum. Is this one of the early ECS boards (TXPro, etc.). These are very good, very stable and permit some modest clocking (but not as much as the trade tried to fob them off with!) You can get the make and model from the string on the start-up screen ( Some of them have those curious little black boxes which contain the BIOS [b]AND[/b] the battery. With some of those you can lever off the top, others you have to slice it off with a Stanley, then mount a new coin cell on the outside top with the glue gun and run a pair of wires inside. Can't remember whether those early SiS chipsets fail to shut down properly with Puppy like the 735 and 748 chipsets?

Old gear
Username: capoverde
"Be careful Barry, or you'll end up with a ton of old and perfectly working PCs, monitors etc. piled up somewhere near your front porch -- as happened to me, wishing to "rescue" them from the garbage bin. Nowadays it would be plain fair to [b]ask[/b] 25$ for taking one of these things away...

P4 Mostly
Username: Raffy
"Here in the "less developed" city, only P4 monsters are widely available as used PCs (the older ones have been sold off). The current practice is to run dual-core hydras. Someone is doing it right for the future, whether Intel in the Atom processor and Moblin/MID (Mobile Internet Device), DMP with its Xcore86/Edubook, or Qualcomm and others with their ARM-based smartbooks.

Just to test
Username: clarf
"Hi Barry glad to know you are testing old machines, that will make a solid final Woof. Did you try Puppy 2 series on it?. I know that SIS video chips works fine with Puppy 2.16, it could be good to try 2.14x (ttuuxxx updated) it has some Xorg modifications made by Dugal and extra drivers for sound. Good look chasing bugs (I never get bored using old hardware with Puppy).

Where is this shop?
Username: cthisbear
"Barry. Where is this wondrous shop? A Whirlpool forum regular from Perth wishes to know please. Regards............Chris.

Tags: woof