Sharp PC-3000

Everything about vintage DOS based Palmtops goes in here...
wintermute
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Favorite Palmtop: Sharp_PC-3000

Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by wintermute » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:01 am

I got the Win 98 and, after lots of juggling, was able to dual boot my T42 (I removed 1GB just in case). It's complicated if you install XP 1st (like I did) because Win 98 chokes on NTFS. The process was: boot 98 DOS from CD, do fdisk magic, install Win 98, boot XP CD, repair XP (to create the dual boot menu). I was not able to make WiFi work on 98 (for now) but was able to make USB work and that was enough to be able transfer stuff from Mac.

Now, onto the SRAM. After installing the TI PCI-4520 CardBus drivers and inserting these lines into the CONFIG.SYS:

DEVICE = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\CSMAPPER.SYS
DEVICE = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\CARDDRV.EXE /SLOT=1
DEVICE = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\CARDDRV.EXE /SLOT=2

I was able to see E: and F: drives (corresponding to 2 PCMCIA slots). I am able to format the SRAM card on Win 98 and to write and read from it. So far so good.

However, ALAS!, Sharp doesn't see what Win 98 wrote to the card! Files written by Sharp are also "invisible" to Win 98 (it shows some weird characters for Sharp's file names and file sizes of 0). If i format on Win, Sharp is able to DIR it but doesn't see anything written on Win 98. If I format on Sharp, Win 98 is able to see it but with the mentioned caveat of not recognizing the files properly.

I don't have a clue why is this happening (it couldn't be because the SRAM battery is weak!?) and it's late now so will stop here. Any hint is highly appreciated!

Kyodai
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Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by Kyodai » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:10 am

Hmmm, maybe WIndows 98 doesn't have the Trueffs driver installed? Yeah the driver was intended for FLASH cards, but it also works like a charm with SRAM cards.

On the Windows 98 SE CD it should be under "\drivers\storage\ftl" - just right click on "trueffs.inf" and pick "install". AFter that reboot the computer.

Also a thing i noticed - delete this line: "DEVICE = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\CARDDRV.EXE /SLOT=1" from config.sys. You should only load that driver ONCE and "SLOT=2" simply means "I have 2 PCMCIA slots suitable for SRAM cards".


And always try formatting the SRAM card in the Sharp for best compatibility.


Let me know if that didn't help!

wintermute
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Posts: 48
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Favorite Palmtop: Sharp_PC-3000

Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by wintermute » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:31 pm

I did all you said -- same result. The computers don't see each other's data:

- if I format on Sharp and put one simple txt file on it:
-- Win 98 sees the card as valid
-- Win 98 sees the file name as a single non-ASCII character and the size of the file as 0
-- if I add a file using Win 98 on such card, Sharp won't see that file but will still see it's old file
-- Win 98 will keep seeing its file even after the card has been in Sharp

- if I format on Win 98 and put one simple txt file on it:
-- Sharp sees the card as valid
-- Sharp doesn't see the Win 98's file at all
-- Sharp can write and read it's files if put on the card

They don't see each other's files and don't step on each other (at least in this simple example).

I also tried to LABEL the card and the name doesn't carry from one machine to the other. But the card stays valid in both.

Kyodai
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Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by Kyodai » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:55 pm

Hmmm, i checked and my Windows 98 is "pre SE", soo it is an older version. I did not have trueffs installed at all.Thinking about it - I think the later versions of trueffs didn't need the DOS drivers at all...

Can you try to completely remove (or "REM") the drivers in config.sys and add a statement "LASTDRIVE=Z" in the config.sys? That should just enable all available drive letters and remove the DOS drivers (We now try with just Trueffs alone).

Also check that trueffs is installed properly - in your windows directory there should be a directory named "TFFS98" or so.

Of course reboot after the change. At least at the moment that is my best idea of what to try.

wintermute
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Favorite Palmtop: Sharp_PC-3000

Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by wintermute » Tue Nov 08, 2016 4:00 am

I already had the LASTDRIVE=Z line. I commented out the DOS driver, rebooted, and the card is now unrecognizable and attempting to FORMAT it results with "divide by zero overflow". Putting the driver back reverted the previous situation. TRUEFFS appears to be installed -- there is a TFFS9x folder with several files inside, 2 executable, TFORMAT and TCHECK. Attempting to TFORMAT the card results with "not a tffs drive" error.

Not really sure what to do next, I think I will reinstall Win 98 from scratch because I remember in the old days that used to solve lots of mysteries. If that doesn't work maybe get an older pre-SE version? How about Win 95? All I need is SRAM and USB and could even live without USB because I can boot to XP and then copy anything I want on the other Wins's partition.

[ BTW, in a surprising and fortunate turn of events I will be soon getting an HP Omnibook 800ct (the fastest 166mhz one) with lots of extras... If you have any expertise with that machine and if you think that discussion belongs to this forum I might be opening a separate thread for it -- I assume it will be interesting trying to revive/use it. ]

wintermute
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Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:26 pm
Favorite Palmtop: Sharp_PC-3000

Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by wintermute » Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:39 am

Reinstalled Win 98 2 times, tried every single combination, nothing works -- same situation. The SRAM card works great on Win and works great in Sharp but they actually corrupt each other's data (I tried with multiple larger files).

Maybe another next step is to get the card with "attributes" which would supposedly work on Win XP?

Kyodai
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Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by Kyodai » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:19 pm

Sorry to hear about your problems.

I have the old Windows 98 installed (before the "Second Edition") and never had any issues with SRAM cards. I would try Windows 95 since it's pretty fast to install.

OSR 2.5 is imho the best and most stable version:

https://winworldpc.com/product/windows-95/osr-3

There is no Trueffs in Win95, so you will need to rely on the DOS device drivers (again), but at least for me these always worked well.


If you have card services / socket services DOS drivers you can also use the cards under MS-DOS. Might be worth a shot to try and reboot the laptop in MS-DOS mode and see if PCMCIA works. I don't think cardsoft was released for the T42, but maybe versions for older thinkpads work? But just guessing here.

I am still puzzled by this problem. I have nearly a dozen of SRAM cards and never had a problem like this with any of them.

Unfortunately cards with attribute are very rare and very expensive.

A problem i have had with SRAM cards sometimes was a broken partition - for that the easiest fix is the HP 100LX/200LX fdisk100. Besides that I can't remember any problems with SRAM cards. Yeah sure empty batteries sometimes, but if that's the case then usually you pull the card out of the laptop or palmtop and all data is gone, so that is a very visible problem.


And yeah - I also have several Omnibooks - namely 425, 430 and 600. SO feel free to make a new thread for these if you wanna talk about it. :)



Edit: Oh lucky - seems there's PCMCIA support for DOS as well regarding the T42:

http://support.lenovo.com/us/de/downloads/ds013565

wintermute
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Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:26 pm
Favorite Palmtop: Sharp_PC-3000

Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by wintermute » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:53 am

Where to begin?

Rebooted in DOS only (Wind 98 DOS Mode) and the card is not recognizable.

Dowloaded the file from your link but it expanded into something which wants to create a diskette and I don't have a floppy drive. (The Omnibook which I mentioned will have a floppy drive so maybe then but I doubt -- read on...)

Tried to install Win 95 but was not able to do it -- Win 95 CD is not bootable and, again, I don't have a floppy drive to boot from the system diskette. Again, maybe possible to make one with Omnibook's floppy once I get it...

Tried to reinstall Win 98 from another installation (mine was OEM, tried retail) and the machine locked with blues screen. Tried again -- same blue screen. Tried reinstalling from the old Win 98 CD -- said it couldn't on such drive. Booted from that CD, deleted the partition, formatted, format failed. 2nd time worked but then Win 98 said that it could not be installed on that computer. Not sure how it worked the previous time. Maybe I am running into the issues with big RAM or something...

In any case I got fed up with this and will abandon everything until the Omnibook arrives. Honestly, I think if Omnibook can read CFs via CF PCMCIA adapter, I will just use that. XP was able to do it. I would prepare whatever I need on my Mac and, using the CF reader (which I already am doing for purposes of my other retro stuff) transfer it to a CF card and then put that card into the adapter and insert into Omnibook and copy from there to SRAM in Omnibook's 2nd slot. I hope that will work....

As the insult on the injury, the last Win 98 attempt killed XP and now the machine is dead. Restore doesn't work and I don't see a purpose in installing it again because it doesn't benefit me at all (it cannot read SRAM cards) but I am doing it in the background as I type this...

I will probably open a different thread about Omnibook once I get it. This thread did not have to do much with Sharp anyway, it was more about Win 98 and SRAM cards on T42.

Kyodai
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Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by Kyodai » Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:46 am

Yeah the win 95 CDs were infamous for not containing a boot disk (Thus you can't boot from the CD). A bit of a trick is to boot Windows 98 setup, quit setup and then just change discs. Another easy workaround is to just make a bootable USB stick (Or CD) with a tool like "RUFUS" and add the win95 installation files from the win95 cd (The setup dir). After you boot from the USB stick to DOS you just run win95 setup from DOS.

But yeah i can understand that not everyone has as much fun playing with DOS and ancient windows installers as i do... To me it's always a bit like solving a puzzle.

wintermute
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Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:26 pm
Favorite Palmtop: Sharp_PC-3000

Re: Sharp PC-3000

Post by wintermute » Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:52 pm

Thank you for keeping up with my frustrations :)

I actually do have more Sharp-relevant questions. I read on your site:
... sharp can boot from PCMCIA cards. It can use Flash or CF cards (with a pcmcia adapter) but keep in mind DOS 3.3 can only access disks up to 32 MB (At least with the sundisk driver).
1. What do you mean by "boot"?
2. I have a CF flash card pcmcia adapter and it fits into the slot. I was afraid to put it in all the way though but from what i see it will be fine electronically, it just need the drivers?
3. I downloaded the drivers from your page (thanks for this!), just need to put them on the sharp somehow and then I don't need to use sram anymore at all, right? (except, of course, to have the drivers on sram in the case the ram disk gets erased)
4. To install the drivers, i just execute install.bat on the machine?
5. The CD card I have is 128 mb. Is the Sharp gonna see it as a 32mb one or do I have to explicitly buy a 32mb (or smaller) card?

I was even thinking of maybe asking you for a favor to put the drivers on my sram card if the Omnibook thing doesn't work. I would be willing to pay for that of course. I think that's actually all I need to bootstrap myself on this machine.
Last edited by wintermute on Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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