Antique PAL reading system

Dataman device programmer and PC with LPT

Similar projects worth following
I have various old boards whose PAL chips I want to read but my hobbyist device programmer only supports a few modern devices.

I mentioned this to a workmate, who was nearing retirement, and he gave me a professional-class Dataman device programmer!

It failed to talk through my PCIe LPT card, and Dataman told me the software needs to talk via a printer port on the PC motherboard. Or I can upgrade to a USB version for £400.

I tried a cheap thin client board, but it had no OS and installing one was more hassle than expected.

I eventually bought a small fanless PC with Windows 98SE already installed. This worked fine and I was reading devices within a day.

The £26 thin client PC proved problematic. To install a Windows OS, I needed a drive to install it from. There were no power connectors to power one. All rather fiddly.

I thought of using my SCPC486 board, but that also needs a fair bit of work to get going.

I decided to buy a small PC with Windows 98 already installed. There were some for £102, but I paid £160 for one that was 40% of the size. Space is scarce in my place! It has an LPT port that is directly accessible with IN and OUT instructions, which is what the Dataman software demands.

It has a single ISA slot.

One minor annoyance is that I can't completely change Windows 98SE language to English. Apparently this can only be fixed by a re-installation, which I cannot do. This problem was fixed in Windows XP but the Dataman software to run this old device programmer does not run on XP. Ach schiesse...

Dataman tell me this is the latest software that will drive a 48LV through the LPT port, and only runs on Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000. Not Windows XP, 7, 8 or 10.

Zip Archive - 3.33 MB - 01/07/2022 at 14:50



Dataman 48LV device list

Adobe Portable Document Format - 44.64 kB - 01/07/2022 at 12:39


Not the latest software.

Zip Archive - 3.00 MB - 01/07/2022 at 14:26


D48 sp3

I think this is the latest software update. For Win 2K

Zip Archive - 4.60 MB - 01/07/2022 at 14:26


  • Mini-PC host

    Keith02/04/2022 at 17:06 0 comments

    Most of the headache seems to be installing an OS. This is easy with a ready-to-go PC with a CD ROM or even floppy disks, but my Futro board did not have them.

    I decided to buy a small PC with Windows 98 already installed. There were some for £102, but I paid £160 for one that was 40% of the size. Space is scarce in my place! It has an LPT port but if it is not directly accessible with IN and OUT instructions, I can fit one that definitely is by using the single ISA slot.

    The couriers left a note saying there is £42.95 to pay. I imagine this is £32 for 20% VAT plus £10.95 processing charge. Pushing the total cost to a tad under £203. That is still about half the cost of the USB upgrade, but not that cheap either.


    It arrived and I had a look inside it:

    It is fanless, with the only faint sound coming from a 2.5" PATA drive. Switching on, it boots to German Windows 98. A few quick tweaks to the settings and it is British keyboard and UK English, but still get some German appearing when hovering the mouse cursor over the minimise/maximise/close icons.

    I installed the Dataman device programmer software through a USB drive. There are four USB ports and they accept USB drives and wireless mouse receivers, although with some diversion to look for new device drivers.

    It managed to speak to the device programmer through the LPT port on the motherboard. 

    There does not seem to be a manufacturer for all the sample PAL chips I had, but I selected the nearest equivalents and managed to read them.


  • Fanless PC board

    Keith03/28/2021 at 02:00 0 comments

     I found some "Thin Client" PCs fanless PC boards (Fujitsu Futro S-400) from Germany, with these features:

    * legacy RS232/LPT ports
    * modern build
    * fanless and silent
    * simple power (12V 5A DC)
    * PATA and CF sockets

    I only need the LPT, the other features are just a bonus.

    They were cheap at £26 but there is 20% VAT and over £10 of paperwork charges, which are an unwelcome addition.

    I plan to install WinXP and the Dataman software.

    I have a Tektronix pizza-box style case that might do, but the board needs to be upright for good convection cooling.

    I have a suitable 12V DC PSU.

    The PSU connector is a 4-pin thing but Toby want £4 postage on a £1 part. So I may simply wire power directly in to save looking for the plug.

    2019-02-10 Finding it very hard to get this board going. Managed to make a bootable DOS drive on CF card but this won't run the WinXP installation files in DOS mode. I think the only way is to get an IDE CD-ROM drive and boot from that. Perhaps borrow one from an old PC? It is cheaper in time to just buy one.

    I have found an old external drive that takes in 12V and steps it down to 5V, then both rails go to a 4-pin Molex drive power connector. I intend to use this to power the optical drive while it installs WinXP. Afterwards it and the optical drive are no longer needed.

    2019-02-11 Salvaged an IDE CD ROM drive from an old scrap PC. Did not work, nor did either of two IDE hard drives I had. 

    2019-02-15 Tried to get into the BIOS to see if it can be modified to try booting from the IDE port. I can't get in with DEL or F2.

    2019-02-17 Tried raw copy of some existing XP disk files.  Could not delete files from Linux, had to reformat. Copied XP files, tried it, got "not a bootable disk" so I have to make it bootable again somehow.

    Due to the international pandemic situation, I shelved this project for a while. I later looked for an alternative host.

View all 2 project logs

Enjoy this project?



Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates