Mini-PC host

A project log for Antique PAL reading system

Dataman device programmer and PC with LPT

KeithKeith 02/04/2022 at 17:060 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.