The 100% 386 DX40 aka The Albatross Part 4

Part IV

and maybe THE END?

Things have been getting done!  The case is rust free and painted.  I have a 1.44 floppy drive to add along with the 5.25 floppy drive.  I have the Conner 340 Megabyte hard drive, the Trident ISA video card, and the ASound ISA sound card AS400.  It is time to re-assemble The Albatross!


So it’s off to the races.  I popped off all the front bits to prepare.  We are going with some large format pictures on this update.



I had to take the front off to release the tabs on the 5.25 bays.  Just couldn’t get them off unless I did.  Time had made these less flexible and I didn’t want to break any tabs.



It was time to mount that 1.44 Floppy drive.

I had ordered a 3.5″ to 5.25 bracket so I could relocate the Conner hard drive below the 5.25 Floppy drive.


I was not able to find a direct Almond color match but many of these old systems are multiple beige colors. The Albatross is now rust free!!


Before Before






All was going swimmingly.  DOS 6.21 was loaded with our 4 megabytes if 30 pin ram. Several DOS applications and games were loaded.  Very yummy!

Telengard, DOS Dungeon Crawler Game from Avalon Hill
Major Styker, DOS Game, from Apogee
Word Perfect 5.1, DOS version
Edit Revolution, DOS HTML Editor, No I do not know why but I did it anyway.
Account Pro, DOS Accounting Software. For no good reason. Because it was there
Shmansi, DOS ANSI editor, Because it’s coming!
PKUnzip, It’s necessary.

Windows 3.1 finally in SVGA mode (Driver finally installed) and a couple applications.

MS Works

But then it happened. You know, when things are going too well so a hiccup happens just to make sure you are paying attention?  I had run the burn in test a month ago and everything was groovy. Then I let the Albatross sit contently powered off a couple weeks. This day I flipped the big red power switch and the Conner whirred to life and up came the familiar DOS prompt.  A calmness filled the lab.  

I still had my day job happening so I switched the work desk and began my functions, checking servers, reviewing my teams cases, planning for the days meetings. I had this odd feeling like maybe I missed something. I reviewed my functions, checking servers, reviewing my teams cases, planning for the days meetings.  Nope all in order.  I shot a quick glance to The Albatross, yep there is text on the screen, okay good deal. 

NO WAIT!!! What is that!???

Two more reboots and same thing after hitting F1 to continue. The ram count on post was off too. After that no more posty-post on successive reboots!!!

Okay, let’s rewind back months and months ago to the beginning when I found an abandoned, beige, rusty desktop.  I opened it up re-seated all the bits but we had no posty-post.  I had to gather up donor components that were good to test the rest. I did so over the course of a month or some. It took awhile because unfortunately, many people want to help a hobbyist out only if you have vast quantities of gold and gems in exchange for parts.   I pleaded that I was trying to save an old dying potential future friend. That fell upon deaf ears and open wallets.  Where is the brotherhood I say!? Apparently, brotherhood has a high price tag. 

Fortunately, I was able to source some parts for free. Now I know people will chastise that I didn’t want to pay, however I do and will once I can prove The Albatross is not dead. Spending the cabbage on a long dead dream is not smart gardening!

I had handed the system off to the wizard Infinate because he is all the things I am not with this old hardware, as in he goes down to component level diagnostics.  Somehow he cast some kind of ancient incantation and brought The Albatross back from the abyss. That’s where my posts really begin back from Part 1.

The fog fades, a gong sounds, and we are back to more present times.  The Albatross was happy and worked for several months through all the prodding and rearranging and upgrading and disassembly, the painting, the assembly.  All was good and The Albatross spread it’s wings.  Until this Parity error. 

First thing, pull the ram and all the cards. Test with just video card and one stick of ram at a time – negative.  Test video card in another board (spoiler alert, future project). Trident card is fine.  Test board with different 30 pin ram (more spoiler alerts) – negative. Test board, ram and video card with different power supply – negative. Bench test board outside case – negative. It keeps getting power but no posty-post.  No beepies, no blinkies on the screen.  Pulled the bios chip and re-seated it – negative.  Pulled the cache chips tried to post – negative, negative, negative!!!

So my friends, this is where we leave off. The Albatross has come full circle. From not working at all to working beautifully back to acting as it did at the start. Because the board showed signs of life it likely can live again and we will explore that soon as we can.  I will hand off The Albatross A340C-H board to Infinate when our paths can cross and see if he can find out what component is unhappy.  For now we conclude the saga of The Albatross until it becomes The Phoenix and rises again!

Thank you for coming along for the ride! 


You knew this was coming  !!!    WORDSEARCH!!!

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