I want to install FreeDOS onto a 64 megabyte Apacer IDE flash disk for use in a
Wyse Sx0 thin client. It has to be done outside the box because when booted off
USB the thin client tells the booting OS that the IDE controller is disabled.
It's not actually disabled. The flash updaters for WinCE, Linux and XP Embedded
ignore that and various compact Linux distros have been configured to ignore
the IDE controller being "disabled". How it's done for TinyCore
Is there a way to install FreeDOS to a drive from Windows?
Hardware specsCPU = AMD Geode GX 366 Mhz. Does not have PAE.Chipset = AMD Ceode
Companion CS5536 (The original Sx0 used a CS5535)Audio = Realtek ALC655 AC97
Ethernet = Realtek RTL8100 (Not the RTL8139)RAM = One slot for PC2700 CL 2.5
SODIMM up to 512 megabytes.Storage = One 44 pin header for 2.5" IDE devices,
supports some level of UDMA.Ports = Four USB 2.0, one DE-9 RS232C, one VGA, one
3.5mm stereo audio, one 3.5mm microphone, one 10/100 Ethernet, one 12V 2.5A
What I want to do with this is use it for a tiny PC to run DOS control software
for an early-mid 1990's benchtop CNC milling machine. 366Mhz is *plenty* enough
power since the GCODE processing is actually done by the Animatics servo
controller in the mill. These machines could be run off an 8mhz IBM 5150PC with
EMS. The mill only needs a single RS232C connection to its control computer,
making an Sx0 ideal, if it can be setup right.
I have downloaded the Panasonic universal USB Mass Storage drivers for DOS and
VIA's DOS AC97 drivers. Don't know if Realtek's AC97 implementation matches up
with VIA's. I've read that the VIA drivers do work with some other brands but
found no mention of Realtek. I also have the Realtek 81xx Ethernet drivers for
Sound and networking aren't essential to operating the mill, but I'd like to
get them to work since I have three of these WYSE boxes. One would make an
ideal DOOM machine, probably would even run DN3D and some other old DOS games.
I got a 1 gig Apacer flash module off eBay and one of the three had a 128 meg,
I also bought a couple of 512 meg SODIMMs. All three originally had 128 meg
RAM. The hardware supports up to 1 gig in two banks, but the Sx0 has only one
slot. Unless it can take a dual bank / double sided 1 gig and read it as though
it's in two slots, 512 meg is the upper limit.
The operating environment I'd like to setup for the CNC needs to have USB mass
storage support for loading GCODE files from USB flash drives. It needs as much
of the low 640K free as possible and as much EMS as possible. XMS is not
needed. There's an environment variable to set for allocating the number of 16K
SET LMCEMS=number of blocks or use All, A or -1 to allocate all available EMS.
The software first uses all available conventional memory for GCODE, then moves
to EMS. If available memory is too small, the GCODE file can be chunked with a
split utility that adds a command to end of each chunk to load the next
sequentially named chunk. Having to split a code file can be a problem because
branching and looping routines cannot go outside of a single chunk.
With 512 meg RAM I'd like to setup part of it as a RAM disk to copy the CNC
software to as part of the startup process. Total size, after removing the
example GCODE files, install.exe and setup.exe is around 550K so there should
be plenty of room.
What I don't know is the memory map of the thin client, how fragmented it may
be. I've run the mill from an old laptop but its memory space is so chunked up
with ROM code from all the peripherals that it's impossible to come up with the
64K window to run EMS through.
I did find an old French website where someone installed an older version of
FreeDOS onto an Sx0 with 64 meg flash and provided an image of the drive. I
copied the image over and it boots up, in French. I also found out that AOMEI
Standard Edition 6.1 instantly destroys the formatting on the Apacer flash
module when it's launched. (Bug report filed, AOMEI is *not* supposed to be
writing *anything* to storage devices unless the user clicks Apply.)
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