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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: Castle propose modifications to Iyonix motherboard [updated]

Castle propose modifications to Iyonix motherboard [updated]

Posted by Phil Mellor on 11:20, 29/1/2004 | , , , , , , , ,
Castle have released details of ways to improve the stability of their Iyonix PC. Since its release over a year ago, many Iyonix owners have encountered problems with system freezes, possibly as a consequence of writing particular patterns to the screen. Other symptoms have been a loss of sound and an inability to use the reset button after hanging. Temporary solutions have been suggested including disabling audio and DMA access, but Castle have now come up with a hardware fix. Aemulor programmer Adrian Lees helped track down the causes on the Iyonix mailing list.

Castle reports that "there appears to be a compatibility issue between the Hint PCI bridge chip and the ALI southbridge chip ... Configuring the primary PCI bus to start up as 32bit instead of 64bit can considerably help reduce (or even eliminate) freezes due to sound loss." John Ballance said "All these mods can improve 'stability' but are not regarded as necessary if you are not experiencing problems."

The fix requires alterations to the motherboard, by fitting jumper pins and making track cuts. Some Iyonix users may be more than capable of doing the mod themselves, but we're sure Castle will arrange an alternative for those without the equipment or confidence.

Update: Stuart Tyrrell Developments and Simtec have responded to calls for assistance. For £50 (excluding carriage) they will test, strip down, modify, ressamble, and test your Iyonix. Machines may be taken (after making prior arrangements) to Simtec's offices in Preston. Meanwhile Castle have said that any machines passing through them will be modded for a much more reasonable £0; it's likely that we'll see other dealers making arrangements too. It seems that finding someone who can conveniently fix your machine, and how much you'll pay, depends greatly on your location.

Motherboard modifications
Iyonix review
Update: STD/Simtec's offer

  Castle propose modifications to Iyonix motherboard [updated]
  (12:28 29/1/2004)
  Phlamethrower (12:30 29/1/2004)
    ksattic (23:41 29/1/2004)
      monkeyson2 (01:33 30/1/2004)
        ksattic (03:11 30/1/2004)
          Horse (15:32 30/1/2004)
Ian Message #92750, posted at 12:28, 29/1/2004
Unregistered user And there was me thinking the only machine that wasn't perfect was the Omega...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Jeffrey Lee Message #92751, posted by Phlamethrower at 12:30, 29/1/2004, in reply to message #92750
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15100
I'm assuming that all the upgrades/fixes on Castle's site are included in all new Iyonicies?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Simon Wilson Message #92752, posted by ksattic at 23:41, 29/1/2004, in reply to message #92751
Finally, an avatar!

Posts: 1291
I bought the bits necessary to do the mod today - cost me pennies. Thanks to Adrian Lees and John Ballance for their hard work on this!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Phil Mellor Message #92753, posted by monkeyson2 at 01:33, 30/1/2004, in reply to message #92752
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
I like the fact that Castle are not afraid or ashamed to publically acknowledge problems with their systems - and that solutions become readily available. Quite a contrast to another RISC OS computer manufacturer.

Mind you, I don't know how or when I'll get the fix done on my machine. I don't really want to lose the machine for a few days by sending it down to Castle, and I'm not sure whether it's the sort of modification that can be performed quickly en masse at the Wakefield show.

The stability isn't a great issue on my computer - it's fine on the desktop, and only some non-desktop programs cause problems.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Simon Wilson Message #92754, posted by ksattic at 03:11, 30/1/2004, in reply to message #92753
Finally, an avatar!

Posts: 1291
I performed the mod, and my computer is working fine. It will probably be a couple of weeks before I can fully assess any improvement.

If you are going to make the mod, I can strongly suggest the following:

1. Find a bright table lamp to closely illuminate the motherboard. The tracks may be difficult to see in ambient light.

2. Don't force the jumper pins in. I pushed carefully on the pins while heating the two solder-filled holes it was to fit in on the motherboard. If you have a desoldering tool, it could be used to empty the solder from the holes first.

3. Wrapping wire is great to make the wire link with. Use the smallest wire available - solid core works best.

4. Use a multimeter to check you have cut the tracks correctly before putting the computer back together.

Castle are great to deal with - I agree that their no-nonsense approach to problems and fixes is to be admired.

  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Horse Message #92755, posted at 15:32, 30/1/2004, in reply to message #92754
Unregistered user It's just like a journey back into the old days of Acorn: trial by steel (RISC OS upgrades), test of nerves (disk interface upgrades). Good to see tradition being upheld by the main players! ;-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]

Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: Castle propose modifications to Iyonix motherboard [updated]