[rescue] Re: scrap sparcbook

Wes Will wwill at siu.edu
Fri Nov 5 10:33:16 CST 2004

At 10:15 AM 11/5/2004 -0500, you wrote:
>On Thu, Nov 04, 2004 at 08:08:00PM -0500, velociraptor wrote:
>> Two whole full-length NuBus slots underneath unless you need one for
>> better video.  NuBus USB card for the wireless adaptor, or hacking a
>> slot in the side for a PCMCIA USB adaptor?  (Assuming he's putting a
>> Duo in the dock.)
>Does anyone actually make NuBus USB cards? 
>I wonder how hard it is to make ones own NuBus cards...

Not too terribly, and there are some fairly nice linux/bsd/unix open source
software packages for circuit board layout.  They're not quite up to the
megabucks-commercial-software level, but they're adequate.  Engineers at
Universities (like mine, anyway) don't get the cash they want for toys all
the time, and they're often intolerant of someone else's software design.
The "I can write better software than Dr. So-and-so at Whatsamadda-U!  He's
a cheap hack!" attitude can result in some truly cool programming.

I've used Spice before, and it's much more than adequate, once you're used
to the quirks.

http://www.circuitsage.com/  will help you play, chat 'em up, maybe your
application is weird enough to interest them....

http://www.epanorama.net/links/software.html   Check the "PCB CAD" section,
and also "Electronic Circuit Design and Analysis."  Some wicked-nice links
(some of which are undoubtedly broken, of course).

Get yourself a nubus breadboard card or two, a decent soldering iron or
wire-wrap tool, and start playing.  By the bye, "IC sockets are your
friend!"  Use 'em for discrete components, too, and save yourself a load of
hassle down the road when you let the magic smoke out of some poor innocent

For cheap parts (as in "FREE SAMPLES"), if you can prove affiliation with
higher education or the electronics industry zap off a request to Maxim
Integrated Products, Inc.  I got the battery-backed memory chip required to
bring the BIOS back up to speed on a Sun SS-20 for free from them.  I still
have one of their newer design (no pins, surface mount stuff so useless in
a Sun box) replacements for that same series chip.  4 times the storage,
about 20 times faster retrieval, and really low battery drain for
standby/memory state maintenance.  Wish I could figure something to use the
chip in.... and had that kind of time on my hands.  Like maybe slowing the
clock a bit and putting an old Pentium-150 PC on 2 meters, then letting out
with a "CQ," possibly using the building ethernet wiring for the antenna?
Hmmmm....  The BOFH gets his Ham ticket.

You'll probably find that getting nubus architecture internals to interface
directly with usb standards (which seem to rely on pci architecture
internals and timing, oddly enough) is harder than just getting a good,
fast serial i/o going in NuBus and slipping in a serial-usb converter box
external to the Mac.  Maybe you could implement RS-422 in NuBus, but
jack-of-all-trades RS-232 will be much cheaper and much easier to come by.
I know there are already NuBus RS-232 cards out there by the bucket, try a
Hurdler II card from (I think they are defunct) Creative Solutions, Inc.

wes will

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