(Topic ID: 175162)

RFM Boot Issue - Not Solved, Back Again - Motherboard

By maffewl

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 96 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by RoyF
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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#19 3 years ago

You go into the BIOS settings for the motherboard. Typically that's done by pressing the delete key during the POST process but check your motherboard manual for the exact methodology.

Once you get into the BIOS there are several pages of options. Your serial port settings will probably be in the Integrated Peripherals area. The specific settings for your application should be in the manual somewhere. If you can't find them, replicating the settings from another RFM might work. Different motherboards may use different settings.

#21 3 years ago
Quoted from maffewl:

...when I removed the computer last night to try to get to boot outside of the machine, my lcd monitor said no signal. Do I have to use an older monitor, or? Also, I'm not sure how to connect a keyboard to this.

Assuming you're connecting your LCD monitor to the same port the RFM monitor uses you probably need to cycle through the sources on your LCD. I'm attaching a photo of the symbol my monitor has at that button.

You connect a keyboard by plugging a keyboard into the keyboard port. Image attached is of PS/2 male & female. If you don't see that connector on your motherboard then post a photo of the ports on your computer.

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#36 3 years ago


Clay mentions five specific caps in the above section of the Pinwiki, as well as testing by connecting to an external monitor without the prism card installed. Pay attention to his notes on multi-layer PCB soldering procedures.

#39 3 years ago
Quoted from RoyF:

For diagnostic purposes using the computer case out of the RFM, see if you have a buddy that has an OLD computer monitor. CGA, or perhaps EGA might work too. Not VGA or newer. I actually keep one of these stored away in case I should need it for RFM problem diagnosis, but haven't had to use it in many years.

Both motherboards listed in the Pinwiki have onboard VGA. It would be easier to connect to that port on the motherboard with his LCD monitor. If the header is missing/not included my second choice would be use an old PCI video card. Both the header and a compatible PCI card would be easier to find than a CGA monitor.

#41 3 years ago
Quoted from Brtlkat:

The only way to get it to vga is to convert the signal from cga to vga or pinbox it.

What makes you think it's putting out cga? The motherboard manuals say they put out VGA.

#44 3 years ago
Quoted from j_m_:

it's CGA. I've got an RFM
in fact, if you pull out the cathode ray tube and retrofit in a flat panel LCD display, you need the VGA-CGA convertor board to get a video signal

Do you have the same motherboard as the OP? If so, which connector on the motherboard is providing the video signal?

#46 3 years ago
Quoted from maffewl:

My friend's SWEP1 that is seen in the video has the CRT replaced with an LCD monitor. Can I just connect that to the computer (with Prism card removed & keyboard attached)? If not, from j_m_'s comment, it sounds like he should have a converter board that I could borrow for pulling the computer and testing outside the machine. Again, I very much appreciate the help everyone.

Follow your friend's LCD monitor cable back to the computer. If you unplug his cable at that point and plug your external LCD monitor in you should get a video signal.

Post a picture of where his LCD is connected if you can. I'm curious to see if it's a special card or just a header coming off the motherboard.

#48 3 years ago

Looks like you have two memory sticks. You may have a bad stick or a bad slot. You could try running memtest86 and see if you get errors. If you do, try each stick in both slots to try and narrow down the problem.

sparkup What clue did you spot that points to the parallel port being a problem? Is that used by the pin2k system or could it be disabled in the BIOS and still work?

#50 3 years ago

j_m is your monitor plugged into the back of this card?
If it is, that's a video card that's generating the CGA output. The OP can remove that video card and use a standard (for the day) video card to test with and can probably utilize either of the two PCI slots on the motherboard.

OP, did you test with your video card in both slots of the motherboard? Wish I could find the manual for this particular board.

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#59 3 years ago
Quoted from j_m_:

this may help as well. taken from:
More than one Cyrix Media GX Motherboard was used, so you need to find a manual with a layout that matches
your game.
Here are links to Cyrix 586-GXM-AV (http://www.blackknightpinball.com/rfm/Cyrix-Motherboard-gxmav.pdf)
and the InformTech 586-GXM+ (http://www.blackknightpinball.com/rfm/Motherboard-it-596-gxm.pdf)
the links are still live (however, there is a typo for the 586-GXM-AV one, it's actually:

I found those two manuals, they're linked from the Pinwiki (same document the PinballSupernova document is taken from.)

Neither layout matches the OP's motherboard. Both manuals indicate the output is a VGA signal, not a CGA. So either the ribbon cable from the motherboard goes to a card that converts the video output to CGA or the documentation is wrong.

I wonder if his friend using the LCD has borygard 's adapter in his SWE1? http://lockwhenlit.com/CGA.htm

#61 3 years ago

Were you using your LCD monitor to test your friend's computer? Something doesn't add up if your computer is connected exactly the same way to the same monitor and says no signal.

#67 3 years ago

The best way to troubleshoot is change one thing, then retest. For example boot your computer connected to your friend's LCD. When you see activity on his LCD disconnect it (preferably at the monitor end) and connect your LCD. If you get no signal, your LCD is the problem.

Do both LCD monitors use a cable that can be disconnected at both ends or is it permanently attached at the back of the monitor?

#72 3 years ago
Quoted from Brtlkat:

...if it is a true pinball 2000 setup this will only generate a CGA signal.

Where do you get this information? The two motherboard manuals in this thread both say the output is VGA.

#79 3 years ago
Quoted from Brtlkat:

Go to monitor problems and the last 2 sentences may clear this up. http://pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pinball_2000_Repair#Monitor_problems

I did see that in the Pinwiki. I also see the two motherboards linked to both say in the manual they put out VGA.
http://www.blackknightpinball.com/rfm/Cyrix-Motherboard-gxm-av.pdf (see pages 2 & 3)
http://www.blackknightpinball.com/rfm/Motherboard-it-596-gxm.pdf (see page 2)

Neither of those appear to be the OP's motherboard. If you have documentation that says the Pin2k motherboards only produce a CGA signal I would like to see it.

OP, has your problem progressed to the point that you never get video now? The video you posted showed the machine partially working but from your subsequent posts now you get no signal every time?

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#82 3 years ago
Quoted from RoyF:

What you want to do is to try to enter the BIOS menu during computer boot by repeatedly pressing the appropriate "BIOS boot menu" key on the keyboard during the initial PC boot sequence, just as you would do when entering the BIOS setup menu on any other computer. Might take you a few tries to determine if it is the DEL key, the INS key, or one of the F keys (F1, F2 and F12 the most likely suspects for the F keys).

ESC & Spacebar are other keys used to enter the BIOS. Delete is the most common.

I notice that we never see the Power On Self Test (POST) screen. I suspect that's because it's displayed in VGA mode that the monitor can't display. When the POST completes and hands off control to the operating system on the PRISM card then the monitor shows the output from the PRISM as intended. That would also explain why the motherboard has a VGA connector but you need a converter to use a regular LCD monitor.

OP, you could test this theory by connecting a regular computer monitor to your RFM motherboard without the PRISM card in it. Also connect a keyboard. If my theory is correct you should see activity within a few seconds of turning the computer on. Somewhere on that screen will be instructions for entering the BIOS, likely at a line across the bottom on the screen that says 'press DEL to enter settings' or something like it.

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#84 3 years ago

Using your friend's computer do you see the POST and the instructions for entering the BIOS, you just can't follow them without a keyboard connected? Or do you see only the monitor come on as if waiting for the PRISM to start sending video?

Has anyone ever seen the POST or entered the BIOS on their pin2k computer? If not, can anyone connect a regular monitor and tell me if it displays the POST while booting, then goes blank when the PRISM card takes over?

#90 3 years ago

Nice job taking the videos! You're seeing the computer perform a Power On Self Test, then hand off control to the boot device. Since the boot device (the PRISM card) is removed it doesn't find one and stops.
At the bottom of the POST screen during boot it says "Press DEL to enter setup". That's how you get into your BIOS. I would do that using your friend's computer and take a picture of every setting. Then go into the BIOS on your computer and compare the settings just to make sure they are the same. Markmon mentioned this back in post 17. It's worth trying.

When your computer does not boot, we still don't know why. When it does nothing it could be bad memory, processor, or other motherboard problem. At least if it starts booting and freezes you can rule out the video.

I would blow all slots with dry air to remove any dust. I would try 1 stick of known good memory in one slot, then try the same stick in the other slot.

How much memory did you buy? Your test is only showing 8192k (and your friend's), which is 8mb. Back in post 12 it was mentioned they were using a 128mb stick. Your BIOS will show how much is installed.

P.S. In this photo you posted there are two sticks of memory. One of them isn't installed all the way. You have to push down until those arms on each end click into place. Or is that an empty slot? I can't quite tell.

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#93 3 years ago

I wonder if the video header or ribbon cable is bad on your computer? Have you been swapping those too?

#95 3 years ago

The adapter and cable is what I was asking about. Don't remove the IDE connector from the motherboard.

I think you've checked everything you can. The only hope left is borygard working on them or a miracle BIOS settings fix.

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