Openstep install menu display problems NeXT Cube Hardware

Started by Rob Blessin Black Hole, January 27, 2017, 10:14:36 am

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Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello NeXT Community: This one has me truly baffled:
I have a NeXT Cube with new capacitors and this happening on some NeXT motherboards and not others.   I can move this exact drive to a NeXT color station and Color Turbo and it works fine .
I thought at first it might be a scsi microsd issue but it also is happening on with old hard drivea installation of Openstep 4.2 using an original Openstep 4.2 User CD.
I have done this 1000's of times that is why I am perplexed as to What is happening now the only difference if new capacitors.
This Motherboard does have ceramic capacitors  but why would that only affect part of the menuing system and not all of it.
 On this same motherboard 2.1 works, 3.0 works and 3.3 works , Openstep does not work and I tried upgrading from 3.3 to Openstep 4.2 and that did not work using several Openstep new and cdr's , I have never had this problem before

So you can move this very drive with Openstep 4.2 installed to other NeXT systems and it works fine menus come up which is even more baffling  . The potential I see for this because operating system has some functionality it may truly be the most encrypted system on the planet as not even an admin with root privileges can access it unless the hard drive is paired with a compatible motherboard LOL .
How the heck can new caps affect software ?
Why won't it go into verbose mode when set under parameters ?
You can get to verbose mode using command ~ , then use bsd -s to boot at the NeXT> run fsck -y for file system check but still the same issues ,

it is like it doesn't see or load the some fonts and or part of the menu ing system .  
As I've recently had this happen on several boards , has anyone else that has recapped motherboards using ceramic caps run into this issue with openstep specifically on 68040 25Mhz boards latest rom version  and earlier rom versions.

Thanks for any help
Brian I may send you a board with the issue to see if it is something that you can figure out as I don't want it to become a plague  for Openstep boxes .
I may order some electrolytic caps for the smaller replacements where we were using ceramic caps and see if that is the cause .
AS I say it seems fine with earlier versions of the operating system and new caps on the same Cube boards in question.
Peace Rob[/url]
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93


it might not be the capacitors but other HW related issue at CPU or memory level, during the capacitor change, static might have damage something else.

have you replaced memory and /or BIOS.

I will start by replacing all memory, try and let us know


Hi Rob,

I don't normally install openstep, but I can try to see if I can replicate. To clarify:

1) This only happens with the 68040?
2) Do you also have working 68040 boards?
3) Of the boards you have which don't work, can you tell me the board revision on the solder mask?
4) Does this only happen after a fresh install?


what happens if you try to run it with a NextDimension installed (with only the color screen active)?
October 12, 1988 Computing Advances To The NeXT Level


Very strange behavior.  A few things to consider...

1) Any error messages in the console log?
2) Is the ram parity or non-parity.   If the later, I suppose a few bit errors silently cause all sorts of data or execution inconsistencies.
3) With regards to the re-capping.  The different types of capacitors - ceramic, polyester or electrolytic may not be directly interchangeable depending on what the electrical circuit is doing.  Side effects may be causing sporadic failures in the logic circuitry.    
4) #2 and #3 could easily be code (version) dependent.  Different locations for execution or data, or differently coding sequences would change noise levels on the cpu bus.
5) Remove the nvram battery and let it reset (but you probably know that).

Good luck - Jerry

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello Everyone:  Thanks for the advice but still no joy.

I tried first to make sure the install was not the problem ,

1) I tested the singing hard drive
( I really appreciate the quiteness of the scsi2 microsd's)
on a different NeXT system and it came up fine.  So even if it has the partial menuing system and lack of file directories  condition it is not caused by the operating system as that appears to have installed fine .
2) I pulled the battery to reset the parameters , then reset reset the parameters to boot from the scsi hard drive as well as verbose mode to yes. It still would default to graphic mode and I've noticed this on several recapped boards , my guess is the ceramic capacitors are causing this yet you can set parameters to verbose on other recapped boards and it works fine with the same ceramic caps. Has anyone else noticed this ?
3) I swapped out the ram from 4mb simms to 1 mb simms and the same issues with menuing as I say just in Openstep 4.2 ,
4) I tried swapping processors the cube processor is socketed  sample 68040 25Mhz and the swap was  also a socketed 68040 25Mhz , I swapped the monostation processor to the cube the monitor lit up but no graphics this time . I swapped it back to the monostation and graphics came up fine
,then when reintegrated the sample processor back to the cube  double verified it is seated with no bent pins , it powered up screen lit up but now no graphics ,  so I'm stymied.
5) I think it would have been able to look at console for messages if I first launched it on a second box then moved it back to the cube box that doesn't like Openstep for whatever reason a traditionalist NeXT cube motherboard for sure only likes up to NeXTSTEP version 3.3 he he he.
6) I have been careful during all of this as I say there must have been something that changed in the code to cause this so Brian , I'll send you this one and see if you can figure it out . My guess is a component fail.
7) My friend Matt has a lot of professional experience working boards which is nice and he has pointed out previous work on some old boards spans many years  from the factory even though it was automated , techs still repaired some of the boards, some work was done by Bell Atlantic NeXTs former repair , Charles at Maccaps some of his work is great but Matt was pointing out a lot of stuff  that may have caused problems , other factors like time , where they wer stored and usage , none of the soldering work was by me as my soldering skills are novice :( LOL). Issues may have developed from having soldier icycles , failed components , lifted solder pads.  So the point is Matt does really nice work and cares ,so I'm paying him to repair and or clean up the past work if needed, so I know it is done right .
 Also Brian is amazing at diagnosing the problems and providing solutions as are a lot of guys in the forums.
It is fun for me but some of these boards can be trying to figure out .  
Here's a video showing the Copperfield board in question LOL   , I think sometimes NeXT computers mess with us just because they can LOL.  
NeXT Computers are able to improvise music , the story goes , a customer wrote a program where the NeXT would listen to a score of music , then on its own pick and instrument from a list of synthesized instruments join in, some chose woodwinds, others strings, percussion and horns etc... some liked raucus tunes and others symphonic , then the original score was removed so the improv sometimes went on for month's .
What was funny is some of these NeXT's had a falling out even kicked out of the band with no wrythm they were content to be servers or roadies or just listen and others just played and played prodegies.... this is  one of the NeXT stories that has kept me doing this for so long, as I know there is something really cool about these NeXT's as funny as it sounds; I try to match the computers with the personalities of the customers LOL eccentric may be  but it seems like they let me know. I'm still looking for the app and the developer if you are on here please let me know. I know it was  on an optical disk probably around here somewhere , here is an example of how amazing the music software is
Peace and Best Regards Rob Blessin
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93