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toshiba_t3200sxc

Toshiba T3200SXC

My T3200SXC

Picture taken in February 2024.

Specs

  • Portable computer from early 1990s
  • CPU Intel 80386SX 20 MHz, slot for 387 math co-processor
  • Non-standard Toshiba BIOS, battery backed
  • 1 MB internal RAM, expandable to 13 MB RAM using 30-pin SIMMs
  • 120 MB Conner HDD, BIOS locked
  • 3.5 inch Floppy
  • Parallel port
  • VGA port!
  • 2 RS-232 serial ports + 1 “internal” serial for modem
  • AT external keyboard support (may need to click out a plastic piece to see it)
  • Color LCD! 640×480
  • 1x 16-bit ISA slot
  • 1x 8-bit ISA slot
  • Proprietary Toshiba card slot (see CF adapter section)

The power supply

It has a 100V-240V universal power supply integrated.

When I received mine in 2019 or so, it started, but the picture looked really bad. Some months and years later, it didn't start any more. It turned out that power supply caps leaked really badly. So I opened it up and managed to replace all the bad caps. The high voltage caps were fine, I left them in because capacitance and ESR were OK. The board has now a lot of bubbles from corrosion, but it works.

I've read that the BIOS battery may leak badly. When I received mine, the battery was empty, but no leaks. Now I use a wrapped plastic bag around my BIOS battery and store it in the modem compartment. Just in case, I use a diode in the cable, but I don't actually think it's necessary. Not sure.

The display

The display may have a lot of leaking electrolytic capacitors and in case of no picture, it's usually fixable.

Most trouble I had was with two power converters. The are in the screen panel. These are separate small green PCB boards on top of other boards. One seemed to generate negative 8V while the other one, with more pins, seemed to generate maybe -12V. Both I replaced with isolated 2W converters (9V and 12V models, respectively) and wired positive output to negative input to get the negative output voltage. I think the input was 12V. Isolated voltage converters (DC-DC) can be bought from Mouser/Farnell/DigiKey etc.

List of suitable memory modules

I've read that the T3200SXC can be quite picky about memory.

The T3200SXC has 1 MB internal RAM. Maximum that can be added is 3x2x2MB = 12MB so it will have a maximum of 13 MB.

I have a total of 6 MB added memory (2 of each). These are my 1MB modules:

Chip names: Siemens HYB511000BJ-70, GoldStar GM71C1000LJ80, Motorola MCM411000J80.

Upgrading two modules to 2MB (to get 9MB total) is on my todo list.

I believe 4 MB modules can be made to work, according to https://forum.classic-computing.de/forum/index.php?thread/26521-toshiba-t3200sxc-2mb-simm-module/

I have tried regular 4 MB modules, they work, but they are recognized as 1 MB.

Chip names: LGS GM71C4100CJ60

This is how it looks like under the keyboard:

BIOS

T3200SXC has a proprietary Toshiba BIOS. I have the 012C version of the BIOS.

To get into the original BIOS, I don't know any key combination. What works: either unplug the BIOS battery for a few minutes, or change the amount of memory.

The biggest problem with that is that it only detects 40MB/120MB Conner HDDs on the IDE controller. There is a workaround for not using hard disks from original BIOS, that is to use an XT-IDE BIOS (see near CF adapter section).

Hard disk

The original BIOS of the T3200SXC only supports 40MB/120MB Conner HDDs. If the BIOS battery has become flat, it will wait for the HDD for a long time, but eventually, after a minute or two, it let me into the BIOS, where the HDD can be disabled.

My Conner 120MB HDD works without issues, it's used as a compressed drive (Doublespace/Drivespace).

The HDD can be powered down with IDESLP11 tool that I could download from: http://files.mpoli.fi/software/DOS/UTILS/DISKFILE/?C=S;O=A

Also, the XT-IDE BIOS has the option to power down the HDD after some minutes, I don't remember if it worked for me. (See next section)

CF adapter for T3200SXC

I have the version with only CF card myself, but even without the CF it may be useful because of the XT-IDE BIOS that can override the boot device, so any non-Conner HDD can be used.

Any 8-bit ISA XT-IDE BIOS compatible card should also work. T3200SXC has two slots (16-bit+8-bit) where a standard card can be used.

I bought my CF adapter from:

For me, it fits with 2 other cards (sound card in 8-bit slot + network card in 16-bit slot).

Internal floppy drive

My 3.5 inch floppy works. Although some suggest it may have leaking caps, it actually has very few caps and they seem fine.

The problem here is that the connector is proprietary, the same cable has power+data and is not standard.

Tested hardware

On 16-bit ISA bus, it has worked fine.

  • Idea: on models with boot ROM possibility, you can get a flash/EEPROM chip and try to put XT-IDE BIOS on the chip. You can configure ROM address using 3c5x9cfg utility (an address like 0xC800 is good, I guess).

Terratec TT1816

This sound card (Terratec TT1816, featuring AD1816) works fine in DOS, both in the 8-bit and 16-bit slots. AdLib and Sound Blaster sound seem fine for me (some complain about FM quality). It is MPU401 compatible and has a joystick port (I have tested also with a real joystick).

3inOneder CF

The connector first seemed to be a bit unstable on my Toshiba. After doing more experiments, it seems that maybe other ISA cards don't agree with having this card (especially the Terratec, which is Plug-and-Play).

It has it's own XTIDE BIOS, it's good so the internal HDD controller can be bypassed.

First I had this error while trying to flash a new XT-IDE BIOS, but after rebooting to an empty DOS without any HIMEM, the flashing worked.

For some reason, the XT-IDE BIOS on this device is sometimes unstable. I put the XT-IDE on a ROM on the 3Com Etherlink III (using address D000 instead of C800), this seems to be a lot more stable. Then I finally disabled the XT-IDE on the CF reader, by soldering a jumper place (but leaving it unpopulated) in place of the long soldered bridge closest to text C.M._.

The CF reader part itself now seems to be quite stable.

Tested software

Windows 3.1

Mine came with Windows 3.1, Finnish version, on the Conner 120MB hard disk with DoubleSpace enabled. This still works.

Windows 95

I've tried installing Windows 95 onto a CF card and succeeded in booting from it. Although it boots in reasonable time, the install itself took a few hours and it's not worth it, unless it's your only way to test 32-bit Windows software on some hardware that you can only test on this Toshiba.

After I installed Terratec Base 1 sound card drivers, my Toshiba had CF card corruption, for some reason. I guess it's related to some I/O conflict. It always happened like this. Luckily I had a backup of my CF so I just copy old data back to CF and run Windows 95 again. The Terratec itself works fine under DOS. It also makes sound in Windows 95 (sometimes I've heard it before CF corruption). With later tests, I suspect that I need to initialize the card in DOS before attempting to do anything in Windows. And after running the DOS installer before adding the hardware to Windows, it started to work.

I have also succeeded in using Putty 0.59 to log in to a SSH server (key negotiation took about 2 minutes).

Eagle 4.16 (for electrical schematics & layout) did manage to run, but will have trouble with limited memory.

As soon as I get additional 2x2MB memory, I will try Office 95 also.

Toshiba DOS / tools

I haven't yet succeeded with running Toshiba's TEST3 program to be able to get into the BIOS. It doesn't seem to detect my T3200SXC correctly. It should also be possible to use Crtl+Shift+F10 to get to BIOS, but it never worked for me yet. (See external link where TEST3 is listed).

This happens when I start Toshiba DOS 3.30 from a diskette and run CD DOS and TEST3.EXE

Useful external information

My contact

jaan_r@yahoo.com

toshiba_t3200sxc.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-17 03:52 by jaan

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