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I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

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I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby kedwards » Fri Apr 17, 2020 9:52 pm

Hope you are all well,
I'm a student from SE England, I've restored a Studer A990 over the last few months, I picked it up burned out; and had to re-cap most of it, rebuild the logic, modules and modify the power distribution. I have updated certain parts like the bussing and routing to work more reliably, and added a few missing extensions and options.

Although I have repaired the internal computers (which run the VCA's, automation and diagnostics). This relies on 3.5" floppies to store the OS, which is now 'reliable' - however the scene storing is not usable without use of the ArcNet protocol to Studer software on windows 3.1.

I am searching for options to do with this, either a modern adaption or virtualisation for Arcnet/ISA, or an original 386 based system. I'm reluctant to buy an old and possibly cranky system when the desk is now running smoothly, although if anyone in the UK knows of a source it would be greatly appreciated!
I feel like I'm behind an SSL 4K trying to get the computers online....

The reason for this is I would like to store the console state and also manage finer calibration and internal diagnostics (for example there's some RAM issues where the service RS232 is complaining but it doesn't provide any meaningful data).


I didn't expect to get nearly this far with it, it's been as painful as it has rewarding and I'd like to get the Arcnet protocol working as it's an incredible sounding console, and does everything I could ever want out of large format!

Here's some photos if you're interested:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/tPPCoHwrUGrqgGjH7


Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby resistorman » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:43 pm

It seems to me a very similar question was asked in the last year, but I’m not coming up with any search results.
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:47 pm

Now that's a name from the past. Arcnet was one of the systems that I remember looking at in the early 90's for a sensor network but I don't know if I still have any notes on how it works. However, I have quite a bit of experience with a similar system so a few things I would think about are:

Does the Studer software expect a particular Arcnet interface to be used? If it does then that will force you to go for a particular type of computer. If you want to buy new then you'll need to look at an industrial computer supplier who will be used to dealing with this sort of issue. I can see that you can still buy Arcnet interfaces for ISA, PCI and PCI-E bus computers but the big issue will be finding one with the chip that the Studer software supports.

Does the software require Windows 3.1 or will it also work on Windows 95 (or better still, Windows 98)? There is a remote possibility that it could run on a virtual machine but I suspect that it will require direct access to the hardware - it could be worth trying it on a virtual machine to check though.
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby kedwards » Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:31 am

James Perrett wrote:-Does the Studer software expect a particular Arcnet interface to be used?
-If you want to buy new then you'll need to look at an industrial computer supplier who will be used to dealing with this sort of issue. I can see that you can still buy Arcnet interfaces for ISA, PCI and PCI-E bus computers but the big issue will be finding one with the chip that the Studer software supports.

Thanks for your reply. From the service documents I can see the only requirement is ISA Arcnet 16-Bit. I imagine the newer ones will be hard to back drivers for on windows that old. Which as you say are available, the tricky part is getting it all together to work. The only thing I had heard in the past regarding Arcnet was automation for manufacturing and the like, and early office comms I think.

Does the software require Windows 3.1 or will it also work on Windows 95 (or better still, Windows 98)? There is a remote possibility that it could run on a virtual machine but I suspect that it will require direct access to the hardware - it could be worth trying it on a virtual machine to check though.

It would need to be 3.1, which is annoyingly one version before cross-compatibility to 95,98...
This software appears to only support ISA from what I've read - Ideally I'd like some form of VM or adapter, but couldn't find much to do with emulating a PCI passthrough for example. The software works as virtualization but I haven't worked out how a modern arcnet card could work with this, if at all. A friend with another 990 is sending his spec, but I think in an ideal world I'd want to try something a little newer or with VM or passthrough.
This part is all new to me so I'm no expert on it, I appreciate the help!
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby James Perrett » Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:38 pm

It may be worth asking around to see if anyone has a suitable old machine to run Windows 3.1. A 486 would be good and it is likely, that if a computer still works after all this time, it is likely to carry on working. It was going to suggest taking a look at Martin Walker's PC Notes columns from the mid 90's to help with setting up such a computer but they appear to fall into a gap that isn't covered by either the Muzines website or the SOS archive at the moment.

If any Arcnet card will work then it would be interesting to know what driver model it needs - NDIS for example or maybe something else?
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby kedwards » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:32 am

James Perrett wrote:It may be worth asking around to see if anyone has a suitable old machine to run Windows 3.1. A 486 would be good and it is likely, that if a computer still works after all this time, it is likely to carry on working. It was going to suggest taking a look at Martin Walker's PC Notes columns from the mid 90's to help with setting up such a computer but they appear to fall into a gap that isn't covered by either the Muzines website or the SOS archive at the moment.

If any Arcnet card will work then it would be interesting to know what driver model it needs - NDIS for example or maybe something else?
I think I’ve managed to source a 486 or Pentium machine which could run 3.1. I’ll have a look around and see if it’s archived anywhere, thanks for the tip!
The ISA cards I’ve located Don’t seem to include drivers, I imagine originally floppy based but doesn’t seem baked into windows of that era. So that may be a fun challenge! I’ll have a research and may ask you if I get stuck on the driver side, If that’s alright?


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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:19 am

Yes, just about every additional card needs drivers under Windows 3.1 although there are a few standard drivers included with the operating system if I remember right (like the MPU401 MIDI driver).

Feel free to ask questions - I still have a few Windows 3.1 related bits of software here though I've not run 3.1 for many years.
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:48 pm

Although I can't help with the query, I just want to say that if this is part of your official coursework, you definitely deserve a First! That is an amazing project.
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby kedwards » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:58 pm

James Perrett wrote:Yes, just about every additional card needs drivers under Windows 3.1 although there are a few standard drivers included with the operating system if I remember right (like the MPU401 MIDI driver).

Feel free to ask questions - I still have a few Windows 3.1 related bits of software here though I've not run 3.1 for many years.
Thanks - I’ll drop you a PM when I start getting hardware together, trying to hunt down a card :)


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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby kedwards » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:02 pm

Sam Inglis wrote:Although I can't help with the query, I just want to say that if this is part of your official coursework, you definitely deserve a First! That is an amazing project.
Thank you! It’s not linked to courses, just something to do and develop some skills, might have to do it all over again when the time comes... hoping it’ll stand up on a Uni application (if the lack of exams gets me that far!)
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:12 pm

Well, if you want to work in the field, I'd imagine this project would impress prospective employers much more than any degree!
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:22 pm

+1, and please, if James is in agreement, conduct your conversation on the forum. I used and remember DOS and Win 3.1 well (and may even have most of the disks buried somewhere) and would likely enjoy a trip down memory lane.
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:22 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:+1, and please, if James is in agreement, conduct your conversation on the forum.

That's fine with me. Out of curiosity I installed a Windows 3.1 virtual machine the other day and realised that I couldn't even remember how to change the display resolution so any help would be welcome.

I know that back in the 90's I wrote a document comparing most of the embedded bus and networking systems but I don't know if I still have it anywhere.
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Re: I've restored a Studer 990 Console. Can anyone tell me about Arcnet?

Postby kedwards » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:35 pm

+1, and please, if James is in agreement, conduct your conversation on the forum.

Sounds good, I’ll keep looking for cards! Hope this can be helpful or interesting to others too.

how to change the display resolution so any help would be welcome.

I’ve just fired up VMware, as far as I can tell it’s windows setup, options, change sys settings, display
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