> > Specifically, what I'm wondering about is taking a board like the
> > Flashlite 186 (www.jkmicro.com/technicalinfo/ti_flashlite186.html) and
> > putting an ISA-esque interface on the processor bus port, and using an
> > old ISA SVGA card. The reason for picking an x86 is so that I can
> > Does this sound feasible? Any obvious, truly stupid thing I've
> > forgotten?
> In my time at Arcom Control Systems, we did a lot of work with PC
> peripherals connected to 80186/80188 boards, and we created a product
Then you're the gentleman to whom I need to speak :)
Quote:> You could strike it lucky with a random VGA card, or you could find it
> impossible to get working. It is amazing how much PC-specific stuff is in a
> VGA BIOS - as a board manufacturer, we were able to get access to some BIOS
I didn't think of issues like that. Hmm. Well, I still don't think
this precludes my approach. I don't actually want any of the card's
BIOS functions - not even text output. I have my own engine for all
that. The ONLY use for the card's BIOS would be to set the video mode
to a 640x480x15/16bpp mode. I am assuming that any ISA card I can find
has its aperture control registers well-enough documented in XFree86's
sourcecode for me to be able to write my own bank select code (see
I've reverse-engineered VGA BIOSes and my experience is that it takes
1-2 weeks to turn a 32K BIOS into a quality, commented,
re-assemble-able piece of sourcecode. I don't want to do that.
Quote:> I think the reduced production costs could be overwhelmed by increased
> development costs - and who's to say that the ISA card you buy today will
> still be available tomorrow?
Well, I'm sure it won't be. Let me elaborate on my fiendish master
plan: I want to use the ISA bodge job for market-test purposes. The
product in question is experimental; we don't know how it will go
across with consumers. I wouldn't anticipate making more than 25-50 of
these devices with that bodge. I would think I can source that number
of fairly similar cards. I was thinking of using, say, Trident
8900-series cards, which are *largely* intra-family code-compatible
(certainly the stuff I'd need to program is the same amongst the
The EVB for the SED1354 is also an ISA card. So once I have the
hacked-up version working and shipping, I can get the SED1354's EVB
working using the same hardware. Once THAT is working, I can make a
small custom PCB with a 1354 on it, to stick on top of the Flashlite.
That custom board would be [reasonably] producible, and it also gives
us a couple of other benefits.