Andrew's OrangePC 290 page

The OrangePC 290 is a PC parasite card that can work inside Nubus equipped Mac computers to give them PC compatibility in dedicated hardware, rather than in emulation software. This results in considerably better operating speed than the emulated processors in my experience so far. Some information on the OrangePC 290 is available from Orange Micro's product archive, in the Links section. Unfortunately, there is no board documentation for the older Orange Micro products available from the company. I had no luck finding other useful information on the Internet, hence this page.


Jumper Settings

I received all the information in this section from one very generous complete stranger, who was persistent enough to get a manual from Orange Micro. Thanks, Al. So far as I have been able to see it reflected what I saw when experimenting a bit with the board. Please be careful when changing any jumper settings, record what they were before you experimented with them & do not hold me liable if they do not work or cause you any problems. This might be different, of course, if you sign up to shower me with rewards if/when they do work :).

 The jumper pin assignments for a 486DX4 100 are as follows : Jumper #1 on pins B&C ( for 3.3V CPU ) (Pins A&B are for 5v CPU's like the 486DX2). Jumper #2 on pins B&C ( only for tripled clock speed CPU's like the 486DX4 ) (Pins A&B are for all other CPU's). Jumper #3 on pins A&B. Jumper #4 on ( pins are jumpered). Jumper #5 off ( pins are not jumpered ). Jumper #6 off. Jumper #7 off. Jumper #8 on. Jumper #9 on. Jumper #10 on. Jumpers #11 & 12 set the video either to the OrangePC onboard video or an external VGA video card. External video doesn't mean a Mac Video card but a VGA video card which I don't see any provision to install. Al thought they meant a video card installed in the Mac rather than the Mac built in video but when he set the jumpers for external video the set up menu showed external VGA but the OrangePC card wouldn't boot. He switched them back to onboard video and the card works with either the Mac's built in video or a Nubus video card. The video jumper assignments are Onboard Video Jumper #11 on and Jumper #12 on Pins B&C. External video ( whatever that means as the users manual doesn't explain it ) Jumper #11 off and Jumper #12 on Pins A&B.

 The Jumper assignments in general are:

 CPU Voltage Options

System Board Clock Speed Options NOTE: When using a CPU that has been clock doubled or tripled the system board clock speed must be set to the base speed.(e.g. System Board Clock Speed for a 486 DX 2-66 must be set to 33 MHz).

 CPU Configuration

Video Configuration NOTE: ON = Place the jumper across the two pins. OFF = Do not place the jumper across the two pins

Cyrix 5x86 Processor Experiment

I found a Cyrix 5x86 chip for sale at a local Mac & PC store here in Calgary (ComputerWurx) and tried it out in the OrangePC 290 card. I had high hopes for it but was unable to get it to work faster than the 486 DX2-50 which was in the card when I received it. At a processor speed of 40 MHz I had reasonable operation but higher processor speeds resulted in scrambled video from the Mac Nubus video card. I ended up pulling & returning the Cyrix 5x86, replacing it with a 486 DX2-66 which has worked well since then.

Points to Note

SIMM Socket

The SIMM socket on the board is at quite a shallow angle. Thick processors with interposer boards or tall heat sinks may block the SIMM from seating properly. This was a concern with the Cyrix chip & would definitely be of concern with a processor with a fan. The socket also has very delicate plastic SIMM retainers; one was broken when I bought my used card and the other broke while I was experimenting with the Cyrix chip. I have used a piece of insulated wire to retain the memory module as an expedient but plan to replace the socket with a regular perpendicular (or close to it) socket in the next months.


To Email me feedback or comments: please include OrangePC in your subject line, to make your message stand out from the junk. Send to me at zafzgibsonz at hotmail dot com. Please substitute q for z and build up the email from the words above. I am hoping this will slow down the spam generators. I would appreciate constructive comments & useful information (anyone have a manual?) which I may add to the site.