Interfacing the ISA bus

isa

Sometimes you need a lot more data lines than are available in a parallel port. Hack-A-Day reader [abhishek dutta] has written a guide for building projects connected to the ISA bus. The guide gives you 32 general purpose I/O lines that you can use for complex project like a digital oscilloscope. To make things easier, some tips on debugging are included as well. Now to unearth a motherboard with an ISA slot

21 thoughts on “Interfacing the ISA bus

  1. hmm, I may actually try this. I was thinking of setting up some various sensors to an old computer (temp, both air and computer, fan speeds, etc.)

    luckily i have an old 400 mhz machine with two ISA slots!

  2. I’ve been thinking about making a synth out of old isa soundboards. While the easiest way would just be to crank up one of the old ISA equipped mobos in the basement, where’s the fun in that?

    I think that newer micros should be able to drive the ISA bus, it is pretty simple.

  3. Nice article.

    I was curious to learn about how to interface with ISA but also found myself digging through the linked PDF material over on texasinsturments.com to learn about the IC’s used. Fascinating.

  4. sweet, I’ve been wondering what to do with that old Pentium I 200 mhz computer sitting in the corner (its got 3 ISA slots on it).

  5. Very nice.

    This might be a silly question, but would this be useful for applications such as LabView? I think a lot of people working at my department (a university physics dept.) might find this very useful.

  6. Soyo and Advantech built pentium 4 computers with ISA slots. There is an ISA bridge chip that they use to add it now that the chipsets don’t have the isa bridge built in any more.

    The Soyo mobo is SY-P4I845PE/GVISA Plus

  7. isa was the last true hobby bus. usb is getting there though. ftdi is offering usb modules you can add to your projects, with drivers for most any os. very easy to use.

    i wonder if i could make myself an isa to usb converter with an external chassis..

  8. Or you could just use a programmable address logic chip so you don’t have to mess around with so many logic ICs :)

  9. I couldn’t find a contact email address, so Ill just put this here. I got a “clapper” for my birthday, the one that turns off your appliances if you clap twice. I was wondering if anyone has heard of any hacks for one of these things, I’m sure theres a lot of fun stuff you could do with it.

  10. Just for those of you who were wondering…

    AthlonXP-2700 michael # lspci | grep -i isa
    00:11.0 ISA bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8237 ISA bridge [KT600/K8T800/K8T890 South]
    AthlonXP-2700 michael #

    No isa slots there though, just the bridge, but I think there must be a way to use it…

  11. PC104 is electrically similar (identical?) to ISA with a different form factor. Lots of cards for experimenting, breaking out lines, etc.

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