In order to save us lots of unnecessary work, here are some recommendations
for the submission of scans of adapters and parts to The Tool.
Please Let Us Know if
you have any relevant material.
Devil's in the details, and I'm a punctuation point. If you
have driver disks, ADFs, user's guides, etc. we would like to hear from you!
Check if the company still exists and if you can find those
same drivers or manuals on their website or somewhere else. If you had no luck
finding them online, chances are good that we don't have them either.
If the company is gone or no longer remembers your adapter,
please zip the files and send them to us. For manuals, if you can scan them,
fantastic! If you have no scanner, making a copy and mailing it to one of us
fine. If you have extra manuals, send them over.
Camera shots may be at whatever dpi you want, but I may
make a lower resolution image for the page, and link the larger image to
it. Camera shots tend to have poor lighting and are at an angle... Cameras
have one focal point, and there is distortion the farther away from dead
center one gets.
Take Me Down To Parallax City
This depicts the challenge that using cameras bring. You can get everything
at once, but now detail may be lost due to it's being masked by other components.
Also, there will be distortion of spatial relations towards the edges.
Ed. spatial relations does not refer
to the person you could of swore was from outer space...
This is the preferred method for creation of adapter and
part outlines. The card/part will be about as accurate as can be for dimensions.
In other words, "what the doctor ordered and why the preacher danced".
Flatbed Scanner - No Parallax
In this example, the adapter has a card guide to keep
the card's PCB at the same height above the scanning head. Don't expect
this to happen every time since some adapters (and planars) lack card guides.
Also, some cards tend to pivot on the guide and bracket. To fix that, I
use a small object near the bracket to weight the card so it rests parallel
to the glass. For cards without guides or for planars, use something to
prop up the PCB. SIMMs work fairly well, BTW...
Use paper to cover the top of the card. This gives you
plenty of reflected light to determine the outline of the card. If you
let external light to be scanned, it will do a job on your brightness and
contrast. You can use scrap paper, but the clearer the paper is, the easier
to see the PCB edge when adjusting the angle. The covering paper doesn't
have to be super tight, like scanning in a closed room with no lights,
but I find that three to four sheets of normal 20lb paper get the job done.
Please scan at 144dpi to 300dpi maximum. Use JPG and set
image quality to 5-6. I don't need the back of the card scanned, unless
there are significant parts on the back. Please have the scans aligned
in the same direction.
Long Adapter Scan First Scan
For long adapters, please do not send one scan that cuts off
an end. What you need to do is scan the card bracket end towards the front.
Where the scan ends, do another scan from the card guide back towards the
Long Adapter Scan Second Scan
I only need about 1/4" overlap between the two scans to
properly align them. It is easier if you do the second scan so it cuts
a chip or component in half [roughly] so I can eyeball where the scans
are in the right alignment.
Modules or Daughtercard Scans
For cards with modules or daughtercards, scan at the same
setting used for the adapter. I will do the calculation so the adapter
and the card are at the correct size relation to each other.
Unless your scans are totally washed out, please let me do the contrast/brightness
on your images.
Try to Keep it Straight!
I can't set adapters up at perfect right angles on my scanner,
and I don't expect you to, either. BUT... most software allows you to free
rotate or enter an arbitrary angle to rotate the image. For long adapters
with bulky components, the adapter may not lay on the scanner and you can't
exactly shim it up to the same height. Do your best, and I will "interpolate"
For those looking for the edge, you can scan system planars.
There, I usually had three separate scans where the board is at a different
angle to the glass. If you burn with desire to scan a planar, do your best
to prop the board up so it's at the same angle to the glass surface, get
enough overlap between scans [make sure scans overlap!], and I'll stitch
As men know, size is everything... I chose to use 600
pixels wide as a format. I can't tell what kind of "Super-Whizz-Bang" machine
you have [from Bob Watts]. For all I know, you have barely managed to get
online and are desperately searching for drivers, manuals, or configuration
information to get something to work better.
Example - Windows VGA is 640x480. So your looking for
the drivers for the whatever card, and all the images are... oops, too
long to fit in the screen. Rule of thumb, full length adapters will be
600 pixels or a little less. Cards like the Corvette are 450-500 pixels
in length. Just look at the image on-screen and see what the height to
width ratio looks like. A small card like a BOCA parallel port card 600
pixels wide would result in mega wasted space.
If possible use the following typeface for the component IDs:
Arial, 9px, Bold, no anti-aliasing, no subpixel rendering
In this neo-classist version, the artiste known as "William
R. Walsh" has cunningly used color to wake up the viewer. He has chosen
to detail the video memory on the left, although there isn't enough space
to put the Chip IDs on. The empty area is most likely populated with
support logic chips, and therefore is not detailed.
BusLogic BT-646 S/D
In this ode to austerity, the artiste known as the "God Emperor
of Microchannel" approaches this difficult combination of two adapters
that share the same PCB with a "callout" around the Differential version
components. Again, much of the support logic chips are omitted.
This simple and understated image is from Sandy. Note
the use of component IDs on the image. While this technique may work well
for adapters with sparse components, it becomes unwieldy on more densely
populated cards. The embedded text is also invisible to search engines and
can't be copy-pasted. For these reasons the displayed approach should be
Reverse of Corvette
This is one of the times that detailing the back is worthwhile.
After further study, U8,9 were determined to be autotermination for the
external SCSI channel, U10,11 autotermination for the internal channel,
CR3 provides TERMPWR for the external channel, U14,19 are the RAM for the
adapter commands, and CR2 is the status LED.
Ed. see the amount of screen that the
Corvette takes up at 500 pixels?
This outline is an illustration of a fixed component on
the 1MB SVGA. C31 as originally installed, causes a flicker, and eventual
failure, of the video output. When a component is crucial to understanding,
put it on... (thanks to Peter Wendt, Jim Shorney and David Beem for tracking
down the reversed capacitor problem).
Stylebook for Detailing Scans
- Significant Chips (controllers, A/D, VRM, fuses, RAMDAC, etc.)
- Jumpers (at least the block outline, individual pins are extra)
- Headers (inter-board, memory sockets)
- LEDs (both through-hole and SMD versions)
- Unpopulated Components (solder pads / silk screen for jumpers, headers, etc.)
- Reworks / bodge-wires
The goal of outlining the card is not to faithfully record
everything, but instead to aid in card identification, illustrate component
layout, and draw attention to significant items.
Once you have sent the image, you aren't done quite yet.
After I put everything together, convert to 600 pixels at 72dpi, then I
do the chip IDs. Sometimes the manufacturer puts the chip ID under an edge,
or the markings on a chip aren't clear. If it's possible, please have the
card out until I get done. If it's a critical adapter, please let me know,
then I can put it at the top of my list. If I can't get to it, then "c'est
la vie", I'll put it up as-is. (Guttural French courtesy of "Diamond Jim"