I recently acquired a new, unmodified IO and needed to get it modified to run Win98. It has been a long while since I had done a new IO mod, and I could not find any recent info to help me out. It seems that I forgot the basics. Since there have been a lot on changes, I'm not sure that what I used to know would work now even if I could remember it. Anyway, since I also got an email on the subject and put down the steps in my reply, I thought that putting them here might help someone just getting into this (really, there are some people just finding out about the IO and getting an un-modified IO on eBay)
Most of what follows is based on my opinion or use for a modified IO, so no flames...please.
Also, for everyone who does not need this information, I'm sorry for the inconvenience.
For everyone else that needs the refresher, here it is.
First, some of the parts you will need.
1) To buy the IO itself, I'd recommend checking out eBay. I monitor eBay from time to time to keep up on the prices of the units and they seem to run about $40.00 to $50.00.
2) I purchased a spare BIOS chip from Jack at BadFlash.com.
3) He also has a IMOD2 board and CPU fan.
If your not getting the IMOD2 kit, then you will need to get a hard drive cable with the pins reversed, or make one yourself (see below).
You can use the original IO heat sink if you don't want to get the CPU fan (see below).
4) To use the IO in a car with a GPS, I'd recommend getting the complete serial mod board from BadFlash.com as well.
5) I'd highly recommend upgrading the RAM. 128meg is what I use. There is some difference between the laptop ram, and there are several discussions on the Linux-Hacker.net BBS. (I'd also recommend looking around there for other general information.)
6) Next you will need a laptop hard drive. I have heard of some hard drives that will not boot up properly, but I have used IBM and Toshiba drive with no problem. I'd recommend getting a spare hard drive as well. I use it to be able to boot to DOS when I have problems with an IO.
7) I keep an old (really old) 486 computer in the closet just to be able to work hard drives. It boots from the floppy to DOS and I can FDISK and format drives (required to set the drive I'm working on to active to get it to boot on other machines). I also keep a second hard drive attached (but not bootable). The second drive shows up as drive D:, and it contains the various things I need.
8) I have a 40 to 44 pin IDE adapter (used in the above mentioned machine).
9) Standard laptop keyboard/mouse splitter (this is the $50.00 to $60.00 one, not the $5.00 Y-splitter).
9) Standard 101 key PC keyboard.
10) Optional, USB to Ethernet adapter
11) Optional, USB CD ROM
Second, building the hard drive cable
I bought some 50 pin ribbon cable, and some 50 pin connectors. The cable is about one inch in length. Here is the trick. Before attaching the cable to the connectors:
a) Detach the un-needed pins of the ribbon cable.
b) Cut the connectors to the appropriate length.
c) Take off the back of one of the connectors. (If you break the back of the connector, simply hot glue gun over the the exposed pins)
d) (This is the hard part) With a small set of needle-nose pliers, carefully pull out one of the metal pins in the connector and turn it around. This has to be repeated for each of the pins.
e) Once one of the connectors has it's pins reversed, then attach the connectors to each end of the ribbon cable...making sure that pins on one of the cable are reversed from the other end.
I'm sure that I have not clearly explained the process here, but once you start this, it should become apparent.
Third, modifying the IO
1) Since I don't use the modem, I remove it completely. Since I use the USB/Ethernet adapter, I have never had a need to use the modem, so I don't know if it really useful.
2) Replace the memory. I do keep the 32meg around. When I run into trouble, I like to put he original memory back in to see if the problem is memory related.
3) If your going to do any CPU mods, do them now. I have not done any of the CPU mods. To date, everything I've needed to do has been done with the "factory" CPU. (Of course, I use the IO's as single task machines)
3) If your going to use the CPU fan, put attach it now. If your going to stay with the original heat sink, then modify it now (see below). Since I have not done any CPU mods, I don't use the fan. My IO is much quieter than some of the IO's I've seen with the fan. I cut the IO's heat sink in half just after the screw holes (the heat sink is now attached with three screws).
Fourth, modifying the IO BIOS
I'm not sure if your up on the whole IO history, but the early units came with BIOS chips that could easily be removed. Later units had the BIOS chips epoxy'ed in. I have a heat sink unit (a really hot hair dryer used in electronic work). I heat up the epoxy and chip, then use some picks that I have (again some professional electronic soldering pick used to scrape boards) to remove the epoxy. If your not sure you want to deal with this, then I'd email Jack@Badflash.com. He usually responds quickly, and can give you instructions on how to get your IO shipped to him to get the work done. (I'm proceeding on here as though you will be doing the BIOS work yourself.
One of the interesting properties with the IO BIOS is that you can boot up the IO using the "spare" BIOS I have, then remove that BIOS, install the original BIOS, and then flash that BIOS. Wild Pencil has posted as new BIOS on the Linux-Hacker.net BBS. I'd download his BIOS, and something like AWDFLASH.exe for this. Once you have the BIOS' downloaded, here are the steps (as best as I can remember):
1) On my spare PC, boot from the floppy, then run FDISK to set the spare hard drive size (and set it to active). Reboot is then required.
2) Format the boot drive on the spare hard drive (ensure that the boot up system files are also copied) (i.e. Format c: /s)
3) Copy Wild Pencil's BIOS and the AWDFLASH.exe to the spare hard drive (also copy any other DOS utilities as well).
4) Get the original BIOS removed. Be very, very, very, Very, VERY, V E R Y careful here. Almost no force should be used. With the right tools, the BIOS should simply "pop" out.
5) Put in the spare BIOS.
6) Attach the standard laptop keyboard/mouse splitter. Then, attach the standard 101 key PC keyboard into the mouse port. If attaching a mouse, attach it into the keyboard port (This is an IO attempt to make the IO secure from hacking...really silly...but the ports are reversed)
7) Turn on the IO
8) Get into the BIOS setup. This is usually done by hitting the DEL key during the BIOS POST process. If you have ordered a spare BIOS from Jack, then getting into the BIOS setup is fairly straight forward.
9) Ensure that both the hard drives are set to AUTO detect. On the Advanced setup, ensure that the boot drive is set to C:. There are a couple of settings that will work here, so just pick one.
10) Exit the BIOS setup and save changes.
11) On reboot, the IO should boot from the hard drive. (At this point, there are hundreds of things that could be at issue if the IO will not boot. Way to much to go into here, but standard PC troubleshooting is all that I have need to get past this step).
12) Once the IO is up and running, carefully remove the spare BIOS and put in the original BIOS.
13) Write down the name of the Wild Pencil's BIOS file. Run AWDFLASH.exe. It will ask for the name of the file to use. Put in the name you wrote down. Accept the defaults on everything else.
14) Once the BIOS is flashed, exit AWDFLASH.exe and reboot. You should be up and running with a flashed BIOS.
15) You may want to repeat the parts of the process necessary to flash your spare BIOS. I have left it as I got it.
Fifth, Getting the IO to run Windows98
At this point, I remove the laptop hard drive and put it back into my 486 computer. From there, I create some directories on the laptop hard drive, and copy the Win98 setup files to the laptop hard drive. I also copy at least the USB/Ethernet and USB/CDROM drivers. That way, I can install whatever other things I need.
I then re-attach the laptop hard drive to the IO, reboot, and install Win98. FYI, I use Win98SE and have not had any problems. The rest of the setup is standard Win98 stuff.
Also, I got 98Lite, and am real impressed with it. If you decide to go this route, the instructions are with 98Lite...but basically, 98Lite creates a new set of Win98 setup files. Installing from the files created by 98Lite (and using the micro option) Win98 is fairly small (under 50 meg installed), and real "peppy". No IE, and the overhead associated with it. Since I'm not surfing the Internet with my IO in the car, I tried this and I really like it. I have no empirical evidence to prove it, but the GPS unit does seem to be faster.
Sixth, Additional stuff (mostly my opinion).
1) I don't use the IMOD hard drive kit. I build the cables myself. I then put a build up of hot glue on the battery on the motherboard. This keeps the hard drive off the motherboard. I then lay the hard drive on the hot glue build up.
2) I don't use the metal RF shield. I cut out the part of the RF shield that has the screw holes that attach to the base and super glue them directly on the plastic IO back. I throw away the rest of the metal RF shield.
3) Once I attach the back of the IO, the hard drive presses against the back a bit, but is keeps the hard drive in place.
4) When attaching the base, be careful of the hard drive. It may touch the plastic part of the base a bit, but I have not had any problems.
5) When using the IO, I usually go back to the standard IO keyboard. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the thumb mouse/keyboard does work quite nicely.