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Epia 1000M Motherboard Issues

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#1 Alchad


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Posted 15 October 2017 - 08:50 AM



First post on this forum.


Brief introduction - I'm a grey surfer, been retired a few years, but enjoy playing around with PC's etc to keep the brain active.


By way of background to the post.  I have developed an affection for a piece of electronic kit called a Cambridge Azur 640H "music server". ( more info  https://www.stuff.tv/cambridge-audio/640h-mw/review)


This server was originally  developed probably 10 or more years ago, and is basically a mini-atx motherboard (Epia 1000m) coupled with a hard drive, cd drive and some hi end music codecs/chips (not sure about the latter aspect to be honest). THE WHOLE THING IS OPERATED BY SOME PROPIETARY SOFTWARE BASED AROUND (I THINK) WIN 98 OR SIMILAR). Anyway, you store your cd's on the hard drive and then using a screen based interface select and play your music via a hi fi system. Perhaps a bit complicated and not to everyones taste but I like it.


Over the years I've had a few problems with my original server and have become pretty good at taking it to pieces and rebuilding, including replacing the motherboard and hard drive. One of the trickier aspects is that the software can only be reloaded onto a new hard drive using what Camridge Azur call a "blaster" CD - basically from what I've learnt this is just a collection of ISO images which, I think install two partitions on the hard drive, a very small one for the operating system and a larger one for the media files. ALSO (IMPORTANT FOR LATER), I THINK THE BLASTER CD ALSO CONFIGURES THE MOTHERBOARD BIOS). As supplied the hard drive was 160Gb and is IDE.


As I said, I've got attached to my server and have recently,  for fun, bought a couple on Ebay to repair - usually successfully (one needed a new motherboard, the other the ATX power supply both of which I managed to get cheaply second hand, again on Ebay.


So, to the point of my post. As an experiment  I decided to try and replace the hard drive on one of the spare servers with a SSD.  As I said, just for fun and to keep my aging grey matter exercised. I had previously created an ISO image of a good working hard drive and loaded this on a SSD. (I know this is a good image because I've previoulsy installed it on the hard drive of one of the spare "Ebay" servers and it works fine).


Now, here's the issue. If I connect the SSD to a spare EPIA 1000M motherboard, I can get the system to work perfectly on the bench  - just connecting to a display and power supply - the menu comes up and I can select music etc using the keyboard. If however I connect the SSD to a Cambridge server the system will not load.  Logically, the only difference I can think of between my bench rig and the Cambridge server is the latter has BIOS pre-configured when the software package was installed using the blaster CD, either originally at the factory or subsequently on a new hard drive installation using the blaster CD I obtained from Cambridge. So, I tried swapping the BIOS chip from my "bench" setup to the Cambridge server, but again the system does not load.


Finally - the point of my long winded post - my computer operating system knowledge is very limited, but I thought that on startup the server loads BIOS setting to somewhere - the cpu? operating system?? and then uses these to start things going.  the only reason I can think of as to why the "bench" BIOS chip wouldn't make the Camridge server system work is that some instructions  from ther original BIOS are being retained somewhere. Is this possible?


As I said for the Camridge machine a modified BIOS is flashed onto the BIOS chip as part of the installation process. If you access this BIOS during startup, quite a few of the changeable options are not accesible  - obvious just by comapring with the BIOS of a new EPIA 1000M motherboard - although none of the non-accessible options should cause an issue as far as I can see . In case anyone asks, both have "boot from hard drive" as the first option.


Appoligies for a long winded and probably confusing post!


Any thoughts/advice much appreciated.


Alan C



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#2 hamluis



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Posted 15 October 2017 - 09:38 AM

Your link does not work for me...in any case, Manual For Azur 640H is provided by me.


Moved from System Building to Internal Hardware.



#3 mightywiz


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Posted 16 October 2017 - 04:24 PM

the only blaster disk i've ever heard of modified the boot sector so a bios that wouldn't recognize a drive bigger then 32GB would the be able to read the lager drive.  the disk was from maxtor and called "max blaster".


if this is the case then you might look into trying a compact flash to ide adapter, basically turns a 32GB flash card into a HDD.  kinda like an SSD but will work within the 32GB limitations of an older computer BIOS.

#4 The-Toolman


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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:06 PM

This may help as there isn't much listed and this link is from 2014.



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