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Revive a prehistoric dinosaur... an IBM PS2 55SX !

Picture of Revive a prehistoric dinosaur... an IBM PS2 55SX !
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This instructable involves physically hacking open a Dallas DS 1287 assembly, and also rigging an older ATX style power supply to work with an IBM PS2 55SX.

Since I discover a lot of information along the way, I would recommend reading the entire instructable before attempting to do anything shown here.

Doing anything to, or even looking at an old computer could cause it to stop working. Please do not attempt anything unless you are aware of the possible results:

A computer that is still broken, broken even worse than before, fire, smoke, etc.

I am now (painfully) aware that similar work on the DS 1287 has been done before, but since I couldn't readily find the information (because I was searching for IBM 55SX error codes and CMOS problems), I am presenting my own version, and then some observations to help you do a cleaner, safer job.
 
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Step 1: The discovery, and intro to problems

Picture of The discovery, and intro to problems
I found this gem sitting out at the curb about 6 months ago. Being the good junk collector that I am, I grabbed this, and some other stuff and stuck it in my van.

I've been riding this around in the van, in Florida, until last week. I had to finally clean it out (there may be an instructable on that too) because a water leak was growing a mold colony in the carpet.

Anyway , I grabbed this machine out and stuck it in the garage. After a few days there, I had some free time and decided to see if it even powered up.

To my surprise, it did, so I grabbed a monitor, mouse and keyboard and hooked them up.
I was getting errors 161 and 162, and then a crude picture basically telling me something was not OK.

I went online and found out that the codes are:

161 System Options Not Set-(Run SETUP); Dead battery
162 System Options Not Set-(Run SETUP);CMOS checksum/configuration error

I never had an IBM back in the day. I was a commodore guy, so this was my first trip down PS2 memory lane.

I learned that I needed a reference disk, which I downloaded at:

IBM PS/2 Model 55SX

There are also several other places to get this disk.

After getting the disk running, an IBM program took me through some steps, then asked to restart the system.
After the restart, the problem errors repeated. I left the computer on for a couple of hours (hoping to get a charge into the CMOS battery), then tried it again with the same results.

I did more online reading, and discovered that the CMOS battery was not only dead, but obsolete as well. They offer an updated replacement from the company that made the originals, but it is not guaranteed to work.

Link updated 10/4/2012

Dead link: 
www.maxim-ic.com/appnotes.cfm/an_pk/503

New link:
 

Replacing the DS 1287

After reading this, I decided to look around to see if I could find which pins connected to the battery.
The pinout guides are all pretty bad, and even the best ones that I could find didn't have the battery input terminals labeled.

This leads me to my next course of action.

Step 2: Preparing to hack up the Dallas DS 1287

Picture of Preparing to hack up the Dallas DS 1287
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I read an online text post from back in the 90's about someone who "just cut the top off and replaced the battery".

This sounded like the way to go, so I pulled the chip out (bending some pins too, darn it) and got to work.

Step 3: Hacking up the DS 1287

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First I got a small block of wood, a carpet knife with a very sharp blade, and a pair of needle-nosed vise-grips.

I started carving around the top edge of the case, just a little down from the top, when WHAMMO, I cut the living squack out of myself. The top of my middle finger on the left had stopped the blade quite well, once it hit something solid under the skin.

Not thrilled about this, I bandaged up my finger and kept going.

After a bit more work I noticed that a layer was coming off, so I used a screwdriver to remove that layer.

Once that layer was the chip case looked like Picture #4.

I was doing more carving and clamping with the vise-grips when a piece chipped off, revealing that the top part was mostly solid.

I was already doubting the story of simply cutting off the top, now more drastic measures were needed.

I took the chip out into the garage, and with a hammer and straight tip screwdriver, proceeded to beat the two halves of the chip apart.

Step 4: The aftermath

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Once I had it coming apart, I tried to be careful to not snap the bottom chip, or hurt the crystal that I assumed was in the top part.

I succeeded in getting the battery out, but at the same time I broke off (and chipped) the part that had the crystal in it.

Now it was time to try and get it back together again.

Step 5: Re-assembling the parts

The reason that you can't find the battery tabs (or the crystal tabs for that matter) is because they bend those tabs up to connect them to the items on top of the chip.

The battery was installed positive side down, so I left the tab for the positive there.

I took the part with the crystal and put a dab of silicone sealant on it and taped it in place with the pins touching.

I soldered the pins back together that went to the crystal.

Then I used the other pieces to find out which pin was the negative battery pin.

From there, I temporarily tack soldered a 3V lithium button cell to the positive tab.

Then I soldered a wire to the negative tab and tacked it to the negative side of the battery.

I wasn't worried about neat at this point, I was just wondering if it still worked after the beating and multiple pin bends that it endured.

Step 6: Into the belly of the beast

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I carefully plugged the chip back into the socket, noting that the dot on the now destroyed case lined up with the single pin on one side (glad I took those pictures).

Step 7: Reward !

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It worked !! I popped in the reference disk again, and this time I got to go through a lot of options to pick and save settings, disks, etc.

After the reboot, the machine loaded Windows 3.1

It was a pretty plain install, and I played with it for about 30 minutes and then shut it down and went to bed.

After doing this, I see plenty of ways to make it safer, less messy, and better looking.

In the last picture of this step, I have indicated the locations of the positive and negative battery terminals inside the top part of the chip.

If I get another chance, I would try to use a drill and gently drill into these areas (fairly close to the top from the side view) to disconnect the old battery, and then solder a wire in to connect to the new one.

You can buy a lithium battery holder, and run the wires from the chip to that.

This would make a much cleaner and faster project.

Step 8: No rest for the tenacious

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The next day I hooked up this machine to revel in my success, only to find that it wouldn't start up.

Nothing. Zip.

Back to the internet, I found out that the power supply should start up, whether it was connected to the motherboard or not. I disconnected the power supply, and it didn't start up.

The couple of hours must have been too much for the dusty old brick.

I did a brief online search for another one, but these are hard to find, and probably close to dying anyway.

So I did the next best thing.....

Step 9: Bonus steps!

I pulled the top off of the old power supply to look for a blown fuse, but the fuse was fine.

I did more research on the internet, and put together the following information about my IBM power supply, and the older 200 Watt ATX power supply that I was willing to use:


Standard (200W ATX) Power Supply plugs

PC Power supply connectors

IBM 55sx Pinout From Motherboard

Where I got the motherboard pinout for the 55SX

So, from old ATX to IBM, pins are as follows:
(RED is +5V on the HD connectors from the ATX PS, just in case)

Standard (200W ATX)------TO-------IBM P7

Orange--------------------------White PWGD (pin 1)
Red --------------------------(+5 volts or connector key) not used
Yellow---------------------------Orange
Blue------------------------------Blue
BLK
BLK------------------------------All BLK

ATX PLUG SPLIT

BLK------------------------------All BLK
BLK
White--------------------------Yellow (-5V)
Red
Red----------------------------All red +5V
Red

Standard (200W ATX)------TO-------IBM P14

BLK-----------------------------BLK
BLK-----------------------------BLK

RED
RED----------------------------all 3 are +5V
TAN

With this information, I put together a Franken-Cable, and then got it connected up.

Step 10: Back in business!

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I flicked the switch on and....

It booted up !

Here are a few screenshots from the unmodified computer..

I hope this helps someone get information off an old computer that they really need, or maybe just gets someone to go out into their garage or storage unit (or van) and grab an old piece of equipment and give it a little more life !

In the next step (completed about 15 days later) I get the Power Supply into a more permanent position.

I am also planning to neaten up the CMOS battery install, which I will add to the end of this Instructable once it is finished.

Step 11: Revisiting the Power Supply

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Sure, the power supply works, but it won't fit in the case correctly, and the fan and power ports through the case are on the opposite sides.. (note the power cord coming in through the fan hole in the case in the first picture!)

Getting a little free time, I decided to transplant the newer power supply circuits into the older power supply case.
This solves a lot of problems, like the on/off switch being back to the way it originally worked, the fan and power port alignment, and just having the power supply fastened correctly inside the case. Also, this temporary setup won't allow you to put the top back on the computer, unless you want to take it back off again to turn it on!

We start with the old case (missing the power switch) in picture two.

Step 12: Taking the old Power Supply apart

Picture of Taking the old Power Supply apart
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The old power supply had a few screws that held two interlocking panels together.
You remove the top screws, and the two by the power switch, and the top panel folds away from the case and unhooks.

As seen in picture two, they used a special type of screw on this Power Supply. It has a little metal pin in the center of a phillips head screw. I just used a tough small straight tip to either snap out the pin, or get a grip on two sides of the phillips slot and remove it.

Remove the screws from the bottom panel, it also folds away from the case, and you will have three parts, like in the first picture below.

The third picture shows the main Power Supply case with the circuit board removed. (4 screws)

The last picture shows the dirty insides of the old Power Supply.


Step 13: Taking the newer Power Supply apart

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The first picture shows the insides of the newer Power Supply.
Note that the board appears to be smaller.

In the second picture, you can see that they wired the power ports through the case of the power supply, making it difficult to remove them once installed.

That is, unless you have a nice set of metal snips to free them from the case.
(See third picture)

Step 14: The Transplant begins

As you can see in the first picture, only one screw connects the new power board to the old case...

So, in pictures two and three, I cut some metal from the now empty Power Supply case, using existing threaded screw holes, and trimmed them to make two additional supports.
Pictures two and three show the same bracket from rough to finished.

In the fourth picture, I have three sides fastened to the case.

I wasn't really worried about the board touching the metal bottom of the case because it was a pretty safe distance away, but just to make sure something crazy didn't happen, I reused the cardboard divider from the new Power Supply, then used some motherboard standoffs on the last corner to make sure it would never ground out (picture 5).

In picture six, you can see I had a lot of wires to deal with. There was the extra power out port, a really long wire for the power switch, and way more wires for power than the original Power Supply had.

I zip tied the power switch button wires in a bundle, then zipped them to the side of the case (picture 6).

Luckily, the side that the power wires came out of had a long smooth slot that connected the hole for the original wires, so I just lined the wires up in the slot and gently zip tied the inside and outside to keep the wires from moving too much.

The last picture shows the supply ready for reassembly. The old fan is connected, and the additional power out socket is zipped in place and the rear wires are taped.

Step 15: The transplant is complete!

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The transplant is a success!

The first picture shows the supply installed in the machine (note the black plastic support for the riser card).

I have a few extra molex connectors now, but since both the drive and the floppy are powered from the ribbon cable, I'm not sure what to use them for.

Everything connected up great, and there wasn't too much strain on any of the connections or wires.

The last picture shows the rear of the machine, with everything lining up perfectly.

I'll be cleaning up the CMOS install when I get some time, and then I'll append that to the end of this Instructable.

If anyone has any parts they would like to donate (or sell cheap!) for my Franken-Machine, here is a short list of what I'm looking for (keep in mind that this is an MCA board):

4MB or 8MB sticks of ram
ram expansion card
80387sx math coprocessor
video card
sound card
lan card

account3r22 years ago
Not sure what model (or brand) it is, but I have an old computer (probably) running Windows 3.1 (previously DOS), but it goes snap, crackle, pop (Rice Krispies!) when I turn it on... I'll probably find some time to work on it and (probably, but maybe not) post any updates...
Oh, and the bright blue sparks that came out came from the power supply... it kept running, but I unplugged it immediately (not thinking, or caring about the hard drive) to avoid the risk of fire and completely destroying the entire machine. (A repairable hard drive is better than a non recoverable hard drive, right? Oh, wait, I read something about a spaceship that landed on Earth but with trial and error, removed the platters from a hard drive, placed it in a new drive, and figured out the firmware and got almost all of the data off of it, even though the rest of the drive was melted... I don't remember the link, but Google is your friend. Look it up sometime. It's a great article. Oh, and look up the article, not Google. Well, you can look up Google if you want, I don't care, but remember to look up the article.)
TheRealAnubis (author)  account3r22 years ago
Ha! Nice story! I hope you get a different power supply, and chuck the sparking one out ASAP!
wow that Fing nice job that is pro finish yo
TheRealAnubis (author)  GENERALCHAOS4 years ago
Thanks !

I put a lot of work into that baby, but I'm still waiting for time to get the RTC back up and running in a solid package !

Someday...
I have that same computer my uncle gave it to me
TheRealAnubis (author)  MACKattacksnipe5 years ago
Cool !  Does it work ?
LAN card? like ethernet? also upgradeable ram! see if you can get the max ram the motherboard will accept and install XP.
This made me laugh, XP won't run on anything slower than say a 166MHz CPU with 32MB RAM (done it), and even at those specs is slower than boiling a kettle!!! :P A Lan card though isn't a bad idea, I'm sure there's plenty of ISA 3Com EtherLinkIII cards on ebay or something, but you I think that would need Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in order to work... :\
TheRealAnubis (author)  twocvbloke6 years ago
Yea, and this is pre ISA cards. This machine takes MCA cards - Micro Channel Architecture. I was thinking with a crossover cable I could at least grab the HD contents !
Pre-ISA??? Blimey!!! I don't think I have ever owned a computer that old, but then I have had a 286, but to this day I'm still kicking myself over wiping the hard drive before I got a keyboard adaptor (PS/2 to AT), cos the drive had a form of windows on it (wouldn't start up on my previous Olivetti P75, that one passed away), but thinking I'd never get to use the 286 base unit, I wiped the drive, and the very same day my dad and I went to an electronics shop and I just happened to find the blummin' adaptor!!! :( Couldn't get it to ever run, it wouldn't take 3.1, or even MS-DOS 6.22, so I guess that the windows version was 2 or 3, and I erased it!!! :( But all that was before I knew of the likes of abandonware sites that had old versions of Windows and DOS, but I can't find them now... :(
TheRealAnubis (author)  twocvbloke6 years ago
Here is a good link for MCA cards:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Channel_architecture

The MCA cards usually have a big blue plastic end on them, making them stand out from other cards.

I'll keep you in mind for older versions of Windows or DOS, you never know !
Thanks, I think I have Windows 1.0 somewhere, I tried using DosBox to run it, but I think that DB is "too new" for it to run cos it just crashed every time I tried to run it, I'm not sure if I downloaded 2.0 or 3.0, I need to go through a load of stuff on my other laptop to clear space, assuming it's not just XP taking up over half of the drive!!! :S Looking at those images, I think my IBM server might actually have an MCA slot, though I'd have to pull it out and take a look (risking a crapolanche in the process!!! :S ) cos I know that the server is well before 64bit PCI cards (very similar looking slots), but that said, I have no need for any MCA cards cos it's got an AGP graphics card (pitiful specs of course!!!) and a PCI 10/100 card (in addition to the built in 10/100 NIC), oh and a PCI IDE interface to cope with IDE drives bigger than 10GB, cos the onboard controller wouldn't even recognise a 20GB Maxtor drive!!! :) I really should clear out my desk and get the server set up, even if it is just used as a regular PC, cos a server is way more stable than a standard desktop, well, they're supposed to be at least (it has a habit of locking up, but that could just be down to the crappy memory I put in it, I just need 4x 128MB 100/133MHz SDRAM sticks to get it up to full capacity, but finding that these days is like a needle in a haystack, but still, I only paid £5 for it, cos the seller (at a computer fair) just wanted rid of it cos he couldn't get inside it to get it to work, just needed the CPU reseating and it worked... :) I just wish the original PSU didn't self destruct, it had lots of drive power connectors, the one I replaced it with is a 300w desktop one with 4x HD/Optical connectors and 1x floppy, so really mucked up using it as a multi-drive server!!! :(
Well my server before it burned out wasn't reliable at all! If it didn't stay on it wouldn't turn back on... Pretty nice computer though. wish it still worked... 3.4ghz Pentium 4.
Sounds like the crappy capacitor syndrome, I had the same trouble myself with one system a few years back, ended up ditching the board, but the rest of the parts were fine... :) But my IBM server works ok, pulled it out the other day and fired it up, just needed some cables reseating inside before it would stop BSODing, but once I got that done and dusted it fired right up and got into Windows... :D Just want to get me the parts to max out the specs on it, cos it's still useful, even if it's just an ugly black basic desktop server... :D This is what it looks like (well, what it SHOULD look like!!!):
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TheRealAnubis (author)  TheRealAnubis6 years ago
After reading all of that article above, I see that it was kind of during the early years of ISA, not pre ISA !
TheRealAnubis (author)  Yerboogieman6 years ago
Ha ! That would be funny to see, but only a dream for an old monster like this!
I found an old 230watt power supply like the one that came out of your computer. i thought of making it into a bench top power supply.
twocvbloke6 years ago
Cool, another old computer lives on!!! :D And I love the PSU mod, you should call it Frankenpower's PSU!!! :D I do like old computers, they're so much more entertaining, in terms of how they work inside and how you set them up, far more interesting than today's cloneboxes that all unwillingly try to run WindowsVista... :P My oldest computers that I have are 2x Amiga A600s (though they're somewhat buried in a box!!!), an Olivetti Pentium75 base (800MB HDD, my Freecom USB pen's bigger at 1GB!!!), and an IBM PII based server (18GB of 10,000rpm SCSI storage!!!), the rest are my two more recent Toshiba laptops, though they're nothing to shout home about, unless you find that they were scrap when I bought them interests you... :D
TheRealAnubis (author)  twocvbloke6 years ago
Fixing up old computers can be fun. I'm currently working on some of my old Commodore stuff. I have a 128D that is totally dead and has no keyboard, so that one is the biggest challenge that I have to date.
love it dude keep the old machines living on, I do the same. my commodore64/128-ti994A and even som old 286/386's and a Lisa. I like programing new eprom bios chips for the IBM's to run new windows OS's. I got to keep all versions of Qbasic available...I still use them so I dont think it can be called nostalgia but I just like the old machines and modifying them. I used to sale my own "pirate brands" now each time an old comp dies the death I keep its parts to build a new "FRANKINPUTER" I keep building them for hobby robotics and novelty..
TheRealAnubis (author)  iamdenteddisk6 years ago
I'm glad to hear that a few of us still like working on the old dogs...
rc jedi6 years ago
Cool! Another thing my kids can ask "what's that?" Put it next to my record player, 8 track tapes, overhead projector, food dehydrator, thighmaster, T.I.994a, Timex Sinclair, Adam, Pong, C.B. radio, and the lava lamp. I guess I am like your computer. living in the past. ..............................aaaaaahhhhh....so lonely. hee hee!
TheRealAnubis (author)  rc jedi6 years ago
I'm not sure what attracted me to this giant metal box along the road, but I've been having a lot of fun with it so far. If you don't have a ton of money to spend to mack out a new system, then why not spend time searching for parts for your old tank instead? Aren't hobbies great?
My dad recently threw away his citizen's band radio.
Heh heh, I already have one of those! I try not to junk pick too much, but sometimes it's just a mystery sitting along the road waiting to be solved... Or - it's just some junk !
PS1186 years ago
Oh man! That old dog brings back some memories. Takes me back to the days of Borland Turbo c++. And remember when word perfect actually rocked? I mean, Ctrl+ shift +f5+backspace+summersault causes it to print a spellchecked copy of your document on mailing labels while walking the dog and reminding you of your wife's birthday. Good times. Good times...
TheRealAnubis (author)  PS1186 years ago
Sounds like fun ! I have an old copy of word perfect around here somewhere, although I'll probably have to work on the summersault !
Heh, PS/2's had the BEST keyboards ever!