Instructables

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

Picture of Revive a prehistoric dinosaur... an IBM PS2 55SX !
0002_ibm.JPG
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.
account3r21 year 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)  account3r21 year ago
Ha! Nice story! I hope you get a different power supply, and chuck the sparking one out ASAP!
New013 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
TheRealAnubis (author)  New013 years ago
I hope you didn't hurt your arm pulling it out! It's a monster...
Maybe you can get it going and have some fun!
wow that Fing nice job that is pro finish yo
TheRealAnubis (author)  GENERALCHAOS3 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)  MACKattacksnipe4 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)  twocvbloke5 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)  twocvbloke5 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!!!):
145882_1.jpg
TheRealAnubis (author)  TheRealAnubis5 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)  Yerboogieman5 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.
twocvbloke5 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)  twocvbloke5 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)  iamdenteddisk5 years ago
I'm glad to hear that a few of us still like working on the old dogs...
rc jedi5 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 jedi5 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 !
PS1185 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)  PS1185 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!