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dongfeng
May 12th, 2006, 06:54 AM
Can anybody tell me about this computer system? EPSON PC AX2e

I've been offered one, but I can't go and pick it up for a couple of weeks now. All I know is that it is a 286 with a 40MB HDD and 5MB RAM. Bought new in 1989 for 2,300 (US$4,350). Comes with all the original disks, manuals, etc, but apart from Dos 4 I have no idea what the other disks are yet. It has been "upgraded" to Windows 3.11 but the owner will FDISK the hard drive to delete all the personal information that may be on it. My plan is to either run the original OS (whatever that may be) or Windows for 286.

Can anyone tell me more about this system? Searching on the Internet does not bring up much, and I am getting quite curious about it :D

Regards,

dongfeng
May 18th, 2006, 02:59 PM
I picked up this computer today, and it's beautiful! In superb condition with all the books and manuals - just like the factory supplied it, except the memory has been upgraded from 1MB to 5MB. The hard drive is 40MB.

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/ax2e01.JPG

However, there are two problems with it, and I hope they can be fixed. The first is the RTC, it's died. It says "Dallas DS1287 REAL TIME 8907B3", and it appears you can still buy ones that replace it.

The second more serious problem is that one of the chips on the motherboard seems to have cracked. It's not something I have seen happen before, but the top "layer" has come loose at one end, although it's only cracked 3/4 of the way along (like lifting up the top layer of bread in a sandwich). I am not sure what this one does, but the computer cannot read the disk drives, so I assume it is that. Anybody know what this component does? Do other Epson PC's and laptops of the same era have these? I am hoping that this is something that I can fix . . . . .

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/ax2e02.JPG

Terry Yager
May 18th, 2006, 03:48 PM
If the RTC has gone dead, the computer has lost it's setup info, and that may explain why it isn't 'seeing' the drives. If, OTOH, the ROM (in the picture?) is unreadable, you may be SOL. All you can do is hope to find someone with a similar machine to copy the ROM for you. If, after running the SETUP program, the computer works, get the ROMs copied ASAP.

Here's a link I saw this a.m. for repairing your RTC:

http://www.mcamafia.de/mcapage0/dsrework.htm

--T

dongfeng
May 18th, 2006, 04:08 PM
Thank you for the information! One thing, the system setup is on a floppy disk, the manual says that to set the clock I need to run the utility on the disk. So, that's why I assume it is a problem with the ROM!

As in the photo, there are actually two ROMS with the same label - the left hand one looks absolutely fine. I assume they are both the same. Where could I get it duplicated?

dongfeng
May 18th, 2006, 04:25 PM
Arrrr I just realised... they are different... one is A, one is B. Damn... :(

DimensionDude
May 18th, 2006, 05:04 PM
Yep, the two chips are different. In some other machines they'll be labeled H and L (or Hi and Lo).

I assume that other than not "seeing" the drives, the machine boots ok? If so, then the roms are probably good. But, like Terry said, I'd get them copied as soon as possible.

The chip carrier doesn't really have anything to do with how the chip operates, it serves as an anchor for the electrical connections. Oh, on second thought, trying to remove the chip from the socket may damage the internal connections.

My opinion, here is what I would do. Use the setup utility to set up the drives. Your bios info should remain as long as there is power applied to the board. If everything works, then just leave the bios roms alone. I would try to find a replacement for the rtc.

If you're determined to copy the bios roms, perhaps it could be done with the chip still in the socket. If you try to remove the chip and break one of the internal connections, it won't be repairable.

Just my opinion.

Kent

mbbrutman
May 18th, 2006, 05:29 PM
Don't move the ROMs ... definitely not safe.

If they are the system ROMS that contain the BIOS, then you can dump their contents via software and make new EPROMs. If they are not system ROMs and are not visible to software, then you are in a tough spot .. I would recommend finding other people who have this machine and see if they have the same ROM chips.

A utility (that I wrote) to dump the contents of ROM can be found here:

http://www.brutman.com/PCjr/pcjr_downloads.html

Look for pcjrcart.zip. (Ignore the name .. it works on any PC compatible, including brand new Athlons.)

dongfeng
May 20th, 2006, 05:58 AM
Thanks for all your advice, but I'm afraid I think it's now dead :( I just turned it on to try a new DOS bootdisk I found, and now there's nothing but blue lines on the screen... At least it was free :)

I'll keep an eye out for another Epson, it looks a really interesting machine!