View Full Version : IBM ThinkPad 760XL ESS 1688 Audio Issues

June 26th, 2013, 11:07 PM
I recently bought a ThinkPad 760XL laptop off craigslist for $35. Im really impressed with the machine over my other Pentium w/ MMX laptop which is a Gateway with an awful passive matrix screen. The battery even holds a charge and works for roughly 2 hours at the minimum I would guess. I've been having issues with the ESS 1688 chip that's built in to the laptop. Some times it works just fine, and other times it just doesn't work but it shows up in the Windows 98 device manager screen with a yellow exclamation mark. I've been trying for awhile now to fix the audio as I would like to use this laptop to play some older DOS games as the screen on this laptop is pretty nice for the time frame it came out as it is an active matrix screen. Does anyone have any ideas I could try?

June 27th, 2013, 01:11 PM
Try disabling infrared or anything else that might have an IRQ conflict with the sound board.

June 28th, 2013, 06:32 AM
Also try it in dos mode.As far as I know the chipset needs no drivers in dos mode.

June 28th, 2013, 11:40 PM
Try disabling infrared or anything else that might have an IRQ conflict with the sound board.
It didn't have any resource conflicts with any other device. After playing around with it, it just will not work anymore.

June 29th, 2013, 09:57 AM
If windows says there is a conflict (yellow exclamation mark) there must be.

June 29th, 2013, 10:27 AM
See if any of the resources for the thing in the Device Manager are asterisked or otherwise annotated.

June 29th, 2013, 01:56 PM
If you just want to run dos games just bypass Windows altogether. It's been a while but I do remember running some dos games through win9x. It'd work for the first one then have a paddy on the next with sound. This happened even though the first game had been shut down correctly.

June 30th, 2013, 12:40 AM
Ok I finally got an old evaluation version of Paint Shop Pro installed so I can screenshot device manager. I'm running Win95 right now, but it had the same exact information in Win98SE. In both Win95 and Win98SE the default drivers included with the OS were installed. There are no resource conflicts at all. Here are the screen caps:


I tried running under plain DOS and it works somewhat or the game just crashes. In Doom I get music but no sound, and in Wolf3D it crashes when the first sound effect is played whereas before everything worked fine. I'm thinking the chip is somehow bad. Sucks too as I did get it working a few times as witnessed here:


July 2nd, 2013, 04:34 PM
Well I've come to the conclusion that the audio board is bad. I've ran the bios test on audio and get an error message. But I was browsing eBay and found a replacement ess audio board for my 760XL for $8 so looks like I can fix this cheap.

July 3rd, 2013, 06:03 AM
Ok I finally got an old evaluation version of Paint Shop Pro installed so I can screenshot device manager

Totally off topic, and I have no advice on the sound issue that hasn't already been suggested, but....

FYI the Print Screen key has taken screen shots in Windows since NT3.5 & 95, on up to current versions, no 3rd party software required. Print Screen = whole screen, ALT-Print Screen = Current window. Copies to clipboard, then you can paste into MS Paint or whatever graphics enabled application you want.

July 3rd, 2013, 11:56 AM
Yeah I know about print screen, I just wanted to save the pictures to jpeg on the laptop.

July 12th, 2013, 01:38 AM
I recieved the replacement ESS sound board for the 760XL, and had my brother-in-law help me replace the board. Sound is working great now!! Now I wish I could upgrade the paltry 2.1GB drive in the ThinkPad, but it has a case enclosing the entire drive and I'm not sure if it's possible to put a CF card + CF -> IDE adapter in the case.

July 12th, 2013, 02:02 PM
You can use a bigger EIDE laptop drive.

July 13th, 2013, 12:28 PM
You can use a bigger EIDE laptop drive.

Yep, for sure.

I have cracked open a few of those thinkpad drive caddies before, I don't recall the 760XL's BIOS limits specifically, but you can probably go 8.1GB before you need to install DDO software (like ontrack) to overcome that limit. 2.5" PATA to CF adapter board should be just fine keeping in mind the likely 8.1GB BIOS limit if you try to use a larger card.

Just be careful of the ribbon and connector once you open the case, they are somewhat fragile when the drive and case are not protecting them.