View Full Version : A way of dating packard bell computers?

August 12th, 2017, 03:30 PM

I've had a Packard Bell Pack-Mate III for months now, and I have upgraded it over time.

It has a 12hz 286 and originally came with 2mb of ram.

The BIOS says 1989 but the internal modem is from 1991, so I don't know when the machine was truly made, as sometimes older BIOS' are used.

I do need to attach my printer to it, so I will be looking at the back panel again, where it has a sticker with serial numbers and other things.

I don't know if there's a date on it or not, but I will take a look.

Does anyone know how to date a PB machine with stuff that could potentially be found on such a sticker?

August 12th, 2017, 03:47 PM
The funny thing about the 12MHz 80286 PB boxes was that the same motherboard was used simultaneously in several different models.

Shows that the board was used in four different models (http://www.uncreativelabs.de/th99/m/P-R/30267.htm).

Randomly poking around for product announcements on these models gives a date sometime around 1990. Even by then, the 80286 was a has-been CPU for PCs.

August 12th, 2017, 03:51 PM
I don't know how to interpret PB serial numbers, but you can always fall back on reading date codes of the chips soldered onto the motherboard. RAM chips are often a good guide, but this is provided it is the original RAM. As a general rule (in my experience) if the motherboard has a date of 1989, then it was probably sold in 1990. BIOS date codes seem to be all over the place, particularly Phoenix.

Another alternative is Google book search, to see when it was advertised. For example. here is an advert for a PB 286 running at 12MHz. not sure if it is your system:

August 12th, 2017, 04:02 PM
In the 486/Pentium era, the Serv Cd number was done as two digit month, one digit Year (X in 9X), and two digit day. It should have dates on things. Open it up and check the power supply for a sticker.

Late 1990 or 1991 does not seem too unreasonable. The March 1990 PC Magazine review indicates Packard Bell 286 was using a BIOS from 1985. So you have a much newer revised model.

August 12th, 2017, 05:36 PM
Failing that, check the date codes on the ICs. Not terribly accurate--it depends on stock on hand when the board was manufactured. But it'll probably be accurate to within a year or so.