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ScanDisk
September 13th, 2017, 10:11 AM
I have had this Zenith Data Systems ZWL-183-92 for a couple years now.

When I first got it, it only booted from the hard drive, when the battery was in and charged, but then the battery blew up.

Now it will start with the power adaptor, but It won't boot from the hard drive, only from floppy, and it also turns on the red low power light and beeps.

With a BIOS date of 1986, this is tied with my Macintosh SE as my oldest system.

I have read somewhere that zenith powers things through the battery, so that could explain why it worked fine with the battery in.

Now that I have no battery, is there anyway to change the power route, or attach something to where the battery connects to get power through there?

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Stone
September 13th, 2017, 10:47 AM
After booting from a floppy the HD works, right?

If so, you can then transfer control to the HD with this:

SET COMSPEC = C:\COMMAND.COM

Then you can remove the floppy (boot) disk and the machine will run as if it had been booted from the HD, i.e., reloading the transient portion of COMMAND.COM from C:.

ScanDisk
September 13th, 2017, 10:53 AM
After booting from a floppy the HD works, right?

If so, you can then transfer control to the HD with this:

SET COMSPEC = C:\COMMAND.COM

Then you can remove the floppy (boot) disk and the machine will run as if it had been booted from the HD, i.e., reloading the transient portion of COMMAND.COM from C:.

Never tested that before. I will test it soon.

EDIT: It says "invalid drive specification", so no it doesn't work. I'd expect the lack of proper power to be the culprit.

zombienerd
September 13th, 2017, 11:15 AM
I have read somewhere that zenith powers things through the battery, so that could explain why it worked fine with the battery in.

I have the ZFL-181-93, and it works fine without a battery. Don't know if that information would help you in any way.

Stone
September 13th, 2017, 11:56 AM
It says "invalid drive specification", so no it doesn't work. I'd expect the lack of proper power to be the culprit.You've checked the CMOS setup and the HD is still correctly configured, right?

ScanDisk
September 13th, 2017, 12:09 PM
You've checked the CMOS setup and the HD is still correctly configured, right?

I'm not sure as I don't see anything like that in the BIOS, but when I run disk tests it's light comes on, and it always fails.

Caluser2000
September 13th, 2017, 12:18 PM
You can access the rom monitor ok with ctrl-alt-ins or pressing esc on startup?
Type ? and press enter. This will give you a whole lot of options. Option B is Boot from disk [0,1,2,3].

BW0:1 enter should boot from the first partion of the hard drive(or rigid disk as the manual refers to it as.

ScanDisk
September 13th, 2017, 12:26 PM
You can access the rom monitor ok with ctrl-alt-ins or pressing esc on startup?
Type ? and press enter. This will give you a whole lot of options. Option B is Boot from disk [0,1,2,3].

No,

but I can get something with CTRL + ALT + ENTER

SParent
December 29th, 2017, 08:47 AM
A friend of mine has the same model and the exact same problem as you describe. I suspect a faulty Dallas RTC chip, but this has to be confirmed (he hasn't opened it yet). I'll keep you informed of any progress we make. If you find something, please share!

ScanDisk
December 29th, 2017, 11:53 PM
A friend of mine has the same model and the exact same problem as you describe. I suspect a faulty Dallas RTC chip, but this has to be confirmed (he hasn't opened it yet). I'll keep you informed of any progress we make. If you find something, please share!

Thank you, yes please keep me posted, I will indeed let you know if I make any progress!

olidlavoie
January 13th, 2019, 05:56 AM
Hi guys, sorry to revive a dead post, but i have the same computer with the same issue, did you guys ever figure out that problem?

Moondog
January 25th, 2019, 08:43 PM
I recall something about the battery having to be plugged in. I wonder if the pc was getting enough current at bootup with out the battery? The power board by the battery was problematic, and I recall seeing melted case sides where the board or battery overheated.

Moondog
January 25th, 2019, 08:53 PM
A friend of mine has the same model and the exact same problem as you describe. I suspect a faulty Dallas RTC chip, but this has to be confirmed (he hasn't opened it yet). I'll keep you informed of any progress we make. If you find something, please share!

Forgot all about the battery on rtc chip.

I sort of remember the hdd having it;'s own controller that sat on two connectors on the motherboard. It was held on by a screw or two. You might want to verify it is still seated. Alps and Connor drives were common back then.