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Thread: AS400 9406-170 V4R3 to PC connection

  1. #1

    Default AS400 9406-170 V4R3 to PC connection

    We have a AS400 9406-170 V4R3 and it connects to a WinNT2000 PC via a co-ax cable that runs from the AS400 to a card in an old Packard Bell and then from that board to the PC via the serial port. Any idea how I can get the Packard Bell out of the loop and connect more directly to the PC? The Packard Bell might last forever, but I'm sure it won't and then we are stuck. We get mailing lists and other reports to our laser printer via this connection. Otherwise it's wide paper green bar printing only. The card in the Packard Bell won't fit in the more modern PC and I think it is what actually translates the AS400 to PC language (I'm not a techie, I'm an accountant so bear with me).


  2. #2


    You need more help than you are probably going to get here. Contact your IBM business partner or IBM directly.

    The card in the PC is probably a '5250' emulation card. It is definitely not a serial port, or a special serial port.

    (I know a bit about these, as I used to write the operating system code for them. But my memory of that machine is long gone, and you're going to need some hand holding. It's also not really an on-topic machine for this web forum, as it is only about 10 years old and it is a 64 bit RISC processor.)

  3. #3


    We have a couple of these machines hanging around, and I have a good visual of what you're talking about, but there are a lot more variables to consider.

    You didn't specify if the laser is connected to the newer PC or the older one. If it's connected to the machine you want to keep, just untwist the connectors and take out the Packard Bell and the cable that runs between it and the PC. Now, plug the cable that used to go to the Packard Bell into the connector on the Win2000 machine that you just unplugged the other cable from. It's not great housekeeping, but the 400 will vary off the device it can no longer find. The address of each device (the sequential position on the cable) is set in each device, so taking one out of the middle won't screw up other things on the line...well, they'll go down while everything is disconnected, but they'll come back up when the connection is re-established.

    One final note: look at the cable coming out of the back of the 400 that the twinax cable plugs into. It probably has 4 twinax connectors on it. If the cable you are contemplating playing with is on line 0, be aware that the first device on this line (apparently the Packard Bell) is the console. You can't remove it without replacing it. You need a console. period.
    Windows: worst operating system in the world, almost two decades running!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


    Actually, a lot of P3 motherboards had ISA slots on them (which I have) and I'm pretty sure I have, at least, one working 5250 card kicking around.

    Prudence dictates that you should have a bare-bones back-up machine that, if the PB bites the dust, you just dump the hard drive into the 5250 equipped P3 and you're up and running with a backup 5250 card in reserve.

    If the card croaks, you either pull the one from the P3 and stick it in the PB or scrap the PB (except for the drive which you'd put in the P3) and use it. P3 motherboards with one or two ISA slots will probably be around for quite some time.

    I'm a techie, not an accountant, so bear with me
    Legacy Computers and Parts

    Sales of, parts for, and repairs to, Vintage and Legacy computers.

  5. #5

    Smile AS400 Response

    Thank you all for your ideas. I will show them to our contractor and see if he is willing to consider any of them. I hope, ultimately, that we will just get a new system. The AS400 is rock solid, but clunky (green 14" CRT's, impact printer) and IBM no longer supports our software version. I think the boss just hopes it lasts until he retires and doesn't have to deal with the transition.

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