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Thread: Restoring IBM PC 5150

  1. #1
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    Default Restoring IBM PC 5150

    I'm trying to restore an IBM 5150 that I bought in the early 1980's has a 16-64k motherboard. Hard controller has failed (error 1701), 360k Tandon full height floppy won't read and the aftermarket expansion memory card doesn't seem to register. I'm also looking for parts and solutions. I'm lucky.... My PC boots into Basic when nothing else works.

    I found an error code list at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/35436. I don't have a CGA tube so I'm using an ambery.com CGA to VGA converter. It works well.

    But I'm looking for an 8-bit ISA controller for modern IDE PATA or SATA. Dangerous Prototypes has printed circuit board but not a complete controller. I'm looking for an 8-bit ISA controller modern for a 1.44 floppy. But I will take an old, working, reasonably price, and 360k floppy controller. I'm guessing the memory card is dead because the on-board Varta battery is shot. I found batteries at Parts-Express.com Varta 3/V100R P/N 141-105 or Varta 3/V60R P/N 141-102.

    And, Oh yes, where can I get a copy of PC DOS.

    I would very much appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks
    Last edited by JJF; December 3rd, 2012 at 10:23 PM.

  2. #2

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    Welcome to the forums JJF!

    Quote Originally Posted by JJF View Post
    I'm trying to restore an IBM 5150 that I bought in the early 1980's has a 16-64k motherboard. Hard controller has failed (error 1701), 360k Tandon full height floppy won't read and the aftermarket expansion memory card doesn't seem to register. I'm also looking for parts and solutions. I'm lucky.... My PC boots into Basic when nothing else works.
    In cases like that when there are multiple problems it is generally best to start at the beginning. Take everything out. Make a note of what slots things were in, and all original switch settings. Then put the video card back, and see how that goes. Remember that there is no editable BIOS, but there are two switch blocks on the MB which need to be set correctly. We can guide you here with all that. It would be helpful to know which of the BIOS versions you have though.

    And, Oh yes, where can I get a copy of PC DOS.
    Easy to find on eBay and elsewhere. Perhaps somebody close by can slip you a boot disk too. In the end you may want to get something historically correct, but DOS 3.3 is about the best choice otherwise. It doesn't matter if it is IBM or MS.
    WANTED: Cardinal 2450MNP modem.

  3. #3
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    Whereabouts (town/country) in the world are you? A close neighbour with some expertise may be willing to 'drop in'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    It would be helpful to know which of the BIOS versions you have though.
    In this case we can deduce that. The OP is seeing a "1701" error. In a PC or XT class computer, the code in the hard drive controller's BIOS expansion ROM produces that. Only the third (and final) BIOS for the 5150 is aware of and executes BIOS expansion ROMs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJF View Post
    Hard controller has failed (error 1701),
    The hard disk drive is also a possibility (amongst other less likely causes)

    Quote Originally Posted by JJF View Post
    I'm guessing the memory card is dead because the on-board Varta battery is shot.
    Your memory card may in fact be a multifunction card, where RAM is just one of the functions provided by the card, and a battery-backed clock is one of the other functions.
    A photo of the card will help us a lot.
    Where Ole Juul is coming from is the posibility that the motherboard switches may not be correct set for the amount of RAM you have (motherboard + RAM on cards), however, if you tell us that you haven't touched the switches since you bought the machine in the eighties, then I guess we can rule out motherboard switch settings (although there would remain the possibility of a dirty switch contact)

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    Hmmm. The 5150 does not show a RAM count as it starts, and you presently can't boot to DOS.
    So how are you determining that RAM is 'missing'?
    If you are looking at the figure displayed when BASIC starts, then note that that figure is not indicative of total RAM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by modem7 View Post
    In this case we can deduce that. The OP is seeing a "1701" error. In a PC or XT class computer, the code in the hard drive controller's BIOS expansion ROM produces that. Only the third (and final) BIOS for the 5150 is aware of and executes BIOS expansion ROMs.
    Excellent deduction.

    Anyway, I'm also concerned that he said that the "floppy won't read". Won't read what? I think this is all a bit of a rat's nest (of information) and it might be a good idea to get some clarification and look at everything one item at a time.
    WANTED: Cardinal 2450MNP modem.

  7. #7
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    Thanks so very much for your replies and advice.

    The machine’s serial number is 0149970. Bios is P/N 1501476 dated 1981 1983 D Dallas MK36C35-4 chip. This is not the original bios. To upgrade bios, IBM required a physical swap of the chip. I bought the machine at the IBM store located in the Oak Brook, IL mall (Oak Brook is a suburb west of Chicago). I ordered the bios upgrade and when it came in, I popped the bios out of the machine and drove chip to Oak Brook for the swap. IBM was a bit paranoid about their Bios... I guess, in retrospect, with good reason.

    The memory card is a multifunction card; printer, clock, 15 pin female, 15 pin male which I suspect are game ports. I only cared about the memory and the printer. I'm judging the amount of memory by the amount stated when basic starts. I gather from Modem7's comment that this is not the amount of RAM actually recognized.

    With a DS DD floppy in place, the 360k floppy spins and grunts and the machine hangs. Without the disk, the machine boots to basic.

    I have not yet rocked the dip switches to clean contacts.

    As I see it, the next steps are to get a good copy of DOS and then get the Floppy to read it.

    Thanks for your help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJF View Post
    I gather from Modem7's comment that this is not the amount of RAM actually recognized.
    Correct.

    In the 5150, the person configuring the 5150 sets the total amount of RAM (motherboard + expansion cards) into the switches in motherboard switch block SW2.
    So, by looking at the setting of SW2, you can work out what RAM (total) the POST (power on self test) is expecting to find.
    Information about SW2 setting can be found [here].

    Quote Originally Posted by JJF View Post
    With a DS DD floppy in place, the 360k floppy spins and grunts and the machine hangs.
    For the 5150 to boot to DOS from the floppy drive, that "DS DD floppy" floppy specifically needs to be a DOS boot floppy.
    Is that floppy a known DOS boot floppy, or simply a floppy you had stored with the 5150 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JJF View Post
    As I see it, the next steps are to get a good copy of DOS and then get the Floppy to read it.
    Whereabouts (town/country) in the world are you? Someone nearby may post you a 5.25" DOS boot floppy.

    In the meanwhile, some things to try:
    1. With power off, reseat the floppy controller card: out then in. I suggest three times.
    2. Relubricate the rails in the floppy drive. See procedure [here].

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJF View Post
    I don't have a CGA tube so I'm using an ambery.com CGA to VGA converter. It works well.
    Which one? And how does it handle the upper eight colors (the "bright" ones)?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJF View Post
    I bought the machine at the IBM store located in the Oak Brook, IL mall (Oak Brook is a suburb west of Chicago).
    If you are still in Chicago suburbs, I can provide you with any 5.25" floppies you need, as I'm local. email me privately at trixter at oldskool dot org if you want to set something up.

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