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Thread: Gateway 2K 386SX Will not post

  1. #1

    Unhappy Gateway 2K 386SX Will not post

    So my G2K 80386SX-16 seems to have given up the ghost. This was a system that was working but suddenly stopped a few weeks ago. Here are the symptoms:

    When I turn on the system the power comes on, fans whirl, the HDD spins up, and the monitor comes out of power saving mode (i.e. the monitor power light goes from amber to green). However, nothing comes on the display. Also there are no POST beep codes. Instead there is a continuous non-stop (at least longer then the three minutes that I waited) buzzer alarm from the speaker. The sound is definitely from the speaker (disconnecting the speaker stops the buzzing alarm).

    This machine came to me with an already leaked VARTA barrel battery (please see pictures). However, the MB (FTK 80386SX w/ Phoenix BIOS) also has an optional header for external battery pack. The previous owner had connected a battery there (w/o changing the jumper to indicate an external battery). The system worked fine and Real Life (TM) being what it is I did not remove the leaked battery and frankly forgot a bout it. To be fair it doesn't look like the leaked battery looks any worse now then it did when I got it but who knows.

    Leak1.jpg

    Leak2.jpg

    I had a chance to take the system apart last night and took the battery off and cleaned off the minimal amount of leaked acid. There is some trace damage (please see pictures).
    However, I am not sure how significant it is. The traces don't look like they are going anywhere and the external battery circuit seems to be separate from the internal one.

    Clean.jpg

    I have a mini-service guide for this board from G2K but unfortunately it is not very detailed (nor accurate, with a number of typos/misinformation). In it, it lists POST beep codes for the BIOS but no mention of a continuous buzzing alarm.

    I have tried the following things:

    1. Taken the board to a minimum configuration and cleaned it all out.
    2. I have tried booting with just a video card, two sticks of RAM and I still get the same alarm
    3. Reset the CMOS -> no change
    4. Disconnected external battery, unplugged, let it sit, replugged -> no change
    5. Switched out video card -> no change
    6. Tried booting w/o kb connected and tried booting w/o video card and kb -> no change

    I could not find my POST dx card last night so that will be hopefully tonight. In the meantime does anyone, have any ideas what the alarm means on the Phoenix BIOS? Anything else people would recommend to try? Also can anyone, based on pictures, tell me if the damaged traces look important (yes, I know that is a tall order). I would love to get this system back up and running if at all possible. TIA!
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lord View Post
    This machine came to me with an already leaked VARTA barrel battery (please see pictures). However, the MB (FTK 80386SX w/ Phoenix BIOS) also has an optional header for external battery pack. The previous owner had connected a battery there (w/o changing the jumper to indicate an external battery). The system worked fine and Real Life (TM) being what it is I did not remove the leaked battery and frankly forgot a bout it. To be fair it doesn't look like the leaked battery looks any worse now then it did when I got it but who knows.
    And that is exactly the point -- who knows.

    Then there is always the possibility of damage to the inner layer(s) that is not visible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lord View Post
    Also can anyone, based on pictures, tell me if the damaged traces look important (yes, I know that is a tall order).
    Checking visible traces is not that difficult. All you need is a continuity or ohm meter.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    Checking visible traces is not that difficult. All you need is a continuity or ohm meter.
    Yes, but I personally can't see them going anywhere to check.
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  4. #4

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    They have to go somewhere.

    Have you tried a magnifier?
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  5. #5

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    Ok. So I played around with the motherboard some more and got a hold of my POST card. I also tried another VGA card (an ATI VIP card).

    I was able to get the system to somewhat boot. It still behaves as above. However, now the screen shows a message that says: "cmos inoperational system halted".

    Using the POST dx card the last code it shows is 20 which for this BIOS means "video tests ok". Incidentally I was mistaken and this is an AMI plus BIOS from 1989 not a phoenix BIOS.

    Googling brought me to a number of threads on Vogons which talked about bad CMOS chips (not BIOS EPROMS) such as the Hitachi HD146818. However, I don'the see anything like that on the MB.

    So any ideas? Thanks.
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  6. #6
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    The HD146818 is the Hitachi clone of the Motorola HD146818--a largish 24-pin 0.600" DIP. You'd see it if you had one. So do you have a photo of the whole motherboard?

    Have you continuity-checked the very fine traces near the edge of the motherboard where the battery was removed?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    The HD146818 is the Hitachi clone of the Motorola HD146818--a largish 24-pin 0.600" DIP. You'd see it if you had one. So do you have a photo of the whole motherboard?

    Have you continuity-checked the very fine traces near the edge of the motherboard where the battery was removed?
    Chuck,

    That's what I thought as well. Here is a picture of the complete board:

    MB.jpg

    I also tried to test out those traces but I could not get continuity. At first I though the trace was bad then I tried it also on the thick long traces next to them with the same result. I even tried placing the probes close to each other over a thick trace with no damage and still nothing. So either I am doing something wrong or the traces are not transmitting.

    Edit picture was resized by forum. Here is another copy.
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  8. #8

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    There is a keyboard controller close to the battery. Pull it out of the socket, clean the pins and push back.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lord View Post
    At first I though the trace was bad then I tried it also on the thick long traces next to them with the same result. I even tried placing the probes close to each other over a thick trace with no damage and still nothing. So either I am doing something wrong or the traces are not transmitting.
    Sometimes the traces are lacquered thus insulating them electrically. Testing them at their endpoints or midpoints where there is a small rivet-like hole is generally more fruitful.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ph4nt0m View Post
    There is a keyboard controller close to the battery. Pull it out of the socket, clean the pins and push back.
    ph4nt0M,

    Are you referring to the chip labeled AMI KB controller? Thanks.

    EDIT: So I removed the chip, cleaned out the contacts, and reseated it w/ no change in behavior.
    Last edited by Shadow Lord; May 15th, 2019 at 07:08 PM.
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

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