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My 8086 Deskpro is on its last legs.....Upgrade time!

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    Good thing when I got my 8086 Deskpro when it was new they gave me these with it instead of the 8086 version.


      Looks like the 286 motherboard is the "COMPAQ COMPUTER CORPORATION 286 DESKPRO 286 (VERSION 2)" on's site.

      Dissembled the Deskpro enough to remove the 8086 motherboard and now I am comparing them.

      Looks like the 286 motherboard does not have a header for the speed LED, manual says it uses beeps instead.
      I was hoping I could keep it but would defiantly would lose it if I go with the 486 board, but beeps are ok and maybe I could repurposed the LED.

      Well getting ready for the smoke test. LOL


        Passed the smoke test, no pops or smoke of any kind.

        Power LED on the motherboard lights up.

        Last edited by Klee; October 23, 2021, 05:45 PM.


          Plugged in the video card and connected the monitor and it test's the ram and gives a keyboard and other errors since nothing else is installed.

          Just wanted to know if it would post.

          Looking good so far.


            Can't get rid of the 301- Keyboard error.

            Tried three keyboards, two original Deskpro ones plus a generic AT-XT switchable keyboard.

            Steady beeps until I pull the keyboard plug out.

            Got rid of the security lock keyboard error, has a couple of errors in the listing for the jumpers. J119 and J115 are swapped.

            Tried reseating the bios and keyboard chips.


              Looks like the #5 keyboard pin, the +5v pin, shows zero volts.

              So i'll take the board back out and give it a look over to see if I can find any damaged traces.
              Last edited by Klee; October 24, 2021, 07:29 AM.


                Did a quick hack, desoldered the #5 din pin wire going to the motherboard and ran a +5 wire from a molex connector.

                No more error and keyboard works.

                Need to do a more permanent fix directly on the motherboard.

                Next is to install a floppy drive controller card and floppy drive.


                  It boots!!

                  Only installed the minimum hardware so far and ran some tests.


                    Found the issue with the 286 motherboard, the pico fuse F2 is blown. Thats the fuse that protects the keyboard +5 volt line.

                    The second pin from the bottom on the J116 connector is what supplys the +5 to the keyboard. It goes to component L4 then the trace goes to F2 fuse.

                    Naturally I do not have any pico fuses, the 8086 motherboard uses much easier to change glass fuses.

                    I found a pack of fuses on Ebay, older ones that are a close match and also rated at 5A like the two on the 286 motherboard.

                    So no running a repair wire needed to fix it, but I will have to wait a few days on the fuses.

                    This is one of the many reasons I really like vintage computers, much easier to troubleshoot AND fix than newer pc stuff.


                      Replacing that fuse did the trick. No more keyboard error or needing a +5v jumper wire.


                        I ordered some eproms and flashed them to REV S.1, the latest version I found.

                        It works!! and the INSPECT program on the Compaq setup disk correctly shows the new ROM version.

                        Now I can have a 1.44 mb floppy without the 2M-XBIOS.EXE workaround. I currently have a 1.2 mb floppy temporarily installed.

                        Will install my new in the box Pine Technology PT-104 hard drive and floppy controller card in a day or two.

                        Will need to decide what hard drive to install, i'm leaning towards a Seagate 89 mb drive since its a bit noisy like the original 20mb MFM drive. But that might change since its a little tall to fit the custom 3.5 drive bracket I made using a old Seagate MFM front cover and LED.

                        Since it has 16 bit ISA slots that opens up some more cards I can use, sound and network especially since I have tons of those.

                        So far I am VERY pleased on how its turning out.

                        Last edited by Klee; November 15, 2021, 08:48 PM.


                          Just a little update, I had a little trouble booting off the 1.44 floppy drive.

                          Ended up having to boot a 720k floppy with the setup program to configure it as a 1.44 mb drive and then after a reboot it then boots fine off of 1.4mb floppys

                          I installed Concurrent DOS XM 6.0 and it runs fine, defiantly ALOT different than MS-DOS. So much more going on.

                          Still learning the OS.

                          The memory settings are a bit of a learning curve but I am able to give a max of 640K ram to DOS programs, never freed up that much in MS-DOS.

                          Ran a couple of programs off a floppy just for a quick test.

                          Last edited by Klee; November 29, 2021, 06:11 PM.


                            I just picked up the 286 deskpro. I don't know if I have a power supply problem or a short on the motherboard. power supply with no load spins up the fan and runs. If I hook it to the motherboard with nothing else no cards no drives nothing it just power cycles very quickly. Not wanting to spend a small fortune on a replacement supply I was thinking of building a cable and using an older AT style PSU. Also, the service manual recommends the 192 watt PSU you may be running the 160 watt one since it was an 8086 to begin with.



                              Lots of technical documents on the Deskpro 286 in the above link.

                              Should give you the info to diagnose what is wrong.

                              It might not be the power supply that is bad, could be a short in a expansion card or on the motherboard itself.

                              My Deskpro's power supply went bad about ten or twelve years ago and was replaced by a NOS Compaq power supply, I bought a couple about fifteen years ago. I don't remember what they are rated at but have had zero issues so far. The original power supply's fan was 110v but the replacement is 12v and also the internals are a bit different.

                              I want to give all the OS's that will work on the board a try, Compaq DOS ver 3.31, 4.01 and 5.0. OS/2 1.10 Compaq OEM, and finally Xenix 286.

                              I installed Microsoft OS/2 ver 1.10 Compaq OEM tonight, I had to convert the images to 1.44 mm floppys since my last box of unopened 1.2 mb floppys were all unusable as none would format without errors.

                              The install went great and after I rebooted I installed Microsoft Word 5.5 and it runs fine.

                              The OS/2 GUI is a bit different and bare but with either OS/2 or the DOS command windows full screen they are fine.

                              Still learning the OS.

                              So far I like Compaq DOS 5.0 the best on the upgraded 286 board, probibly because I am more familiar with it that the other OS's.

                              Concurrent DOS XM on a 286 feels kludgy but I will defiantly give Concurrent DOS 386 a try on a 486 with its much better memory handling ans its ability to deal seamlessly with both DOS and CP/M floppy's since that will be handy when I build a 8088 pc just for CP/M-86.
                              Last edited by Klee; December 9, 2021, 04:46 PM.