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IBM 385XD - cannot get into BIOS

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    IBM 385XD - cannot get into BIOS

    So I get the codes 161 and 163 on start-up... I replaced the CMOS battery and still get the same codes. Everything I've read says to hold down F1 during start-up to get into BIOS... no dice. I've tried every other keyboard option/combo with the same results. I've tried removing the main battery, no change. It let's me enter through the password and I get to the screen that shows the two error codes... once I click OK, it just sits there (and show a little graphic telling me to look at the manual which I have on PDF but nothing is in there about this). The pic I've attached is as far as I can get...

    Any ideas?!?

    Thank you,
    Attached Files
    Last edited by dafivehole; November 14, 2021, 07:38 PM.

    Originally posted by dafivehole View Post
    Any ideas?!?
    Is is possible for the connector of the backup battery ('backup battery' is what the manual refers to it as) to get plugged into the system board in the wrong orientation ?

    Originally posted by dafivehole View Post
    Everything I've read says to hold down F1 during start-up to get into BIOS... no dice.
    The maintenance manual for the ThinkPad 385XD includes, "Press and hold the F1 key; then turn on the computer. Hold the F1 key down until the Easy-Setup menu appears." Doing that exactly as described?


      Not sure about the battery thing... I followed the F1 steps exactly as described...


        Originally posted by dafivehole View Post
        Not sure about the battery thing...
        Also, maybe the replacement battery you bought had slowly discharged over the 20 years that it sat on the shelf !
        So, something else to check is the voltage of the replacement battery, per PDF page 31 of the maintenance manual.


          The CMOS battery is brand new... not old stock. When you replace these batteries, the computer will initially give out the same codes (161 and 163) until the time is corrected in BIOS. The problem is that I just can't access BIOS.


            i experience something similar on my 365XD, i think i could get into the bios when there was no harddrive connected (i was switching it out for a compact flash)


              I ran into this with a 380XD but I forget what I did to resolve it. It's only been 15 years. :P
              You tapped F1 to get into the BIOS but try tapping ESC instead, or spamming every key and seeing if you can make it fail the keyboard test and dump you into the diagnostics (then exiting back to the main menu to reset the date and time).
              [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
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              = Excellent space heater


                I've tried ESC as well... no change. I guess I'll try removing the hard drive...


                  Took the hard drive out and, of course, no difference...


                    Maybe it's having keyboard problems.


                      I thought about that... I tried connecting an external KB but no dice (had to use the serial port and the KB wasn't recognized). The point stick and the two buttons below it work just fine...


                        The thumbstick and the buttons are on a separate cable I think, check the main cable from the keyboard to the motherboard.

                        Generally I would removed all the drives (floppy, hd and optical) and see if you can proceed from there. It sounds like it is getting hung up on something in the boot process.
                        What I collect: 68K/Early PPC Mac, DOS/Win 3.1 era machines, Amiga/ST, C64/128
                        Nubus/ISA/VLB/MCA/EISA cards of all types
                        Boxed apps and games for the above systems
                        Analog video capture cards/software and complete systems


                          Removing the combo drive did nothing... this thing's a doorstop now