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Dude



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi everyone, I am new here and this is my first post.

I recently cleared out my grarage of mostly old computer crap which turned out to be half a truck load. I kept all the older stuff and found my old Bluechip 8088 case. After spending a couple of days trying to find a suitable keyboard I powered it up today but I get 'File not Found' message. I assume this means
the CMOS battery has gone flat and it can no longer find the hard drive. I was wondering if anyone here knows how to get into the BIOS on this system? It has a Faraday 8088 chip, CMOS battery and some CMOS switches, 5 1/4 drive and an old hard drive (not sure on hard drive model at this stage as its a bit hard to get to). I'm pretty sure the system is sound as it booted up ok last time I powered it up a few years ago.

Any help would be appreciated as I would not mind seeing it come back to life.
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creepingnet



Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Lynnwood,WA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Usually an XT Clone does not have CMOS setup, it usually done via the DIP switches on the system board (the only exception I can think of would be the old Compaq Deskpro 8086, maybe). If it's giving "File Not Found", then either the hard disk is missing a few files, or the hard disk is on it's way out. I would need more details to know exactly what the problem is. Like if the hard disk seek light actually came on at some point.

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Dude



Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yeah I'm not sure if there is a setup program for this system or not. I suspected there could be as it's probably one of the last XT's made judging by the 1987 date on the BIOS. Also, the CPU is not the normal DIP type but PLCC. I have a blue IBM Technical Reference book and this board is quite different to the one pictured in that.
The hard disk does spin up, light doesn't come on but I'm not sure if it's
the controller it connects to, the LED itself or the hard disk like you say.
I suppose I could try making a 5 1/4 boot disk and seeing if it boots through the floppy, it does look for a boot disk in there at boot but the only large floppy boot disks I have are in 1.2MB format which don't register with it.
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bear



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 173
Location: 57�59'N 15�39'E

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 4:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

U can get an 360k image herer http://oldfiles.org.uk/powerload/bootdisk.htm
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Pimped_Portable



Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 20
Location: Gurnee, IL, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:45 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Alright, I think I'd like to shed some light on this:

First of all, if it's an old MFM hard disk, "File not found" would probably indicate a hardware seek error. With the old stepper motor drives, they are very much affected by temperature.

I'd bring it in the house, let it run 3 to 4 hours, then reboot it.

If THAT fails, you need to low-level format the hard disk. This sets new track and sector markers on the disk...but again, only do this at operating temperature.

Back in the day, there were two kinds of HDAs (Head-disk assemblies) that were used - Stepper motor style, by which the head moved with electronic pulses through the motor, and voice-coil style, which actually used a type of tracking "eye" to know where the track and sector markers are. Disk such as the Seagate ST-2XX series (ST225, ST251, etc.) are of the stepper motor type. Any IDE and most SCSI drives will be voice-coil style, as they were more expensive, but many of the cheaper MFM disks were not. Disks of this type I would put in this category would be the Micropolis and Rodime drives, known for other problems.

The up side to the stepper motor drives is that in a head crash situation, you can actually swap parts out of the drive and repair it just like an old disk pack drive.

Crazy, huh?

I have a book called "Upgrading and repairing PCs, 2nd Edition" which talks about a lot of this stuff, including physically repairing MFM drives. If there's enough interest here I could write to QUE and see if they would be willing to allow this to be put online....it's about 700 pages, but I'd be willing to scan it for my fellow retro-pc people Wink
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Puckdropper
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 760
Location: Not in Chicago

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

If you purchase Upgrading and Repairing PCs by Scott Mueller, the latest version (AFAIK) comes with a CD with several previous versions in Adobe Acrobat format. Worth the $50, IMO.

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wdegroot
Guest





PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 3:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

after a long while from 1987 till now, the drive could simply have dies.
try booting from a floppy and then doing a dir of c:
likely toy won't see anything, next try fdisk ( dod 3.30 is a good one to use)
see if it can even see the hard drive.

a favorite technique was to disconnect and re-connect the connectors.
wiggle the card edge connectors on the drive.
this may be all it needs.
I can supply a dos 3.30 boot disk. a 360k inage.
there are other ways to start an old computer, including using a 1.44 drive with a 720k floppy. easier to make on a modern machine.
you can even make 3.5" 360k disks.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Generally if an MFM drive spins up and is not making any sort of grinding noise, it's still good. I would seriously recommend low-level formatting if you can, and before you do ANYTHING like that with an MFM drive make SURE that it's at room temperature.

I'm positive the drive is out of alignment by now, so you may as well just format it.

On most MFM controllers, you run DEBUG, and issue the command G=C800:D. This will takee you into the controller's low level format program.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:33 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Generally if an MFM drive spins up and is not making any sort of grinding noise, it's still good. I would seriously recommend low-level formatting if you can, and before you do ANYTHING like that with an MFM drive make SURE that it's at room temperature.

I'm positive the drive is out of alignment by now, so you may as well just format it.

On most MFM controllers, you run DEBUG, and issue the command G=C800:D. This will takee you into the controller's low level format program.
Pimped_Portable



Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 20
Location: Gurnee, IL, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:34 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Acck, I forgot to log in...that was me!
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