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I have an ancient IBM portable P70 with a 2mb ram card... that used to work. I used to play monopoly on it (it had DOS 5.0 installed on its hdd), but recently, after sitting dormant for around 2 years, the computer no longer boots. Upon booting, it has errors 161 and 163, then displays a screen with a graphic of a stack of papers with IBM written on the top, and a big OK in an oval with a line through it, and the two error codes. I am unable to access bios, and the floppy drive does not reliably work. Does anyone have any idea as to what part failed/what needs to be changed for this computer to work, or how to access the bios?

I have tried to use the refstamp utility on dos boot disks, and have downloaded the IBM ref. disk. I even connected a standard floppy drive that I knew was good in place of the portable's drive, using the power from my desktop to run the drive. This had exactly the same results as the original drive : It clicks a few times, then nothing happens.


I don't really intend to use it for anything other than a novelty, as it is obviously a little bit out of date Smile...The orange plasma display looks pretty cool though...
IBM generic error code documentation:

Quote:
...this tells you error messages etc.

At first they both had error 161 163 192.
161 and 163 mean time and date not set


That would mean your CMOS battery failed in the past two years. Hopefully you could replace it, set the time and date, and be in business.

Edit: Try holding F1 on boot and see what happens.
When I hold F1, I get a stuck keyboard error. If I press it after the post errors are thrown, the floppy drive clicks and the screen goes black and remains that way. For the cmos battery, could I just take a 6v AA battery holder and attach the proper header connector?
elite.lumberjack wrote:
When I hold F1, I get a stuck keyboard error. If I press it after the post errors are thrown, the floppy drive clicks and the screen goes black and remains that way. For the cmos battery, could I just take a 6v AA battery holder and attach the proper header connector?


Press and hold F1 before the POST errors, but after you've turned it on - make sense?
IBM PS/2's usually never have a built in bios setup utility. In many cases you need to boot it with a special disk called a reference disk. Unfortunately, the old pcbbs ftp from IBM that had all the disks is dead now. You can try this location below which appears to be a mirror. The file to make the disk for a ps/2 70 portable is called rfp70a.exe and is 471k

http://john.ccac.rwth-aachen.de:8000/ftp/mirrors/ps2supersite.homedns.org/pccbbs/refdisks/rfp70a.exe

Or if it boots dos, you can set the time using data and time, but If I remember correctly they don't boot with those errors.
As I mentioned in the first post, I have the IBM ref disk. I downloaded it from ftp://service.boulder.ibm.com/pc/pccbbs/refdisks/rfp70a.exe. If the computer will not boot past these errors, it is kinda hard to set the time Smile. How do I use the ref disk? I tried placing it in the floppy drive and booting, but that does not seem to work...
Did you try a different disk? What's the OS on the PC creating the disk. The refdisk programs are sometimes picky and want you to create them in DOS only, but it's been ages since I made one so It might make a good disk in XP.

Also, try powering down with the disk still in the drive and then powering it back on, since some of the systems would try to detect the refdisk at post.Ffrom the sound of it either the drive is bad (I wouldn't expect a standard floppy drive to work in a PS/2. PS/2's are anything but standard) or the floppy controller is bad, but I would check the disk first just to be sure. You can also try cleaning the floppy if you can find one of the cleaners.
I have repeatedly tried cleaning the drive, since it is rather unreliable. It will have read errors when installing software but when it is retried several times it works. I have also tried marking dos boot disks with the refstamp utility.
I used to have a ps note laptop. Smile It died when my little bro dropped it of the nightstand.

Also my old one had a bios I think. I still have the manual around somewere. I'll see if I can hunt it down.
lordofthegeeks wrote:
I used to have a ps note laptop. Smile It died when my little bro dropped it of the nightstand.

Also my old one had a bios I think. I still have the manual around somewere. I'll see if I can hunt it down.
Welcome to Cemetech! I assume you've fled the defunct Omnimaga to come here? I hope you enjoy your stay.
well it sounds like the drive is dead. (from what I'm reading, it doens't sound too suprising. Apperently they had a lot of problems with the floppies in these machines.) the only thing I can think of at this point would be..

-Boot a PC in MSDOS. A bootable windows 98 CD should work fine. If you can put a usb hard drive in your system at POST and the BIOS lets DOS see it as a hard drive you might be able to use that to boot, or at least store the refdisk file there.

-make another refdisk (make a couple just to be sure) using the refdisk file you downloaded from IBM in MSDOS.

-keep trying to boot it using the various disks until it feels like reading the disk.
Ummmm. Usb! Cdrom Drive(possible)!!

This is an IBM P70, a 386 20mhz...2mb ram...dos 5.0...definitely not capable of booting from a cd...and usb is out of the question...
uhh.. I meant boot some other PC with DOS. then make the disks from the other PC.
If my P70 cannot boot past the post screen, I highly doubt it would prefer a dos boot disk over a reference disk, as the reference disk contains a special sequence in the data that triggers the IBM ps/2 to skip past the post errors and allow the computer to be configured.
OK. let me try this again since the last two posts are confusing you.

The PC you are using to read and type on this board, Lets call it Box X for now.
The PS/2 p70 Portable, let's call it the PS/2

1) Go To http://fryedsoft.bluecrimson.com/images/refdisks.zip

2) in the zip there are two files, Bootdos.iso and refdisk.exe

-bootdos.iso will make a bootable CD with the refdisk file from the IBM link already in it.
-Refdisk.exe is a disk made from a DOS VM and compiled into a winimage Extractable disk file. Not sure if it will work but what the heck.

3) Make the bootdos.iso into a CD using Box X. I suggest a CDRW since the disk cannot be used to do anything else.

4) Boot Box X using the CD you made in step 3.

5) put a blank floppy in Box X, and at the A: Prompt on Box X, Type "RFP70A B:" without the quotes.

6) Make a reference disk by following the instructions from the program.

7) Repeat step 5 and 6 with another Blank Floppy disk

8) Turn off the PS/2

9) Stick one of the reference disks you just made into the PS/2.

10) Turn On the PS/2

11) Repeat Step 8-10 until it boots, or until you give up. CTRL-ALT-DEL might work here instead of powering it down over and over again so try that first.

***ALTERNATE METHOD (EXPERMENTAL!)***

1) put a blank floppy in Box X

2) Run refdisk.exe on Box X and Click OK, following the instructions it gives you.

3) If it says the disk has errors, Be like Naruto and believe it, get another disk and try again.

4) Repeat step 1 and 3 with another Blank Floppy disk

5) Turn off the PS/2

6) Stick one of the reference disks you just made into the PS/2.

7) Turn On the PS/2

8) Repeat Step 5-7 until it boots, or until you give up. CTRL-ALT-DEL might work here instead of powering it down over and over again so try that first.
Thanks to the various information above, I was finally after about 40 reboots able to get the p70 to boot. Now I can play boring games again, which, due to the large harddrive for it's time (120mb), it can hold about 400 of...
elite.lumberjack wrote:
Thanks to the various information above, I was finally after about 40 reboots able to get the p70 to boot. Now I can play boring games again, which, due to the large harddrive for it's time (120mb), it can hold about 400 of...
Very nicely done. Do you have any additional information to add to the steps above in case other people visiting the site want to try the same thing?
The basic steps I followed to get my IBM ps/2 P70 Portable to work, with errors 161 and 163, were as follows:

1) Replace the old Cmos battery with a new one (this was too difficult to find, so I instead used a 6 volt AAA pack with the proper header pin connector, and used hot glue to stick down inside the case, where there is plenty of room for it)

2) Download the refdisk utility from ftp://service.boulder.ibm.com/pc/pccbbs/refdisks/rfp70a.exe, and create a refdisk (note: do not attempt to look at the contents of this disk under Windows. Windows will corrupt the special marking used by IBM to boot the P70. It is okay to create the bootdisk from Windows though; I used Windows XP Pro and it properly made a refdisk)

3) Put refdisk in P70, attempt to boot. If, as in my case, the floppy drive is not very good, it may take many rebootings to get it to work. It took around 40 with me. After successfully booting, you can set the time and other bios settings, which should fix the errors 161 and 163.

These steps will work with any IBM ps/2 computer with errors 161 and/or 163. Just be sure to find the proper refdisk creation utility, most of which can be found for ftp here, if you know the filename (type in the name of the refdisk creation executable after this in the url): ftp://service.boulder.ibm.com/pc/pccbbs/refdisks, or here: http://john.ccac.rwth-aachen.de:8000/ftp/mirrors/ps2supersite.homedns.org/pccbbs/refdisks/
Nice, thanks for that. It's always nice to have retro hardware working again. Smile
  
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