PS2 FAQ Introduction
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S) 1.0 Introduction
This FAQ is for the PS/2's and most other MCA machines. There may be some information that is inaccurate for non-IBM machines and this information should be gathered from the appropriate manufacturer. Also this is meant as a supplement to the comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware FAQ. The c.s.i.p.h FAQ is full of information (over 300k I believe) that any PC-compatable owner can use almost everyday. The PS2 FAQ, therefore, tries to avoid repeating what can be obtained via this FAQ or other FAQ documents which are easily available.
To use this FAQ easily, import it into any standard word processor and use a global text search to find what you want. For instance, on WordPerfect hit F2 and enter the text you want to find and hit enter. The section numbers from the table of contents make good search headings.
If there are deficiencies, errors, and/or missing information you would like to see Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q) 1.2 What are the different PS/2s and their features?
Note: a very good reference can be found at
ftp://oak.oakland.edu,in pub/simtelnet/msdos/info/ps2-ref.zip (#25,30,50,55,60,70,73,80). (Thanks: email@example.com)
The -xxx suffix can usually be broken down to -ABC where,
A=number of hard drives on some mostly 9595s.
B=processor: A=386DX25 B=SLC2/50 L=DX2/50 M=DX50 N=DX2/66 P=586/60 Q=586/66 U/X=486SX/33
C=hard drive type: 6=104 A=208/212 B=250 G=540 T=1GB X=none
[Please verify ####-xxx Model...some could be inaccurate, Chris]
All 85xx models are XGA or VGA, 95xx models are XGA-2 or SVGA.
Q) 1.3 What are the IBM brand MCA cards?
Via ftp, follow these steps:
Via the BBS, follow these steps:
For .DSK files:
For .TG0 files:
For more information on this procedure:
One other common source from dealers or IBM is the IBM "Technical Connection Personal Systems" CDROM. Some offices also have one (a good sign is if there are alot of PS/2s in your office). It also includes some files unavailable from the on-line sources.
Q) 1.5 Which file is my Reference Disk? They are all cryptically written.
Q) 1.6 What does the Reference Disk do?
The Reference Disk is your access to the internals of the PS/2, much like accessing CMOS on other computers. From the Reference Disk you can add options, change the time and date, set up a configuration, check SCSI device, change the settings of the options you added and test your system for problems. Once you have the Reference Disk running go to the Main Menu and Backup the Reference Disk and take one copy BEFORE you add options to it and put it in a safe place.
This little known command allows one to test the system one test at a time. This is useful if the system hangs or gets an error early in the full-test. To access the Advanced Diagnostics press alt and CTRL-A from the Reference Disk Main Menu and it will allow you to select which test to perform after verifying the present configuration. Also these are more through tests and also offer hard drive formating options and some wrap plug port tests (see Q6.6 for details).
Q) 1.8 Why can't I copy my Reference Disk, I want to make a backup?
You can by selecting the option to backup the Reference Disk from the Reference Disk Main Menu. The files are written in a special way to the disk and only the Reference Disk and LOADDSKF can create new/backup Reference Disks unless a total disk copy program is used to copy the hidden files, DISKCOPY works.
Q) 1.9 I got the Reference Disk, but now it is saying I need an Option Diskette/or giving me a 165 error at POST...What are Option Diskettes and Where do I get them?
Option Diskettes are the .ADF files that allow the PS/2 to communicate properly with installed options and the 165 error code is also saying that the proper .ADF file was not used to configure the system. The BBS and ftp.pc.ibm.com both have all the IBM option diskettes and some common third party ones. A file index of all the files on the ftp site can be obtained by getting the FILES.TXT file which has 100k of disk name and descriptions of every disk IBM included with option, computers, and devices as well as some third party software. When you get the right one go to Copy an Option Diskette in the Reference Disk Main Menu and it should do the work for you. Now just configure the system and you should be set.
Q) 1.10 I got the Option Diskette, but the Reference Diskette is telling me no option files can be found, What am I doing wrong?
Nothing usually. Sometimes the Reference Disk can not copy the proper files, so look in the manual for the device and see what file(s) must be copied manually over to the Reference Disk. As always use a backup copy of the Ref Disk.
Q) 1.11 I bought my PS/2 second hand who can I get technical support from?
IBM. The 800-772-2227 (1-800-PS2-2227) is open 24 hours a day for most systems and is your source for answers. Usually the staff is dead accurate and only rarely is misinformation handed out. The chances of misinformation is greatly increased when calling during non-standard EST business hours.
Q) 1.12 IBM tech. support says they do not know my answer now what?
Well if they didn't connect you to the premium support section ask to be connected there. The Premium (I think that is what they call it) support techs are usually alot more adept at in-depth tech help, but sometimes the normal tech does not connect you to them when you have a more advanced problem so ask for them if you feel the person helping you is lost (usually symboled by alot of being put on hold 'while I find out the answer' type responses). Also it is a good idea to always call back later to double check on things that you are not totally comfortable with the given answer. BTW these calls are free at anytime of the day or night.
Q) 1.13 I got an IBM MCA card with no labeling, How do I tell what it is?
This is a big problem with IBM cards. Most Card manufacturers get label crazy silkscreening their name and the card's name all over the card's breadboard, yet IBM being the marketing giant doesn't need the extra production step and goes with bare breadboards.
The first thing to do is to ground yourself (by touching the power supply of a turned OFF computer is a good way) and try to set the card on an anti-static bag or surface and try not to move around to much because one static charge to a key area and it won't matter what the card is for. Then try and find out what IBM part numbers (IBMPN) and FRU (Field Replacement Unit)(IBMFRU) are listed on the front and back of the card. Contrary to popular belief you can not tell what the card does by these numbers as a class, ie not all 87Xxxxx cards are disk controllers and made in 1987. With all the numbers written down place the card in a anti-static bag and store it carefully. Call IBM at 1-800-227-2227 and ask them first. Chances are if the card is over two years old it is going to be a gamble at best. If they could not help, it is time to post your problem to comp.sys.ibm.ps2.hardware for answers. Try to render an ASCII image of the card to give people an idea of what it is and this might also help someone identify it on the spot.
Also as a last resort the FCC# could be used as it almost never changes and is unique for each card. The FCC BBS # is 301-725-1072. Call at 2400/7E1/no error control.
Another method though I believe you need to have it installed and configured
is a program on PC-DOS 6.3 which takes the 'electronic name' (a four digit
number) of the MCA card and gives the description.
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