These pages are based on Chris Feeny's FAQ version 5.5.
The previous guardians of the Holy Grail were Lewis Getschel (original creator), then revised by Carl Benker (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gerry Morgan (email@example.com), with a further updating by David Smudski ( PC Helpcenter) and Jeff Holleman (PCCBBS). I'd like to thank Chris Feeny (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the ressurection of the PS/2 FAQ.
If you think the PS/2 was odd or rare, think again. The PS/2 experience covered a mere ten or so years. In Tom Watson's IBM, they sold 17,000,000 machines, 13,000,000 of them Micro Channel. The PS/2 division was IBM's biggest money maker for three years running in the early 90s, and IBM said then that PS/2 was the most popular model of computer in the world. (Thanks, Joe!)
Many people do not understand the reason for a PS/2. IBM
built them to run 24/7. They sold reliability. Those annoying extensive
self tests and the cryptic error codes all support that goal. Why power
up a server if the POST misses a (at the time) non-fatal error that a few
hours later brings down a major corporation's network?
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. If there are deficiencies, errors, and/or missing information you would like to see email me at: email@example.com
* Optional L2 Cache module
The -xxx suffix can usually be broken down to -ABC where:
A - number of hard drives usually
Fourth letter is county/language identifier (F=Canadian French)
85xx models are XGA or VGA, 95xx models are XGA-2 or SVGA.
These are usually denoted with a /A suffix. Here is a list of what is current.
See Appendix A for full list.
Reference Disks used to be available from two IBM sources, via ftp to ftp.pc.ibm.com or by dialing the IBM PC Co. BBS at 1-919-517-0001.
Neither of the two is available anymore, use THIS page instead.
After the files are obtained:
For .EXE files:
Do NOT use "DIR" under W95 to look at the newly created reference disk. This overwrites the special bytes needed to access the system partition. I have created MANY refisks with NT and W95 using Win Exploiter, er, Explorer. They all worked. You can look at them with File Eplorer all day long. Just do NOT go to MS-DOS mode and do a "DIR".
For .DSK files:
For .TG0 files:
Also check http://www3.ncr.com/support/pc/pcdesc/library/adfs.shtml
Also QBMCA utility can tell you what ADF you need.
NCR is HERE
See Appendix B.
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
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 <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 formatting options and some
wrap plug port tests (see Q6.6 for details).
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 diskand 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.
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.
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.
You must use "Copy an Option Diskette" under Setup to correctly copy
a new or updated ADF to the Reference Disk or to the System Partition.
IBM. The 800-772-2227 (1-800-PS2-2227) is open 24 hours a day
for warrantied systems; however; there is no PS/2 models still under warranty
so you will have to use the 1-900-555-2582 number. They bill at $1.99
per minute the last time I called (10/27/98). Usually the staff is
dead accurate and only rarely is misinformation handed out. However,
the chances of misinformation is greatly increased when calling during
non-standard EST business hours as I
It seems lately I have been getting emails for people who have called
the 900 number, but could not get there questions answered. This
is not to fault IBM, it simply is not practical to train your people on
every machine released, but do I get to collect the 900 charges you the
questions I answer? :).
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 a lot 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 symbolized by a lot 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. Since these calls are no longer free it may not be practical to call back. Also I am not sure the still have normal and Premium support since the phone support has changed to the 900 number system, but of course, you can always email me.
All official support channels are long gone.
This is a big problem with IBM cards. Most card manufacturers get label crazy silk-screening 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 PCBs.
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 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 cannot tell what the card does by these numbers as a class, i.e. not all 87Xxxxx cards are disk controllers and made in 1987. When you are done, place the card in a anti-static bag and store it carefully. With all the numbers written down, you are ready 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 the FCC# could be used as it almost never changes and is unique for each card. The FCC website is www.fcc.gov/oet/fccid. Lately these have proven excellent resorts though sometimes the descriptions given are vague you at least will know the manufacturer and purpose of the card.
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' (POSID, a four digit number) of the MCA card and gives the description.