S) 1.0 Introduction
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 (email@example.com)
and Gerry Morgan (firstname.lastname@example.org), with a further updating by David
Smudski ( PC Helpcenter) and Jeff Holleman (PCCBBS). I'd like to thank
Chris Feeny (email@example.com) 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?
Eventually, I hope to restore more of these Ardent Tools
of Captitalism to gainful employment through a better public understanding
of the machine.
Q) 1.1 What does this
FAQ cover and how do I use this FAQ?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q) 1.2 What are the
different PS/2s and their features?
Note: A very good reference can be found HERE (ZIP) (#25,30,50,55,60,70,73,80).
|Model||Model||CPU||Wait||L2||Bus Type||# of Slots||# of Bays||Itr. Date|
|90 XP 486||8590-0G5/H5/+||486SX-20/25||0||MCA32||4||4||10/90|
|90 XP 486||8590-OPTION||486DX-33||0||MCA32||4||4||10/90|
|90 XP 486||9590-DLA/LG/+||486DX2-50||0||MCA32||4||4||03/93|
|95 XP 486||8595-0G9/F||486SX-20||0||MCA32||8||7||10/90|
|95 XP 486||8595-0H9/F||486SX-25||0||MCA32||8||7||10/90|
|95 XP 486||8595-0J9/D/F||486DX-25||0||MCA32||8||7||10/90|
|95 XP 486||8595-0KD/F||486DX-33||256*||MCA32||8||7||10/90|
|95 XP 486||8595-0LF||486DX2-50||0||MCA32||8||7||10/90|
|95 XP 486||8595-0MG/T||486DX-50||256||MCA32||8||7||10/90|
|95 XP 486||9595-0LF/G||486DX2-50||0||MCA32||8||7||10/92|
|95 XP 486||9595-0MF/G/T||486DX-50||256||MCA32||8||7||06/91|
* Optional L2 Cache module
The -xxx suffix can usually be broken down to -ABC where:
A - number of hard drives usually
B - processor type
C - hard drive type
Fourth letter is county/language identifier (F=Canadian French)
More info about model numbers HERE.
More info about CPU type encoding HERE.
85xx models are XGA or VGA, 95xx models are XGA-2 or SVGA.
LS models are usually identical to the SX counterparts but are diskless.
Q) 1.2a What are the
Processor Complexes and their features?
Q) 1.3 What are the
IBM brand MCA cards?
These are usually denoted with a /A suffix. Here is a list of
what is current.
See Appendix A for full list.
Q) 1.4 Where do I get
a Reference Disk for my PS/2?
[Rewrite by Aron Eisenpress <email@example.com>]
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
After the files are obtained:
For .EXE files:
o Put a blank, formatted 1.44MB floppy in A: (old systems like 8525
720K) then run the self creating disk image file (ex rf90954a.exe).
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:
o Run LDF.COM so that the files LOADDSKF.EXE and PRODAID.TXT are extracted.
LOADDSKF.EXE is what you need, PRODAID.TXT is the IBM agreement.
o Insert a blank disk and type LOADDSKF filename.DSK A: (or B:) [/F
and /C to convert a 720KB image to a 1.44MB disk.]
o Ensure the proper disk is inserted and answer: "Y".
o Your reference disk is ready to go.
For .TG0 files:
o Run TGSFX.COM so that the files TELEGET.EXE and TGCONFIG.EXE are
o Run TGCONFIG and follow the prompts.
Also check http://www3.ncr.com/support/pc/pcdesc/library/adfs.shtml
Also QBMCA utility can tell you what ADF
Q) 1.4a Where can I get
a Reference Disk for my non-IBM MCA System?
NCR is HERE
ALR (what's left) is HERE
Apricot (now Mitsubishi) is HERE
(anyone got a Panther for swap?) Messy. Help?
Tandy (suprise) had the Tandy 5000 (250-6000/1/2) Ops, they want to
sell the refdisks.
Olivetti? Someone had the link...
Let Us Know.
Q) 1.5 Which file is
my Reference Disk? They are all cryptically written.
See Appendix B.
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.
Q) 1.7 How can I run
the Advanced Diagnostics?
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).
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 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.
Q) 1.9 I need an Option
Diskette.What are they 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) 1.10a I copied
the option's ADF to the refdisk, but Setup cannot find it!
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.
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 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
have experienced at 3am calls from the East Coast.
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? :).
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 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.
Q) 1.13 Where can
I find support on the internet?
All official support channels are long gone.
See the External Links page for a list of alternative online sources.
Q) 1.14 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 silk-screening their name and the card's name all over
the card's PCB, 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.
And of course, QBMCA.
Another utility that reports on the POSID from MS-DOS is Snooper (download HERE).