IBM 5160 - Dead drive, or just bad data?

September 24, 2011 at 00:10:25
Specs: N/A
So, I dug this old XT 5160 out of a friend's dad's attic a few months back (guy was moving and offered to give us a BUNCH of old hardware so long as we extricated it from the house). First power-on, the memtest ran through all 640k without a hitch and then hit the floppy drives. Finding nothing there, the system booted straight into BASIC. Satsified, I unplugged and moved it to fiddle with the rest of the systems.

A bit later, I moved the IBM back over and started to mess with it some more, only to be greeted by an error 1701. Some Googling later, I opened the machine and re-seated the HDD controller, checked some cables and whatnot. Rebooted and got "Error loading operating system from fixed disk". Obviously, being stored in an attic for the better part of two decades can't be good for data integrity, but I'd like to make sure there isn't a hardware fault before I spend the time/effort/money needed to get some working 360k DOS floppies.

I can hear the disk spin up (the first couple times, the thing made one hell of a racket ;)...sounds smooth now, though), both lights on the front of the disk come on (one solid, one flashing as the disk is accessed). Odd thing is, I can't hear anything else coming out of the disk aside from the platters spinning.

My assumption would be that for a disk as old as me, there would be some kind of audible noise as the heads move around, and the lack thereof would point to the heads being stuck.


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#1
September 24, 2011 at 01:52:07
If the platters spin the heads would not be stuck. If you have a floppy boot disk I think trying that method is the way to go. If the floppy boots you probably could do a dir of the hard drive.

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#2
September 24, 2011 at 04:42:10
It's possible to boot to floppy. Did you get any software (such as DOS) on floppy with the deal?

You may also want to read this before trying to format disks on a 5&1/4" 1.2MB drive:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/79538

Don't expect to salvage much of the HDD either; a nearly 30-year-old MFM drive doesn't have a lot of chance to come back to life (though it is possible).

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#3
September 24, 2011 at 08:53:21
Hi Taint, reading this:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Pe...

suggests more than one model/size of hard disk can be fitted to this pc. If the battery has run down, the bios might reset to factory settings, and the pc might then not be able to detect the hard disc.

Leaving the pc powered on an hour or two, might just put some charge into that old battery.

Basic appears to be in rom, hence it being able to load.

If possible suggest finding some already formatted DD floppies and creating a boot disk for testing purposes.

Reseating the hdd controller was good, also did you do same to *ALL* all related hdd cables (both ends) and the hdd power cable. The fact it first booted to basic, and now does not, suggests moving may have disturbed something.

It might have been worth giving the hdd controller edge contacts, the once over with a typists rubber pencil.

In repairing, do not disturb anything that is *NOT* related to the fault being fixed in case you create more problems.

As a matter of interest, where are you located? I am in Hammersmith, West London.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.


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#4
September 24, 2011 at 09:30:59
"If the battery has run down, the bios might reset to factory settings, and the pc might then not be able to detect the hard disc.

Leaving the pc powered on an hour or two, might just put some charge into that old battery."

Mike, FYI, there were no batteries (at least not OEM) in the IBM 5160 (PC XT). Date/time has to be set on boot-up. Also no BIOS settings for a hard-drive. Settings for the hard-drive were done on a DIP switch on the motherboard. The machine was made long before any "standard" for hard drive settings were implemented into the BIOS.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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#5
September 24, 2011 at 16:39:22
Well then. Sounds like I'll be trying to find myself a copy of DOS on eBay.

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#6
September 24, 2011 at 17:57:38
"Well then. Sounds like I'll be trying to find myself a copy of DOS on eBay."

You'd do well to find out first if the floppy-drive(s) are still working---if you haven't already. Many of the older FDD's fail as badly as the HDD's in such an old system. You'd need to fix that first before ever being able to do anything with the machine. Remember, they're likely 360K DD drives (not 1.2MB), so any media (floppies or software on floppies) will need to be 360K as well; and finding a "more-modern" version of DOS (>v3.3) on 360K may prove difficult. Reviving such an old system can easily turn into a "money-pit" if you're not careful.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."


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