Need help with Compaq vintage 8088 PC

December 17, 2010 at 00:05:58
Specs: dos3, 8088
Hello folks. I still have my old Compaq suitcase pc, 8088, ST-225 hd and only one 5" floppy drive on this model shown HERE. I've had it stored for almost 18 yrs, dug it out the other day to try an revive it.... keeps booting and just shows 601, and the little short curser under that. I've tried multiple keystrokes to get the cmos settup again. Replaced the dead lithium battery on the memory card, a Six Pac 2 mb if I remember which has the COM1 port plug on the end of the card, and an aux plug with cable for LPT2. I had the hd loaded with dos, so it didn't need a boot disc. Now, after many attempts of trying to boot to get into the cmos, it's not finding the floppy dirve, and the led doesn't flash as the hd led does when turned on..... Heart broken of course... bought a new original compaq floppy drive card, I suspect this one might be bad since I removed it for inspection, had a small amount of water on one section with corrosion. After I put it back in all cleaned up, it doesn't seek the floppy drive anymore :( oh man,,, i hate that.... Anyways, can anyone tell me what keys to hold to access the cmos to re-install the hd ? or the steps ? I just flat don't remember that far back... HELP ! :)

edited by moderator: Added link for clarity


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#1
December 17, 2010 at 03:32:52
601 is floppy controller error.
There is no CMOS settings in those old computers configuration was by dip switches or jumpers.

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#2
December 17, 2010 at 10:36:38
I remember having to type in the hd settings to get it to recognize the hd.... ??? It's seeking the hd ok, I removed the floppy drive control card, made no difference. 601 still popped up..... if I remember correctly anyways.

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#3
December 17, 2010 at 10:44:51
correction, without the floppy card, screen shows 401 and then 601, then the single small line cursor.

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#4
December 17, 2010 at 12:19:50
Hello Fred. I removed the floppy card, screen comes up to 401, then under that 601 I definately remember having to type in the hd info after holding down certain keys to access the cmos to retain the hd info. It's not done with dip switch to settup the hd hds, cyls, sectors, etc.... I just don't remember the keys to hold down when you turn it on to do it.... :( tried many different combos, still no success....
je

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#5
December 17, 2010 at 22:04:37
A 4xx error code is mono display / printer port. Was the hard drive an upgrade or original equipment? The original configuration was 2 full height 360K floppies (Tandon 100 I believe). What hard drive controller is used Western Digital 1003 or Xebec? I never saw a factory hard drive configuration but I have added the ST-225 to create a XT like portable. Have you removed the floppy drive? With a machine so old the drive belt may have deteriorated or the stepper mechanism may be sticking.

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#6
December 18, 2010 at 01:59:28
the 401 showed after I pulled the floppy control card. This compaq suit came stock with the ST-225. I had two of them, identical twins, both had single large floppy drives. I kept the spare st-225 drive. The hd control card came with the pc Fred. I messed around many hrs with these in the early 90's, and I did have to key in the hd parameters for it to recognize the hd. No dip switch's Fred, it was typed in on the keyboard, on the screen. I remember it very well. I just can't recall how I did it, or what the combination of keys to hold on boot were. The mono screen works fine. After the 401 showed after pulling the floppy drive card, and the continuous 601, it would go away if I held ctrl or alt and one of the f keys, I don't know which one did it, but it made all the errors go away, and just the cursor line was blinking. If I hit a key, the hd would try to access, but nothing changed on the screen.

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#7
December 18, 2010 at 18:40:44
I don't believe that 8088 pc's had CMOS setup, many harddrives were setup (low level format) by executinh programs in EPROM. Have you removed the floppy drive and hand exercised the spindle and steooer. The spindle was driven by a rubber coated belt.

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#8
December 18, 2010 at 21:01:03
Fred, this floppy drive has a direct drive motor, stepper most likely. No belts Fred. I do remember having to enter the hd hds, sectors, cyls, etc by the keyboard onto the screen. There was a certain combo of keys to hold, and it would ask for that info, line after line. I remember having to do it a couple times, and I wrote the info on the spare drive so I wouldn't loose it or forget it. The floppy card had moisture damage, have a good one on the way any day now. It was lighting the floppy led a couple times, then quit. This is when I pulled the board, and found it had moisture damage, corrosion on one ic really bad. Cleaned it the best I could, wouldn't work after that at all. The hd led lights, as it's trying to be accessed, the video card can't be bad because it's showing all the characters just fine on the screen. Even after the errors, I can ctrl alt f keys and get some strange combinations to come up, but haven't hit the magjc key numbers yet. It will help when I get the floppy card, then I can put the boot disc in at least and go from there. I have the original diskmanager floppy for it, large floppy, still reads fine, has park, etc on it.... found the boot disc too. I've asked quite a few that have had these, and they agree with me, it's a combo of keys to settup the hd on these, believe it or not. :)

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#9
December 18, 2010 at 21:06:42
the hd controller is neither of those. It's a compaq brand. Came stock with the hd. as far as I know. I picked it up in the early 90's, given to me by a friend that thier company got riid of them to the employees.

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#10
December 19, 2010 at 03:31:12
Apparently we are talking of two different models. You have a variant of the newer Portable Plus.

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#11
December 19, 2010 at 10:52:15
Fred, my mb is the same series that had the 8088 NEC processor, except. My mb has a slightly different assy no, everything is the same except mine is type 001 rev T the cpu is NEC 8629WP V20 under that is D70108C-8 "84"NEC, 1984. something to chew on :) it's got me beat Fred, but seriously, I do specifically remember having to type in the parameters for the ST-225, on the screen... I can't remember what it looked like, but I think it woud ask hds, then you'd type it in, enter key, cyls, type it in, enter, etc.... know what I mean. It was line after line after the enter key if I remember. Nothing like the comos of a 286 settup at all. There was no cmos screen like the 286 or later ones had,
je

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