How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

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How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby nzoomed on Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:13 pm

Ive just sourced an old vintage vintage 286 computer, I have no idea on the motherboard model, i cant find anything.
It needs the battery replaced and the time is wrong.
i keep getting keyboard error press f1, CMOS date and time wrong.
F1 just continues to boot, but pressing DEL does not enter setup, nor does insert.

I can see two rom chips with award bios stickers on them, so i naturally assume its an award BIOS.
Ive been reading that some old computers require you to use a special boot disk from the motherboard manufacturer to enter the setup.

I was wondering if its possible to use debug or not to enter setup?
It has a MFM HDD controller with a floppy controller on the same card.

Would the HDD configuration utility on this card also configure the floppy drives etc, or would this go through the system BIOS?

The HDD appears to be communicating, its an old ST225 (20MB) drive, i get disk boot failure, but im not sure what if anything is on the drive still.

Final question, what version od DOS should i run on this?

It only has 640K of RAM, would dos 6.22 be too demanding on this system?
nzoomed
 
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby nzoomed on Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:29 pm

Update, from what i read only the award bios for 286 version 3.0 and above has the setup built in.

Is this correct?
Mine is saying its version 2.6.

I have been reading other forums that say this will work.
http://contents.driverguide.com/content ... tx=6551f50

Even though its an award and not a phoenix BIOS, do you think it will work?

Ive got to try and get this on a 5.25 as i dont think the BIOS is configured for 1.44MB disks yet, which is what im intending it to do.
nzoomed
 
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby LS120 on Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:21 pm

Hi it depends on what make the board is.. i have some 286 setup tools i think.. is it a 286-8, 10 , 12 or 16 mhz some did have basic settings for if the battery went flat and the controller id ISA 16bit will over ride the drive settings on the bios for Hdd. most were set to 360kb 5.52" & 720kb 3.5" drives

look at the board and it should have a make model number on it.. also when they boot it should display board model on screen.

the f1 keyboard error could also be a fault with the Keyboard controller on the board. was the battery corroded on the board ?? if so the board maybe a non-goer.

try get some good clear pics to upload if you can of the board.
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby nzoomed on Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:04 am

LS120 wrote:Hi it depends on what make the board is.. i have some 286 setup tools i think.. is it a 286-8, 10 , 12 or 16 mhz some did have basic settings for if the battery went flat and the controller id ISA 16bit will over ride the drive settings on the bios for Hdd. most were set to 360kb 5.52" & 720kb 3.5" drives

look at the board and it should have a make model number on it.. also when they boot it should display board model on screen.

the f1 keyboard error could also be a fault with the Keyboard controller on the board. was the battery corroded on the board ?? if so the board maybe a non-goer.

try get some good clear pics to upload if you can of the board.


Ill post a photo when i get a chance.

Its basically an IBM AT clone from what i gather, the case looks very similar, and this award BIOS was actually an upgrade option you could purchase from award i believe that gave you more upgrade options on your IBM. I cant see any model number on the screen, other than award 286 bios v 2.6 appear on the monitor.
I do know what you mean, but ive seen a few old PC's. There probably is a model number on the motherboard, but I will probably have to remove it to find it.

Anyway, i was able to make some progress last night when i was able to copy the bios utility in the link i posted to a 5.25 floppy.
Ive got it booting off the MFM hard drive now and its still got years of old spreadsheets from some local business going way back to the 1980's to 1990's!

The F1 error was not a Keyboard error. It was a configuration error due to date and time not set, as the battery was flat etc.
Luckily the battery had not leaked and infact the old owner had a pack of 4 VARATA AA batteries soldered together.

Said "made in west germany" so must be dated before 1989. I can also vouch for their leak proof guarantee on the box! The batteries looked like new!

Anyway, after configuring the bios with the phoenix utility, it works, but gives me a different "configuration error, please run setup, press F1 to continue.

But this time when i press F1, it actually will boot.
It may be that its not configured with the proper award program perhaps?
Phoenix did merge with Award in later years, but i dont know if this program predates that or not.

Either way, this BIOS is not motherboard specific.
nzoomed
 
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby Gibsaw on Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:03 pm

Generally speaking, it's going to be "del" or "F2" or "F10" or "Esc".

Although this is sounding like a really early one with an external config program.
"dsakey" on trademe. Apple II's are my thing.
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby LS120 on Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:04 pm

i can have a look for a 286 at setup 5.25" disk i had if you want... i'll see if i have an Award one as well... the phoenix was a pain to setup and award were way better. always found you had to use a disk with phoenix but not with award (later on)
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby nzoomed on Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:25 pm

That would be great if you do locate an award config program thanks!
This one is definitely configured by software, from my research, the utility was only added from version 3.0 onward.
I suspect that the phoenix program is messing with other memory addresses as its designed for a slightly different BIOS.
Main thing is its working.

Is 4 AAA batteries OK?
I would think that 6 volts would be too high, are these not designed for a 3.7v lithium?
nzoomed
 
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby LS120 on Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:22 pm

yeah most are 3.7v in the old pc's and we used to put 3 x 1,5v or 4 x 1.2v recharges

will look tomorrow at work..
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby LS120 on Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:19 am

ok i have found some on 720kn fdd's i can zip and email if you like...

just PM your email address
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Re: How to enter old 286 BIOS setup

Postby nzoomed on Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:27 pm

LS120 wrote:ok i have found some on 720kn fdd's i can zip and email if you like...

just PM your email address


PM sent :)
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