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Having issues with Packard Bell PB286LP laptop

BGoins12

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2011
Messages
249
Location
Amherst, Ohio
Ok, so it seems that no matter how hard I try, I cannot get this computer to properly recognize memory. I purchased the correct memory I needed for it; 4 x 9 chip 30 pin SIMMs that are 1MB each. There is already 1MB on board, so with the 4MB, it totals out to 5MB. The memory was sold tested as working.

In the BIOS, you have a few choices for memory. It allows 1MB (original config onboard), 2MB (4 x 256k SIMMs, plus onboard) and 5MB (4 x 1MB SIMMs, plus onboard).

THEN it also allows to have EMS turned on or off. Here's where the problems come in.

With the extra memory installed or removed, disabling EMS renders the computer useless (won't boot into DOS off the HD, or even off of a boot floppy, I've tried multiple), but allows it to recognize the memory. With EMS turned on, none of the expanded memory is recognized, and it essentially ignores it, but it boots fine... only recognizing 640k of the 1MB onboard memory. This is totally throwing me off, as I have never experienced something like this before.

Is there something I am missing here? There ARE 2 DIP switches on the back of the computer, but I have no clue what they are for, as I cannot find a user's manual anywhere online for this. I have also pulled this computer apart entirely to check for issues, and haven't found any. All the capacitors are good and not leaking, and I do not see any issues with any other components.

Hopefully someone can help... this is driving me nuts!

EDIT - If this helps, this computer was also known as the Mitsuba Ninja 12.
 
Last edited:

BGoins12

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2011
Messages
249
Location
Amherst, Ohio
Ok, I think I know what is going on here. I was told that this computer needs a driver loaded called NEATEMM.SYS before it will even attempt to boot. Apparently what needs to be done is I have to install DOS with EMS enabled in the BIOS, and then afterwards I need to install the NEATEMM.SYS driver, and then disable EMS in the BIOS, and it should work fine.
 

krebizfan

Veteran Member
Joined
May 23, 2009
Messages
5,425
Location
Connecticut
The only thing I can think of is that the system is setup to do ROM caching in EMS. No EMS, won't boot. Check for any such BIOS option. Check to see if any EMS was created; you should have something like 4.3 MB of EMS from a 5 MB system.

Maybe you can provide information on BIOS and OS planned for use. There may be a disconnect between what was provided and what should be used.
 

BGoins12

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2011
Messages
249
Location
Amherst, Ohio
Well, I finally figured out the issue, and it's a very strange one. There are 3 video modes in BIOS. Mono, Color 40 and Color 80. (Color 40 and 80 being CGA, and Mono being Mono EGA I believe.)

Anyways, if you disable the EMS and use Color 40 or 80, it recognizes the 5mb total memory and allows it to boot. Crazy! This is the absolute only way it will recognize the memory. The bad thing? Windows can now only be used in CGA mode, and it looks like total crap compared to the EGA Mono mode.
 
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