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IBM PS/2 Model 70-161 Problem

Elan

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
19
Location
Novi Sad, Serbia
Hi everyone,

I have a problem with the floppy disk drive in the Model 70 at work. Basically, 2 days ago it was reading and writing without any problems, and now as of yesterday, it has become a floppy killer:

Step 1: Insert floppy, try to read or write to disk. I get the classic Abort, Retry, Fail message, and after a few desperate stabs of the 'r' key, 'a'bort and return to the U: drive.

Step 2: Insert floppy into any other computer, try to read or write to or format disk. Everything fails. Floppy now useless.

This is upsetting. The drive is a standard YD-701-6062 IBM 1.44 3.5 Floppy Drive (and the computer runs XENIX 386 OS 2.3.4, with some strange VP/ix 1.2 DOS emulator which runs DOS 3.3).

Does anyone know if there is any basic maintenance I can do to my floppy drive to bring it back to life? Some well known issue with these drives which is easily fixed (why yes, I am grasping at straws).

As I am new to these forums, a bit of background:
The Model 70 is in my lab at university, and is the main interface and controller of an old PerkinElmer ELAN 5000 ICP/MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometer). I use the Elan to analyse heavy metals drinking water, surface water, waste water etc.

After analysis, I transfer the raw data from the Model 70 via floppy to a modern (Windows XP) computer to crunch the numbers and generate usable data summaries. The software on the Model 70 can generate its own summary, but its not as useful as all the raw data and the summary I bully Excel to create with VBA. Its a lot of numbers (sometimes 10s of thousands of rows once in Excel), so I really need to transfer the data directly.

Basically, if I can't fix the old floppy drive, I will need to find a new one (it has some sort of tray around it with a weird flat connector, or start exploring parallel / serial connections from the Model 80 to my modern machine (I struggle to get a windows machine networked to another windows machine, so not sure how I am meant to network a XENIX machine - although I don't mind creating a Linux partition on my work windows machine if it will make the data transfer easier :-/ ).

Does anyone have any suggestions?
Thanks for your help,

Malcolm
 

Elan

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Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
19
Location
Novi Sad, Serbia
Doh, forgot about existence of drive cleaners... will definitely try that first.

As for ICP/IP, hmm, shall investigate (I hate floppy disks *sigh*).

Thanks for input,
M
 

Druid6900

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May 7, 2006
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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Slide the metal cover back on one of the no-longer-working diskettes and see if there has been something scratching the oxide off the diskette. If there isn't, you may be able to fix it with a good long cleaning, if there is, you may need a new drive.
 

modem7

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Melbourne, Australia
If it does turn out that you need a replacement drive, the part number is 6450353, which is also shown as the diskette drive part number for the PS/2 models 50, 60 and 80.
 

Elan

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
19
Location
Novi Sad, Serbia
Well, somewhat predictably, it looks like I timed my run to the shops for a floppy drive cleaner about a decade too late... still, it was vaguely entertaining watching peoples faces.

To be honest, I would rather avoid using the floppy drive anyway - (argh, perhaps I should have made this thread in the Unix/Xeninx part of the site), and was wondering if I can use a null modem cable and perhaps uucp to transfer my files...

Unfortunately I am almost a complete unix n00b, so really have no idea how to do that - its all made a bit complicated by the fact that the ICP/MS was a gift from a German university which no longer needed such an ancient instrument, and I don't have any installation disks (for plan c/ install OS and software on newer computer after purchase of new CPIB card) or XENIX documentation (for plan b/ learn how to set up network and transfer my files direct).

Is it possible to source a replacement drive? I searched a bit online and drew a blank.
 

Allen

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Jan 1, 2008
Messages
101
Data transfer, diskette drive options

Data transfer, diskette drive options

If the hard disk on your IBM PS/2 Model 70 is booting with no problems and it has a version of DOS that includes INTERLNK.EXE AND INTERSVR.EXE programs, use these to transfer the data from the PS/2 to another PC. If this isn't possible, install the hard disk in another compatible IBM PS/2 with a working diskette drive. If this isn't possible, and you decide you need another diskette drive, search the internet for these IBM part numbers:

Code:
[B]FRU part number 64F0207 (ASM part numbers include 15F7503)[/B]
Description: 40-pin, 1/3 height, small/thin button, LED located below slot
Applicable IBM PS/2 models: 50, 70

[B]FRU part number 72X8523 (ASM part numbers include 90X6766)[/B]
Description: 40-pin, 1/2 height, big/thick button, LED located above slot
Applicable IBM PS/2 models: 30, 60, 65, 80

It sounds like you have the 1/3 height drive with a small/thin button and the LED located below slot; the other drive I mention will work in a model 70, but a proper drive slide and bezel cover would be ideal although not really necessary.

I have refurbished and sold a number of IBM PS/2 diskette drives, but I don't have any working ones for the Model 70 right now, but I may in the future. Keep checking http://marketplace.vintage-computer.com/100090,owner_id,other_items.
 

IBMMuseum

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Allen

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Transfer data to or from an IBM PS/2

Transfer data to or from an IBM PS/2

I'm confused; is it not possible to transfer data to or from an IBM PS/2 using a simple parallel or serial cable and INTERLNK.EXE and INTERSVR.EXE? I admit I've never tried this before using any PC.
 

Elan

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Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
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Location
Novi Sad, Serbia
If the hard disk on your IBM PS/2 Model 70 is booting with no problems and it has a version of DOS that includes INTERLNK.EXE AND INTERSVR.EXE programs...

...It sounds like you have the 1/3 height drive with a small/thin button and the LED located below slot; the other drive I mention will work in a model 70...

The drive does indeed have the LED below the slot, although the button looks pretty chunky to me - robust anyway : ).

As for the DOS version, instrument manual says I should have MS-DOS 3.30, which google tells me should have interlnk and intersvr, but I can't seem to find them. In fact, I am not even sure I can find the dos partition :-/.

Using VP/ix, over XENIX:

C:\ has an autoexec.bat and command.com etc, but no DOS directory (only directory it has is a temp directory full of junk I could prob delete). Only .exe files in C:\ are dosmount and redir.

I also have h,u,y,z drives which seem to be virtual copies of the same thing.

dosmount.exe makes me think all these drives are in the XENIX partition, and that I can't see the DOS partition from XENIX, and that my C:\ just has a stripped down idea of DOS supplied by VP/ix (Version 1.2 if that helps).

If thats right, how can I see my DOS partition without IBM PS/2 Ref disk or MS-DOS boot disk, and if I am wrong, where can I find my DOS directory?

Cheers, Malcolm

//I thought I knew old PCs- Had an old Amstrad 8086 XT back in the pre-windows 3.x days, which the 386 Model 70 could run rings around - but this whole DOS/unix combination is too much *sigh*
 

IBMMuseum

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Very nice, but where are the .com files? Any idea if the adapter is compatible with the Laplink and/or Interlink 'standard'?

Fixed the broken links (the "receiving system" file is on Reference Diskettes, the "sending system" file is included in the DMF package)...
 

bbishoppcm

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Dec 3, 2008
Messages
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Location
Southern NH
Floppy drive

Floppy drive

To answer your original question, I agree with the cleaning. I recommend removing the drive and cleaning the heads using a Q-Tip and 75-90% rubbing alcohol. Clean the upper and lower heads, this may require removal of the drive's top cover and controller board (depending on the manufacturer of the drive). This very same thing happened to me when one of my disks had some gunk on it, which got onto the heads... it then destroyed every disk thereafter. Be sure to clean the heads on your XP machine as well. You can try a standard drive cleaning diskette, which are still available on eBay and some online vendors.

As for transferring data via parallel (or serial) connection, it is possible. I'm not terribly sure how the XP machine would handle it though... I have done this between DOS (and Win95) machines, and yes... it works, but it's unbelievably slow!!
 

Elan

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Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
19
Location
Novi Sad, Serbia
Update

Update

Well thanks to everyone who helped out here - the good news is I managed to successfully clean my drive:

First I blasted the heads with a reasonably strong flow of nitrogen, then gently swabbed them with ethanol, followed by a second blast of nitrogen.

In the meantime, I have only been semi-successful with my null modem cable connection, but using cat on the xenix box, I am able to send my data files I create every day as ASCII to my XP box running HyperTerminal.

Still hoping to sort out uucp or kermit to allow easy transfer between the two machines, but at least for now my data is flowing nicely, and the floppy drive is fine :)
 

Elan

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
19
Location
Novi Sad, Serbia
More issues with my Model 70

More issues with my Model 70

Hello again folks, I am not sure about the necro vs new thread spam etiquette here at VCF, but have chosen the former option, as its the same computer, but a new problem.

I am still using the Model 70 most days at work, and on the whole, its doing pretty well. However, a problem which I have seen occasionally over the past year or so is becoming more frequent, and I was wondering if anyone here knows what is wrong, and what I can do to fix it:

Basically, I switch the computer on, the power supply cooling fan comes on, but the boot sequence fails to initiate. No brief flashing lights on the keyboard, no memory check on the screen, no search of the drives for boot disks, no reassuring chirpy beep noise, just nothing.

Sometimes toggling the power switch off and on immediately fixes the problem. Sometimes I get more desperate, take the lid off, make sure all the cards are properly connected in their slots, etc, try again, and then it works (I suspect I have done nothing useful here, but I know not what else to try). So, the day before yesterday, everything worked fine, the computer ran all day. Yesterday it failed, and nothing I tried worked - it just wouldn't boot. Disconsolately, I googled IBM PS/2 Model 70 failing to boot, and only found info relating to the CMOS battery. After searching around, I decided to ask here, and tried to switch on the Model 70 one last time before doing so (you never know), and it boots up fine, like its never been away.

Does anyone have any ideas? It does not feel like the battery is an issue, as it ought to check the RAM and give me the 161/163 errors, and it doesn't, it just does nothing. I also wouldn't expect a flat battery to magically work again for no good reason.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions,
Malcolm

PS - I don't understand why the title of this thread ends with 161 Problem - the original problem was with a working computer but a bad floppy drive, but never mind.
 

per

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Jan 21, 2008
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Western Norway
Check the voltage levels and power-good signal (if you got a multimeter).

I know that the PS/2 machines uses mostly surface-mount parts, but on the older PC systems with pin-mounted parts; problems like this would most likely have resulted from failing capacitors.
 
Last edited:

Hal9000

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
123
Location
Tucson, AZ
Not necessarily the issue but..

I would check:

1. Internal Battery Condition i.e. Voltage Depleted,Leaking. (Replace right away if Leaking).

2. Power Supply (Caps could be failing). If you have an electronics shop there, They could check,test and or replace parts. Or, Replace Power Supply.

3. Caps on the system board could be leaking. (Replace).
 
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