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Recovery from BIOS Failure, '96 Dell XPSPxxxc

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2002 2:24 am
by charlieparsons
Got lots (~50) of these monsters, tried upgrade to A06 (were at A05) to get to reserved multiplier of 3.0X, result 200MHz. ~17 failed AFTER AWHILE. Looks like BIOS failure. No vid on boot, tried usual hdwre fixes. Probably not a virus. Norton's AV2001 date 03/01/02 doesn't see anything. Suspect improper BIOS write due to possible floppy errors. Going to try new floppy drive on next batch. Got all the old BIOS files from Dell site. A06 is an upgrade. A05 seems to be the full file. Have I got that right? I ass u me 'd here... I can get the floppy drive to read the BIOS disk with the jumper marked "flash" but it needs input from KB which of course I don't have. Figured out (again) how to get KB input into .bat file (<CTRL>P, then key in case somebody needs it) but UPG program doesn't see this. Dell phone people seem to have all graduated since 2000, can't find a manual or get any info on how to use this "feature". Need any info, hints, URLs or anything you think might be helpful. I'm retiring (well, sort of) 6/1, would like to at least get recovery strategy in place b4 I go. Good useful info too. Haven't been on this level in about 20 yrs unfortunately. Saw some hints here, maybe a little drastic to edit BIOS file but I'll try it if necessary, nothing much to lose! Tnx. C.

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2002 7:37 pm
by edwin
Tried setting the CPU to 180MHz or 150MHz?

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2002 9:13 pm
by charlieparsons
Yes. First thing I tried. Reset the jumpers back to 120MHz inserted KG chip, then minimized, swapped out everything with KG parts (from other working machines) xcept of course the MB. Even tried PS JIC (Dell, painful).So we're down to something on the MB. Had a very sharp local guy check my work out from scratch since I'm getting old and forgetful, he came up to the same point. Dell support thought maybe process prob. but I've done some process engineering and some T/A and I certainly can't spot it. I've talked to local salvage guy about replacement boards, for immediate recovery purposes but, knowing he had me over a barrel, he jacked his prices up beyond what I pay for the systems. We don't do business anymore. Thanks for your interest. C.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2002 5:18 pm
by gangsta
I think it might be a good idea if you make this into a documented project and put it with pictures on a website where people send you various inputs & ideas. A picture is worth a 1000 words you know...

Put some ad space on the site and it will make you some money too.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2002 8:23 pm
by Rainbow
Are the BIOS chips socketed? If yes, try to reflash one from one of the "bad" motherboards.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2002 10:16 pm
by charlieparsons
Sorry, Rainbow, thought of that about 2nd. They are not. They're SM and I don't have the equipment. Can you tell me where to go to find out about generic flash programs? I'm also going to throw something in EBay or looking for maintenance / technical manual for Dell XPS Pxxxc (for which I will happily pay at least some cash... TBA if anyone's got one), also need to ID same. Going to try to do that tonight. Tnx. C.