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Old Packard Bell Legend Synera. Won't boot from CD Rom or hard drive


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#1 zastin17

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 09:17 PM

So I found a working fully posting old Packard bell at the thrift store. I cannot find the model anywhere. I looked up Packard bell synera on google and could not find anything resembling this computer. The hard drives inside did not work. Unsurprisingly. The DVD drive also does not work so I replaced that. The problem is anytime the computer tries to boot from the hard drive I get a I/O error. The computer also refuses to boot from the DVD drive even though it detects it. I have used several different drives and hard drives as well. What can I do?  Here is a video of the problem.

 

 

Of the thumbnail is my kitten. LOL


Edited by zastin17, 27 July 2016 - 09:18 PM.


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#2 mjd420nova

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 12:03 AM

P & B made some strange machines that were marketed to corporations only.  Just to guess, there top units when they left market had SCSI drives.  These are easy to get mixed up in address order and where the terminations went, as it won't work without it in the right place.  Maybe a return trip to the thrift store for some parts.  Mine all went to E-waste fund raisers, hard drives were wiped and the optical drives were the full size units.  They sold SCSI drive bays with up to 8 CD/DVD drives mounted in an array and supported a huge vertical display with touch screens.  The display was CRT but was a 19 inch and could display two pages of text.  Used largely buy the bigger auto dealers and bought a $10K program for each auto line up.  Yearly updates, new media for the newer model year.  Lots of disk swapping for the larger dealers.



#3 JohnC_21

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:30 AM

The youtube video shows a WDC AC26400B. The only thing I could find is AC26400 which is a 6.4GB IDE hard drive.

 

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/legacy/Legacy.asp?Model=AC26400

 

Your Boot Screen also says your CMOS battery has failed. I would replace that. I had an old Gateway that refused to boot until I purchased a Dallas clock chip that included the battery.

 

After replacing the battery reset your BIOS to default settings.


Edited by JohnC_21, 29 July 2016 - 09:06 AM.


#4 zastin17

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 01:45 PM

P & B made some strange machines that were marketed to corporations only.  Just to guess, there top units when they left market had SCSI drives.  These are easy to get mixed up in address order and where the terminations went, as it won't work without it in the right place.  Maybe a return trip to the thrift store for some parts.  Mine all went to E-waste fund raisers, hard drives were wiped and the optical drives were the full size units.  They sold SCSI drive bays with up to 8 CD/DVD drives mounted in an array and supported a huge vertical display with touch screens.  The display was CRT but was a 19 inch and could display two pages of text.  Used largely buy the bigger auto dealers and bought a $10K program for each auto line up.  Yearly updates, new media for the newer model year.  Lots of disk swapping for the larger dealers.

The Packard Bell does not have SCSI drives. It only had IDE. Unless i'm mixing something up. I'm not good with very old hardware. I am having trouble understanding your post. From what I can tell there was an incredible amount of variation of similar computers. the motherboard only had IDE slots. What exactly do I need to get it up and booting? Also you said "as it won't work without it in the right place" What do you mean by that?



#5 mjd420nova

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 03:09 PM

I was referring to the termination block needed on the older SCSI drives.  IDE certainly opens the door for more restoration.  Many lines were built in the same cases, just different colors, mostly to suit a customers site.  The fancy hardware was built into the monitors and only required one extra six conductor cable.  It was confusing to users who installed their own units.  Like JOHNC said, replace the CMOS battery, older units often had a cube cell with Velcro attached to the inside case and a small two wire/connector went to the MOBO.  The large button type cells are prone to leakage and will eat the traces off the board in the battery area, precluding replacement.  I would also refuse to keep or save any changes made to the BIOS.  Check this by setting the date and time accurately and after power off, pull the plug for a known amount of time, say 10 minutes.  Restart and check the BIOS date and time.  Failures can cause intermittent, unrelated faults.



#6 zastin17

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 03:27 PM

I was referring to the termination block needed on the older SCSI drives.  IDE certainly opens the door for more restoration.  Many lines were built in the same cases, just different colors, mostly to suit a customers site.  The fancy hardware was built into the monitors and only required one extra six conductor cable.  It was confusing to users who installed their own units.  Like JOHNC said, replace the CMOS battery, older units often had a cube cell with Velcro attached to the inside case and a small two wire/connector went to the MOBO.  The large button type cells are prone to leakage and will eat the traces off the board in the battery area, precluding replacement.  I would also refuse to keep or save any changes made to the BIOS.  Check this by setting the date and time accurately and after power off, pull the plug for a known amount of time, say 10 minutes.  Restart and check the BIOS date and time.  Failures can cause intermittent, unrelated faults.

I have replaced the original CMOS battery and it still wont keep the bios settings. I'm going to check traces with a UV light for corrosion.



#7 mjd420nova

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 03:32 PM

If it's the coin type, there maybe a plastic holder and clip, insure clean contacts.  Does the BIOS hold the changes made??



#8 zastin17

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 07:14 PM

If it's the coin type, there maybe a plastic holder and clip, insure clean contacts.  Does the BIOS hold the changes made??

Yes its the coin type. I have looked for any bad traces/cap leakages on the motherboard and I could not find anything wrong. I have tested to see it the battery has good contacts and it does. I have tried 3 different fully working 3v cells and the computer refuses to save bios settings and time if turned off. I not sure what else to do. Maybe there is a jumper set to the incorrect position. I just don't know.  Here are some images of the board so you can take a look.

34p17k3.jpg

2hgr76x.jpg

30u668j.jpg

6edyk0.jpg



#9 mjd420nova

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 07:30 PM

There are two contact areas, the ones on the edges of the cell missing is the contact for the center or negative contact.  When you put the cell in place, the clip gets pushed down , forcing the negative area to come in contact.



#10 zastin17

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:18 PM

There are two contact areas, the ones on the edges of the cell missing is the contact for the center or negative contact.  When you put the cell in place, the clip gets pushed down , forcing the negative area to come in contact.

I removed the cell just for the pictures. I have a 3v cell already installed.



#11 zastin17

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 12:53 AM

There are two contact areas, the ones on the edges of the cell missing is the contact for the center or negative contact.  When you put the cell in place, the clip gets pushed down , forcing the negative area to come in contact.

So I discovered something strange. If I remove the CMOS battery set the bios settings/time and soft restart without turning off the power to the computer, The computer forgets my settings.But if I install the battery it will remember my settings. But it will not remember if I turn the computer power off then on again. There must be something else that keeps the time when the computer is off completely. Also The motherboard is a PB640 if that would help any.


Edited by zastin17, 31 July 2016 - 12:53 AM.


#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 07:29 AM

I found some info the motherboard here and here. Hope it helps. Make sure the CMOS clear button is in the correct position.

 

Edit: This is supposed to be your manual from the ftp site of packard bell. Both files are exe zip files. You can extract them with winrar or 7 zip without double clicking the exe files. One is the Viewer and the other is the manual. I did not see a tower in the manual but the motherboard looks the same. 

 

The viewer looks like an old 16bit program. I did not install anything, only double clicked the exe viewer file.  I ran it on an XP computer and was able to open the manual with the viewer. I am not sure if it will help.


Edited by JohnC_21, 31 July 2016 - 09:16 AM.


#13 mjd420nova

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 01:00 PM

It still sounds like some corrosion has eaten a trace in the battery area.  The clear button could be jammed, it is normally an open switch.  Pretty old system, only 233 MHZ clock for the processor.



#14 zastin17

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Posted 31 July 2016 - 11:49 PM

It still sounds like some corrosion has eaten a trace in the battery area.  The clear button could be jammed, it is normally an open switch.  Pretty old system, only 233 MHZ clock for the processor.

So I asked someone who knew more about old hardware and it seems that this computer is soo old it cant boot from a cd. You need to install windows ect from a floppy drive!! The cd drivers are loaded through dos. This explains why the computer does not even attempt to boot from the CD drive. The CD rom light does not even attempt to read the disk while posting. I wrote windows 95 images to an old floppy drive and attempted to booted. And success!!! it reads and boots up into the installer with the floppy. The problem is that the 1 floppy I have has bad sectors and cannot be fully read from so I get read errors. I ordered a brand new pack of floppies. Everything booting wise is working correctly but the bios wont save my settings. I found a broken trace under the board and have repaired that but nothing changes. I Posted a video showing the issue in much more detail: 

There are two contact areas, the ones on the edges of the cell missing is the contact for the center or negative contact.  When you put the cell in place, the clip gets pushed down , forcing the negative area to come in contact.

So I asked someone who knew more about old hardware and it seems that this computer is soo old it cant boot from a cd. You need to install windows ect from a floppy drive!! The cd drivers are loaded through dos. This explains why the computer does not even attempt to boot from the cd drive. The cd rom light does not even attempt to read the disk while posting. I am going to get a old floppy and 1 by one write the windows 95 installer and try to install windows:) Will update results. As for the CMOS problem. I will figure that out after hopefully installign windows.

There are two contact areas, the ones on the edges of the cell missing is the contact for the center or negative contact.  When you put the cell in place, the clip gets pushed down , forcing the negative area to come in contact.

So I asked someone who knew more about old hardware and it seems that this computer is soo old it cant boot from a cd. You need to install windows ect from a floppy drive!! The cd drivers are loaded through dos. This explains why the computer does not even attempt to boot from the cd drive. The cd rom light does not even attempt to read the disk while posting. I am going to get a old floppy and 1 by one write the windows 95 installer and try to install windows:) Will update results. As for the CMOS problem. I will figure that out after hopefully installign windows.



#15 mjd420nova

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 11:04 AM

WIN95 success!!  P&B made a whole series of units and that must have been the first units before the CD became standard. 






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