The Hint-Page

This page contains some simple tricks and hints for PS/2 MCA-machines.

  • Hint #1: How to use QBMCA with no keyboard or monitor
  • Hint #2: How to get out MCA-card IDs from IBM BASICA
  • Hint #3: How to determine / change FDD-type from BASIC

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Useful Hint #1

If you modify the QBMCA.PAR that you have the lines


activated, you can use the QBMCA-disk on a machine without a monitor or keyboard attached. Just plug in a printer and all results will be automatically printed. The program terminates after running and needs no further input from the user.

Attention ! Do not DIR the QBMCA-disk from Win95 or look at it with Win95 Explorer. This will overwrite the disk-header with Win95-Archive data and disable the Autoboot-Function of the QBMCA-disk.

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Useful Hint #2

Assumed you have a machine which refuses to boot from disk as well as from harddisk and you land in the IBM ROM-BASIC after pressing the [F1] function key.
No problem to get out the IDs of the installed adapters.
If you'd already downloaded QBMCA or the MCA.DAT-file, just print out MCA.DAT.

Warning: MCA.DAT is a rather long file (>71KB) !

Then type the following BASIC program:

10 cls
20 for q=15 to 8 step -1
30 out(&H96),q
40 print q-7;": ";hex$(inp(&h101));"-";hex$(inp(&h100))
50 next q

Press [F2] to RUN the program.
The output will be a list starting with 8 and the Card-ID for the Slot #8 (uppermost in Mod. 80). On machines with only 3 or 4 slots only the lower are valid, all others will show FFFF. It might look like that:

8: 8E-FE (= IBM SCSI without cache)
7: F-1F (= Adaptec AHA-1640 SCSI)
6: E0-1 (= IBM 16/4 Mb/s Token Ring)
5: FF-FF
4: 8F-DA (= IBM XGA-2 Video)
3: FF-FF
2: FF-FF
1: FC-FF (= IBM 2-8MB 386 Memory)

If the ID is i.e. 8E-FE the MCA.DAT-listing tells you it is the IBM SCSI-Adapter without cache. If the ID is for example F-1F the trailing 0 for the first half is missing and it is 0F1F. If the ID is E0-1 the trailing 0 for the last half is missing - look under E001. If the ID is FFFF the slot is empty.

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Useful Hint #3

Assumed you have a machine which refuses to boot from floppy disk and probably from harddisk as well and you land in the IBM ROM-BASIC after pressing the [F1] function key.
Maybe the type of floppy disk has got lost in the Configuration.
To test this type the following BASIC lines:


The output should be 40, if there is only a drive A: installed and it is a 1.44MB-drive.
The first digit is the drive-type for A: (first FDD), the second digit is the drive-type for B: (second FDD).

Possible numbers are:

0 = not installed
1 = 360KB / 5.25 Inch
2 = 1.2MB / 5.25 Inch
3 = 720KB / 3.5 Inch
4 = 1.44MB / 3.5 Inch
6 = 2.88MB / 3.5 Inch
8 = Tape or reserved

You might change the type of drive with simply typing:


But this might not help much if you landed into IBM ROM-BASIC. There is no way out from it into an operating system, because the operating system has not loaded. And -of course- you cannot access the FDD from out of ROM-BASIC.
After a reboot with [CTRL]+[ALT]+[DEL] the CMOS value might have got lost again. But it is worth trying ... in most cases the FDD accepts at least 720K-disks to boot from.

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Feel free to contact me to report errors, experiences,
missing adapters and their ADFs.
I'm collecting any ADF or entire option disks I can get.

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© 1997 by Peter H. Wendt / pw-software production