First post, by nathanieltolbert
Hello to everyone on here. I hope I have this in the correct place. Recently, I purchased a Packard Bell Force 203 on an auction. It was labelled as turning on, but producing nothing on the screen. I assumed that it meant that the battery had destroyed the board and as such I would be using it to practice my battery corrosion cleaning skills so I can maintain my computer collection. I have pictures, but it appeared that the battery had exploded and sprayed acid on the ISA Riser board, and it has several pins which no longer function, and I am not capable of fixing it. I tried to repair three pins on it that looked bad, and all I seemed to do was damage the silk screen. 😒 However, visible damage to the motherboard was quite minimal, and I used the vinegar and isopropyl alcohol method suggested to me in many places with a tooth brush and cleaned everywhere that I saw dull connection points, or green of the battery acid which strangely included a couple jumpers. Cleaned everything and of course removed that suicide battery, and turned the machine on. It worked. I continued working with it, and eventually the screen started to do this strange thing where it would visually scramble like what you would see in old movies? Then it wouldn't turn on any more. So I went back and double checked my cleaning of the board and basically washed the board in Iso alcohol to neutralize any possible vinegar I missed and let it dry for 2 days. Came back and it turned on for a few times then stopped.
Then, it started doing this with every boot. Low tone sound, 1 beep, pause, 1 beep, pause 3 fast beeps. Now if the information I found is correct for Phoenix BIOSes, that indicates CMOS Extended RAM Failure. I'm not certain what that implies, but the recommended solution is to replace the CMOS. So, I know a bit about old computers but never as much as I would like. I am going to guess this is in reference to the BIOS chip? The issue I have been encountering is that I cannot seem to find a copy of the BIOS that I can download to try the bootblock method of re-flashing the BIOS. I don't know if the actual CMOS chip is defective and needs to be replaced, or if a simple reflashing would help, or what. I know I am grasping at straws at this point, but I am trying to do whatever I can to get it up and running. For all I know I missed some corrosion, and now the board is toast, but I want to exhaust all of my options before I get up. So from what I understand I have either a PB 430, PB 440, or PB 440T board? The graphics chip is a Cirrus Logic GD5424 chip with 512K RAM. No cache. 486SX-33 4MB RAM onboard, which is all I am working with right now. Although I do have some 4MB and 8MB 72 pin SIMMS. I have tried multiple sites that appeared to have links to BIOS files, but all of them end up at websites that no longer exist. I would even buy a newly programmed chip if someone could make one, but I just can't seem to find anywhere that I can even find the BIOS file for this type of machine, let alone move to the next step. If anyone has any information or can assist in any way I would be extremely grateful. Any help would be wonderful. This machine is so similar to the Packard Bell we had when we got a pc back in 1992, and I just would love to get it working. Thank you again for any help.