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First post, by Keatah

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Ladies and gents. This is a simple question & problem I have. Totally embarrassed to ask. Can't get into the CMOS setup on an old 486 Gateway motherboard. This one - https://arvutimuuseum.ee/th99/m/M-O/30102.htm

I have only a power supply, videocard, and keyboard connected. Nothing else. 16MB RAM installed in 4 simm slots. 256K cache onboard.

The board seems to POST fine. It displays videocard bios info for a moment. Then its own Phoenix BIOS information V0.10 G21-2 (c) 1985-1990. And proceeds to test the memory by counting through it.

Next it displays "Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program."

..and that's it. It cycles over and over again.

Tried a good number of key combos at various times in the above sequence.
<ctrl> <alt> <esc>
<del> <ins>
The F1-F12 keys

I also cleared the CMOS settings. At least I believe I did. By battery removal and shorting the points together where it would normally connect. It recognizes the keyboard because I can abort the POST memory test.

This is frustrating because I never had this sort of issue. There's gotta be some key sequence I'm missing!

Last edited by Keatah on 2021-06-08, 18:39. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 1 of 56, by darry

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Keatah wrote on 2021-06-08, 00:56:
Ladies and gents. This is a simple question & problem I have. Totally embarrassed to ask. Can't get into the CMOS setup on an ol […]
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Ladies and gents. This is a simple question & problem I have. Totally embarrassed to ask. Can't get into the CMOS setup on an old 486 Gateway motherboard. This one - https://arvutimuuseum.ee/th99/m/M-O/30102.htm

I have only a power supply, videocard, and keyboard connected. Nothing else. 16MB RAM installed in 4 simm slots. 256K cache onboard.

The seems to POST fine. It displays videocard bios info for a moment. Then its own Phoenix BIOS information V0.10 G21-2 (c) 1985-1990. And proceeds to test the memory by counting through it.

Next it displays "Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program.

..and that's it. It cycles over and over again.

Tried a good number of key combos at various times in the above sequence.
<ctrl> <alt> <esc>
<del> <ins>
The F1-F12 keys

I also cleared the CMOS settings. At least I believe I did. By battery removal and shorting the points together where it would normally connect. It recognizes the keyboard because I can abort the POST memory test.

This is frustrating because I never had this sort of issue. There's gotta be some key sequence I'm missing!

Is the CMOS battery dead ? Has it leaked ?

Reply 3 of 56, by darry

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Keatah wrote on 2021-06-08, 01:45:

No leakage. I currently have the battery removed and sitting off to the side.

Maybe that's the problem. Some motherboards will misbehave if there isn't a working battery connected .

Reply 5 of 56, by cyclone3d

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Keatah wrote on 2021-06-08, 02:16:

Behaves the same either way.

Is it dead or does it show the correct voltage?

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 7 of 56, by cyclone3d

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Here is a huge list of possible key combos.
https://www.mydigitallife.net/comprehensive-l … mputer-systems/

Also pretty sure you don't want to short the battery connections together.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 8 of 56, by Keatah

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Thanks for the list. Still no go. Since this is a Phoenix BIOS I tried the Keylock trick too. Nope.

About the battery. I removed the battery and temporarily shorted the contacts on the mainboard to ensure there was 0v. I also let it sit for an hour because there's always some residual charge. And shorted it again.

Removed the short. Installed the battery. Reconnected power supply. Still the same behavior.

Reply 10 of 56, by Keatah

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Maybe. The NumLock comes on when it's supposed to. The CapsLock and ScrollLock lights do not light up. I cannot toggle any of the LEDs via the keyboard. The only keyboard activities I can do are:
1- <ctrl> <alt> <delete> to reset the system.
2- Abort the memory test via <space>.
3- Generate a Keyboard Stuck error by holding a key down during POST.
4- Unplug the keyboard to generate a Keyboard Failure error - right before the memory test begins.
..all 4 of those seem to be normal behavior.

If I do none of those the "Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program." message is displayed, the other two LEDs (Caps Scroll) flash once, briefly, in unison with NumLock and the monitor goes blank and the process of displaying the videocard BIOS and system BIOS banners begins again. It will do that endlessly .

I swapped out the socketed 82C206 and 8242 ICs to no avail. Precisely the same symptoms. I also tried a different keyboard. Same symptoms. I put the two original chips back in as I saw no change in behavior.

Reply 11 of 56, by Anonymous Coward

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Are you able to find the documentation for any gateway 2000 486s online? Maybe they used a non standard key combo

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 13 of 56, by Keatah

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Thanks on that. Yes. I don't recall Gateway doing anything non-standard with the Phoenix BIOS.

After the memory scan test, the system is supposed to look for a storage device, HDD, FDD.. And if it doesn't find one, the Phoenix BIOS reference manual says it's supposed to display "No boot device available - press FI to retry boot, F2 for SETUP utility." Fairly standard stuff.

But instead of that happening, this board appears to reset. As if you pressed the reset button or power-cycled it. Never get the chance to use F1 or F2. And that's the problem.

Reply 14 of 56, by BitWrangler

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Keyboard self test can only tell if a key is stuck, won't tell you if it's not registering... well unless you hold each individually to make sure you get a stuck key error. I would take steps to confirm that the "setup keys" are working, like escape, insert, and the F-keys. Either by laborious stuck key process, or by testing keyboard on another machine, or by trying a different known good keyboard. Some old AT keyboards (Pre '95 at least, probably more like pre '91 but some deigns may have been produced longer) don't like the typematic rate setting which may be on by default in 486 and later boards. It's on some late 386es too.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 15 of 56, by Keatah

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Ok. I tried 2 more keyboards. One needed a PS/2 to AT adapter. Both behaved identically.

The keyboards seem to be fine. The special keys like CTRL ALT SPACE DELETE INSERT SHIFT and F1-F12 seem to be in order.

Reply 17 of 56, by Keatah

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A 4MB configuration with or without a Multi I/O (MIO-400KF) results in the same behavior. The 400KF is a typical all-in-one 16bit ISA board, FDD, HDD, Game, Serial, Parallel. Made by DFI. It's period correct.

I have also verified the RAM is good. Tried a set of 4 1MB SIMMS in place of 4 4MB SIMMS. No change in behavior. I have some NOS, system pulls, and e-waste. I can try an 8MB configuration or even a 1MB configuration.

What a pain in the ass. Makes virtualization look so much more appealing. But this isn't about virtualization. It's about old hardware! They say 486 machines are the hardest to work on because the early 90's the industry was beginning to expand performance while many standards were still in flux. It's like the 486 had 5 busses, ISA, EISA, VLB, PCI, MCA. Maybe more if you count the custom stuff.

Reply 19 of 56, by jakethompson1

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Keatah wrote on 2021-06-08, 06:01:
Maybe. The NumLock comes on when it's supposed to. The CapsLock and ScrollLock lights do not light up. I cannot toggle any of th […]
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Maybe. The NumLock comes on when it's supposed to. The CapsLock and ScrollLock lights do not light up. I cannot toggle any of the LEDs via the keyboard. The only keyboard activities I can do are:
1- <ctrl> <alt> <delete> to reset the system.
2- Abort the memory test via <space>.
3- Generate a Keyboard Stuck error by holding a key down during POST.
4- Unplug the keyboard to generate a Keyboard Failure error - right before the memory test begins.
..all 4 of those seem to be normal behavior.

If I do none of those the "Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program." message is displayed, the other two LEDs (Caps Scroll) flash once, briefly, in unison with NumLock and the monitor goes blank and the process of displaying the videocard BIOS and system BIOS banners begins again. It will do that endlessly .

I swapped out the socketed 82C206 and 8242 ICs to no avail. Precisely the same symptoms. I also tried a different keyboard. Same symptoms. I put the two original chips back in as I saw no change in behavior.

Doubt it's much help, but this is what this type of BIOS is supposed to do in this situation. It should be giving you an F1/F2 prompt, not reboot.
You say you have no floppy drive connected, whether you have a FDD controller in or not?
Do you have a TL-866 II or similar where you can pull and dump the bios chip?

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