AlphaStation 200 NVRAM Problem

Swift Griggs swiftgriggs at
Fri Apr 22 19:36:40 CDT 2016

On Sat, 23 Apr 2016, Pete Turnbull wrote:
> Then the CMOS RAM - which is what the battery is for - has lost its
> memory.  The CMOS could be an individual chip but it's more likely to be
> part of something else, like a Motorola real time clock IC

They are socketed on GS series machines, IIRC.  It's a wierd looking socket,
too (burly and with a bulge at once side, IIRC).  Those are significantly
newer and were higher-end servers than the AS200, which is a desktop, as you
are aware.  The CMOS chip is usually in a little black retangular box about
1" x 1.5" and the leads went all the way through the PCB.  I had to remove
the mobo to get to them, use a solder-sucker to remove the flux mask globbed
over the joints and then the liquid metal, then replaced with a cannabalized
chip from parts-donor box of the same type.  I used a 15W iron.  BTW, I'm a
total amature with electronics, so feel free to second guess my procedure. 
However, I've fixed those exact errors with that swap, so it's worth a shot. 
What sucks is that many AS desktops had two Dallas black boxes that looked
very similar right next to each other.  I just ending up guessing right. 
IIRC, they are located on the exact opposite corner of the mobo from the
battery you just swapped out.

With no keyboard plugged in, you should definitely be getting SRM firmware
init information via serial port 1.  9600 8N1 with software flow control is
what I use and it works great.  I've used that and many other Alphas before,
in fact I still have clients using them and I support Tru64 weekly and teach
Tru64 classes.  I'm not the best guy on hardware, though I try.


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