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DEC Alpha 500a - BIOS / CMOS to boot - help!

 
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Travis Neale
Occasional Visitor

DEC Alpha 500a - BIOS / CMOS to boot - help!

I need some help getting an Alpha going again. I came in and it was shut down. I tried to re-start it and it shut down again saying the fan had failed and it was protecting itself.

I replaced the fans but it looks like the BIOS / CMOS battery didn’t hold up. When I restarted it 8 hours later it now starts to the AlphaBios console and doesn’t know what to do (I had to re-set the date). It’s looking for some sort of default Windows NT installation (Only OpenVMS is installed). Do I just need to give the Operating System Selection page some info on where and what to boot to? Do I need to install SRM? Does anyone offer support in the LA area?

System Info

AlphaBios version 5.65
Digital Alpha 21164 Rev 7.2
500MHZ
128MB RAM

Thanks,
Travis
This circle doesn't fit it's little square. But it bulges with opportunity. Bulges
6 REPLIES
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor
Solution

Re: DEC Alpha 500a - BIOS / CMOS to boot - help!

As I recall, you need to get the thing into
Setup mode by hitting F (F2?) as
instructed. when it's powered on. Then,
select CMOS (CMOS Setup?), and in
that mode, hit F (F6?) to get to
the Advanced features page. Somewhere in
there is the magic option to change the
console firmware to SRM, which is what you
need for Tru64 or VMS.

If that's too vague, ask Google to find a
bunch of the key words.
Travis Neale
Occasional Visitor

Re: DEC Alpha 500a - BIOS / CMOS to boot - help!

I've tried setting "SRM Console" in the advanced CMOS page, but on reboot, the alphaBIOS still comes up. I can then go back to the settings page and SRM Console is still choosen.
What sort of entry is needed in the Operating System Selection?

Thanks,
Travis
This circle doesn't fit it's little square. But it bulges with opportunity. Bulges
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC Alpha 500a - BIOS / CMOS to boot - help!

SRM is right, but you may need to cycle the
power to get the change to take effect. (And
if the lithium cell is dead, you may lose the
magic bit at that time. Should be about 3V.)

If/when you get this all figured out, you'll
be writing out a concise summary of the steps
for future reference, right?
Travis Neale
Occasional Visitor

Re: DEC Alpha 500a - BIOS / CMOS to boot - help!

That was it! Just got back from Radio Shack with a new 2032 battery. Replaced it, and SRM came right up and booted fine.

I was under the impression that since it could save the date/time between reboots, that it should be able to save the console selection as well. I think it needed an actual power cycle though, and not just a reset, to go from console to console.

Thanks for your help!
-Travis
This circle doesn't fit it's little square. But it bulges with opportunity. Bulges
Travis Neale
Occasional Visitor

Re: DEC Alpha 500a - BIOS / CMOS to boot - help!

Replace Motherboard battery
This circle doesn't fit it's little square. But it bulges with opportunity. Bulges
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC Alpha 500a - BIOS / CMOS to boot - help!

Should this case crop up again, the entire sequence, including the AlphaBIOS function key translations and other such, is in the OpenVMS FAQ. The batteries can fail after five and will fail usually closer to ten years of service life, and the box reverts (arguably a design error, but nobody thought of it at the time) to AlphaBIOS and not to a "dead battery" mode.

I'll add the 2032 and the system info to the next edition of the FAQ. Many VAX systems have NiCd battery packs. And the Dallas chip is another common "battery"; the chip includes the battery with the memory.