Restoring a PC Server 500 P/390

Dave Wade dave.g4ugm at
Sat May 12 18:07:00 CDT 2018

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk <cctalk-bounces at> On Behalf Of Grant Taylor via
> cctalk
> Sent: 12 May 2018 19:39
> To: cctalk at
> Subject: Re: Restoring a PC Server 500 P/390
> On 05/12/2018 05:32 AM, Dave Wade via cctalk wrote:
> > I am rebuilding a Microchannel server with a P/390 card.
> Will you be chronicling this process anywhere?  I'd like to observe from a
> distance.  Blog / Twitter / other?

I was so unsure of what I was doing that I haven't blogged, twittered, or even Facebooked....

The server just about worked when I got it, but with six 20 year old disks (I think they are twenty) in a flaky RAID array the thing spent more time recovering dropped disks than it did working.
The spin up time is critical, and like me I think these are showing their age and the array controller gets tired of waiting for them to come ready and then the array needs to be checked for consistency. Yuk.

I was hoping to get the RAID working and copy the data to elsewhere, and may still try and do that, but for now I have been implementing "Plan B":-

1. Cleaned the floppy drive. It’s a 2.88 and still a little flaky, but it gets used a lot when messing with Microchannel and OS/2. The equivalent of the BIOS config is run from floppy and it needs to be re-run every time you move cards around.
The CDs are not bootable and need at least two floppies to get them loading so more reliance on the FDD.
Its not simple to change the drive as IBM "re-purposed" some of the lines on the cable that are "gnd" on most drives and used them to pass info about drive. Plan is to try replacing it with a GoTek hack to provide fake disk size info. 
Some one has done this on a p70. Not sure if this will work here.

2. Messed with the RAID firmware, drive links and drives. Its still Foo Bared. The system came with no CD Drive or 9mm DAT fitted. When I popped that back I think it broke the RAID. For now I have un-plugged the RAID card.

3. Installed a BT646 Microchannel SCSI card from E-Bay. Its SCSI/2 but not as fast as the RAID card which is wide and of course can do multiple i/os.

4. Installed a SCSI2SD instead of hard drive. I have a 32Gb card in it which works out a little less than what was in the server.  Getting the config right for this proved fun. At present I have it set as 2 x 4gb drives. The rest is un-allocated.

5. There is a SCSI CD ROM on the interface as well. This seems to have fits from time to time.

6. I had a couple of goes at installing OS/2 Warp Server 4 (This is Warp 3 with server components). I couldn't get the server to boot from the SCSI2SD but there is a setting hidden in the Server Config that must have got lost.

7. At this point I had the SCSI2SD set as 2 x 1GB  drives but decided I needed more space, so I re-set them as 2 x 4gb. The base OS/2 installed OK but server portion barfed saying not enough free space. I guess a pointer over flows. So spend an hour copying the CD onto the "C" drive several times. It then installed OK. 

So at this point I had an OS/2 system that booted. I couldn't get the P390 software to install as it wanted Communications Manager and I didn't have it. For those who don't know the base OS/2 has virtually no networking included. IBM chose to separate networking as a separate product, Communications Manager and charge a small fortune for it. I think at this point I also installed service from a WarpUp! CD. I have also installed Netscape 4.6 and InfoZip from this CD but not Java. 

However, I have since found that Personal Communications which includes 3270 and 5250 terminal emulators also includes a "mini" version of Communications manager and should be sufficient to run the P390 code.  I have now installed that but at first I still couldn't get the P/390 support code to install. However, I found I wasn't installing the very latest version of the P390 support code. That has now gone on, after copying one disk in another PC as the drive in the server decided it couldn't read it. I can now load the microcode into the card, but I can't connect the 3270 emulator as a console. 

I have now re-read the documents and think I know what I need to do, I don't have the IP port in the P390 config matching the port in PCOMMS. I also think I may need to tweak the OS/2 config.sys. 

At some point I have also zipped up a mainframe OS from Hercules, copied it to a CD and un-zipped it onto the server. Hopefully tomorrow I should be able to load VM/CMS.

I also am still having issues with the Video Card. Its IBM SVGA Adaptor/1 which I believe should do 1024 x 768 but its stuck in 800 x 600.  I can't get PMVNC to run. It says its started but when I try the config program it says it can't find the started program.


> --
> Grant. . . .
> unix || die

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