November 12, 2009
Battery up that 9x7? A project or a hunt
Vintage HP 3000s present some risks of hardware failures, but not many. Any computer's hard drive can fail, and will at some time in the future. Power supplies have been reported going AWOL. Memory can forget its purpose. Most of these failures can be planned for, so a site will experience little downtime.
Perhaps not so much with the 9x7 internal batteries. A few weeks ago we reported that a 3000 which forgets what time it is may have a failed internal system clock battery. Sad to say, this isn't an easy hardware failure to recover from, and a good reason to invest in spare parts server. Or arrange for complete hardware support.
Bob J. of Ideal Computer Services filled out the details on getting a working battery to replace what he calls "the Dallas Semiconductor DS1287 real time clock module. The replacement is a DS12887 and is available from components suppliers. The only concern is getting a replacement part that has been on the shelf too long."
"The battery is part of the IC’s package," Bob says, "so it looks like a tall IC. You need to remove the 3000's backplane to replace this soldered module. I don’t expect a battery shop or Radio Shack to be helpful.These modules were used in many early PCs, but haven’t been used in any new equipment for over a decade, so the replacements may be near the end of their lives too."
Bob said that a hobbyist has managed to mount an external battery on the module, to give the chip a replaceable power source. It looks like a workbench project at the hobbyist's Web site. Better to engage a hardware support provider. Better still, perhaps, to consider a newer 3000 if you really want to sustain your applications. Even homesteading has real costs.
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