Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 10, NO. 9 / SEPTEMBER 1984 / PAGE 132

Making the upgrade. (Installing equipment in the IBM PC) Russ Lockwood.

Making The Upgrade

Installing memory boards, graphics boards, and disk drives is easy, quick, and requires only a few simple tools. You can buy these peripherals direct from the manufacturer or from a mailorder house, which may save you some money over a retail purchase and installation.

Sounds great. You get the same product at a lower price. But suppose your digital dexterity prevents you from assembling a two-piece jigsaw puzzle? How are you going to cope with micro-sized components with your macro-sized fingers?

Not to worry. Using only a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, and a pen, even those with less than nimble fingers can replace a disk drive and insert a memory or graphics board easily.

Remember, always refer to the manuals and documentation supplied by the manufacturer when installing the equipment yourself. Also, use the appropriate sections in the IBM Guide to Operations. The procedure we followed applies to specific expansion boards and disk drives, although the same general guidelines apply to all boards and drives.

A Word to the Wise

Although this should go without saying, when you are putting in expansion boards, disk drives, or anything else, make sure the IBM PC is unplugged from the wall socket, all cables are disconnected, and you have a large, clear space all around the machine. Do not rush through the procedures. Take your time upgrading your system. Haste makes waste, you know.

Floppy Disk Drives

Disk drives are easy to put in. They are held to the system unit by two screws. Our PC had two Phillips head screws holding the B drive, but for some reason, the A drive was held on by two bolts. In addition, each drive has two cables attached, one from the disk controller card and one from the power supply. The flat disk controller cable (ours was colored gray) is attached to the right rear of the drive. The power supply cable consists of multicolored wires that end in a plastic cap with four holes. The cap plugs into a plastic socket at the left rear of the drive, just underneath the top of the drive board.

Taking out the disk drives entails removing the screws or bolts, detaching both cables, and sliding the drive out the front of the system unit. To put a disk drive in, you simply perform these steps in reverse order.

A Trick of the Trade

When we replaced our drives, the power supply cable was very difficult to remove. In fact, it was holding onto the disk drive for dear life. Most people try rocking the cap to loosen it. That is a good strategy; it sure beats putting your foot on the drive and yanking. However, if the power supply cable still holds on as if some joker had put superglue in the socket, try pressing the cap back into the socket. Not only is this good reverse psychology, it also helps loosen the cap from the socket.

Half height disks pose a different problem. They are a bit more difficult to install than full sized disk drives. Both our old and the new ones we installed were full height, so the switch was very easy. Again--and we cannot emphasize this enough--look at the documentation that comes with your drives. That is what it is for.

Slippery Chips

Although your two disk drives are installed, they will not work properly until you alter a couple of chips. On our two-drive system, we had to pull out a terminator chip on the B drive, and punch out six of the seven hour glass connectors on another chip (sometimes referred to as a bridge) on both the A and B drives. Again, look at the documentation. The manufacturer explains these important procedures in detail.

If you originally had two single sided disk drives and have replaced them with two double sided disk drives, you do not have to change the DIP switches in switch box 1 on the motherboard. If you had one disk drive and now have two, you must change DIP switches 1, 7, and 8 in switch box 1. Consult your IBM Guide to Operations manual for the correct positions.

The Boards

The memory and graphics boards are much easier to install than the disk drives. They simply plug into expansion slots on the motherboard and require a few DIP switch changes.

Most expansion boards contain DIP switches, which are usually preset by the manufacturer. If they do need changing, consult the instruction booklet that comes with the boards for the exact settings. The switches are easily changed with the point of a pen.

Likewise, you must change the DIP switch settings on the PC motherboard. Again, check the instruction booklet for the exact settings.

The PC has five expansion slots in the left rear of the system unit. Pick one that is empty, unscrew the bolt holding the expansion slot cover, position the expansion board over its assigned slot, and press it into the slot. A connector on the bottom of the board will slide into the slot. For best cooling, use every other slot for your first three add-on boards. With four or five boards, alternate short or lightly-populated boards with long boards.

Hard Disk Drives

Putting in a hard disk drive is like putting in a floppy disk drive and an expansion board. Inserting the drive itself is just about the same as putting in a floppy drive. Of course, external drives are not mounted inside the system unit. In addition, you must install a disk controller board for the hard disk drive. This board installs just like an expansion board, and the disk controller cable attaches to the hard disk drive. If the drive is externally mounted, the cable goes out the back of the system unit.

The Keyboard Shuffle

Replacing the keyboard takes all of about 10 seconds. Simply pull the plug of the original keyboard out of the back of the system unit and plug in the new keyboard. Not sure which plug? Look for the one labeled "keyboard.'

Color Monitor

Replacing your old monitor with a color monitor is almost as easy as replacing the keyboard. This time, you encounter two plugs instead of one. One monitor plug goes into a port on the graphics board, and the other plug goes into a wall socket. Just make sure you plug a color monitor into a color graphics board.

Parting Pointers

Above all, read the documentation from the manufacturers. Repeat, read the documentation from the manufacturer. If you still question the procedure, call the manufacturer. They are friendly and generally helpful, and you are assured of getting the most up-to-date and correct information available.

Installing disk drives, expansion boards, keyboards, and monitors is a simple procedure. It does not take a great deal of dexterity, and you can save a bundle doing it yourself with only a screwdriver, pliers, and a pen.

Photo: 1. The rear of the IBM PC system unit, with the cover mounting screws removed.

Photo: 2. The IBM PC exposed.

Photo: 3. The cap has been carefully removed from the socket, located underneath the left rear corner of the disk drive board.

Photo: 4. The B drive halfway removed. Note the two screws have been taken out and the power and disk controller cables disconnected.

Photo: 5. The IBM PC with disk drives and memory board installed. Note chips are not yet altered.

Photo: 6. The expansion slot, with the cover still attached.