Model 5538  PS/55E


For Japanese readers; 
Please check the page held by Mr. J. Takamura for more information about this model, Click here ( Japanese  page ).
Or if you want to see how to open/disassemble the case, please click here ( good pictures. Also Japanese page  )

Model 5538  ( PS/55E )
5538s are VERY different from another PS/55's. They are not MCA.   These models were called as "Green PC" when  they came  first ( IBM named it "PC STREAM" latter ).  Unlike PS/2e, these models have integrated LCD panel.
Imagine.. a ThinkPad planar in a thick vertical case with a pedestal and a integrated LCD  panel which  is adjustable in vertical  direction, that's the 5538. 

 For photo image for 5538-Z and 5538-V are available at IBM's web site. 

Model Variations
 Early Models,  " GREEN PC"
i486SX-33 3.3V
i486DX-33 3.3V
 RAM  4MB 4MB  8MB 20MB 8MB 20MB
          S3 Vision 86C928
VGA 256C
  VGA, 256C
SVGA, 256C
 DISPLAY 10.3" DSTN Color
10.4" TFT Color
12.1" TFT Color
3 mode
4 mode ( 2.88MB/1.44MB/1.2MB/720KB )
 FutureDomain ( RS6K style external connector)
Type III x2
Type III x4
 Installed OS  DOS J6.3/V DOS J6.1/V  Win J3.1 OS2J2.1  Win J3.1  OS2 J2.1
 Released Date 
 1994. 5
1993. 10
 Key Board
 5576-C01 ( 106 Key with TrackPoint  II )
Late Models, " PC STREAM "
LCD -Less Model
 RAM  ?
4MB 20MB
S3 Vision 86C928
VGA, 256C
SVGA, 256C
10.4", TFT
11.3", DSTN
3 Mode 
4 Mode 
Future Domain
Type III x2 
Type III x4
 Installed OS Poss DOS J6.3/V & Win J3.1 DOS J6.3/V  DOS J6.3/V & Win J3.1 DOS J6.1/V OS2 J2.1
 Released Date
1995. 6
1994. 11
1995. 6
1994. 3

Easy Setup Menu
To get into setup menu, press F1 function key upon powering the system.
Every sections in Easy Setup menu are written in English

SL ENhanced 3.3v parts are used for all models.
CPU is loaded on a sub-board and any model can probably take other model's CPU  sub-board. 
You probably *can* swap the CPU to AMD 5x86 if you are a good soldering iron man. 

All model have 4MB  RAM soldered on the planers. You can add more RAMs using  IC DRAM Cards ( parity modules are 
recommended. at least genuine options for Z model are parity modules. ).  According to IBM's guide book, 36MB  is the max amount  of RAM consisting with onboard 4MB  RAM  and   two 16MB  IC DRAM CARDs. 
But actually 5538 recognizes  52MB in combination of   4MB of  base  memory  +16MB +32MB

Note 1
According to Mr. Takamura's web page, IC DRAM memories are described as follows. 
Z models Requires Parity memories only  ( 5537-ZAC accepts Non-Parity  )
Y/V/W models Can accept both Parity and Non-parity cards disabling Parity check in Easy Setup menu.
U model Memory check selection is not provided in Easy Setup but both types are supposed to be usable.

Upper DRAM slot should be exclusively used for 16MB and /or 4MB card.  If  8MB or 32MB DRAM card are populated in the upper memory slot,  the system will recognize only half of actual RAM installed. 

     The Big Blue offers following genuine option cards.
      ID                                            FRU
      06G9242    4MB  Parity          07G1415  ( different P/N is printed on mine. A)  P/N 40G1914, B) 40G0275 ) 
      06G9243    8MB  Parity          07G1416 
      66G6575  16MB  Parity          66G0094   ( Also different P/N such as  66G0093 and 66G8262  exist. )

      84G5691    4MB  Non-Parity     84G5724  92G7237
      84G5694    8MB  Non-Parity     84G5725  92G7236
      84G5697  16MB  Non-Parity     84G5726  92G7424

    Third Party's products which I tested on 5538-YVB and 5537-ZAC.
       Vender       Capacity   Type      ID 
       Kingston    16MB        Non-P    KFJ-NEM/16
       Kingston    16MB        Non-P    KTMTP360/16 145-010.A00  ( Also Labeled as PRINCETON TB973081 ) 
       Fujitsu       16MB         Non-P    FMVNEM161 P/N  CA46006-6270  004M32R2CA0-08F0P5E
       Fujitsu       16MB         P            FMBNEM161 P/N  CA46006-6256  004M36R2CA0-08F0P5E 
       Hagiwara    32MB        Non-P    HMC-A032
       GreenHouse 32MB      Non-P    JD32NF

        Click here for IC DRAM card. 

U/V Models supports E-IDE while W/Z/Y models supports legacy IDE with limited capacity of  524MB. 
I have a 820MB drive  in my 5537-ZAC  using EZDRIVE and it sees all 820MB happily. 

Y and Z models
1st drive is screwed to the inner structure and you need to disassemble the machine to exchange the drive. 

2nd Hard drive slot  is prepared for all models. You can use same drive  cage which is used in ThinkPad models such as M23V, C23V and TP550/555BJ ). The cage is almost same with the one used for TP720/TP720C but the location of key holes beside the connector are little bit different.

    Genuine options          P/N             Price (JY)
      170MB option pack;  66G7049 
      340MB option pack;  66G8641     98,000 
      527MB option pack;  84G7056    148,000 

    Drive cage is looks like this ( sorry not available now.  I can't find out )

1 FDD.  3-mode drive for -U/V/W model and 4-mode drive for -Y/Z models. 

    3 mode drive can read/write 1.44MB/1.2MB/720KB 
    4 mode drive can read/write 2.88MB/1.44MB/1.2MB/720KB 

ISA Slot

   Type 3 x 2 for  -U/V/W.
   Type 3 x 4 for  -Z/Y. 

   NT4, Win95B and OS/2 J2.11 can see and use all of these  PCMCIA slots with built in drivers. 

   RS232C 9 pin x2, 1 parallel,  VGA port for external display,  mouse and keyboard. 
   Mini Centronics 60 pin SCSI connector ( Z/Y models only ).
  Click image to enlarge

SCSI ( Y and Z models only )
 -Y/Z models have a onboard  FutureDomain SCSI  controller and RS6000 style external  connector. 
538 is not  a  MCA designed PC neither have IBM MCA SCSI but it does have  RS6K style 60 pin connector.
Anyway Y/Z models have 4 PCMCIA slots,  your second choice is to use PCMCIA SCSI card.  If you are a real  MAD  then you may have one or two ( or more ) of external cables for the connector. 

   1)  You have to activate SCSI section in Easy Setup Menu before you use SCSI devices. 
        To get into the Setup Menu,  press F1 key upon powering the PC.
   2)  System will reports  1047000 221 error if you enable SCSI section in SetUp menu but
         you don't have any SCSI devices attached to SCSI port.

   Win95  has a built in driver for the chip. 

   DOS driver for CDROM 
      I used FDCD.SYS  from Correl POWERSCSI  for  CD-ROM under DOS. 

LCD panel : See above  chart

Video Chip
   WD90C24 is standard on the planers for models other than  -Zxx. 
   S3 86C928 is prepared for Z models ( provided as a sub-board ). 

WD90C24 and 256C on Win95 
In order to get 256C on Win95,  you need to load  VESA.EXE on your config.sys. VESA.exe is contained in a Video Driver Diskette for TP360/750.  Or use 5538 Video Support Diskette ( Japanese ). 

Basically 5538 doesn't provide built-in audio function. I'm not sure about 5538-Zxx if it has built-in audio function or not.

5576-C01, mechanical clicking keyboard with a track point-II, is equipped with earlier  models.
There are two variations of this keyboard.
One is with single cable and single connector to be connected to a Keyboard connector  of  5538/5537. 
The other is with single cable from keyboard which  is separated into two connectors ( thus it's called as  " Y cable " );  one for K/B port and the other for Mouse port.

Attention: For Japanese readers
It's advised that you need to use an " intermediate cable" together with C-01 K/B or other  PS/2 K/B.  Please observe following copy of a sheet which was shipped with 5537-ZAC. 
I don't know  how the "intermediate cable" works.  I  myself have not ever seen it.  I think most of 5538 users do not have  the cable and they use their B-01 K/B and PS/2 mouse in Fig.III below without  the cable.   Want to know the secret of  this " intermediate cable" 

        Fig. 1 
Cable  connection for a
5576-C01 with single 
           Fig. 2 
Cable connection for a 
5576- C01 with Y cable 
for  K/B and mouse 
             Fig. 3 
   Cable connection for
   5576-001/002/003 or
   A/01/B01 K/B and a PS/2 mouse

AC Adapter
   For TFT models     ;  18V/3.3A  P/N 66G9434 FRU 66G9439 
   For DSTN models ;   20V/2.0A  P/N 84G7142 FRU 84G7156
   Connector type      :   2-pin cylindrical connector, center + .

PS/55E and PS/2E
Physically they look very different each other but  basic concepts of these systems are, I  think , same.
Both systems were designed to meet with Green PC specification which was defined on Energy Star  project promoted by US EPA ( Environment Protection Agency ) and US DOE ( Department of Energy ).   See  IBM Environmental Milestone
PS/2E and PS/55E came to the market too early and they were too much expensive.

I once wrote to the comp.sys NG

It may be said that PS/55E had been introduced to the PC market too early. Design and concept were great but the price was a killer for general consumers. PS55Es were mainly delivered to big companies as like as MCA PC/55s.
Some of enthusiasts got one cheap NIB when IBM cleared out their surplus stock ( not so sure, but it was around 1996 to 1997. I happened to see a bargain sale when I was in Osaka ).  I really wanted to buy one but it was still expensive to me though the price was discounted a lot.

Peter replied 
History repeating. The same thing happened over here with the PS/2e 9533 "Pizzabox": it was a cash-killer when it was new and regularly sold by IBM. 
When the stocks were cleared in about '97 the system showed up (along with a cheesy 12" SVGA tube display) in supermarkets and computer stores - but was still too expensive for its performance and for "regular" users. I saw some back then, planned to buy one but stepped back when I saw the price tag.  It still cost 950 DM at a time when a Pentium-90 system with monitor was down to 750.

Here's some links about PS/2E
MADMax Extrream       Tam's PS2/E pictures ( Inside  outside PS/2E and associated LCD )
The PS2/E and Linux   Peter's page contains general system information and "How to" install SuSE 6.1 
The Antique Computer Virtual Museum   Maintained by D.B.Young.

 Model 5537-Z
" 5538-Z without integrated LCD panel".  That's 5537-Z.

  CPU        SL Enhance i486DX2-50MHz
  VRAM     1MB
  VIDEO     SVGA/ 1024x768 256C;  S3 Vision 86C928 
  HDD       170MB/340MB/520MB
  SCSI       FutureDomain 
  PCMCIA Type-III x4 
  Audio     CS4248KL ( Stereo IN/OUT )
  I''d like to call it " Monolith".

  Win95 driver for CS4248KL
     Sound Driver for TP750 series can be used
     ( but you have to load the driver *twice*).

PS/55E line was followed by model 6870 PC710 with P-90,  and now P-II  or P-III something.
  ...far apart from  PS/55 and MCA. 

PS/55 Index