[Bits und Bolts] has been restoring an old PC motherboard with the infamous bad electrolytic capacitors. The video of his exploits was interesting enough, but pretty standard stuff. What we found interesting though, was an odd feature of the ASUS Bios called “Post Reporter” that let the motherboard speak error codes and status through the external speaker. (Video, embedded below.) We aren’t sure who wanted that, and since we haven’t seen it around lately, we are guessing the answer was nobody wanted it.
We enjoyed watching the PCB rework. Those large internal ground plane layers do make it hard to unsolder and then solder the caps. That makes the job seem deceptively easy. However, if you want to skip to the exotic BIOS, jump to the 8:20 mark.
There seemed to be a lot of work on the system. The board had support for routing the system speaker through an onboard sound card, and there was software, apparently, that allowed you even to change the messages. It would have been fun to set your computer up to do a Mr. T impression: “I pity the fool that didn’t seat the memory correctly!”
The stock voice was not nearly as interesting. Of course, these days, you could build a POST card and let a microcontroller do the talking for you. If you prefer Speak and Spell to Mr. T, we have just the library for you.