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IBM 5161 Expansion Chassis Cards

This project duplicates both the extender and receiver cards used in the IBM 5161 expansion chassis. This is a box that looks identical to an IBM PC, only it has simple backplane instead of a motherboard. An extender card located in a host PC/XT system connects to a receiver card located in the expansion chassis using a large 62-pin D-sub cable.

Even if you don't own (all or part) of an IBM 5161, this project may still be useful to you. It works perfectly with various passive ISA backplanes! There is one slight catch--the 14.318MHz ISA bus clock signal is generated on the IBM backplane but not typically on passive ISA backplanes. Not all cards need this signal, however. Often you can check by tracing the edge connector contact B30 on the back of an ISA card. It is second-furthest from the bracket. If the contact is missing or not connected to a trace, the card should work.

Further information on the IBM 5161 is available from

Incidentally, the 62-pin cable is available from Mouser Electronics, 923-PCL-10162-1E. Use the 1 meter cable; anything longer may cause signal integrity issues.

The card bracket, Mouser Electronics 534-9200-5, has been reported to fit. I have not personally tried it.

The IBM PC and XT BIOS run some tests on the card on boot. If you see an "1801" code on boot, it may mean something as simple as an unconnected cable or an unpowered expansion chassis. It'll pop up for any other error with the card. For troubleshooting, you may have more luck writing test programs in BASIC using the inp() and out() functions. Test registers are documented in the IBM technical reference manual.

On to the cards themselves! These are both 4-layer boards. I got mine with immersion gold edge fingers and a 30 degree edge bevel, but both these are optional. The ideal is to use selective hard gold for the edge fingers, but this tends to be quite expensive.

Extender Card

Here is what the extender card looks like. Components shown may vary from the official bill of materials. alt text

There is a switch bank in the upper left corner. This configures the wait-state generator which is necessary if you need to access RAM or ROM on any other card in the expansion chassis. Placing RAM expansion cards in the chassis is not recommended since it slows everything down. The wait-state generator starts at 0xEFFFF and extends downwards to the configured address. ROM at 0xF0000-0xFFFFF is reserved for system BIOS and never gets an additional wait state.

1=On, 0=Off/Open

Switches 1234 Address Range with Wait State
1111 0x00000-0xEFFFF
1110 0x10000-0xEFFFF
1101 0x20000-0xEFFFF
1100 0x30000-0xEFFFF
1011 0x40000-0xEFFFF
1010 0x50000-0xEFFFF
1001 0x60000-0xEFFFF
1000 0x70000-0xEFFFF
0111 0x80000-0xEFFFF
0110 0x90000-0xEFFFF
0101 0xA0000-0xEFFFF
0100 0xB0000-0xEFFFF
0011 0xC0000-0xEFFFF
0010 0xD0000-0xEFFFF
0001 0xE0000-0xEFFFF
0000 Wait-state generator disabled

Following are reference materials for your convenience.


Bill of materials

Fab files

Mistakes in the IBM Schematic

The IBM schematic has some errors:

  1. Pin 2 of U1 was tied to EDACK1#. It should have been tied to ECLK to match the layout.
  2. U8 pin 14 goes to RN2 pin 1 (pin number not shown on schematic).
  3. Pin 2 of RN2 and pin 9 of RN3 were swapped on the schematic compared to the layout.
  4. The board itself has a blue wire from pin 11 of U13 to what appears to be pin 4 of U2 (where the signal comes out to a via below the chip, not the actual pin). This wire has been incorporated in my design so you don't have to worry about it.

Receiver Card

And here is what the receiver card looks like. Again, components shown may vary from the official bill of materials.

There is one part on here, the delay line TD1, that may be more difficult to find. It's a DS1005 or a 14T150 which is not something that Mouser stocks anymore. You may be able to find one on auction sites, brokers, or you might want to buy a more modern SMD delay line and wire up an adapter board. As long as it provides a 150ns delay and supports 5V I/O, it should work.

alt text


Bill of materials

Fab files

Mistakes in the IBM Schematic

Again, the IBM schematic has errors in it.

  1. Pin 37 and 39 of J1 (D shell connector) are swapped. EDACK3#, EIOR#.
  2. Pin 12 of U11 was tied to pin 3 of U2. It should be tied to pin 2 of U2. Signal ENABLE# was tied to pin 2 of U2. It should be tied to pin 3 of U2.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. See


IBM 5161 expansion chassis extender and receiver cards






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