Deleting the CMOS Password
on the
Zenith MiniSport Computer

  1998-2010 by Brian Mork

During the CMOS setup screen, there is an option of installing a boot-up hardware password on the Zenith ZL-1 and ZL-2 Minisports. If you do this, and you forget your password, it's been nigh impossible to ever get access to your machine again. Or at least that's been true until I got a letter from William and Joe. Here's what Joe wrote:

"Remove the modem cover and the back of the unit. Locate a 14- or 8-pin IC labeled 93C46. If you are looking at the back of the machine with the modem in the upper right quadrant, you should see two sqare notches at the bottom of the board. If you look approximately one inch in from the right top corner of the right notch, you should find the chip. (Mine was a 14-pin chip labeled U36). For a 14 pin chip, connect a jumper from pin-5 to pin-9. The board is not labeled so you need to count from the indentation which marks pin 1. If it is an 8-pin chip, connect a jumper from pin-3 to pin-9 [Willliam's notes indicate pin-3 and pin-5; I would check the spec sheets for the device and find which makes sense]. Then turn the unit over on an insulated surfaced and turn it on. Go into setup, go to modify password, and when you receive an error, cut the jumper and press enter 4 times."

That's the text book answer. Here's what actually succeeded for Joe: "I connected the jumper as instructed, turned the machine on, and went into setup (something I could not do without the jumper). The 'modify password' option had two choices: password and no change. I selected PASSWORD and pressed enter. This took me to password verification. After some experimentation, it appears that this is the key. With the jumper in place, I could get through the verification field without having the original password. The next field was for entering and confirming a new password. I entered a new password, confirmed it, then cut the jumper before pressing enter to write it into the CMOS. If I didn't cut the jumper, I received an error that it could not write to CMOS and the original password remained intact. It would appear that the jumper can be cut anytime after you pass through the password verification."

If you arrived at this page directly, check also parent web page for additional, broader scope information about the Minisports.

This page is maintained by Brian Mork // It was last modified June 2010. Suggestions for changes and comments are always welcome via e-mail.