View Full Version : Anyone know anything about this ALR Ranger Laptop?

December 2nd, 2008, 04:11 AM
Hi! I found this forum in search of information about an older computer I purchased for cheap from a classmate earlier today for really cheap. I am in no way good with computer knowledge and mainly bought it with the purpose of trying to resell it for a profit.

The thing is that I am unable to find any information about it. I have spent most of the day searching on google, and the only pages I am able to find are stores selling batteries for $120+

As far as I know the computer itself is a ALR Ranger, Model # 120 25/486DX. Again, I don't know much about it, this was what I was able to find on a slightly worn label underneath.

It's running Windows 95, so I'm guessing it's not really that old, but since it fitted within the specs for this subforum (I think) I posted here. I'm sorry if it should have been posted in another forum.

I can provide pictures if it is of any help!

If anyone has any info at all about when it's made and what it may be worth, I'd be very thankfull! Both me and my classmate are pretty curious about it.

Thanks on beforehand!:)

Terry Yager
December 2nd, 2008, 10:48 AM
486 laptops generally sell for below $50.00...usually well below. If you bought it for cheap (for really cheap), you probably paid about the right price.


December 2nd, 2008, 10:53 AM

October 7th, 2011, 10:18 AM
The ALR Ranger began as a project in early 1991 to replace a 386 notebook that ALR was OEMing from Taiwan. I developed all the initial conceptual work of the mechanical modular design and had sketched it all out on engineering paper and presented it to Gene Lu who was the CEO of ALR at the time (I still have those sketches). After getting his go ahead I designed the entire product nearly single-handed on AutoCad in 3 months. There were other engineers involved in the electrical enginnering and battery design of course. But I designed the battery case, board layout, and set most of the component locations. This was basically my baby and designing it and seeing it into production was almost like giving birth. It was code named the ALR VIP, which I thought was a name that should have stuck. I don't remember who or where came up with calling it the "Ranger" but I hated it from day one. I started the design in May 1991 and late August I went to Taiwan to kick off the tooling. This was my first ever notebook computer I ever designed and I had almost no experience with plastic injection molding design at the time. This was a real "learn while doing" experence.

After the design was nearly completed Gene Lu decided that the computer needed an integrated handle. No other notebook computer I have ever seen before or since has ever had an integrated handle. It was a crazy idea but I had to implement it on "the fly". I had a very small amount of space up front as I wasn't allowed to exceed it's 8 1/2 x 11 footprint. Because it had to be able to stay in position while in use and retract when not in use it was extremely difficult to get right. It was designed as a rubber molding over spring steel with alumimum sliding ends. It ended up being one of the greatest design feats I've ever pulled off. But the result of putting that handle in was this very ugly break line up near the front of the computer.

Back then we had to plate bath the entire plastic chassis for EMI sheilding, then paint it. There were also other difficult feats to perform like getting the heat out of the system without the use of fans. This was before Intel came out with low voltage CPU's so these early notebook computers got extremely hot. it also had a recess on the right side to mount a MicroSoft trackball. The trackball snapped into the chassis sidecar style.

The computer initially came out with several cpu versions and an upgrade path. It was also one of the first 486 color notebooks (it also had a black and white screen version) to ever hit the market, beaten by a couple of weeks by a Tosiba product. I believe the price on the base version was around $2500 with upgraded versions going as high as $4500. It was the very first mechanically modular designed notebook computer ever.

The Ranger is probably not worth much right now except as a legacy item of the way it was back in the old "Wild West" days of notebook computer design. Back then the design of notebooks was still in it's infancy and risk taking with product design was the norm. These days the designs are all mature, all look the same, perform about the same, and for that matter, are all probably made at the same place (Quanta) regardless of what branding is on the computer. ALR is long since gone too having been swollowed up by Gateway.

October 7th, 2011, 11:18 AM
very cool story. tell us more...

Agent Orange
October 8th, 2011, 07:59 AM

Very interesting! So, what are you up to these days?