View Full Version : Compaq Portable 2 Hard disc issues

June 11th, 2014, 03:21 PM
Wow!!! I'm on a roll. Yesterday, and last night I was able to get my newly acquired 5150 with XT-CF Lite board installed, as well as my 5160 XT that had the bad power supply working. Although, the XT also needed a replacement HDD. Luckilly, I had bought a spare Control Data drive when I got the replacements for my 5161 expansion unit.

Now though, I'm starting work on another project I've been sitting on for a while.

I have a pretty nice looking Compaq Portable 2, which is somewhat smaller in physical size than previous Compaq Portables. This is also the last of the Compaq Portables which housed an internal 5" green monitor, and as a 286 clone, some of hardware that makes the computer what it is, seems to be a combination of IDE, and MFM technology; especially when it comes to the hard disc. The issue that I'm having is that the hard disc appears to be dead. It is a pretty strange setup. The drive itself, is mounted directly to what all intent and purposes is an MFM/IDE converter, which is connected via IDE ribbon to a combination HDD and FDD controller. I have a replacement 40 Mb IDE hard disc, which has been tested and is in known good working order that I want to install.

So, here's the question:

Will the IDE hard disc work when connected directly to the IDE connection in the computer?, or is the fact that the hard disc has it's own external hardware going to cause other problems? The attached photos of the HDD show the converter, and some of the connections.

Is there anything else I need to be aware of as I begin work on this machine?

June 12th, 2014, 12:30 AM
I don't see any attached photos.

Will the IDE hard disc work when connected directly to the IDE connection in the computer?
Yes. It's just standard IDE when the converter is removed. You might need to boot from the Compaq setup disk to change the drive type.

June 12th, 2014, 06:09 AM
Sorry, I guess I forgot to attach the pics last night. Anyway, here you go. If there is anything more you would like to see, a close-up for example, please let me know. Taking pics and posting them is easy.

The pics I've uploaded show the different views around the combination HDD and MFM adapter/controller. I hope they are of some use.

June 12th, 2014, 10:24 AM
That's a MiniScribe hard drive. Those often suffer from stiction, where the heads stick to the platters, preventing the drive from spinning up. To get it to go, rotate the interrupter (exactly what the sticker warns you to NOT do!) as you apply power, to try to break free the heads. This will usually get it to spin up, and it may work fine, but as soon as the drive cools down, the heads will stick again, so it's not a permanent fix.

June 12th, 2014, 11:25 AM
You can use ANY IDE hard drive on the Compaq controller in the Portable II, I use a 20GB in mine (http://www.acrpc.net/compaq-portable-ii/), works fine and sees all of it with the OnTrack DDO (http://www.acrpc.net/utils/).

I am guessing they only used that miniscribe MFM drive on a IDE bridge board was cost, IDE drives at that time would have been QUITE expensive, where as a miniscribe MFM would have been about the cheapest available at the time, even factoring in a bridge controller.