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Thread: Upgrading a Compaq Portable

  1. #1

    Default Upgrading a Compaq Portable

    I've been thinking about purchasing a Compaq Portable (the original one). A lot of the configurations I see have two floppy drives, but some have hard drives in them. Is it fairly straight-forward to install a hard drive controller card and a drive? I have a couple kicking around that I could use.

  2. #2
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    Yes. The Compaq Portable is compatible with IBM PC expansion cards, and relatively speaking it has plenty of expansion slots.

    An XT-IDE or a hardcard can be plopped in with no additional hardware reconfiguration. A seperate hard drive will require removal of one of the floppy drives to make space to mount the hard drive.

    The only special consideration is making sure the cards are properly secured so they don't move around.

    Just FYI, the Compaq Portable and Compaq Portable Plus are 100% identical except for the case badge, and the presence of a hard disk with controller in place of a second floppy.

    Supposedly some very early Compaq Portables might need a BIOS upgrade to boot from a hard drive, but I suspect those are rather uncommon (All Portables manufactured after the Portable Plus would share the same BIOS). If you do happen to come across one of those, please dump the BIOS as I don't believe it has been archived anywhere yet.

  3. #3
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    I've got some Compaq MBs here including at least one portable; how would I know if the BIOS is worth dumping?

  4. #4
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    There is a list of ROM part numbers here (from a tech manual):
    https://www.pcjs.org/devices/pcx86/rom/compaq/portable/

    And list of dumped ROMs here (see the Compaq section):
    http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/rom/rom.htm

    Any that are not listed here could use dumping.

    Actually, it does look like someone dumped the older "B" version, I don't recall that one being out there the last time I looked a way while back. If that note it right, then the "B" version (rom 100518-001) does not support BIOS extensions like those found in hard disk controllers, and would require an upgrade.

    Also, just a note, an oddity of some Compaq Portable motherboards is that they may have two ROMs installed with identical contents. As I recall the reason for this is unknown and not documented.

  5. #5
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    Couldn't open the first link and Modem7's list doesn't show part numbers but it looks like this is Rev C so probably already archived.
    1006661 Rev C (c) '82

    On another MB (Don't know model; 8 slot 8086, Assy No. 000315-001Rev G:
    100298-005

    Anybody want either of these boards?

    Have another one or two somewhere; will look around.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
    On another MB (Don't know model; 8 slot 8086, Assy No. 000315-001Rev G:
    100298-005
    That would be the MB for the original Deskpro.

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