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Thread: Compaq LTE 8086 repairs

  1. #1

    Default Compaq LTE 8086 repairs

    I've been trying to repair all of my LTEs lately. This is one that I've had for about 5 years, and it had never worked correctly. The backlight on it worked intermittently for a short while when I first got it, and sometimes it wouldn't even POST at all.

    This was way before I knew how to solder, so "reapping" it wasn't even an option at that point. Fast forward about 5 years, and I now I am quite handy with a soldering iron! So let's repair this thing!

    IMG_4579.jpgIMG_4580.jpgIMG_4581.jpg

    Fully recapped it, found some broken traces and had to run two jumper wires. One of the traces I found that was broken was close enough together that I was able to just bridge it with some solder. My god this was hard work though, took me forever to find the broken tracks, and man was my back and neck hurting by the time I was done! But it was well worth it in the end!

    Now that's one happy LTE!:

    IMG_4584.jpg

    Got to fix the sticky bumper in the hard drive, recap and replace the belt in the floppy drive, and it'll be done!

    The LTE 8086 is an interesting machine. It was the only 8086 notebook that Compaq ever made. This is also the most compact XT-class machine I own too!

    Next one to repair is a Compaq LTE/286 with the same issue! This one should be much easier, as it's probably the same traces that are broken.

    Thankfully, I have a spare 20MB drive I can use for now until I can find another 40MB drive. These laptops use a funky 3.5" Conner Peripherals drive that's a little shorter and much thinner than a standard drive with a downsized IDE connector. At some point, I'll build and adapter for it, and then I can use a 2.5" drive! having a 120MB or so in one of these would be amazing. If I did do that, I would definitely miss the unique sound that these drives make though!

    Really glad that the LTE and LTE/286 were the only LTEs to use electrolytic caps on the motherboard! The LTE 386s/20 and onward are all-tantalum on the system board. Really makes life easier! This 8086 is all-tantalum now though
    Last edited by compaqportableplus; April 9th, 2019 at 07:08 PM.

  2. #2

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    Another interesting observation I have made with these machines is that both this LTE and one of the LTE/286s I have appear to have had their serial number stickers pulled off and reapplied before. The very earliest LTEs and LTE/286s were made out of a different kind of plastic, which can be identified by having a more "shiny" appearance, and the "Power" and "Standby" embossing is written in a much larger font. The one thing I have observed with this plastic is that it shatters like glass! I have one that is made out of this earlier plastic, and it's too far gone to save, so I have been using it for parts.

    I believe that Compaq was probably replacing these early casings on these at no charge due to the fragility of the plastic. Another thing that makes me think this is that the production dates on the system board on this machine are early 1990, and I found a 1992 year stamp on one of the plastic parts in this LTE 8086.

  3. #3

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    Got the LTE/286 done! Boy this one was a lot of work!

    IMG_4592.jpgIMG_4593.jpgIMG_4594.jpgIMG_4595.jpg

    Think I spent 5 or 6 hours total on it! Took a while to track down where some of the broken vias connected. There was also a tiny ceramic cap that was completely rotted from cap goo that I had to replace! It fell to pieces when I removed it!

    Currently installing MS-DOS 6.22 on it!

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by compaqportableplus View Post
    Thankfully, I have a spare 20MB drive I can use for now until I can find another 40MB drive.
    I guess I removed the rest of this story on accident.

    The LTE/286 that I just got done repairing had the 40MB hard drive which is a little harder to find than the 20MB version. I was fixing the sticky-bumper issue on the drive, and while I was screwing the magnet back down, my screwdriver slipped and gouged the platter. I feel pretty ashamed of that, as I have repaired many Conner drives successfully in the past. Mistakes happen! Still pretty pissed about it, but it is just an old hard drive at the end of the day Should have been more careful as close to the platter as that screw was, but I definitely learned from my mistake, and it won’t happen again.

    So for now this machine has a 20MB drive until I can obtain another 40MB one.

  5. #5

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    Just a quick little update on the LTE/286; I have now replaced DOS 6.22 with Compaq DOS 3.31, as DOS 6.22 was taking up way too much room on the 20MB drive, and wasn’t really letting me do anything I couldn’t do with Compaq DOS 3.31. Plus this is the original OS for this machine, which is very cool.

    Now I’ve got room for Windows 3.0 and some other cool stuff!

  6. #6

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    The hard drive is now fixed in the LTE 8086! Here's some shots of it running:


    thumbnail_IMG_4898.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4899.jpg


    It's running the copy of Compaq DOS 3.31 that was already on the drive, and I installed Windows 2.03 along with some other things. It appears the this machine was last used in around 1997! It would've been already quite old by that point.


    Here's some shots of CheckIt running on it:


    thumbnail_IMG_4900.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4901.jpg


    Scores 2.74 times an IBM XT. Pretty sweet.


    Here's also some pics of the CPU board:


    thumbnail_IMG_4894.jpgthumbnail_IMG_4895.jpg


    You can see the OKI 80C86 CPU, and also notice where the board says "ORION I PROCESSOR". I would say "ORION I" was probably the code name for this machine, and the LTE/286s I have say "ORION II" inside of them. So "ORION" was likely the code name for the original two LTEs.


    I also need to refurbish the floppy drive (new belt and caps). To get software into this machine, I actually had to use LapLink Pro's "remote install" feature, which lets you install the program on the remote computer from the serial port! I usually use FastWire II (similar to FastLynx 2, but doesn't have the remote install feature), because it's a much lighter program. LapLink Pro runs very slowly on my IBM PCs and XT (this 1991 version does anyways), but for newer systems it's fantastic.
    Last edited by compaqportableplus; July 17th, 2019 at 10:46 PM.
    Compaq - “It simply works better”

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