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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

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Compaq Portable Plus

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    Compaq Portable Plus

    Just bought one of these old Compaq Portable Plus model computers at a resale shop. When I power it up I only hear the fan start up. There is a small red light that comes on on the motherboard too but no any other activity. Any ideas where to start with trouble shooting this PC? Is there some type of CMOS battery that will keep it from booting? How do I determine if my CRT is still operational?

    Thanks for any help in advance folks!!
    Compaq - It simply works better

    #2
    Read through the advice on this thread:

    http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcfo...e-Power-Supply

    Does the red light on the motherboard stay on continuously or does it come on for a couple of seconds and then go off?

    Comment


      #3
      Hi! Thanks for providing that thread, I'm gonna read through it all now. I think the light on the board is staying on. Is that good or bad? I am new to these old 80's Compaqs but I would really love to get this thing working. I havent seen a single spec on the CRT yet, but then the hard drive and floppy dont seem to be coming to life either. This thing looks brand new inside so I'd be very surprised if all those components are toast! The connectors to the HD and floppy are getting power because I tested those with a voltmeter.
      Compaq - It simply works better

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by compaqportableplus View Post
        I think the light on the board is staying on. Is that good or bad?
        The red LED should stay on.

        Originally posted by compaqportableplus View Post
        This thing looks brand new inside so I'd be very surprised if all those components are toast!
        Looks can be deceiving.

        Comment


          #5
          Tried the 5.25 floppy drive in an old Pentium 3 system and it worked fine. Havent seen any signs of life putting power to the Rodime 10MB hard drive yet but then I dont have a way to test the MFM drive in any of my other PCs. Would it spin up without the HD controller or does anyone know? How extensive is the SAMS Photofact® for the Compaq Portable? I was considering a purchase to help troubleshooting.
          Compaq - It simply works better

          Comment


            #6
            The Portable Plus is very similar to the Portable, so First and foremost is checking all connections and make sure everything is seated and connected properly and tightly. Also take off the bottom cover, and on the right there should be a little door to the right that unscrews. There should be 3 connectors in there too, make sure those are all tight and connected properly.

            I had a similar issue to yours on my other Compaq Portable's, and it ended up being a blown cap in the power supply, although it took me a minute to find it, as the way it blew, the damage was only visible from the side facing another large component.
            Mike
            An equal opportunity collector.

            Comment


              #7
              I tried everything and diagnosed down to a dead crt. I have a regular compaq portable to cross check parts with and the only thing I cant get any life out of is the CRT. How the heck do I get the CRT out of this thing? It looks like it obviously has to be taken out from the front. How do I get the cosmetic/faceplate thing off the front?? Anyone done this before?
              Compaq - It simply works better

              Comment


                #8
                I would imagine you'd take it out from the top, but first you'd have to remove all your controller cards, power supply, etc so you have room to back it up a little before lifting it up. I'm just guessing as I've never had to do that, but I also own a Portable Plus. Beautiful machine and gotta love the golden innards.

                "Deep down I'm pretty superficial." - Ava Gardner

                My Computer Museum Website: http://tanrunomad.com/

                My YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/brianpicchi

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                  #9
                  Well I did get the CRT out!! Wow what a job that was! You have to completely disassemble the thing down to just the cage to do it. And getting that power supply out without the special too was no easy task either! Wow, just wow!! lol

                  @>TanruNomad, Your computer collection is awesome! Yea I agree with you about the golden innards on the Portable Plus! Very cool! Any idea where I could find that game that the little guy collects the Compaq Portables from the maze at online anywhere?? I'd really like to find that for my Portable!
                  Compaq - It simply works better

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It was on the hard drive when I got it. Where do you live?
                    "Deep down I'm pretty superficial." - Ava Gardner

                    My Computer Museum Website: http://tanrunomad.com/

                    My YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/brianpicchi

                    Comment


                      #11
                      @>TanruNomad, I'm in Little Rock, AR.

                      I put another CRT (from another old Compaq Portable) in my Portable Plus and I am booting up fine now. Now of course about half my keyboard keys arent working! So it looks like I have the very common rotten foam/mylar pads problem I gotta deal with but I'll get to it in the next day or so. Anyone ever tried making these themselves instead of ordering the $30 key replacement kit thats offered on ebay?
                      Compaq - It simply works better

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by compaqportableplus View Post
                        @>TanruNomad, I'm in Little Rock, AR.

                        I put another CRT (from another old Compaq Portable) in my Portable Plus and I am booting up fine now. Now of course about half my keyboard keys arent working! So it looks like I have the very common rotten foam/mylar pads problem I gotta deal with but I'll get to it in the next day or so. Anyone ever tried making these themselves instead of ordering the $30 key replacement kit thats offered on ebay?
                        About 10 or so of my keys werent working or not working very well when I got mine so I just cut out some layers of paper to fit the size of the contacts and stuck it in there under each faulty key. Works fine now, but man was it time consuming. The replacement kit I'm sure works fine.
                        "Deep down I'm pretty superficial." - Ava Gardner

                        My Computer Museum Website: http://tanrunomad.com/

                        My YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/brianpicchi

                        Comment


                          #13
                          What i did to fix the problem, goto micheals, yes, the craft store, and get a sheet of white foam, the foam is kind of solid to the touch, but works, cut it into the size of the mylar pad, it doesn't have to be round, but has to fit WITHIN the circle, once you have the piece, lay it flat, looking at it horizontally, cut the top 1/4th off. next, make sure the old foam is off the mylar pad AND the plastic circle, super glue new foam to plastic circle, let dry, then superglue the mylar back to the foam, the same way you pulled it out then press the WHOLE thing back in, MAKE SURE THE PLASTIC SNAPS IN, otherwise it will fall out. then re-assemble the keys, it IS time consuming specially if you do each key, but 1.99 for the art foam and 3.99 for the glue is cheaper than the kit. and works just as well....
                          Nothing beats the roar of a 36yr old drive coming to life after a decade in storagg

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Well you might be in luck with foam keyboard pads. My portable II died a few weeks back. Motherboard went out. I saved as many parts as I could to include the keyboard. I decided to open the keybaord up and low and behold it has the same foam pads as the Original portable. If you can tell me how many you need I can send you some plus a couple of extras just in case. BTW I left them attached the the key plunger. Just need to gently lift them off. I'll charge 5 cents a piece. Let me know by PM if you need some.
                            *FrankG*

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