Announcement

Collapse

Forum Rules and Etiquette

Our mission ...

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.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.


Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.


Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.



Rule 3: Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.


Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.


Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.


Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.


New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.


Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
See more
See less

Compaq Portable 386

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Compaq Portable 386

    I bought a dead Compaq Portable 386 with the expansion box last week and after about 26 hours of tinkering with it, and a DOS Re-install it now boots to DOS 6.22.


    After all of this, only 2 problems that I can determine at this time remain:

    1.The internal display has a red vertical line going through the screen.

    2. When I try to use a VGA card in the expansion box, I get no video output, it uses the internal screen and the video cards BIOS doesn't get displayed when the computer starts.

    What I want to do with this machine is use it as the portable it was meant to be, and as general use 386 machine with Windows 3.11, VGA Graphics via external display, and a Sound Card.

    The VGA card is a 16-bit ISA EGA/VGA combo cards it was manufactured by Ahead.

    These are the only pictures I can find of it.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ahead-VGA-Wi...item1e64bc9adc

    The only difference between this one and mine is that mine does not have the empty sockets for more video RAM, there is just a blank PCB there with nothing soldered to it.

    The Machine has a 100MB Hard Disk, 6MB of Memory, and the 80387SX Co-Processor installed.

    Any help or insight on these problems would be very appreciated.

    Max

    #2
    Originally posted by Max IBM5150 View Post
    1.The internal display has a red vertical line going through the screen.
    Photo required.

    Originally posted by Max IBM5150 View Post
    2. When I try to use a VGA card in the expansion box, I get no video output, it uses the internal screen and the video cards BIOS doesn't get displayed when the computer starts.
    What I want to do with this machine is use it as the portable it was meant to be, and as general use 386 machine with Windows 3.11, VGA Graphics via external display, and a Sound Card.
    A lot of info at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/89014

    The bit that's interesting is, "Some Compaq portable displays are reconfigured for MDA so that they can function with a third-party EGA or VGA display adapter mounted in the expansion chassis; an adapter conflict occurs unless these displays are reconfigured. "

    So, from that, have you tried setting the portable's display to MDA ("This is accomplished by setting the E23 jumper to 2-3").

    Comment


      #3
      Here are some photos of the screen

      Video 6 0 00 00-01.jpg

      Video 7 0 00 00-02.jpg

      Video 8 0 00 00-01.jpg

      I have tried cleaning both ends of the video cable, but that didn't help any.


      I did set the jumper E23 to 2-3/MDA, but the problem is unchanged.

      Here is a picture of the video card:

      Video 9 0 00 00-01.jpg

      My guess is that the switches near the video connectors have something to do with this.

      Oh and here is a picture of the soundcard I plan to use.

      Video 11 0 00 00-01.jpg

      If I need to post any more info please let me know.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Max IBM5150 View Post
        My guess is that the switches near the video connectors have something to do with this.
        Do you have the means to test the video card in a different computer?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Max IBM5150 View Post
          Here are some photos of the screen
          I have tried cleaning both ends of the video cable, but that didn't help any.
          To me, that looks like failure of the video electronics (driving the plasma grid).

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by modem7 View Post
            Do you have the means to test the video card in a different computer?
            Yes I can test it in my IBM/AT


            Originally posted by modem7 View Post
            To me, that looks like failure of the video electronics (driving the plasma grid).
            It turns out that I have a plasma controller board from a Compaq Portable 3, but it looks like that the screens were made by two different people hence they are incompatable. I guess I would have to replace the screen (or find a compatable screen controller board) to fix this issue?

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Max IBM5150 View Post
              Yes I can test it in my IBM/AT
              Let us know the results once you've done the test.

              Originally posted by Max IBM5150 View Post
              It turns out that I have a plasma controller board from a Compaq Portable 3, but it looks like that the screens were made by two different people hence they are incompatable. I guess I would have to replace the screen (or find a compatable screen controller board) to fix this issue?
              Have you looked for possible bad solder joints.

              Comment


                #8
                Dead lines in the plasma panel cannot be repaired.

                Not to sound dumb but I'm curious why you want a video card installed considering you already have an internal screen.
                [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                [No time for videos? Click here to visit my Twitter feed @CelGenStudios]

                = Excellent space heater

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by NeXT View Post
                  Not to sound dumb but I'm curious why you want a video card installed considering you already have an internal screen.
                  The Internal Display is MDA/CGA only I want to be able to use this machine as a desktop-like computer as well as a portable. When I am using this machine as a desktop, I would like to have VGA so I could run more programs than if I was limited to MDA/CGA.

                  It seems like the switches on the VGA card are for changing the refresh rate and sync rates. All I got from switching them was garbled scrolling static. If I leave them all off, It will display normally.

                  Basically I am wondering if there is a setting to turn the internal display off, or to recognize the VGA card as the primary display.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You can download the service manual for the Portable 386 here: [urlhttp://www.manualslib.com/manual/273076/Hp-Compaq-386.html[/url] (jumper settings are towards the end).

                    I don't have my Portable 386 any more, but iirc there was more to it than just changing the jumper to MDA mode. You might have to change a BIOS setting so that the colour display is the primary.

                    Another option is to just use the Compaq's enhanced 640x400 CGA mode. It's a decent enough resolution for most Windows 3.x software. It's compatible with the AT&T 6300's 640x400 mode, so if you set the computer type to "AT&T 6300" when installing windows then you should then be able to use the extra mode.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I tried the BIOS Setup disk, and I did not see an option to use an external graphics card.

                      I read in the manual that in order to use an external card, you needed to set it as primary via switches on the board .

                      I am guessing that any old ISA VGA card won't work, that it would need to have a compatible switch setting in order to be accessed.

                      I suppose using the Enhanced CGA mode would be a viable option in this case. (I really didn't think Windows 3.11 had drivers for this- until now.)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        My Portable 386 had an ATI VGA Wonder crammed in it and it seemed to work out of the box. It must be some sort of configuration problem.
                        [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
                        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        [No time for videos? Click here to visit my Twitter feed @CelGenStudios]

                        = Excellent space heater

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I did read in another thread that the CompaqDOS 3.31 is the version which allows you to configure BIOS settings for the 386/20. I've had a similar experience with the 386/20 that I have which had the CMOS battery die. After replacing it, and rigging up a 3.5" floppy drive to install DOS 2.1 from (I didn't have 5.25" media to used the original 5.25" drive), I could not get anything to appear on the screen. After removing the expansion pack (which I later found contained the ATI Wonder card) the screen came back on. Having read through this thread, I'll make an attempt to install CompaqDOS and try to get into the BIOS and hopefully run the video card.....but I need to get the power supply fixed first.
                          Perhaps 'neXT' can confirm that he ran CompaqDOS.....this will give us another clue.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I think it was a separate utility you used to set the BIOS, which came on the Utilities disk, not an actual part of DOS.
                            patscc

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Can't comment on the addition of a VGA card, the internal plasma 640x400 has always been perfectly adequate for all the computing I do on my Portable III (same layout as Portable 386, its just a 286). Windows 3.1 runs VERY well on the plasma.

                              As for the line, that's pretty normal with plasmas of this age. Not much you can do about it, but replace the panel, but any compatible panel will also be 25 years old, and will also likely be near failure. As annoying as it is, pretty much just got to deal with it. I am lucky on mine its, an intermittent line, seems to only set in after its been running for a while (I am assuming heat is a factor). I have never attempted a repair, because plasmas are so fragile, I would be more likely to destroy it, than fix it.
                              My Vintage computer/blog site
                              Searching for a keyboard for a WYSEpc WY-1100.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X