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.
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Compaq Portable I Service Manual and... How do you open this thing?!?!

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    Compaq Portable I Service Manual and... How do you open this thing?!?!

    So after about a year and a half, I caved and bought another full system... this time a COMPAQ Portable I!

    Unfortunately, when I boot it up, I get my good ol' friend, 4008 201, PARITY CHECK 2...

    From experience, this means a memory chip is bad... which one, I have no clue offhand! I don't know if COMPAQ used the same memory address scheme for POST as IBM (perhaps I need to look at my disassembly). I need to look at a service manual for this.

    To make matters worse, trying to replace the memory chip will be a task and of itself... getting the cover off was unintuitive (press elbow down in the middle of the top of the case and pull up on the back of it), and then I'm greeted by a large number of steel meshes covering all the components with screws! I'll have to remove most of them to get to the RAM.

    So basically my questions are:
    1. Does anyone have a copy of the service manual for the ORIGINAL COMPAQ Portable I... minuszerodegrees does not have it!
    2. HOW do you open this thing to get to the motherboard AND replace the RAM without electrocuting yourself o.0;?
    Looking for: Needham's Electronics PB-10 Microcontroller Adapter (looking for one since early 2012!).

    He does have it ... but the name is not clear because it covers more than one machine. Try this:



      Whoops... my mistake then.

      One other q... is it possible to upgrade the RAM beyond 576 kB on the Portable I AND is it possible to install a hard disk? A BIOS upgrade is feasible if necessary, as I have a programmer which can tolerate pre-JEDEC EPROMs, but I'd need to buy the correct EPROMs.
      Looking for: Needham's Electronics PB-10 Microcontroller Adapter (looking for one since early 2012!).


        Apparently, the BIOS detects all 640kB just fine, so nevermind.

        However, after trying two separate hard disk controllers, I've come to the conclusion that: No, it is not possible to easily add a hard drive to the portable... Segate BIOS will run and never properly detect the drive, while the WD 1002-27x will output a 1701.

        Trying both of them in SpeedStor doesn't work either- SpeedStor claims the Seagate BIOS is "not ready", and gives "Controller failure" with the Western Digital controller.

        In any case, I was a victim of "keyboard foam rot" tonight and I'm currently running the keyboard without any keys XD... I need to buy a kit, and I know at least one person selling a keyboard repair kit...
        Looking for: Needham's Electronics PB-10 Microcontroller Adapter (looking for one since early 2012!).


          I have one of these computers. I put a Plus development hardcard in it and it runs fine.

          An XTIDE board should work fine in a your computer since it is 8-bit ISA and has expansion slots.

          I also have the keyboard rot problem with mine. Glad you posted the link for the keyboard repair kit. I'm looking at ordering one. It would be nice to hear if someone has used this kit and had good results with it.
          There have been previous posts from our members that tried making the foam pads themselves and didn't get very good results.


            Got mine sat on a portable table right next to me here.

            I have a Plus HardCard in this- it's got BIOS/Non (XT/AT) selection so it'll boot up and operate in this or in my 386.
            I also have a Diamond Flower MF-100 expansion card that will allow expansion of the RAM up to 640k. Mine currently has 512k in. Also gives serial port and real-time clock. amongst a few other things (parallel port and game adapter). Like a lot of other people, I'm in the midst of upgrading the floppy drives to 3.5", due to a lack of decent 5.25" media.

            For the keyboard, I punched circles out of an emergency blanket I bought at Academy Outdoor for $2 and a piece of high density foam (the thickest Michaels had) glued together,then glued the original acetate circles that were still attached to the keys. Worked just fine though I don't know what's wrong with the board because it still gives 301 at POST.