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Compaq Portable 3 Hard Drive overlay?

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    Compaq Portable 3 Hard Drive overlay?

    It looks like I'm going to be trading for a Compaq Portable 3 at some point this week, and it has a dead hard drive. I have a 2gb Hitachi unit from a broken 486 I stripped for parts that I'd like to try an use, but I read that it only supports types 1 through 47 hard drives and I need some sort of disk manager overlay in oder to use my 2gb drive. I'd like to put dos onto the drive using my Pentium 1 machine and get it ready to swap in asap. How should I go about doing a disk manager overlay, if I even need to?

    #2
    You're probably going to need to replace the Dallas chip, since it contains the battery that remembers the system settings. That is most likely why the hard drive isn't working.
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      #3
      Ok, I'll order one of those first, ds1287, right? I wasn't aware it had one of those Dallas chips. If that doesn't solve the hard drive issue, what are my options?

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        #4
        Originally posted by Bungo Pony View Post
        You're probably going to need to replace the Dallas chip, since it contains the battery that remembers the system settings. That is most likely why the hard drive isn't working.
        Wouldn't the system retain the HD, etc., settings on a warm boot after manually entering them? I've done this many times on systems with no battery whatsoever installed.
        PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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          #5
          I'm not so sure about that. Normally I would say it would, but my 386 Gateway 2000 wouldn't save the settings even just hitting "save and exit bios", so I'm not sure.

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            #6
            It's easy enough to try and find out.
            PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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              #7
              I'll definitely try it but I'll need to make a copy of the setup disk for it.

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                #8
                Just got my new Portable 3! the screen is surprisingly in perfect shape and it's all very nice except the keyboard cable that I'll replace eventually. Probably just take one off a ps2 or 5 pin din keyboard, right? The Dallas chip seems to keep time so I'm not holding much confidence in the original hard drive working. I believe it's just the standard machine, 286, 640k ram, etc. Are these upgradeable at all? I'd love to upgrade it with a cpu and ram and try out Doom on the gas plasma screen! And I'd also like to find an rgb to vga adapter so I can use an external monitor and not wear out the gas plasma display if anyone has a suggestion on where to get one of those.
                Last edited by RadRacer203; October 30, 2018, 05:45 PM.

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                  #9
                  SIIG for a period sold an "enhanced BIOS" addon ISA card that simply added improved auto-detection to machines which did not support it. I found that on the portable 386 (and it will likely work on the III) that installing the drive, dropping in the card and running the compaq configuration utility let you detect and set the drive as one of the custom parameter tables with values normally the utility would not let you specify. Once that was set you can remove the card to free up an ISA slot and the system will work with and boot a 2gb IDE drive without the need for a messy overlay.
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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Stone View Post
                    Wouldn't the system retain the HD, etc., settings on a warm boot after manually entering them? I've done this many times on systems with no battery whatsoever installed.
                    Yes. As long as the unit is plugged in, it will retain the setup info, once you've run setup. This is how my Portable III and Portable 386 behave. One of these days I have to replace the clock battery on both.

                    The weird thing is, when I run setup, it auto-detects the floppy drive and hard drive type installed. I just have to run the program to tell the cmos this. Go figure.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Bungo Pony View Post
                      You're probably going to need to replace the Dallas chip, since it contains the battery that remembers the system settings. That is most likely why the hard drive isn't working.
                      If you have the Compaq setup program, and the hard drive is working, it's easy to set the drive type. Reboot, and bob's you're uncle.

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                        #12
                        You can upgrade the memory up to 2Mb, but it only takes custom cards. Typical for Compaq at the time. Good luck finding them now.

                        Plan B might be getting an expansion caddy that went on the back of the Portable III and Portable 386. It let you install two ISA cards. That should give you a memory card and a vga card.

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                          #13
                          I'd like to find one of those expansions for it, I was thinking of posting a wanted ad. Then I have a 1mb expansion card that should do nicely and a card that can do vga, cga, and ega

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                            #14
                            I finally got the Portable 3 home and apart to try and get everything working, but I'm having some issues getting the diagnostic disks. I downloaded the "SP0316.exe" file to create the disks but it keeps throwing errors every time I try and create the 360k disks themselves using the program.

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                              #15
                              Post the errors if you want help troubleshooting.
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