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Compaq Portable 1 adventures: testing and repairs

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  • Compaq Portable 1 adventures: testing and repairs

    Got a Compaq Portable 1 that has the dual floppy drive configuration and has the following installed internally:

    1) RAM expansion + RTC + Serial card (Varta leaked and a few items got corrosion, which can be fixed easily)
    2) Quantum Plus HardCard 20 (rubber for the head is bad and needs to be replaced with heat shrink tubing due to the heads sticking, but the platter spins without issues)
    3) Western Digital WD8003E BNC/AUI-15 NIC
    4) OEM CGA card (works without issues)
    5) OEM floppy controller (works)

    The issues:
    1) HardCard 20 doesn't boot due to the rubber making it stick to the heads (found a video about using heat shrink tubing as the replacement rubber and will use that method and copy the files off of the drive for the memory expansion card and other items)
    2) floppy drives need lubrication (got plenty of White Lithium grease and sewing machine oil for the spindle motor shafts and the rails)
    3) keyboard doesn't work (got the foam contact pads today, but I need to get a few other items for replacing them easily)
    4) the expansion card plastic sliders broke off, but I have spares in my 386 computer that are not required anyway

    The system boots up without issues (I removed the HardCard, RAM + RTC + Serial card, and the WD8003E card), which is a good sign that there weren't any blown capacitors or traces.

    Stay tuned for the project and here's the YouTube playlist for you to enjoy: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...UO36XrCHrph5y-
    Current retro systems:
    386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
    Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
    Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
    iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
    YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

  • #2
    Progress on the computer: the HardCard 20 has been successfully repaired and it boots up.

    The keyboard's foam contact pads are disintegrated and the floppy drives don't work (cannot format a new 360KB diskette)
    Current retro systems:
    386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
    Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
    Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
    iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
    YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

    Comment


    • #3
      Got both of the floppy drives working by using machine oil in the spindle motors and greased the rails with White Lithium Grease. Formatted a diskette, made it bootable (copied the command file after running sys.com), tested the boot sequence, and it boots from a diskette.

      Time to copy files onto diskettes from the HardCard 20 for important drivers and install a 360KB drive in my PPro 200 system, copy the files from there to the HDD, copy them to a 1.44MB diskette, and copy them onto my laptop.

      Still have 2-3 issues to fix:

      1) the keyboard
      2) the DFI MF-100 RTC RAM expansion Serial card
      3) the expansion card sliders to prevent the cards from shifting
      Current retro systems:
      386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
      Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
      Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
      iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
      YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

      Comment


      • #4
        Good that it is booting!

        My Compaq Portable I also needed the keyboard reworked with new contact pads.

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Nice work on the HardCard. Those things are always defective it seems. Don't think I have come across one in years that "just worked" . However. Funny thing about the keyboard. I picked up a portable last year that looked to almost be new. Very mint looking unit. I still expected the keyboard to be defunct however I was pleasantly wrong. EVERY key worked?? About stuck my finger in a light socket to make sure I wasn't imagining it. Guess there is always room for the occasional surprise on these old units. Saying that now, I should try the unit again tonight... hmmm

          Comment


          • #6
            I wonder if the keyboard in Portable 8088 and Deskpro 8086 can be fixed more permanently. Replacing foam pads is only good for like 10 years or so, and the keyboard isn't working very well. Would be nice to get a custom replacement PCB for mechanical switches and 3d-print compatible key caps that look more or less like original.

            Comment


            • #7
              I was thinking about making a modern PCB using an IBM Model F layout (buckling spring keys) and see how that works (was thinking about 3D printing contact pads, but that might not work at all).
              Current retro systems:
              386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
              Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
              Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
              iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
              YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

              Comment


              • #8
                Congrats on the Portable! They are great systems. Sounds like yours is coming along nicely. Got any pics!

                I think the replacement foam pads will last far longer than 10 years, they should last at least twice that long. Personally, I like the idea of fixing the keyboard far more than hacking in a replacement. I don’t have any issues with the feel of Keytronic keyboards anyway, personally.

                And also, the Deskpro 8086 keyboard is a rubber-dome unit, so there’s no foam in those. It looks similar to the Portable keyboard, but it’s completely different internally.
                Compaq - “It simply works better”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Nice save, but make sure to inspect the P/S thoroughly. Early Compaq portables have a tendency to have a quick and often fatal death at that point. Had 2 Portable II's die that way.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'll post photos soon once I get everything fixed up and planning on sprucing up the system with cleaning and retr0briting of the keys (gotta get Salon Care 40 Volume) and the case (cleaning).

                    Plus, I am going to make sure the P/S gets an inspection periodically to make sure the voltages are all good and recap in case they go bad. Well, I'm planning on ordering new caps for the P/S so in case the caps go bad, at least I'll have spares and put them in.
                    Current retro systems:
                    386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
                    Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
                    Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
                    iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
                    YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The keyboard has been repaired successfully, but one of the mounts snapped off of the housing and that needs repair before I did the foam and foil capacitive pad replacements.

                      2 issues to fix now:
                      1) the DFI MF-100 RTC memory expansion Serial card (going to replace it with an AST SixPakPlus card if all else fails)
                      2) the expansion card plastic sliders

                      Getting close and the progress is coming along very well.
                      Current retro systems:
                      386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
                      Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
                      Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
                      iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
                      YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Cleaned the corrosion off of the MF-100 card and I've yet to test it to see what happens.
                        Current retro systems:
                        386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
                        Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
                        Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
                        iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
                        YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The MF-100 doesn't work at all, so I ordered an AST SixPakPlus RAM RTC Serial card, some shock mounts and a ground strap for the case (so I can mount the dual floppy drive and the 5.25" half height bay cover (2.5"/3.5" HDD/SSD to 5.25" converter I ordered as well) in the system so I can have 3 floppy drives in the system), and installed the XT-CF card in the machine (had to install MS-DOS 6.22 via VirtualBox on my main laptop) along with the HardCard 20 file archiving (made a DOS 6.22 boot diskette).

                          Tested the composite out and it works as well.
                          Current retro systems:
                          386/486DLC, AMS NotePro Plus DSTN
                          Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus
                          Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT, 2x IBM ThinkPad 380D (both TFT)
                          iMac G3/600 Graphite, iMac G4/800 Lampshade
                          YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/RetroPCUser

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sounds like it's coming along nicely but just wondering why you want 3 floppies, the HardCard and a CF card. Good you fixed up the keyboard and like compaqportableplus said, the new foam pads last a long time. I too have a portable 1 and did the keyboard fix about 15 years ago and it still works great but compared to using the F on my 5150, I find it an awful soggy thing to use.
                            The use of an XT-IDE CF card makes all these DOS retro machines so much more enjoyable.

                            Comment

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