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Compaq Portable II Questions

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I will see if I can round up fastlynx 3.  It can run under windows directly, and can still work with an older remote host. 

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22 hours ago, wierd_w said:

What happens? Does virtualbox make an error message?

Well, I think I found the problem. It detects the usb to serial adapter only if my Compaq isn't plugged into it. I'm pretty sure it's because I'm using a db9 to db25 cable(therefore the other end of the cable is connected to the parallel port of the Compaq, not the serial port). So I guess I'll have to go buy another cable.

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Posted (edited)

No doubt about it--

 

There is a 25pin version of serial. It does not go into a parallel port on one end, and a serial port on the other.

cabling_dcc8.gif

 

Laplink cable is Parallel->Parallel

Null-modem is Serial->Serial

 

Laplink is faster, in theory. (Parallel data bit transfers)

Edited by wierd_w

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I've been messing with the cf2ide(since I don't have the proper serial cable) and the Compaq won't detect it, nor will it detect either of the 2 original hard drives. I've messed with the bios settings and everything, and it keeps thinking no hard drive is installed and automatically sets the hard drive value to 0(no hard drive). I think I'll need someone with experience with a real Compaq to help me out of this mess. What a shame.

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On 7/18/2020 at 4:38 PM, bluejay said:

I've been messing with the cf2ide(since I don't have the proper serial cable) and the Compaq won't detect it, nor will it detect either of the 2 original hard drives. I've messed with the bios settings and everything, and it keeps thinking no hard drive is installed and automatically sets the hard drive value to 0(no hard drive). I think I'll need someone with experience with a real Compaq to help me out of this mess. What a shame.

I tried to tell you back on page one, but this isn't going to work. I tried a CF card solution and bought many many CF cards of various sizes to try and trick the bois into formatting one. Nope. I tried a more modern HDD controller card. Nope. won't work with any HDD card but the original. You must find a very old IDE to play with it. Not even a modern IDE of a larger size would work. Really sucks.

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Posted (edited)

I have a somewhat crabby maxtor 10gb drive (that is in working order), but that is still probably too new for your needs.

 

Really though, you do NOT need the system's bios to see the whole drive. You just need it to successfully see PART of the drive.  It Should "In theory" pass the disk test routine, if it can "seek" across the CHS geometry it has defined in its predefined type index.

 

As I pointed out to him via a PM, I found a blog post of somebody doing a CF replacement job, who had theoretical success defining HDD type 2, type 9, and type 10 with his CF->IDE card.  DOS will only see the drive as large as what the int13 interface reports, and that gets populated by what is in the CMOS ram (unless int13 gets intercepted).  Even if this is only some vanishingly small amount, like 20mb, it will be enough to get the foot in the door.

 

I provided him with a copy of Disk Manager 5.2, which works on XT and 286 class systems, and can do that int13 interception, scan the disk with new geometry it gets from a more intelligent autodetect mechanism, and then instruct the DOS kernel to rescan partitions and re-innumerate them.   He can then have the tiny startup partition that the BIOS is able to see natively, and the full drive that the overlay can report to DOS.

 

As long as it gets passed the HDD test the BIOS does on POST, he should be good.  He has not elaborated what he means by "Does not work."

 

I am of the opinion that he needs to ignore what the setup program tries to put there (because it is old and naive), and manually assign a drive type, and ignore its squaking (if it makes any.)

Edited by wierd_w

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I hope it was that easy, except the compaq will not detect the cf2ide AT ALL, no matter what I do. It has to detect at least something for the rest of this to work. I tried imaging a fixed size vhd of various sizes, a dynamically allocated one of various sizes, even just a blank, newly formatted cf card. It won't detect the cf card, and if I edit the bios to force it to think it has one, it just automatically changes it back to hard drive type zero. Like @Compumater says I don't think this cf2ide is going to work.

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Try setting it with the generic AT setup program instead. It writes directly on the cmos ram. 

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I decided to give it a try again, and it detected it as a 34.1 megabyte drive, and the card is partitioned and formatted, ready to be used.

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I loaded dm into the system, and now the Compaq detects all 512 megabytes! Thanks so much for the help. Now I can really make use of this thing!

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a couple notes before you watch this video:

1. my camera died in the middle of filming so i just lazily slapped 2 videos together. You should see the cut somewhere🙃

2. My mom was vacuuming the house while I was recording this(which means LOUD NOISES) so I just replaced the noise with the Planet X2 soundtrack(I don't know why I chose this, I guess I just felt like it).

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Awesome!

 

Now you just need some kind of sound hardware for it other then the PC Speaker, and you are golden!

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12 hours ago, wierd_w said:

Awesome!

 

Now you just need some kind of sound hardware for it other then the PC Speaker, and you are golden!

Mhm, I'm nowhere near an expert in the area so I have no clue what kind of sound card I'll want in the Compaq but I know I'll have to get one eventually as I was already sick of those cheap sounding speakers from owning an Apple //e:)

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I have a SB16 in my PS/2 Model 30/286.  It's a Vibra PnP, so I need third-party port arbitration software since the official driver needs a 386.

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Posted (edited)

While more expensive, there are actually jumpered soundblaster cards out there.  That's what I would get for this machine.

 

exhibit A

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Creative-Labs-Sound-Blaster-16-ISA-Sound-Card-CT2700-Works/203063349225?hash=item2f4784cfe9:g:pLsAAOSwI-5fI~iu

 

Exhibit B

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Creative-Labs-CT2260-Vibra16-Sound-Blaster-ISA-Sound-Card/323950772401?epid=1838637799&hash=item4b6cf880b1:g:N8kAAOSwaZddqK-8

 

Those are straight up jumper controlled, and need no drivers whatsoever (except for windows). Those just straight up work after setting the blaster variable. Since this system is very memory constrained, (and is old as hell), it's what I would spec to put in there.

Edited by wierd_w

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Huh, what use would a soundblaster be in a 80286 based computer with 640k ram and cga graphics?

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Posted (edited)

Ever seen 8088 corruption?

 

It leverages the soundblaster's IRQ and DMA function to syncronize all its craycray.

 

 

More practical:
The later commander keen games would be fully playable. Several CRPGs from the era (like wizardry 6) would be fully playable.

 

I would see about getting an intel above-board in there too. (or something similar, like this bocaram)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/BOCARAM-AT-16-bit-memory-Expansion-Card-w-Manual-Software/143670277085?hash=item21736a73dd:g:2NQAAOSwY6lfGJLc

 

Sadly, you only have 1 8bit slot, and 1 16bit slot free.

 

In which case, I would go for the 8bit soundblaster 2.0, and the above board.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-AZTECH-8-bit-isa-sound-card/324247866119?hash=item4b7eadcb07:g:iDUAAOSwRsJek13l&autorefresh=true

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by wierd_w
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I just acquired a Compaq Portable and Portable II from my work when they were clearing out some storage. Floppy controller failure on the II, and bad caps in the PSU of the I. I'm ordering some parts, but I have a feeling I'll be needing to come back here for some help.

 

The II had original setup disks with it, but won't know if they are still alive until I can get the controller working. I'm thinking a couple of the tantalums have died, so ordered some up. Glad to see success here!

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If I need to make more disks, I will probably have to charge for the diskettes and the shipping.  At least I already have them all downloaded.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Duke.Togo said:

I just acquired a Compaq Portable and Portable II from my work when they were clearing out some storage. Floppy controller failure on the II, and bad caps in the PSU of the I. I'm ordering some parts, but I have a feeling I'll be needing to come back here for some help.

 

The II had original setup disks with it, but won't know if they are still alive until I can get the controller working. I'm thinking a couple of the tantalums have died, so ordered some up. Glad to see success here!

Floppy controller error can mean that the drive failed the seek test, not that the controller itself is bad.  I would start there first.  Try applying some white lithium grease to the drive rails and the screw-gear actuator.

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2 hours ago, Duke.Togo said:

I just acquired a Compaq Portable and Portable II from my work when they were clearing out some storage. Floppy controller failure on the II, and bad caps in the PSU of the I. I'm ordering some parts, but I have a feeling I'll be needing to come back here for some help.

 

The II had original setup disks with it, but won't know if they are still alive until I can get the controller working. I'm thinking a couple of the tantalums have died, so ordered some up. Glad to see success here!

what drives did the units come with?

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Additionally, try cleaning card edges of the controller card with a white vinyl eraser. (DO NOT USE A PINK ERASER.)

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