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bluejay

Compaq Portable II Questions

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10 hours ago, wierd_w said:

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

Huh, I didn't know you weren't supposed to use a pink eraser. I used one to clean a few nes cartridges and they worked well.

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They contain pumice, which is too abrasive for the task. They also contain acids which will more rapidly promote corrosion of the cleaned contacts.

 

White vinyl eraser contains neither.

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I already cleaned the card edge connector and the ISA slot. Tried multiple slots. The floppy disk light doesn't come on during POST after the HDD light does like it's supposed to, so it doesn't seem to be initializing. Tested voltage at the connector and was good.

 

Could be that the drive itself is completely dead, and once I recap the PSU for the Portable I if the FDD works in it I will swap it over for testing.

 

If I need some disks made, I'd be fine with paying for copies if they can be made.

 

The Portable I has what looks like a full-height 360k floppy and a HDD.

 

The Portable II has what looks like a half-height 1.2MB floppy (seems like an odd size  and not fully half-heigh though and not standard, although I haven't removed the cage to check yet) and a HDD. Of course I can't verify without setup disks, which I need a working drive to fix. Anyway, parts ordered, will update after I dig further.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Duke.Togo said:

The Portable II has what looks like a half-height 1.2MB floppy (seems like an odd size  and not fully half-heigh though and not standard, although I haven't removed the cage to check yet) and a HDD. Of course I can't verify without setup disks, which I need a working drive to fix. Anyway, parts ordered, will update after I dig further.

1.2mb? Heh, I've needed one of those for my dshd 5.25 disks. The Portable II came with 1/3 height drives, slightly shorter than a 1/2 height drive. Also I'm presuming the CMOS battery is long dead?

Aren't the controller cards and floppy drives interchangeable within the two? Have you tried swapping around the controller card and/or the floppy drive?

Edited by bluejay

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You've cleaned and greased the floppy drives right? A lot of the time stuck/dirty heads are what causes floppy drives to function incorrectly.

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I don't know if they are interchangeable, but that's a good idea. I'll try that tomorrow.

 

Yeah, battery dead on the Portable II. No battery on the Portable I, so I'm assuming it is an XT compatible with no RTC. Will find out when I can power it up.

 

Once I get the Portable I up and running, I'll probably finish recapping them both. The PSU in the I is a bit janky, and I would assume the II isn't much better.

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I thought about a dirty drive, but it doesn't try to spin up and no seek light at boot, so something electronic somewhere.

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@Duke.Togoi'd highly recommend getting a new battery for the Portable II. Otherwise it seems you'll have to rely on your floppy disks for everything; it forgets you have a hdd installs on it. So mine still doesn't boot from hdd(well technically a cf card) even though it has everything installed on it and I need the setup diskette to use the c drive. It's super inconvenient.

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OK, did some swapping and the 360k drive from the Portable I works properly with the Portable II, so it's the drive and not the card. I'll get the drive out to check the electronics soon.

 

Also, amazingly the original diagnostics disk works great. Once I have the replacement battery in I'll be able to get it booting from the HDD (assuming it works) to at least be able to progress. Other hardware tests pass normally.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Duke.Togo said:

OK, did some swapping and the 360k drive from the Portable I works properly with the Portable II, so it's the drive and not the card. I'll get the drive out to check the electronics soon.

 

Also, amazingly the original diagnostics disk works great. Once I have the replacement battery in I'll be able to get it booting from the HDD (assuming it works) to at least be able to progress. Other hardware tests pass normally.

i'd recommend the cf2ide stuff i got for my Compaq. It was pretty confusing to get it to work(as you can see in the 3 previous pages) but once i got it working, it was worth it.

Edited by bluejay

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@bluejay What CF2IDE device did you go with that worked? Be interested in more concise instructions on what you did.

 

Made more progress. I pulled the dead FDD and examined it. Turns out there was a bad capacitor on the board. Got it replaced and the drive works perfectly now. Unfortunately, it is 360k and not 1.2MB, but when I ran the configuration program it did list 1.44 as an option, so I'm going to try rigging up a 3.5" as a B: drive to see if it works. Make it easier to get stuff started.

 

The HDD doesn't want to boot or give me a directory, and I hear the heads seeking but I don't think it's spinning up. I may try to lubricate the stepper motor and see if that gives it any life. If not, oh well.

Edited by Duke.Togo

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If the head seeks, it's not the stepper motor.

 

If you have strong enough hands, plug it in and turn it on, but hold onto it (and keep holding onto it through this entire process!)

 

Turn it so that the disk platter is vertical, and aimed perpendicular to your body. (the top of the drive should be in your right hand) Give it a sudden, jerky 1/4 revolution turn outwards away from yourself using your wrists. If it does not 'unstick' on the first try, rotate it back toward you gently and try again. Once it "unsticks", gently place it on a stable surface and let it run for awhile.

Edited by wierd_w

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@Duke.Togoi bought one of these;

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AYA-IDE-PATA-to-CF-CompactFlash-40-Pin-Bootable-Adapter-with-PCI-Bracket/153560483816?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

but i'm sure any of them are fine.

you'll also need this to power it since it doesnt have the big 4 pin connector

https://www.ebay.com/itm/6in-4-Pin-Molex-to-Floppy-Power-Cable-5-25-inch-Male-to-3-5-in-Female-11W3-05206/254128477797?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

also i wrote this:

to help anyone that may be interested in putting a cf2ide into their Portable II. Hope it helps:) Feel free to ask me any questions🙂

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due to the lack of slot real-estate in this sytem, I would suggest sacrificing one of the drive bays (or getting clever, and trying to find a way to piggyback a CF to IDE linear board on the bottom of a floppy drive/somewhere inside a bay converter for a 1.44mb 3.5" diskette drive along with the diskette drive), and use a bay converter.

 

Some of the 2.5" form factor SD to IDE devices are very very compact, and could fit in such a fashion.

 

Another alternative would be to get a disk on module. (DOM) That would plug directly into the side of your IDE controller.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/512MB-40pin-IDE-DOM-Industrial-flash-memory-Hard-drive-LeiDisk-Disk-On-Module/302861487809

 

 

 

 

 

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30 minutes ago, wierd_w said:

due to the lack of slot real-estate in this sytem, I would suggest sacrificing one of the drive bays (or getting clever, and trying to find a way to piggyback a CF to IDE linear board on the bottom of a floppy drive/somewhere inside a bay converter for a 1.44mb 3.5" diskette drive along with the diskette drive), and use a bay converter.

it's inconvenient to have the cf2ide anywhere else, and i guess you could replace the empty b drive slot with the cf2ide there'd be a huge hole where the floppy drive would be or you would have to drill a long and narrow hole or 3d print a new cover, where just sacrificing a slot is more convenient. 4 slots fit the i/o card, the video card, the cf2ide, and a sound card.

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There exist 2.5" size versions of the CF to IDE and SD to IDE boards. (they need an interface adapter, but that's a pittance.)  They are small enough that they could be mounted "creatively" on a bay converter that is actively hosting a 1.44mb drive.

 

See for example, this bay converter.

https://www.ebay.com/i/271020776590?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=271020776590&targetid=930233624056&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=9024345&poi=&campaignid=10459991946&mkgroupid=100467642381&rlsatarget=pla-930233624056&abcId=2146000&merchantid=6521204&gclid=Cj0KCQjwvb75BRD1ARIsAP6LcqsRs6bXwLCA4nNb45BFFIMkla4OqmEhCMmtSiTo9_9rpALxMoR7iucaAq_UEALw_wcB

 

There is about 1/2" clearance on top of the 1.44mb drive, on which a CF to IDE board could be mounted with something like double-sided tape.  I have one of these, which works just fine to boot old IDE based systems.  As you can see, it is quite tiny. Velcro pads would do it just fine, and then you could stick it just about anywhere in there.

Edited by wierd_w

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If the BIOS can't support 1.44 MB drives, a loadable driver called 2M-XBIOS (for XTs) and 2M-ABIOS (for ATs) can fix that. I used it on a 5160 once.

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The rationale for putting the SD->IDE (or CF->IDE) adapter there, rather than on a slot bracket, is that then you can install a memory board.

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With only 640k RAM onboard, I like the idea of keeping slots free. If the HDD is dead, I'd prefer to just use that spot, but if not I can find a spot for something with some double-sided tape around a 3.5" drive.

 

The DOM looks interesting as well. I don't think the clearance is there to attach it directly to the card, but I could snake the IDE cable somewhere and tape it down.

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A little more work tonight. Got the new battery in, and tested 1.44 support. 1.44 works great.

 

I'll have to hunt around for a 1.44 MB version of the setup program. Unfortunately, you can't just copy the files over.

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4 hours ago, Duke.Togo said:

A little more work tonight. Got the new battery in, and tested 1.44 support. 1.44 works great.

 

I'll have to hunt around for a 1.44 MB version of the setup program. Unfortunately, you can't just copy the files over.

as weird said you can use winimage to create a 1.44 disk image using the files you have and write it to a physical disk. However i believe the setup program only came in 360k or 720k disks.

Edited by bluejay

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5 hours ago, bluejay said:

as weird said you can use winimage to create a 1.44 disk image using the files you have and write it to a physical disk. However i believe the setup program only came in 360k or 720k disks.

That's the issue. I haven't used Winimage, but unless it can expand the existing image for 1.44, it wouldn't help as I already have 360k setup disks. Since the machine will only boot from A:, having the 3.5 in that space just makes life more convenient for me.

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