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bluejay

Compaq Portable II Questions

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Well it seems to work well. I gave the ole Compaq 2 megs of extra ems.

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Should be enough for a select few games now, but that is gonna be way slower than an actual EMS card.  Don't try anything too aggressive. Still, some titles that use EMS should work OK.  If you are into RPG type games, try Dungeon Master, and Wizardy 6. Both of those know what both CGA and EMS are, (and know how to use a soundblaster)-- and should work fine.

 

 

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I did some thorough testing and I don't think it's working. it seems to actually take away RAM.

Edited by bluejay

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It consumes 64k of conventional. It needs it to make the pageframe area. (needs actual RAM to hold the data that gets paged in and out!)

 

Check with something that will make use of it.   Again, try something like wizardry 6, or that otherwise makes use of EMS memory.  Windows 3.1 totally does.

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1 minute ago, wierd_w said:

Check with something that will make use of it.   Again, try something like wizardry 6, or that otherwise makes use of EMS memory.  Windows 3.1 totally does.

Windows 3.1 requires XMS. I'll try wizardry 6 and Dungeon Master though, after I'm done messing with the sound blaster.

Edited by bluejay

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Well this sucks; both wizardry and dungeon master requires the game to be on floppy disk.

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An actual EMS card supplies its own actual RAM, and creates the pageframe above 640k, usually someplace like C800 or D800. (Since it can map its actual ram into the address space at that location) As such, they do not snarf down conventional memory except to hold the EMS handler routine.  (maybe a few kb, max).   Like I said, that is ghetto. I agree that an XMS card is what you really want. (because you can get EMS memory simulation out of XMS memory easily with any number of utilities)  It's why I suggested that 8bit aztech, so that you would keep a 16bit slot free for something like a bocaram AT that has SIMM slots, and can give you XMS memory.

 

For the time being though, until you save your pennies and hunt down an appropriate card that can give you XMS memory on an 8bit slot, this will let you play a handful of games you otherwise could not.

 

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No they dont, you just have to install from there.

 

Both will totally run fine from a hard disk

Edited by wierd_w

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1 minute ago, wierd_w said:

No they dont, you just have to install from there.

Yeah, which means I have to write them onto disks and that takes effort 😐

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I did some research by the way.

 

The internal monitor is basically just a composite video monitor that has very limited multisync capabilities. (a TV has better sync capability!)

 

That said, Yeah, EGA wonder is a potential upgrade path for you if you can find one.

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40 minutes ago, wierd_w said:

... Just extract the already installed deploys typically found in abandonware zip files. Yeesh.

can't seem to find any...

I tried installing it with dosbox but it doesnt work.
I'm going to try injecting a the wizard folder into a virtual hard disk image and install it with virtualbox, then extract the folder out of the vhd.

 

Tomorrow though bc I'm going to bed.

Edited by bluejay

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Well, this isn't good. Dungeon Master doesnt support CGA and Wizardry 6's installer is broken.

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Got my parts in and did some work to get it all together. Besides the obvious 3.5" floppy, did the CF2IDE with a 512MB card. Autodetected at 307MB but just used Disk Manager anyway. Loaded up DOS 6.22 in case I can get my hands on a RAM expansion. Compaq made 2 different versions, and if you had both you could get up to 4MB. Probably too hard to track one down, so I'll look at another ISA card at some point. Found a PNP SB-16 compatible that the software configuration works but doesn't set the CONFIG.SYS up, but I'll take care of that myself and test.

 

Ran NU and things check out well. I'll be putting this to work with the 360k drive to write some non-PC disks like TRS-80 and TI/99. Tested on a TRS-DOS disk and worked great.

 

6qJgNhh.jpg

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5 minutes ago, Duke.Togo said:

Got my parts in and did some work to get it all together. Besides the obvious 3.5" floppy, did the CF2IDE with a 512MB card. Autodetected at 307MB but just used Disk Manager anyway. Loaded up DOS 6.22 in case I can get my hands on a RAM expansion. Compaq made 2 different versions, and if you had both you could get up to 4MB. Probably too hard to track one down, so I'll look at another ISA card at some point. Found a PNP SB-16 compatible that the software configuration works but doesn't set the CONFIG.SYS up, but I'll take care of that myself and test.

 

Ran NU and things check out well. I'll be putting this to work with the 360k drive to write some non-PC disks like TRS-80 and TI/99. Tested on a TRS-DOS disk and worked great.

 

6qJgNhh.jpg

Congrats!

It's a damned shame it's near impossible to find a ram expansion for the Portable II. I'd really recommend a 8 bit sound blaster and a 16 bit ISA ram expansion. Mine is running 6.22 and Win 3.0a, and I have to say a serial mouse is also recommended. Try and play some games on it; CGA games on it run great! I've been playing a lot of SimCity and Prince of Persia on mine:)

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Yeah, looking at the Service Manual there are two cards - an ISA card and a special card that pops onto the back of the board. I'll have to look into alternatives at some point. I'll pull the sound card out if it gets in the way. I just tossed it in because I had it already.

 

I'm not really looking to game with it, more as a tool to help with work on some other older machines. I've not had a practical way to create non-PC disks besides Apple II before.

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Also, in case it helps anyone else you can copy the setup disk files to a 3.5" or HDD with another form of DOS than what boots those disks. The setup program runs fine in MS-DOS 6.22, but the TEST program reports incorrect DOS version. I haven't played with SETVER to figure out what it wants as I'm using Norton Utilities and it is much more comprehensive than the Compaq Test program anyway. The ROMREV program from the setup disk also works just fine in DOS 6.22.

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Options:

 

RamPAT AT

 

Ram 3000 DELUXE

 

(no picture, but data here) (Pricey, but worth it! You can max out that system with this!)
Longshine LCS-8661N

 

Above board

 

---

Sound cards

 

Generic 8bit SB clone

 

Legit 8bit SB Pro

 

Another generic 8bit SB clone (with cdrom interfaces!)

 

Yet another 8bit SB clone

 

 

 

If you want better graphics (while retaining internal monitor!)

 

ATI EGA Wonder 800

Another one, more expensive

 

(It has the video header strip along the top there.)

 

Edited by wierd_w

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@bluejay

 

You know that RAMpAT card I linked?

 

Looks like the seller has sent me an offer to buy it at 50$.  Are you still interested in getting RAM for that system?  If you reimburse, I would be happy to pounce and mail it.

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5 minutes ago, wierd_w said:

@bluejay

 

You know that RAMpAT card I linked?

 

Looks like the seller has sent me an offer to buy it at 50$.  Are you still interested in getting RAM for that system?  If you reimburse, I would be happy to pounce and mail it.

Not really. What I need is XMS and it's already to late for that. Thanks for asking though!

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3 minutes ago, wierd_w said:

@bluejay

That card *DOES* provide XMS.

 

it OPTIONALLY has an EMS driver to provide that too, but it directly provides up to 16mb of XMS memory.

ftp://oldskool.org/pub/misc/Hardware/Acculogic/Rampat.pdf

 

 

Waita minute, that's 16 bit; I can't make use of it. I'm not getting rid of my sound blaster; I think it's too much loss for such little gain. Getting another soundblaster plus that is just too expensive. Besides, I like the Vibra 16 i got.

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As you wish.  I was just letting you know about the offer, and what that card actually does do.

 

(I still think you should have gotten the el-cheapo aztech 8bit, and then pounced on one of these SIMM based mem cards.)

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Been working a little more on this as I get the original Compaq Portable fixed (it's all back to life, and surprisingly its 20MB MFM HDD still works with no errors).

 

Since the TEST doesn't work with MS-DOS 6.22, I wanted to make a 3.5" version of the setup disk. Not sure what I'm messing up, but can't make it bootable. The original setup disk is bootable (has IBM DOS on it as hidden/system files). I've used the attrib command to make all the files visible on the original, copied everything to the 3.5", but no go.

 

I know I am rusty on my DOS skills, so does anyone know something that I am missing here?

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First, make the setup disk.

Then, run the sys command against it. This will make it bootable. (assuming there is room)

 

eg,

 

Sys A:

 

(assuming you booted from the hard disk)

 

or

 

sys A: B:

(Assuming you booted from drive A, and want to make the disk in drive B bootable)

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