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Compaq Portable I Service Manual and... How do you open this thing?!?!

cr1901

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Dec 28, 2011
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NJ
So after about a year and a half, I caved and bought another full system... this time a COMPAQ Portable I!

Unfortunately, when I boot it up, I get my good ol' friend, 4008 201, PARITY CHECK 2...

From experience, this means a memory chip is bad... which one, I have no clue offhand! I don't know if COMPAQ used the same memory address scheme for POST as IBM (perhaps I need to look at my disassembly). I need to look at a service manual for this.

To make matters worse, trying to replace the memory chip will be a task and of itself... getting the cover off was unintuitive (press elbow down in the middle of the top of the case and pull up on the back of it), and then I'm greeted by a large number of steel meshes covering all the components with screws! I'll have to remove most of them to get to the RAM.

So basically my questions are:
1. Does anyone have a copy of the service manual for the ORIGINAL COMPAQ Portable I... minuszerodegrees does not have it!
2. HOW do you open this thing to get to the motherboard AND replace the RAM without electrocuting yourself o.0;?
 

cr1901

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Dec 28, 2011
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NJ
Whoops... my mistake then.

One other q... is it possible to upgrade the RAM beyond 576 kB on the Portable I AND is it possible to install a hard disk? A BIOS upgrade is feasible if necessary, as I have a programmer which can tolerate pre-JEDEC EPROMs, but I'd need to buy the correct EPROMs.
 

cr1901

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Apparently, the BIOS detects all 640kB just fine, so nevermind.

However, after trying two separate hard disk controllers, I've come to the conclusion that: No, it is not possible to easily add a hard drive to the portable... Segate BIOS will run and never properly detect the drive, while the WD 1002-27x will output a 1701.

Trying both of them in SpeedStor doesn't work either- SpeedStor claims the Seagate BIOS is "not ready", and gives "Controller failure" with the Western Digital controller.

In any case, I was a victim of "keyboard foam rot" tonight and I'm currently running the keyboard without any keys XD... I need to buy a kit, and I know at least one person selling a keyboard repair kit... http://www.drviragopete.com/keyboard-repair-kit.php
 

Chuckster_in_Jax

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Joined
Feb 28, 2006
Messages
1,353
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Jacksonville, Florida
I have one of these computers. I put a Plus development hardcard in it and it runs fine.

An XTIDE board should work fine in a your computer since it is 8-bit ISA and has expansion slots.

I also have the keyboard rot problem with mine. Glad you posted the link for the keyboard repair kit. I'm looking at ordering one. It would be nice to hear if someone has used this kit and had good results with it.
There have been previous posts from our members that tried making the foam pads themselves and didn't get very good results.
 

PhilipA

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2013
Messages
470
Location
Larose, LA, USA
Got mine sat on a portable table right next to me here.

I have a Plus HardCard in this- it's got BIOS/Non (XT/AT) selection so it'll boot up and operate in this or in my 386.
I also have a Diamond Flower MF-100 expansion card that will allow expansion of the RAM up to 640k. Mine currently has 512k in. Also gives serial port and real-time clock. amongst a few other things (parallel port and game adapter). Like a lot of other people, I'm in the midst of upgrading the floppy drives to 3.5", due to a lack of decent 5.25" media.

For the keyboard, I punched circles out of an emergency blanket I bought at Academy Outdoor for $2 and a piece of high density foam (the thickest Michaels had) glued together,then glued the original acetate circles that were still attached to the keys. Worked just fine though I don't know what's wrong with the board because it still gives 301 at POST.

--Phil
 
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