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Compaq Prolinea 4/25s Build

Dave Farquhar

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May 23, 2010
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461
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the midwest
Nice. And all the jumper settings are documented right there so you can go straight to a DX2-66 if you want. You could install the CF card in a more modern computer, partition it and install the OS, but if it doesn't have a floppy drive it'll be tricky, unless you want to use FreeDOS on it for the time being and install FreeDOS off the downloadable ISO. That would at least get you up and running.

Thinking out loud, one other option would be to install the HDD from the Prolinea on one IDE channel and the CF on another channel if you have a Pentium/P2/P3 system handy, boot off the HDD, partition and format and SYS the CF card, set the partition active, then do an xcopy /s /h c:\*.* d:\ to transfer everything else over, then drop the CF card into the Prolinea.
 

abigbadzebra

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Joined
Jan 11, 2011
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Location
Indianapolis
Just an update:

Still waiting on my IDE to CF reader. I pulled the hard drive and put it in my old (oldish, E6600 overclocked to 3.1 Ghz - though it does have a floppy drive) system so I could read the contents of the drive. It already has an installation of Windows on it.. not sure what version it is yet. I don't have a PS/2 mouse or keyboard. I brought a couple USB to PS/2 adapters home with me from work but the keyboard still wouldn't work. I'm hoping this is just a hardware compatibility issue and not a bad PS/2 port. I am taking a PS/2 keyboard home with me tonight to test. I'm interested to see what all is on the hard drive as it appears to be more than just a base install of Windows and DOS.

Hopefully I'll have some more 'exciting' progress in the coming days.

Thanks!
 

Dave Farquhar

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May 23, 2010
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the midwest
If the USB-PS/2 converter is green, it's only for mice. I don't think I've ever seen anything that converts a keyboard from USB to PS/2. Too bad you don't live closer or I could hook you up with a PS/2 keyboard, but almost any independent (non-Goodwill or Salvation Army) thrift store ought to have one. Or hit garage sales or rummage sales this weekend. Don't pay more than $2-$3 for one.
 

twolazy

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May 22, 2011
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I have quite a few of these adapters, they all came with microsoft usb keyboards! As the last poster said green/mint is for mice, and for keyboards they would be purple/lavander. Not sure if they work with any usb keyboard though they do work with my logitech.
 

RetroHacker_

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Niskayuna, NY
I brought a couple USB to PS/2 adapters home with me from work but the keyboard still wouldn't work. I'm hoping this is just a hardware compatibility issue and not a bad PS/2 port. I am taking a PS/2 keyboard home with me tonight to test.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Those little adapter plugs that convert USB to PS/2 (or PS/2 to RS232) ONLY work on the device they were intended to ship with. They do not convert the protocol. Rather, the device they shipped with has code in it's microcontroller to detect the presence of the adapter and convert it's protocol when the adapter is plugged in.

Use a real PS/2 keyboard and mouse. It'll work.

-Ian
 

twolazy

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If the USB-PS/2 converter is green, it's only for mice. I don't think I've ever seen anything that converts a keyboard from USB to PS/2.

I have quite a few of these adapters, they all came with microsoft usb keyboards! As Dave said green/mint is for mice, and for keyboards they would be purple/lavander. Not sure if they work with any usb keyboard though they do work with my oem logitech as well as the microsoft keyboards they came with.
 

abigbadzebra

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Jan 11, 2011
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Well, I had a purple and a green one. neither worked. Man, I'm amazed at the things I don't know when I start trying to use this old technology again :)

I have both a PS/2 mouse and keyboard here at work I'm taking home today. Looking forward to exploring the hard drive :)
 

kishy

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I have quite a few of these adapters, they all came with microsoft usb keyboards! As the last poster said green/mint is for mice, and for keyboards they would be purple/lavander. Not sure if they work with any usb keyboard though they do work with my logitech.

Just to chime in - these adapters only work with 'dual mode' keyboard controllers (the circuitry inside the keyboard). The controller must be capable of detecting the type of interface it is attached to, and then autoselecting it.

A USB keyboard or mouse which did not ship with one of these adapters new in the box almost always is not capable. No harm will come from trying, it just won't work.

As far as I am aware there is no such thing as an active (vs passive, which the adapters in question are) converter to adapt a USB keyboard to PS/2...
 

RWallmow

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As far as I am aware there is no such thing as an active (vs passive, which the adapters in question are) converter to adapt a USB keyboard to PS/2...

I have never seen one stand alone, however I have seen higher end KVMs that DO allow USB KB&Mouse on a PS2 only PC, but we are talking like really high end KVMs, youre not likely to find this on an IOGear or Belkin, more like Raritan Paragon level.
 

Raven

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DE, USA..
That motherboard is extremely similar to the Presario/Prolinea All-in-Ones, except with more RAM slots and a VGA output port. Anywho, I recently acquired a dealership-intended Compaq "QuickFind" Support Reference Library, and it has a lot of technical info about various Compaq machines. The software side only has information up to the 4th Quarter of 1989 (unfortunately, I was hoping for newer) but one of the booklets tops off at October 1990. Unfortunately I had a look through this and it seems the Prolinea 486/25 is too new to be mentioned. I do, however, know where a digital copy of HP's archived copies of Compaq's information (mouthful) is hiding out, so I'll see if I can get the page for you...

I couldn't locate it again, basically Quickfind was integrated into HP OARS, and a few places have their OARS database exposed to the Internet.. I saved a copy of the relevant information on Compaq devices, though, and you can find it (I didn't set up a pretty menu or anything, excuse that) on my site here:
www (dot) yushatak (dot) com
 

twolazy

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If I look around I believe I have 2 owners manuals, 2 copies of install diskettes and drivers, and a bag with extra paperwork... So worst case perhaps I can help. :thumbsup:
 

abigbadzebra

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Jan 11, 2011
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Indianapolis
Just an update. Got a PS/2 keyboard from work that is functioning. Got my IDE to CF adapter in the mail, but like several of you predicted it is just a tad too tall and now I need to get a 40PIN IDE extension cable :) I also need to get my hands on a large 4 pin molex to the floppy power connector type as this machine only has one and I will need another to power the CF adapter. I have ordered another 32MB of RAM for it since I only have a total of 8 in it now.

I didn't want to wait though, so I installed Windows 95 on it this weekend. That took FOREVER! Good news is it automatically detected my 3Com Etherlink III card and I have it setup on my LAN. I got to spend some time yesterday playing Wolfenstein and Chuck Yeager Air Combat (which is damn awesome!). I'm looking forward to the memory coming in the mail. I remember memory actually making a pretty big difference in computers like these :)

Made a quick video comparing my 5150 and this PC's boot up times
http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcf...M-5150-vs-Compaq-Prolinea-4-25s-Boot-Up-Time-)
 

boxes and boxes

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Oct 17, 2011
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I use two CFDISK.1E IDE to CF adapters in my Prolinea ( these are currently available ), each one has a 256 MB CF card. There are several different versions of these boards - each with different maximum RAM configurations. The older boards ( 160123 for example ) have four slots with 8MB each for a total of 32MB. Another configuration supports a maximum of 56MB with 4MB of this being soldered on the motherboard - the other four slots can accept 4MB in slot 1 and 16MB each in slot 2-4. The later versions of the Prolinea boards accept up to 100MB of RAM - these have three slots that accept 32MB each and an additional 4MB soldered on the motherboard. The motherboard in the photograph posted on 01 July supports up to 56MB of RAM. I have since switched to using Apple computers, but my vintage computer of choice is still the Prolinea 486. Best regards . . .
 

BILL007

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Aug 19, 2010
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Location
Athens
Well done my friend!!!!I have a Prolinea 5100 (later model with P1 133). Did you manage to get into the bios? As I have read,there are two ways of installation.
The first is with no bios options and the second is with compaq tools,providing BIOS. :cool:
 

Compgeke

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Sep 30, 2011
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Fairfield, CA, USA
This is a pretty old and dead thread but the system takes plain 72-pin SIMMs. The BIOS has it's own interface also, no disk to access. I know because I've got a Prolinea 4/33 and they have the same motherboard, only mine doesn't have the onboard ram, although I could solder it on if I felt like it (which I don't since the 2x 8 meg modules are enough for Windows 3.1).
 

Tecchie

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Oct 3, 2023
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2
I'm sure a build thread is nothing new to you guys. I feel like documenting things as I go just for the fun of it and I thought it may at some point be of some use to others. Nothing extreme will go on here, just your standard hardware upgrades, and later, software installs. Here's the rundown...

I recently purchased a Compaq ProLinea 4/25s. What I know about it so far (I'm waiting for shipment) is:

486/25mhz processor (I think that makes is a 486SX)
4MB RAM
2.5GB Hard Drive
3.5" Floppy Drive
5.25" Floppy Drive

It's apparently pretty clean, boots to a DOS 6.22 prompt. I still feel like I paid too much, but I haven't had any luck finding anything local and this was one of the cheaper ones on ebay. I paid $68 shipped to me.

I've wanted a 486 for a while to mess around with. I want to put Win 3.11 or Win 95 on it (hell, maybe both) and play some old games and just mess with it. Another big plus and probably the primary reason I wanted it was because it has both the 3.5" and 5.25" floppy drives and I have an IBM 5150 that will benefit from that.

So, what do I want to do? Well, nothing fancy, really.

- Upgrade to the max RAM, which I believe is 56MB (odd number, I know) I think this one will have 4MB soldered on the board and 4 slots. You apparently MUST have a "Compaq Approved" 4MB 70ns SIMM in the first slot or it won't read any extra memory. So, 8MB and 3 slots loaded with 16MB SIMM's.

- I want to look further into the possibility of upgrading the processor, and I kinda hope that someone may already be able to answer that for me. I'd like to put a DX2 in it if it would be worth the trouble. 486 processors aren't soldered on to the boards, are they? I seem to recall coming across old machines when I first became a PC Tech (like 10 years ago) that had irreplaceable chips on them. Hard to tell from the only pic I could find.

- Put a network card in it. This should be fun.. the process will be transfer games from my main pc to the ProLinea where it can then be copied to a 5.25" disk for use on the 5150.

- Put a sound card in. Must have since I'm going to be retro gaming on it. Or wait.. I guess a lot still used the PC speaker, huh?

Compaq Prolinea 3 and 4 Hardware Guide - Here's a handy Hardware Guide I found. I put it up on my own web server, never know when that link may become unavailable.

Here's what it looks like (ebay pic):
Compaq%20Prolinea%204%2025s%20ebay.png


Aside from cleaning it up and doing some experimentation with OS's, that's all I really have planned for now.

Unfortunately, I can't be sure on all my hardware till it gets here. In the meantime, tell me what you think.. or give me some ideas :)

Thanks!
Kirk


Sorry for the late reply, just came across this site.

I used to own this model. 120MB hard drive I installed myself, and an 850MB, as well as a 4X CD-ROM.

Never got the onboard video to load a proper driver for Win3.11 or 9x so I think I used a Trident or something video card instead.

It was the TSeng Labs T1000 or whatever with 1MB of memory.

Here is what I did with mine as far as upgrades;

Kingston Turbo Chip 5x86 in the upgrade socket bypassed the soldered 486/25Mhz
New chip ran at a blistering fast 133Mhz

As far as ram, the first 4MB is soldered, and thus the first memory socket can only be populated with 4MB which I did but I also added three more modules of 16MB for a total of 56MB of ram.

Was my favorite and my first FAST computer I ever owned. The Turbo Chip was pre-installed when the system was gifted to me as a Christmas present. I wish I still had it
 

Tecchie

New Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2023
Messages
2
these take the oddball ram that some compaqs had no?
I used off the shelf stuff on mine. Can’t recall if it was FPM or EDO. Just went to a shop and bought it back when I originally had this machine myself in the early/mid 1990’s
 
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