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Gateway 2000 Handbook - a work in progress

Divarin

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
240
Location
Cleveland, OH
I recently picked up a Gateway 2000 handbook. It did not come with a power supply. It did come with a floppy drive and the cable to attach that to the PC and two dead battery packs.

There was zero voltage on both batteries. I wanted to try to determine the polarity so I'd know which of the 4 terminals to connect my bench power supply to. Well I got stupid and attached them to the wrong ones and my bench P/S started limiting the current at 5 amps.

When I opened it up I saw that one cap had recently burst with some fresh electrolight at the base looking like guacamole. I pulled that off and cleaned it up with some white vinegar/ipa and didn't see any other obvious damage.

The battery pack was meant to supply 4.8 volts of power but I couldn't get the thing to boot up without at least 5.5 volts and wouldn't actually run properly without 6 volts. Based on the sticker on the bottom of the unit the power supply is 6 volts so it looks like that's what I need.

Anyway with a steady 6 volts going into the correct contacts, a replaced button-cell backup battery, and replaced 33uf capacitor (right now I'm using a 250volt one which is the only 33uf one I had lying around and is too big to fit in the unit closed up but I'll order a proper replacement later which will be a 33uf 50v aluminum smd) the pc seems to boot up and run.

But there are two issues that I noticed. One: the mouse (in windows 3.1) is really really slow, even if I bump up the speed in control panel to max (that didn't seem to make a difference) and Two: a much bigger issue is that some keys are not working including space, esc, left & down arrows. I don't see any damage to the flat-flex cables that connect the keyboard to the mobo so it could either be dirty contacts on the keys themselves or maybe there is damage or corrosion on those cables or the connector.

Anyway I was just wondering if anyone else on this forum has experience working inside of one of these and has any advice or specific things I should look out for?
 

matrix

Member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
28
I recently picked up a Gateway 2000 handbook. It did not come with a power supply. It did come with a floppy drive and the cable to attach that to the PC and two dead battery packs.

But there are two issues that I noticed. One: the mouse (in windows 3.1) is really really slow, even if I bump up the speed in control panel to max (that didn't seem to make a difference)

There were 2 Handbook models, the original Gateway 2000 Handbook was a 186 compatible with a CGA screen, the Gateway 2000 486 Handbook was a 486 (a few different models, up to a dx2-40 or 50 if i remember right) with a VGA screen. They had a similar form-factor and used different but compatible power supplies (through the battery) and floppy drives. Sounds like you have the 486 version.

I have some files and sites mirrored from the 486 Handbook https://shot.org/mirrors/hb486/

Somewhere in there is info on rebuilding the battery pack and using AAs with it.

Mine are lost in storage
 

Divarin

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
240
Location
Cleveland, OH
Thanks. Yes this is the 486 model. I was able to get this thing going but the ribbon cable that connects the mouse pointer was not repairable so at this time that mouse isn't working.
I was able to gut one of the two battery packs that it came with and put 4 high capacity lithium ion rechargable AA batteries in it and also a standard barrel-jack style connector to connect an external power supply (and a small switch to toggle between battery and external)
 

matrix

Member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
28
Looking forward to some pics and a writeup :) It might encourage me to find my Handbooks -- I found the drives, one of the power supplies, and even some of the manuals and software disks, but no computers yet. Amazingly, no two things were even remotely near each other, that's what happens after almost 30 years of moving things around!
 

Divarin

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
240
Location
Cleveland, OH
I didn't actually take any pics was just trying to get the thing up and running.
One thing that had to be fixed was the keyboard membrane. I found a couple other posts somewhere which indicated the same keys not working as mine. I found out that one trace had corroded and in one spot there was nothing left of the trace at all. I used conductive paint to complete the trace and let it dry for 24 hours before closing it up.
I attempted to do the same sort of repair to the mouse flat flex cable but was unable to get it working.

I guess I can share photos of my battery pack which isn't at all pretty but it is functional. One problem is that it's super cramped. This is the smallest 4 AA battery holder I could find (there might be a slimmer one around somewhere) but it just barely fits. It's not an issue once installed in the computer as the design of the battery pack and how it slides into "rails" on the back of the computer sort of locks it in place but it is kind of a pain to remove, open up, pop out the batteries, so that I can charge them.

Although you can run off of a power supply using the barrel jack you can't charge the batteries that way. I kept the 2nd battery pack unchanged and just put it away for storage in case some day I want to try again and am more skilled at making it look nicer.

You definitely need high power batteries for this. I first tried with 1200 mah lithium rechargeables that I use all the time in a TRS-80 model 100, an HP omnibook, an HP 200lx, or some other PDAs and they work great in those systems but in this the batteries got really hot so that tells me that the handbook is trying to pull more juice than those batteries can provide. These ones in the pics work great. They don't get hot, they last a long time, stay at 1.5 volts right up until they're just about dead, and hold their charge while sitting on the shelf.

20211022_075206.jpg

20211022_075232.jpg

20211022_075302.jpg

20211022_075337.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2021
Messages
22
Location
South Of Boston, MA
I didn't actually take any pics was just trying to get the thing up and running.
One thing that had to be fixed was the keyboard membrane. I found a couple other posts somewhere which indicated the same keys not working as mine. I found out that one trace had corroded and in one spot there was nothing left of the trace at all. I used conductive paint to complete the trace and let it dry for 24 hours before closing it up.
I attempted to do the same sort of repair to the mouse flat flex cable but was unable to get it working.

I guess I can share photos of my battery pack which isn't at all pretty but it is functional. One problem is that it's super cramped. This is the smallest 4 AA battery holder I could find (there might be a slimmer one around somewhere) but it just barely fits. It's not an issue once installed in the computer as the design of the battery pack and how it slides into "rails" on the back of the computer sort of locks it in place but it is kind of a pain to remove, open up, pop out the batteries, so that I can charge them.

Although you can run off of a power supply using the barrel jack you can't charge the batteries that way. I kept the 2nd battery pack unchanged and just put it away for storage in case some day I want to try again and am more skilled at making it look nicer.

You definitely need high power batteries for this. I first tried with 1200 mah lithium rechargeables that I use all the time in a TRS-80 model 100, an HP omnibook, an HP 200lx, or some other PDAs and they work great in those systems but in this the batteries got really hot so that tells me that the handbook is trying to pull more juice than those batteries can provide. These ones in the pics work great. They don't get hot, they last a long time, stay at 1.5 volts right up until they're just about dead, and hold their charge while sitting on the shelf.

View attachment 1229444

View attachment 1229445

View attachment 1229446

View attachment 1229447
Hi, just wondering as it's been a couple months - were you able to get this Handbook up and running? I don't think I've ever seen one working properly before.
 

Divarin

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
240
Location
Cleveland, OH
I have. Up until about a month ago the mouse didn't work. The ribbon cable for the mouse had corroded to the point where it wasn't making contact anymore and I wasn't able to fix it.

About a month ago I spotted someone selling a badly damaged gateway 2000 handbook which looked like someone had tried to do some repairs, gave up, and was setting it pretty cheaply so I bought it for parts and was able to take the mouse ribbon cable out of it and get the mouse in mine working again.

However after putting it back together now the screen is really dark. I think there might be an issue with the brightness/contrast slider. I've been meaning to take the one out of the spare parts one and swap it over to see if it fixes that issue.
 

ajacocks

VCF MA Committee Member
Staff member
Joined
Jan 21, 2011
Messages
682
Location
Middletown, Maryland USA
Did you manage to get the software for the Handbook? If so, would you upload it to archive.org, so that it is preserved?

Thanks!
- Alex
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2021
Messages
22
Location
South Of Boston, MA
I have. Up until about a month ago the mouse didn't work. The ribbon cable for the mouse had corroded to the point where it wasn't making contact anymore and I wasn't able to fix it.

About a month ago I spotted someone selling a badly damaged gateway 2000 handbook which looked like someone had tried to do some repairs, gave up, and was setting it pretty cheaply so I bought it for parts and was able to take the mouse ribbon cable out of it and get the mouse in mine working again.

However after putting it back together now the screen is really dark. I think there might be an issue with the brightness/contrast slider. I've been meaning to take the one out of the spare parts one and swap it over to see if it fixes that issue.
Thanks for the update! Would love a photo of it working once you get the screen fixed - it’s certainly a nifty little machine!
 

Divarin

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
240
Location
Cleveland, OH
I can post some pics. I haven't tried swapping out the brightness/contrast sliders yet. But I think they work as well as they did before it's just that they don't work that well and the brightness tended to be a lot lower in windows. but since my mouse wasn't working I wasn't going into windows so I didn't notice.

I hooked up the external floppy drive that it came with (though I don't use it much), and am using a WIFI serial thingy to log into my BBS:

IMG_3051.jpg

IMG_3052.jpg
WIFI adapter powered by USB battery pack.

IMG_3053.jpg
Floppy drive, (pencil for scale)

IMG_3054.jpg
You can use fn+= or fn+- to switch between black on white or white on black.

IMG_3055.jpg

The mouse is very stiff but functional. There's also a PS2 port on the side, I haven't tried using that yet but maybe could connect an external mouse there, or via serial.

IMG_3057.jpg
View from the back with wifi adapter and floppy drive plugged in. The not-at-all-pretty but still functional battery pack I posted earlier.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2021
Messages
22
Location
South Of Boston, MA
I can post some pics. I haven't tried swapping out the brightness/contrast sliders yet. But I think they work as well as they did before it's just that they don't work that well and the brightness tended to be a lot lower in windows. but since my mouse wasn't working I wasn't going into windows so I didn't notice.

I hooked up the external floppy drive that it came with (though I don't use it much), and am using a WIFI serial thingy to log into my BBS:

View attachment 1239772

View attachment 1239773
WIFI adapter powered by USB battery pack.

View attachment 1239774
Floppy drive, (pencil for scale)

View attachment 1239775
You can use fn+= or fn+- to switch between black on white or white on black.

View attachment 1239776

The mouse is very stiff but functional. There's also a PS2 port on the side, I haven't tried using that yet but maybe could connect an external mouse there, or via serial.

View attachment 1239777
View from the back with wifi adapter and floppy drive plugged in. The not-at-all-pretty but still functional battery pack I posted earlier.
Great photos! Thanks for sharing - very neat WiFi adapter as well. I’ll have to try that sometime! Glad everything is working for you as well!
 

ajacocks

VCF MA Committee Member
Staff member
Joined
Jan 21, 2011
Messages
682
Location
Middletown, Maryland USA
Did you have a chance to upload the software for the Handbook to archive.org? That will help the next person who comes across one of these.

- Alex
 

Divarin

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
240
Location
Cleveland, OH
Sure, I don't know if these are actually needed as the hard drive that was in mine got damaged by my own clumsiness (I accidentally cut through the flat flex cable). I am using a CF card in mine right now and I didn't need any special drivers to get it working.

However at some point I did find the drivers that came with this and I still have those but I can't recall where I got them from so I've gone ahead and uploaded those to archive.org: https://archive.org/details/gateway-2000-handbook-486-drivers
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2021
Messages
22
Location
South Of Boston, MA
Sure, I don't know if these are actually needed as the hard drive that was in mine got damaged by my own clumsiness (I accidentally cut through the flat flex cable). I am using a CF card in mine right now and I didn't need any special drivers to get it working.

However at some point I did find the drivers that came with this and I still have those but I can't recall where I got them from so I've gone ahead and uploaded those to archive.org: https://archive.org/details/gateway-2000-handbook-486-drivers
Thanks for preserving those drivers! Should be useful if I ever come across a Handbook, haha.
 
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