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Gateway Handbook - My New Toys

natcha

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
185
I just got the two gateway handbooks today with floppy drives & cables, AC power supplies and nice carrying cases.

The first is a 486DX2-40 with a bad screen. It seems to boot but hard to read the screen. I opened it up to find that the hard drive had been removed. But they neatly left the screws taped in the space along with the drive shield and the mounting rails. I'm thinking that either when the screen went bad, they opened it to get the hard drive, or they damaged the screen when they opened it. I have another handbook that doesn't boot, so I may try swapping the screen. Not sure how difficult that would be and of course I don't know if the screen I have even works.

The second is a 486SX-25. It boots up, but the hard drive is flaky and gives read errors. I opened it up and put in a 1 gb compact flash which I formatted to 500 mb. I put Dos 6.2 on it and it boots really fast. I double if I'll even play with windows since I am an old MS DOS fanatic.

Since I now had a working AC Adapter, I re-tested my other handbooks and one powered up fine. It's a 486DX2-50, but also has a very flaky hard drive. I opened it up and put a compact flash in it also.

So I now have two working Handbooks. The keyboards test out fine - all keys work.

Next chore is to rebuild some battery packs. I'm thinking of using one of those small lithium lipstick size USB batteries. I found one that has 5200 mAh that might fit - I'd have to chop up the battery case and reglue something back together that would still slide on the handbook. It would be nice to be able to recharge from a usb charge in lieu of the large brick.

Do you think a supply of 5V at 500 mAh would power the handbook. I'll have to rig up a test to see.

One thing that threw me somewhat was the way the handbook powers on from a dead condition. I press the power button and for several seconds it looks like nothing happens, then the screen flickers on and the AC light lights up, then everything goes dead for anther second or two, then the screen comes back on and the unit boots up. Both of my units exhibit this.

Another future thing to do is to replace the button rechargeable cell. I'll have to order a few of them. Does anyone know of a source for them?

Look forward to hearing from other Handbook users and their experiences.

Bill
Smithville, NJ
 

natcha

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
185
Played around with the Handbooks today. Concentrated on the 486DX2-50. I'm really impressed with it. With the flash drive, it's very fast. Today I loaded the CardSoft PCMCIA drivers for MSDOS. The unit will recognize CF Cards in PCMCIA adapters - up to 512 MB. What's interesting is that I have a Toshiba 2GB pcmcia hard drive that it recognizes and will format to the full 2gb. I tried a 2gb CF card, but it would only format it to 512 mb. Not sure why, but I'm thinking it's getting the geometry of the CF card wrong. I'll have to check to see what it says the CHS are.

I used a 128mb CF card to transfer all the MSDOS 6.2 files along with some programs to play with.

I'm really enjoying this little 486.

Bill
Smithville, NJ
 

DOS lives on!!

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
2,303
Location
East Tennessee
One thing that threw me somewhat was the way the handbook powers on from a dead condition. I press the power button and for several seconds it looks like nothing happens, then the screen flickers on and the AC light lights up, then everything goes dead for anther second or two, then the screen comes back on and the unit boots up. Both of my units exhibit this.
Nice scores!

I'd like to get one someday, but I usually focus more on GW2K's manuals (and other literature) and their promotional items.

That just sounds like a power management thing that's specific to either "mini laptops" of that time or even just the Handbooks. IIRC, my Philips Velo 1 exhibits similar behavior when I use it, as the battery does not hold a charge. Also could be a thing it does without your pressing the power button. Just for kicks, do the lights momentarily light up when you plug it in and don't press the power button, or must the power button be pressed first?

Do you get any software/manuals with them or just the Handbooks by themselves?
 

natcha

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
185
Nice scores!

I'd like to get one someday, but I usually focus more on GW2K's manuals (and other literature) and their promotional items.

That just sounds like a power management thing that's specific to either "mini laptops" of that time or even just the Handbooks. IIRC, my Philips Velo 1 exhibits similar behavior when I use it, as the battery does not hold a charge. Also could be a thing it does without your pressing the power button. Just for kicks, do the lights momentarily light up when you plug it in and don't press the power button, or must the power button be pressed first?

Do you get any software/manuals with them or just the Handbooks by themselves?


The lights do not light up when AC is plugged in. The start up just really surprised me with the delay after pressing the on button, and then the flashing on then off then back on. Now I know to just press the on button and wait for it to do its thing during turn on. Glad to see that some other systems exhibit similar properties.

I didn't get any software, other than what was installed on the hard drive. I did try to plug the drive into my desktop computer using a hard drive USB adapter. My desktop recognize the drive, but wouldn't assign it a drive letter so couldn't read anything from it. I may try again using a different desktop to see if I get same result.

The only manual I got was the "User's Guide". I'm glad I did, since it gave some information on how to setup the PCMCIA card software.

You mentioned that you collect the manuals. I'd be interested in which manuals you have.

I could scan my manual if you wish a copy. Let me know.

Bill
Smithville, NJ
 

natcha

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
185
Bill,

Glad to hear your progress with the Handbooks. They've found a good home!

Marty

Hi Marty,

Thanks for making them available. As you can see, I'm really enjoying them. It's funny - since I had a couple of non-working units, I had already done a lot of searching on the web and reading about them. And I had already opened one up. So I was well prepared to just dive into them once I received your two units. Nothing like being prepared ahead of time.

Bill
Smithville, NJ
 
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