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NanTan Early 1990's laptops Guide (386/486/Pentium)

creepingnet

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Joined
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Messages
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NanTan is a Taiwan based manufacturer of laptop computers and other digital devices. They are about the closest thing to a "White Box" laptop that ever existed as they sold these seemingly almost generic laptop computers under various models. This page is my attempt to document these devices as much as possible since there's almost no information about them on the internet, and I have owned 3-4 of these over the years myself. They still exist and currently go under the name of Clevo. I'll put a company profile once I have more information on them.

Just a note that I will be adding to this article as I find more information - so please excuse any blank spots. This is pretty huge to work on. The reason I chose to make one page for multiple systems is to help collectors/gamers/etc find out more about their particular unit, or for me to find out from owners of these machines what is inside them and add it. I will be adding more photos of each model as I find them online.

Nan Tan sold these laptops under many names. These include....

Altima
Duracom
Enroy
Eurocom
Highscreen
Liberty
Lion
Nan Tan
Prostar
Ranger
Sager
Ultinet
Vobis

A WORD ON POWER SUPPLIES

NanTan laptops are notorious for not having the power supplies provided with them. This is often a huge problem because the power supplies for most of the 1990-1993 models are 4-pin power supplies that seem to mystify most people. Thankfully our own retro-pc_user mentioned this.

PINOUT - Laptop uses a barrel DIN jack on the back, this is the pinout from the Laptop view.
12
34

Pins 1 & 2 (top two) deal with the charging circuit - I'm guessing a lower voltage trickle-charge setup designed to charge the battery.
Pins 3 & 4 (bottom two) deal with the regular power-circuitry - pin 3 is ground, pin 4 is the voltage input for powering the laptop.


NOTE: The writer here is seriously tempted to do a write up on the below when/if he ever decides to buy one of these again and test it out.

A Reddit Post on Providing power to these laptops by converting them to a regular Barrel Jack....this looks like a great idea for these so you can use a more general PSU. I would not doubt there could be a way to wire up the charging circuitry to work this way as well and update the battery technologies using a BMC and some new cells as a lot of these could have some freed up room in the battery cases themselves or the chassis in the case of earlier models.

https://www.reddit.com/r/techsupport...otebook_power/


NANTAN LAPTOP MODELS

The Model of NanTan built laptops from the late 80's/early 1990's are easily found by the sticker on the bottom which will contain a model# that says "FMA" at the beginning. Later models such as the 9200 may have a "K" or "P" after the "FMA". - Please note this is a work in progress and I'll be updating/editing as I find more information. Much of the information was pulled from my own machines, internet auctions, and the FCC directly.



MODELSPECS/DETAILSSOLD AS
FMA2100
ciLUzbz3SXT0C2Dp_9KWzV2i74iy-TpVK44LfKqNpWKuVFp1mH3V2Dn_kwVPRz4_dIhHwaGMJUNVpsIYO1FeJCQBrkn8hr08LN3GMNGp1mfvd2ZHC8E0CeydrvkBC8kUy2PdtoBDBHmoOlkwvQGc8X8
80286 Harris CPU 8/16MHz
10 Function Keys
STN Backlit Monochrome Display
2x NiCad Batteries
A.M.S. 286 System
FMA2200
y-opmcxelFEsTpqM7IdYeqNa-qmDJy3PXgLnZwpyM6j7ZTr_kblmuRrFxmtFbyWVZ05iMVuTp3uWSDgWPB4r2CajJb_hKk1_xYLIlNH-QhTbp1xGqV2YDm5zPnPP45d3ZimuqQFuoFGB0hjbQAJWmeA
80386SXBitwise 386SX/16, MicroTelesis NBA386SX, NMS (National MicroSystems) 386SX/16
FMA250080386SX
FMA25008/16MHz - 286?
FMA28008/16MHz - 286?
FMA3140
CpDWpP-bYhdp8sMJBCKUARwFjlu0vt-MnXLwIfwtvZGDwS22_wxljhTARifqeHH2uZXB47WgGuT9fH2A6HpKYixT6eItuKxOztvFuSEhqX_lK5tZ9RHK8Y8OWf9mDips6J38k8_3N6NRAGvrmsk_O2Y
386SX/16
Picture procured from PCMAG
May need some citation
Aqualine NT33, ACT Tempo 386SX, Everex Tempo LX, Sanyo MBC-18NB, Zeos Nortebook 386
FMA3300
TY0cOqjP_hxCw6Lv3aJFFsSu6C9KD4hLE6JtsbII2JGgcoDvzTIUsiOmIuFbooya1u4RpvqRjuT89KkocO8RP0v-_riAuSnEuk5t4sDgbbVWAjtlCZ7izDVEdRoGpZqILZqa_kU4jyPxZoan2Bj7qUQ
386DX-33
NiCad Battery Pack
SIP Memory?
Thumbscrew Battery/Expansion
Aqualine KT33
FMA3500
FMA3500SX
FMA3500C
5nrUJDlvD7-hpzcbpad0j8m5v5rnHVBpzGFAY0QWj-2L23sQ1aeGHXcIcaJCsjrcjCvCVA_P0Fp__ovL6vO7t6cv44TP1FAcpZCoeti_qbC1Y4OdeVhXjWuD-kfFoWCzIHHV9_7UMds1A9htp9z3vHQ
486DX-33
486SX-33
12v NiCad Thumbscrew Battery
Thumbscrew Docking Station w/2xISA
Socket 1 Type CPU Socket
Some 3500C have a trackball (left)
SIP Memory
No PCMCIA

Came in Monochrome STN, Color DSTN, and Color TFT, came in both white AND gray
Aspen Aquiline 433
Eurocom ?
Ergo 486DX-33 NoteBook II BSi NB486DX-33
FMA3530
08PlF_hovJYqrqb-uONxoPFU9glZ_ACYgowZHWPikEN4HE72OuwNodXpBaWocBIhl1UldSccKutgU0mA-R0p2qgE8LxIjTasVwMXpOkjXBt9j5Y84sOe9opDVg1JiX7uz8bLnI3iAWDYNmaFU4TZJtY
486DX-25
486DX-33
486DX2-50
12v NiCad Thumbscrew Battery
Thumbscrew Docking Station w/2xISA
Socket 1 Type CPU Socket
SIP Memory
No PCMCIA
BSi NB486DX2-50
FMA3600
qCvg1Dn8thBbN43L8jQku6FvN2RruAsSi96kWeZTItvjL4eku3t2lRk_eCfdDmWx69GFgaE-hZJpZ2vxGa7RvLMk8cw1X_gCT0HorqLXj5KUYKtr7tUwZTYy_X6gG24nuMSZQLBWZI-o4Suc_5TcekI
Pentium 60
Pentium 66
Active Matrix Screen
Stereo Speakers
Audio (unknown Chipset)
Aspenta 60, Aspenta 66, BSi NP3656T, FutureTech FM366T
FMA5500
FMA5500SX
FMA5500C
486SX-25
486DX-33
486DX2-50
FMA60008/16MHz - 286?
FMA61008/16MHz - 286?
FMA64008/16MHz - 286?
FMA6500
sAo2Tb8xqr1HwEBXRDkVQafBu-UWRz33K_51N6Hbjn4Htg13_Tmvp02MZcmkJoIzJe50GfaUa--cyHrSA2nUbpvj_GaG-UCzkOBn7Yq4moz56BkOxvmT3AL3fS7EgwIJw7Z-2y0_lfVfECk4rhLccHM
486DX-25
486DX-33
FMA6530
7FG9tLL8JjT4U_eBiOAoeQz4PXjctRSCBxgrCASE8imIV-XuV8yew6ogFDRdeH5-2lTagk-l20l41tOYdH-e3XMOcLMiOhgafMGqRFHbEv6mRU2o19XBo-5NO-y7Q7OSdnUZ5DjTB4H9lBavxlUF4EY
486DX-25
486DX-33
FMA70008/16MHz - 286?
FMA7500
jEd-NNmcQ-ImALMRRIzQWze2nb64APWSjBHyc0U7TYBW9DFi2dt3QqdpFU1syn-wQipqZG8hH4qISf6Y5TTeO4NxNLSFDrYT1ljxdm8ECpEvfPZ3NYCIV8VmkEZ_jeWCCRkypPA-7Kb5p8nEx-ekRM4
486DX-25
486DX-33
Also could have other 486 Chips
ESS688F Sound Chip
FMA7600
4KuVfvuct_oKITHfueOZ_69QMq8OAUG7M3PJpIQOqhEbu1tESf0Y9xWQEKTBMAgfpCwPXcuWDICfbfoFIfLVIOwTqpBMKp18x8a0zluYqgPb1AVxxe1I8yc47QoJsG5Bp41QRUdBNYq38ahX1D1d3xc
Pentium 60
ESS Audio System (based on previous)
FMA8100
bREvoQ5tBNLW4U7nwRxV4Iw_tceWs4t7QqvLEV3LnuM0GsKH0AXyQIECEvpIFbjYCxAaUfT6YIqxsWd9-5hauwBMdG1b5SqnGw0Kh_EYet-6tmP_5NlEuO1kZunqfrcN_7CaH3lRIbE35izKg1PxV_s
386DX-20
FMA8200
KkQ2NhmKmJQqfwzZtEjLYTobX5lIfFg-nc-ghMFqmb7orHdnAZ0ZVHrp-3PnMQ9DtN-ejroTX5NHnUO0Ien8i4d5gkwYelQAsFO5_MrmF2V_NP2NeWC1Q86N71Ki9HcnB9DOO-dYslI6S2swzdKZJj0
486DX-33
4-pin Power Supply
Trackball
Also Labeled the "NB8900"
Two batteries
Duracom TravelPro FMA8200, MicroExpress 8266, Sager FMA8200C
FMA86
bzRErn61yosWeYKByi2ELcZdQFSpsugawHDQnH17QikiHwLeFF6O_AbyGLZNAr4-oKETR-8e2fmBwoXGuz290pL87ZE483tVRR0iN_kMFvzNcIUMpVpPdRmrVhv5ctXCgk0v_Lsoh54pi_Mo7MDBY7c
Pentium (Socket 5/7 types)BSi NP8657D, BSi NP8662T, MicroExpress NP8600-P120
FMAx9200
FMAP9200
FMAK9200
ntc9200.jpg
Socket 1/2/3/6 486 CPUs
Casio DSTN Monochrome 9.5"
Sanyo DSTN Color 10.3"
ESS488 AudioDrive w/ OPL/2
Intel PCMCIA Controller
2x PCMCIA Type II Ports
Proprietary RAM
RAM P/N: NB16M0061 (8MB)
RAM P/N: NB16M0061 (16MB)
Prostar 9200M
Duracom 5110D
DFI MediaBook
BSi NP9249D
MicroExpress NB9266
Milkyway Myriadbook 4/66
FMA9400486 DX-25
486 DX-33
FMA9420486DX-25
486DX-33
FMA9500
kfYAWbGoIm9EzbxWg_1iqm81sOM9BAgWAOeDew_DPb9ZfPfpQQCL8ADNqCVj6itB_b2Jsd8RCY5sF2Pd4BXkUHSI1tLV4UODYrUe1k7bTeA9RtyZaDAgC_8MPSz36lsI57JlYlBbT_-CwuIV9Kb45Jg
486DX-25
486DX-33
 

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Last edited by a moderator:
Hello. Excuse me, do you know which voltages should be on the inner power supply of the laptop FMA3300? Because power supply in my laptop FMA3300 seems to be working incorrectly
 
Welcome to the forum @i8088 .

You might want to post pictures of the power connector, and all sides of the AC adapter. I see that a motherboard for one of these is currently on eBay. I don’t have any specific details on these, but they are often either 2 +12VDC pins and 2 grounds, or +5VDC and 12VDC, and 2 grounds, or higher voltage +VDC pin(s) regulated internally to +5 and +12VDC.

- Alex
 
Thanks!
I made some photos of this inner power supply and added text. I'm searching for the voltages on the supply for the screen and on the connector to the motherboard
 

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Also I'm searching for inductance coils' parameters as they are looking suspicious in my power supply
 
Hello creepingnet,

do you have manuals to either the FMA3300 or FMA3500 Laptops? I need a pinout description of the "Expansion-Port" on the back of these Computers.
I own a Higscreen 386DX-33 which is a rebranded FMA3300. The old CMOS-Battery has destroyed a lot of traces on the board and the VGA-card is not getting recognized anymore.
Since i could find connections from almost all pins of the VGA-board-header to the expansion-connector it would describe their function, which could help finding the fault.

Thank you very much. :)

20220811_153415.jpg20220811_153615.jpg20220811_113950.jpg
 
That's great. Perfect forum. Just enrolled here. Maybe it's possible to get this sorted out. I am also desparately searching for a schematic, but to no avail so far.

Maybe I am the one who bought that mainboard on Ebay recently :)

I also have one of these FMA3300 laptops (386DX40 by German brand Highscreen, purchased around 1994).

My battery also leaked and destroyed quite a few vias and traces. I did an extensive repair work which included unsoldering the resistance networks on the bottom side and wiring damaged vias directly, but at the end the laptop did not boot. With the second mainboard I did the same, but also without success yet.

@ferrytale: Maybe we can collaborate. Except the unlikely case that the three available mainboards have all the same defective connection, we could share information about connections. My idea would be to number all vias in the vicinity of the NiCd battery and to find all connections to and fro. Which is a terribly time-consuming job, of course, but winter is coming :) But doing this with two or even three mainboards should reveal the missing connections.

Question: How do you know that the VGA card is the culprit? Is there any diagnostics code that one can read out during boot?

BTW, my observation is that the LCD backlight does not start up, which means that it must be switched actively by the BIOS. It starts when I pull the PSU PCB off, and I found that one of the connectors turns the backlight off when I connect it to ground via 47R.

@i8088: As I believe my PSU is still OK, I have measured the voltages.

If you look from the upper side (where the LEDs look at you) and identify TP3, the pinout in the first row is (from left (TP3) to the right (4x green LEDs))

1: +5V
2: GND
3: GND
4: switches LED #2 on when pulled to ground
5: switches LED #4 on when pulled to ground
6: switches back light off when pulled to ground
7: 5V
8: -13.5V (rather weak, depends on current; maybe for RS232?)

In the row below it is:

1: switches LED #1 on when pulled to ground
2: 5V
3: GND
4: unknown, goes to TP3
5: switches LED #3 on when pulled to ground
6: unknown
7: +12V (maybe for RS232?)
8: GND
 
@thueringer: thanks for your reply. I managed to repair my highscreen laptop so that it starts and boots, but sometimes i get error messages regarding extended memory at startup and the PS/2 mouse-port on the side is not working. Maybe there are still some cut traces.
I checked almost all connections from the graphics-header to the expansion connector and also to ICs on the mainboard, which i could find pinouts for. This way i found a few more etched traces under the expansion connector. If I find my notes again, i can post them here.
(OT: are you from germany/thüringen?)

Good Luck :)
 
I checked almost all connections from the graphics-header to the expansion connector and also to ICs on the mainboard, which i could find pinouts for. This way i found a few more etched traces under the expansion connector.
How would you know which connections are supposed to exist in general? This is my main point of concern.
Is there a 1:1 feed-through between the expansion port and the VGA card header?
Did you dare to unsolder the expansion port as a whole, or did you just solder in wires for missing connections?

If I find my notes again, i can post them here.
I would be really grateful!

are you from germany/thüringen
Yes, I am :)
 
Hello, I have an FMA7500 in good condition with the original power supply with Sager branding on the laptop. I can send pictures for you to add to the list if you would like. I have made a small modification to the laptop to add a CMOS battery, so it doesn't look perfect. Also if there's any more information you need about the laptop I am happy to help.
 
Thank you for this offer. Meanwhile I was able to get my hands onto another mainboard (with same defects, unfortunately), but with two of them at hand and some 50++ hours with solder iron, conductivity tester and stereo microscope I finally managed to convince the old mainboard to get back to a working condition.
 
Honestly, I need to upgrade the list a bit since it's changed a lot - currently I'm hosting a lot of this info here - https://creepingnet.neocities.org/computer/mydocs/nantanmain.html

Seems also that NanTan may not have always used the "FMA" convention, I found a NB9800 on ebay recently that looked a lot like an early version of the FMAP/FMAK9200 models minus sound, and then confirmed it looking at the old PC Magazines from 1991-1996 on Google Books (that's where I do a ton of my research).

The FMA3500 models seem to have the most variety. The 3300 is a 386 version, the 35x0 models (Above 3500), not sure what their significance is but I've seen a few of them. The FMA3500C has at least 3 different variants with and without trackball, and with an Active Matrix or a Sanyo FSTN LCD panel (it must be FSTN, somehow my FMA3500C does not ghost very much when gaming, which is really weird considering it's not TFT).

I'm still not clear on the earliest models. I did run across a FMA2200 and an FMA2100 from E-bay, those were 286 models I found out. One was posted last year with high resolution shots. But the 2500 is the big mystery. The earliest I can find in PC Mag is mention of a 286 with a NanTan Motherboard in it.
 
Thanks!
I made some photos of this inner power supply and added text. I'm searching for the voltages on the supply for the screen and on the connector to the motherboard
Hi, Yesterday I repaired this supply, and for all you guys: there is fuse on board 5A mark as F1. My case was, after connect external power supply red right LED was light, but when you switch on the laptop, nothing happend.
Unfortunatly after repar power supply of main screen bulb not working. Today I will try to fix this. Probably sometjing is in step-up converter. If I make it, I will share with you.
Have a nice day.
 
Hi, I replaced regulator TL494 (near to on off switch), and background light bringed to live. Voltage is AC, and depend on brightness from 140V to 470V.
Anyway, I'm planning replace this to modern LED strip from broken LCD screen. Challange is to get this done without strong nodyfication oryginal valtage controller. (with voltage about 12V max)
 
I am not certain if this belongs in this forum, but I recently came across an 'Altima One' computer, which dates from July 1989, that was made in Taiwan. However, it does not have the FMA naming scheme as far as I can tell with a serial number of 93000228. It has a 16 MHz 286 with a few CHIPS chips that have '16 MHz' on them. It runs on AC power with a standard 3-pin PC power cord, 100-125V. The FCC interference label seems to have a grammatical error (possibly a fake FCC label?). It also came with a 1.44 MB floppy drive and a Conner 20 MB HDD. The RAM was removed (apparently 512K built in), but seems to take up to 8 MB of memory according to a 1990 article currently viewable on mu:zines. This article reveals some other oddities including an expansion port, which I'm guessing is an 8-bit ISA bus but I've not had the chance to test yet. I'm currently working on restoring it. Let me know if you would like to see images of my particular machine!
 
Hi All!
Please, help me to solve the problem, I fell into the hands of Nan Tan FMA7500AC, at startup it displays messages:
"CMOS system options not set"
"CMOS display type mismatch"
At the time of loading when pressing the DEL button writes a "keyboard error". Offers to press F1 to resume and when entering BIOS asks for a password "Enter ROM password". But you cannot enter any character from the keyboard, only the esc and enter buttons work. You press enter or esc three times, and that's it - a blinking face symbol pops up. Connecting an external keyboard does not correct the situation. Installed a new BIOS battery.
This situation arose after the battery was replaced, before that it was normal to enter the BIOS, but the settings were not saved.
 

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While entering ROM password, character from the keyboard is not printing on display, that is function of AMI Bios. Sevice password AMI_SW, password dont see on display, but worked.
 
Forgive my simple question but is it possible that the replacement BIOS battery has a slightly different voltage than the old one? Assuming this is a non-issue, is there a chip missing from the controller board? The spot for 74HCT245? Or is that just soldered onto the other side?
 
No, the BIOS battery is standard, 3 volts. There was some kind of small one, I put another one on the wires through the connector, with a larger capacity type CR2430. The 74HCT245 chip is not installed on this motherboard (this can be seen in the photo of the back side of the motherboard near the memory chips), although there is a marked seat for it.
 
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