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Small haul: Epson ActionNote C500

NathanAllan

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On the off chance that I would find something, I stopped in at the local Salvation Army. There sat an old laptop, in pretty good shape, and it is an Epson ActionNote C500 with charger and small zipper case. $5!

One of the hooks on the screen is broken, looks intentional for one-handed opening, and the screen was flickering, maybe signs of the inverter going out (?) but otherwise in pretty good shape! It booted up on the counter to Win95, showed 4mb ram and a 120mb hard drive.

No expansion options, no pcmcia or even a dock port(parallel and rs-232 only). Here is an idea I had for a while now: use an SD-44-pin IDE adapter and see if I can make it see an OS on the SD card.

It's not a high-dollar collectible machine, so I don't feel very bad modding it up. I was also thinking of a screen upgrade, since the prices for LCD and LED screens have gone down, might be a great candidate for a neat retro-fit of something newer.

For now it'll be on the back burner, work is taking up a lot of my time.

On a side note, got an Apple G4 tower, mirror doors, for $30 with bad USB ports, it might get fixed, it's been nearly maxed out as far as upgrades.
 

commodorejohn

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Ooh. If that G4 has only 400MHz Firewire ports, you're in luck - it's the fastest machine capable of running classic Mac OS. What's it got for upgrades?
 

NathanAllan

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Ooh. If that G4 has only 400MHz Firewire ports, you're in luck - it's the fastest machine capable of running classic Mac OS. What's it got for upgrades?
It's got 2GB of memory and a second harddrive installed. There is one video card in there, but haven't gone bakc yet to look it up. Either way it's a nice one, either an nVidia or ATI that was nicer than the others.

The added hdd is 30GB, the other one I haven't taken it all the way out to look at it yet. Room for two more, even! Nice machine!

The USB ports are messed up, so I'm going to try bypassing them with an Apple USB card, see if that will do it. If not, I can always break it down and solder on new ports or heck, break them out of the system.

Epson show-me vid: http://youtu.be/Mg--g3FhkO4

Apple show -me vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjT3ZufQVC4&feature=share&list=UUBL6V-y7s6XV1lxwIA5MzWQ

The Apple is a dual core, hopefully I can get it back on the road with not much of a problem, and the USB card works.
 

Tr3vor

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I don't know if you will be able to use a 2gb sd card for the 486 hard drive due to some 486's (like mine) have a 504mb hdd limit. maybe you'll have to partition it into one 500mb partition.

anyway, is it just me or are there a ton of 486 laptops? I go on ebay or something like that and look at 486 machines and all I see is like one desktop motherboard and like 5 486 laptops.
 

NathanAllan

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Right, I was thinking of using a 2GB card, partitioned out in 500mb chunks. I first have to figure out how to open it up.

When I looked for "486 computer" I didn't get mostly laptops; lots of parts, pieces and manuals as well as several desktops (and laptops). Have the prices always been so all over the place? It's been a while since I looked for a 486, but dang.
 

Tr3vor

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well, I meant besides all the manuals and stuff, just the computers, I see a lot more laptops than desktops. The prices people want for them can be ridiculous.
 

NathanAllan

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You realize that if that BIOS has the 504/528 limitation even with the partition scheme you have mentioned you will only have one useable partition.
How is that? If it's 504, 500 is less than 504, so I should see two of them. Even if they turn out to be larger, I can use two larger ones and one smaller one.

It still has yet to be seen, experimenting will start when I get the parts together. I'll make it do something pretty cool. Probably several somethings.
 

Stone

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How is that? If it's 504, 500 is less than 504, so I should see two of them.
The 504 barrier is due to the BIOS being unable to deal with more than 1024 cylinders. In the BIOS' mind, if you will, there is nothing beyond 1024 cylinders. E.g., if you make C: = 500 you can only make D: = 4 and no more because the BIOS cannot access any more. This BIOS barrier is on total drive size, not partition size. You *might* be able to use a DDO or other similar program that *lies* to the BIOS about the drive's geometry to access the full size of the drive. You might be able to use 'anydrive'.
 
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NathanAllan

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Ah! I see what you mean now. Being an SD card, I am betting that I can figure a way to divide the cylinders up, too, since there really are no cylinders. We'll see, it's going to be a neat thing to find out about. ALSO if it works (and I mean IF) then it'll be a great way to upgrade older machines to have large drives without making changes that make them less original. The harddrives can be replaced totally with these adapters, right at the IDE connector.

The more I think of this the better it sounds!
 

Stone

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Now, if you were to find an SD-IDE adapter with a BIOS, that might work. (I know nothing about SD stuff.) SCSI controllers have a BIOS so they don't have the 1024 cylinder/504 mb problem. Again, DDO or Anydrive could be possibilities.
 

NathanAllan

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The parts aren't here yet but I can't resist discussing it!

One thing it has on it is Office 97, and I really do like that version. It had a standard of layout and just the way it worked was good to me, so I kinda want to keep it. So I was thinking that I could get the SD card to work somehow (granting that it does work) then copy the whole file structure from the harddrive to the SD card. has anybody here tried anything like this yet?

It seems to be a great way to make these older machines a bit faster (possibly a lot faster) without doing anything to change it from being collectible, since the harddrive is a plug in device.
 
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