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How to get DOS on to an old compaq portable II?

This is a discussion on How to get DOS on to an old compaq portable II? within the Other Operating systems forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi there, Was checking out a load of free old computer stuff today (which included an as/400, how ****in cool


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Old 02-14-2012, 01:26 PM   #1
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Hi there,
Was checking out a load of free old computer stuff today (which included an as/400, how ****in cool is that?) and I came across an odd little handled box.

Much to my suprise, it turned out to be an all in one system. A compaq portable II.

Even better, it turned on when I plugged it in :-D

I'm quite clueless when it comes to these old things, so I need help getting an OS on this bad boy.

At the moment, it turns on, double beeps (12mhz baby) gives me a "163 - Time and date not set", and then says this:

"Non-system disk or disk error
Replace and strike any key when ready"

Thoughts on taking the first step to getting this in order?

Thanks,
Mark.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:36 PM   #2
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Hi Mark,

I don't know if I'll be much help with such an old machine, but I'll try and get you started.

For the time and date problem, boot into BIOS and set them manually, then F10 to save settings and exit. If this doesn't fix it, replace the CMOS battery on the motherboard.

For the disk error, make sure the drives are receiving power and their data cables are connected properly. Also, make sure the boot order in BIOS is correct, and check to see if a floppy is in the drive. If the boot order is 'C First' and there's a floppy inserted, it won't boot. Same if the boot order is 'A First' and there's no bootable floppy.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:50 PM   #3
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Nice a 12 Mhz 80286 processor. I haven't hear about them in many many years. Cool find!
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koala View Post
Hi Mark,

I don't know if I'll be much help with such an old machine, but I'll try and get you started.

For the time and date problem, boot into BIOS and set them manually, then F10 to save settings and exit. If this doesn't fix it, replace the CMOS battery on the motherboard.

For the disk error, make sure the drives are receiving power and their data cables are connected properly. Also, make sure the boot order in BIOS is correct, and check to see if a floppy is in the drive. If the boot order is 'C First' and there's a floppy inserted, it won't boot. Same if the boot order is 'A First' and there's no bootable floppy.
Hello there koala,
As far as I know, these systems don't have a bios.
Also, I figured the cmos may be at fault, but it turns out that the batteries on these old things are soldered to the motherboard, and replacements are very difficult to find.

Apparently, there's some way of booting from a system start disk, and then to an os. (Or something, not entirely sure.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amd_Man View Post
Nice a 12 Mhz 80286 processor. I haven't hear about them in many many years. Cool find!
That's the lad. Yeah I was absolutly blown away when I found it.
Going back tomorrow to pick up two IBM PC XT's, giving one to a friend of mine. Should keep me occupied for a while :-D
Who know's what else I might dig up.
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:21 AM   #5
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It's odd that your luggable had a battery soldered to the motherboard. I was sure mine had a AA battery pack. You could always remove yours and solder in a new one (a plastic enclosure for 2 AA batteries is only a few dollars online).

As for the Luggable not having a BIOS, that's not correct - it has a BIOS, but you need to boot off a floppy to change it. And 5.25 floppys are going to be harder and harder to find. And you'll have to hook a 5.25 floppy up to a PC to write the images onto the floppies. And you'll need to actually find the configuration image.

I owned one briefly but sadly I don't know what happened to it. I think my father threw it away after he kicked me out.

I always wanted to gut it and put in a modern case and power supply, and (maybe) replace the CRT with a small LCD. And of course replace the two 5.25 drives with a DVD or Blu-Ray burner in one and a card reader and USB hub in the other. And then use some Acrylic paint to dye it black.


Here's a similar more modern version of the Compaq Luggable: File:Chassis-plans-mp3x17-fnt-obl-open-1280.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (I think this might be the actual product - $3500!)


Also, if you have a multimeter and are up for a challenge, you might take some pictures of the power supply connector and post them with the voltages of each pin (e.g. unplug the cable from the motherboard, hit the power switch, and check the voltage of each pin on the cable against the power supply's case). Seems some people can't get power supplies for them anymore. There are several power supplies that are small enough to fit these, but they would need a 24 pin to 20 pin adapter, and then a 20 pin to AT power adapter, and the second adapter would need to have some of the pins taken out and shuffled around.


If you're looking to get rid of it, let me know. Shipping to me (assuming you're in the US) would only be $30, I would be willing to pay a bit more than that.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentNewland View Post
It's odd that your luggable had a battery soldered to the motherboard....If you're looking to get rid of it, let me know. Shipping to me (assuming you're in the US) would only be $30, I would be willing to pay a bit more than that.
When I first saw it, my initial thoughts were similar to yours. I have a micro ATX i5 and c. as my secondary pc, and wanted to see if I could pack it all in to the compaq. There were two issues.

1. I would have to mod the compaq case to bits to provide adequate air flow & pci-e card accessability.

2. I like the idea of having an old dos system around. False-nostalgia etc.

Having checked with all of the local universities with good computer science facilities, my hopes for finding a 5.25 drive and disk, on a system I can write from is basicly null.

I think the best option at this stage, is to gut it, and install something like this: mini-itx.com - store - Mini-ITX Motherboards

That'll also fulfill my ambitions of building an itx system.

If I go that route, I'll most likely run a command line heavy distro on it like slackware, just to keep the system somewhat close to it's origins.

I live in Ireland by the way, so I think shipping would be a tad bit astronomical :-D

PS: How did you find this thread? It's old as hell. I'm curious.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:49 AM   #7
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Google. It's only 5 months old, that's not bad. I dig up threads from over a decade ago occasionally.

Also, as far as a power supply goes (which may be your biggest issue for upgrading), you'll probably need to mount a power supply somewhere else in the case and use an extension cable to get the power connector where it should be. The power connector is called a "C14". Try searching for "C14" Panel Mount on google.
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