Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

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Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by Greg Davis on Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:29 am

Yesterday I was asked to fix an original Compaq portable PC that was originally built in 1983 (or thereabouts).  I was excited about this chance, largely because it dates back to the era in which only a small percentage of people (myself included) were building their own PC clones.  

Anyway, this unit had been sitting around for years in a non-working state, as the guy that owns it hadn't even attempted to make any repairs.  He is significantly younger, and was certainly not building his own computers in 1983.

Long story short, once I had the skins off the unit I did what I always used to do... check the cables and fittings.  After doing that, the unit powered up and (after the appropriate beeps and clunks) it stated that it needed a floppy disk I didn't have.  

Problem solved.

If only my radio repair efforts went so smoothly.


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Re: Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by willy3486 on Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:39 pm

I have worked on a similar or the same model compaq on a job back around 86. I picked one up that did not work in the early 90s but its long gone now. If I am not mistaken when they first came out they were in the neighborhood of 20 grand or at least the one I worked with costed that much. IIRC they were really heavy as well.

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Re: Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by John Bartley on Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:54 pm

I think that intermittent connections were a plague on early computers, maybe on anything that used "press-in" IC's. There was a computer built/distributed by a company in Ottawa, Ontario called the "Hyperion" I think. I have been told that a regular service procedure when one failed was to lift it off the desk a specified distance, then drop it to reseat the IC's.

My first computer was an AST, Bravo 286. It had a remarkable 1MB of ram and a Connor's 40MB RLL hard drive with a ??? (memory blank) video card that had 1/2 as much memory as the ram... I thought it was a screamer. I kept it forever intending to keep it as a sentimental item and then one day I found that my son had cleaned up the basement and had thrown away all the boxes, packaging, manuals etc that I had so carefully saved....

good times.

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Re: Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by Greg Davis on Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:48 pm

I built all of my computers, well into the 21st century, starting with an XT clone, the parts of which came from a "computer store". Yes, these places actually existed. And I bought "discrete components and ICs" there. Those were the days. Of course, by the time 286 clones came out (and they were NEVER very reliable), I was ordering these parts from something called a "catalog" that was made of paper and sent to my mailbox.

I know... hard to believe, right?!?!?

And as to the weight of the luggable... with dual floppies it was about 28 pounds. With the hard drive, maybe as much as 30 pounds.

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Re: Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by Tony V on Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:09 pm

It doesn't seem that long ago that we were doing that. Things sure have changed in 20 years... Laughing
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Re: Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by willy3486 on Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:12 am

I wish I had all the old computers I tossed through the years. A lot of that stuff is worth a lot now due to the gold in them. I cleaned out my shop a while back and sold about 50 pounds of old computer stuff that was bad. I made about 600 bucks just for cleaning up. My first computer was a TI 99-4a. I also remember working on a PDP 11 when I went to tech school. We had terminals tied into it. That was in the early 80s and the PDP 11s were obsolete then. One place I worked at in the late 80s we ordered a 100 meg drive, it cost 10 k! My times have changed. I always wanted one of the computer racks to use for test equipment. I was able to pick one up being tossed. It is a smaller one, about 5 feet tall and I have my computer and test stuff in it. I made shelves to put in it. Holds stuff good. I feel old now, I think I have been in computers too long.

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Re: Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by Greg Davis on Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:56 am

Funny... I see old computer racks being sold CHEAP on CL lately. Maybe that's just a Houson phenomenon, because Compaq/HPE is located here.
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Re: Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by Tony V on Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:43 am

My first computer was an Amiga. Remember those?
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Re: Compaq Portable PC (ca 1983), model 101709

Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:16 pm

I came in later. Mine was a home made.

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