Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Motorola MicroTAC


Today I want to share with you something from the past. Its one of the pioneers of the mobile industry. MOTOROLA Micro T-A-C Mobile.

This morning I went at a local garrage sale and I bought this phone:

It doesn't have a charger but battery is probably dead so I will store it as it is... anyway ...the Motorola MicroTAC was a cellular phone first manufactured as an analog version in 1989. GSM-compatible and TDMA/Dual-Mode versions were introduced only by 1994. The MicroTAC introduced an innovative new "flip" design, where the "mouthpiece" folded over the keypad, although the "mouthpiece" was actually located in the base of the phone, along with the ringer. This set the standard and became the model for modern flip phones today.

FUN FACT: it seems the engineers where much ahead of their time on the antenna design, the Motorola MicroTAC from 1989 had a fake external antenna because at the time people did not believe in internal antennas, so Motorola had to add a fake one in the outside even though it had an internal one! 

This phone had 3 breakthroughs and inovations:

- first flip design

- internal antenna

- fake antenna, just for public opinion 

The phone I got needs a 900Mhz full business card size SIM... could still run in some areas of my country... in the mountains there still are 2g and 3 g antennas. Does any operator still have such SIMS? :)

D1-Club by Motorola
This model was made for Telekom (model D1)
Very nice layout keyboard 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Toshiba T1000 back to life!

Hi there,

As you know I got a Toshiba T1000 from a friend from Holland about 3 weeks back. I was posting on my Facebook page The x86 Generation that this machine dosen't even power up. That has changed dramatically in the past 3 weeks!!!


"The Toshiba T1000 was a laptop computer manufactured by the Toshiba Corporation in 1987. It had a similar specification to the IBM PC Convertible, with an 4.77 MHz 80C88 processor, 512 kB of RAM, and a monochrome CGA-compatible LCD. Unlike the Convertible, it includes a standard serial port and parallel port, connectors for an external monitor, and a real-time clock.

Unusually for an IBM compatible PC, the T1000 contained a 256 kB ROM with a copy of MS-DOS 2.11. This acted as a small, read-only hard drive. Alternative operating systems could still be loaded from the floppy drive, or (if present) the ramdisk.

Along with the earlier T1100 and T1200 systems, the Toshiba T1000 was one of the early computers to feature a "laptop" form factor and battery-powered operation."
                                                                                                                                        from Wikipedia

At the time of its release, circa 1987, critics hailed the Toshiba T1000 as a groundbreaking innovation. It was the lightest PC-compatible laptop ever released up to that point, and the press considered it the MacBook Air of its day.

Like the MacBook Air, the T1000 shipped with a solid state disk: It packed MS-DOS 2.11 on a built-in ROM chip so it would be available instantly when powered on. For $549 more, you could increase the RAM to 768K, and use a portion of that memory as an ultra-fast RAM disk that retained its data as long as the main system battery didn’t discharge.

T1000 : Disassembly, Day 1, cleaning the motherboard against the electrolyte from the caps and battery spill 

Dissembling the unit is an very easy job as all you need is to unscrew 6 bolts and pick up the upper casing. Anyway, as for some this could be a challenge you can download the USER MANUAL here.

After removing the screws gently put the display in Open Position and then just unclick the top from the bottom. After that remove the video cable and let the fun begin.

After doing so you get this:

 The next step is to unscrew the keyboard bolts, remove the battery, then the FDD drive bolts and finally you get to the Motherboard.

 How all you need is to remove the motherboard in order to clean it from that spilled acid. Why? Because that fluid is conductive and thats not good for the sensible components.

 If you look in the next images you will see the acid laying on the motherboard.

I had cleaned the motherboard using isopropyl alcohol and nicely spreading it with a paint brush.

 After doing so I let the motherboard dry under a 25W Lamp (not neon)


As electronics age, the second components to fail (after batteries) are usually electrolytic capacitors, which break down over time and either deform or leak.

The next step was to check if the caps are dead or not. I tested them with a multi meter and could see a linear discharge so they seem OK but as they were leaking I decided to put new caps. Lucky for me I had a T1200XE dead unit that had good caps. I don`t want to use new caps, as they are very poorly made.

VR2 and PJ23

The next step is to get this machine to its initial parameters. otherwise it won`t boot. 

  • Assemble your computer back, except for the display and FDD unit (you will have more space to operate).
  • Ensure you have a 9V, 1.1 Amps adapter plugged in.
  • Use a multimeter to confirm that the output voltages for the PJ 23 on the system PCB conform to the values given in the following table.
  • If the voltage conforms to the values given in the table, try changing the Batteries (4X1.2V).
  • If the voltage does not conform to that given in the table, adjust the VR2 on the system PCB by a Phillips screwdriver. 

As seen below i had used some wiring to adapt to PJ23 the Multimeter
Multimeter on PJ 23

The next step is to use Philips screwdriver to set the value of the multimeter to 2.18-2.19Vdc.

Important! Check if battery is dead or it still holds some juice!

If battery is dead: Change the battery pack or ensure you have a 6V Vdc on the battery pins.

If battery still holds some power, even for a few seconds you can still use it to start your machine.

In my case the battery pack seemed fine so I gave it a try....

AAAAAAND.................YESSSS!!!!! THE MACHINE IS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!

WHO HOO!!!!!!..................................................................................

Counting RAM to 768KB

MS-DOS, baby!!! (present on the ROM so no disk required)








DEAD!  :(



...the machine just powered OFF... It looks like the Battery pack has died for good, so now I am looking for a drilling machine 6Vdc battery pack in order to use the cells to get this thing working again.

So for all there users that can`t get this machine running... just make sure you have 6VDC on the Motherboard, 9V, 1.1 Amps as supply, clean the motherboard very good, adjust the voltage using a multimeter and BOOT your lost love once again!

THE END..... for now!

Friday, June 17, 2016

SOLVED! How to Convert a 1.44MB floppy to 720K

SOLVED! How to Convert a 1.44MB floppy to 720K

                                                                                                                  by Jfieldcap\instructables

In this Instructable I will tell you how to covert a 1.44MB floppy disk to 720K format (MB = Megabytes, K = Kilobytes).

You might be wondering: "Why in the world would I want to convert a high capacity disk into a disk only capable of half it's original size?!?". Well, what if you have an old computer that only excepts 720K disks? Since 1.44MB disks are much more common than 720K, why not convert a few of your extras? This is something I figured out on my own, but I'm sure it's been done before.

Ok, now that we're done with the intro, let's make these!

Step 1: What you'll need...

You will need:

At least one 1.44MB floppy you would like to convert, (make sure there is no data you want to keep!)


That's all!

Now we can make the disks!

Step 2: Make the disks!

Find the square hole that does not have a slider. (Circled in the above pictures). Take a short length of tape, (3-4cm or 1 1/2inchs long), and cover both sides of the hole.

The reason this works, is that there is no physical difference between 1.44MB floppy disks and 720K disks, except that the 720K disk is missing the hole that you just covered.

Step 3: Format the disks!

Now we need to format the disk.

You will need a computer with a floppy drive.

1: Insert your newly converted floppy into the drive.

For Windows Users: Go to my computer, right-click on the A: drive, click Format.

For Dos users, at the command prompt, type "Format A:".

Note: If your computer has two floppy drives, make sure you replace all the "A:"s in this step with whatever drive you put the disk in.

Step 4: You're Done!

THE COMPAQ LTE\286 Restore Repair Diagnostic Setup Software


     I recently got into the possession of a COMPAQ 286 LTE from a friend of mine from Holland. I can say the machine from the visual point of view looks great and starts up.

"The LTE was introduced in 1989 and was one of the first models to be the size of a notebook, thus the term “notebook computer”, the LTE model name was considered to mean “Lite” as a reference to the LTE’s small size and weight of only 3.0kg. The specifications of theLTE/286 was very impressive at its time of release, which proved it to be more successful that it’s competitors. The competing laptops from NEC and Toshiba only had 720KB Floppies and no internal hard drive, the one downside was that it used a blue backlit plasma CGA (Colour Graphics Adapter) display with a resolution on 640 x 200 or (80 x 25 lines) compared to 640 x 480 grayscale LCD but seriously, come on the back light on these were blue, Four shades of grey? I don’t think so, these little baby’s pumped out 4 shades of blue!" Source: 

 However restoring this machine to its initial glory is going to be one of the toughest projects and I will explain why, but first I want to share with you the configuration.

Size: 1.9 x 8.5 x 11 inches; Weight 6.7 pounds


Intel 80C286 – 12 MHz CPU

640K base RAM, additional 1 – 4 MB using proprietary memory cards

40 MB HD, <29 ms seek time

1.44 MB floppy drive

Accessory Jack for external tape drives, floppies, etc.

Monochrome CGA 640 x 200 display (80/40 x 25 lines, 4 shades of gray) with separate CGA video output

User adjustable brightness and contrast

Parallel and serial ports

Internal 2400 bps modem (Hayes)

AC Adapter, no Nicad Battery Pack

Weight 6.7 pounds

System Manuals, missing Diagnostic and User Program diskettes

Original Casing

Inside the System Manuals
Carrying Case

As I said earlier the machine boots up, however the screen seems to have some problems, check below image:

Display Issues... Lots of letters instead of numbers
As you can see the display shows a lot of dots and commas. For example the 640 Kb RAM is represented by "ppvtp`KB OK".

Possible cause

  • VRAM Failure
  • Internal Video Cable 
  • BAD BIOS\Wrong Firmware

Watching some videos on YOU TUBE I was able to READ the data from the Screen.

I really hope that by running the Diagnostic Setup disk I will be able to find out whats wrong with the display or Update the existing firmware. 

What you need

  2.  A working 1.44 Floppy Disk and Unit (can be USB)
  3. A Windows 95 or 98 System Diskette or a running Win95\Win98 machine with a FDD drive
  4. A lot of patience

Download the 286 LTE DIAGNOSTIC DISKETTE setup file from here if you have a Win95\Win98 machine. Run the setup file and Insert a blank diskette to Write the Compaq DIAGNOSTIC diskette.

If you do not own such a machine you can use your Windows 10\7\ XP computer by booting the system with a SYSTEM DISK (if you have external FDD unit) or a bootable Windows 95\98 CD.
After booting your Core i7 into MS-DOS :)))) you need to download this setup file, copy the file to your drive A: diskette and simply run the program. The program will self extract on same disk A: where the SETUP file is.

Now you are ready!

Simply insert the fresh made disk into your FDD unit of your LTE and press F1. A Loading Screen will show up and then you cna boot your machine into MS-DOS by using a System or DOS disk. All of this images and self extracting files to boot any old computer you can find at: . 

This site offers a boot disk for everything from MS-DOS 3.3 to Windows XP Professional. These disks can be used to setup a new hard drive, scan an existing hard drive for errors, install or re-install Windows, upgrade your PC's BIOS, run DOS utilities and much more.

My experience so far

I booted my Core2Duo PC into MS-DOS (I have an USB FDD) usning a Windows 98 system disk.

Then I inserted the floppy disk containing the SETUP.exe file. You can rename the file "1.exe " so it will be shorter to ype in MS-DOS :) After running the program the extractor did all the magic on same disk. After that I inserted the disk into the LTE machine...

But after 5 seconds of Loading the DIAGNOSTIC the Floppy Drive of the LTE has died :(

Dead as it can be. The worse part is that the Internal HDD is not working as well until the SETUP is made. I had done my google-ing and these units are especially made for the LTE`s, just a couple of models use this MITSUMI FDD.

So unless I get this drive working again, my computer is half dead. Good looks but not being able to ever run DOS again.

NEXT WEEK I WILL DISASSEMBLY THE UNIT STEP BY STEP in order to repair the broken drive. I hope its a minor problem like a poor contact on the units power cable.


-=to be continued=-

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


  The Compaq Portable III is a computer released by Compaq Computer Corporation in 1987. It was advertised as being much smaller and lighter than the previous portable x86-PCs, however it was still quite large by today's standards.

  Its street price upon its release was 4999 USD for a model equipped initially with an 12 MHz Intel 80286 and later 20 MHz Intel 80386 CPU, 640 KB RAM,1.2 MB 5.25" floppy, 20 /40 /60 MB hard disk, and a 10" amber colored gas-plasma display or 5799 USD with the upgraded 40 MB hard disk. There was also an optional ISA Expansion chassis allowed for 2 full length 16-bit ISA add-in cards for 199 USD. Power is supplied using a mains electricity outlet, no battery exists.



It seems Thomas and I started a new project.... We want to restore a COMPAQ Portable III machine from the scrap to its initial glory. However we got stuck...

The Compaq Portable Thomas got has a broken power supply, after spending some time with the user manual we started by disassembling the unit.

The CP III upside down (back view)

After removing all the screws stated in the user manual and all the connectors. the supply just wouldn't slide like shown in the below picture from the manual:

Clearly the age of the machine makes everything harder to work with. After multiple tries we got it apart.

Compaq Portable III Power Supply

Inside the Power Supply:

Inside the Power Supply_Picture_1
It seems the supply looks good except for the broken fuse. Thomas couldn't wait for the new fuse to arrive at a local shop the next day, so he made some solder construction with copper wire tape and more solder in order to make the connection directly without the FUSE in place but something went wrong...
The supply got assembled back again, tried to power it on but all we got was a BOOM sound... After that we noticed some smoked area. See below pictures:

From Picture_1 you can see the FUSE was already broken, but I can`t remember if the smoked area was already there or it happened after the soldering. It seems logic that it could be there already as the fuse was already broken...

Anyway, the power supply looks toast.

I can see here some options:

1) Buy a working power supply (not sure that we will find one)

2) Get the power supply schematics and replace all broken components

3) Find a very good electronics engineer that can replace everything and test component by component all the power supply. 

Does anyone have some schematics regarding this POWER SUPPLY?

Can anyone provide us some tips?

Thank you in advance!