Tinkering with what I have…

Posted: 2009.11.02 in General
Tags: ,

So, just an update to my previous posts, I did receive a response back from the person who had posted the Powerbook G4 laptops and unfortunately, I was not the lucky recipient of these.  (That’s the way freecycling goes, some times.)  The good news is that I’m a bit closer to building that free laptop… …but, as it usually goes, I keep running into small roadblocks. It’s actually pretty exciting, really, and amusing nonetheless.

I received notification from a fellow freecycler that he had two older laptops for me, and he was in the area and kind enough to drop them off at my house. One of them was an old IBM 770 and the other was a Compaq Armada M700. When I got home that night, I found that he had left them on my back deck in a paper bag, both in fairly good condition, but that they didn’t have power supplies.

On the weekend, I finally caught up with another freecycler, who had offered me two Toshiba Tecra 500CDT laptops, of which he said he believed one of them still worked. So, on Sunday, I was able to drop by his house to pick them up. It looks like both of them had survived a flood, as they were covered in a tonne of dirt and grime, but they both came with power cables, so I decided to check them out.

I booted one, which gave a “CMOS Checksum Error” and asked me to press F1, but it turns out the keyboard didn’t respond. The other didn’t power up at all, and it was in a lot worse shape. So, it became my donor. I removed the (ugh! yuck, sticky!) keyboard and transplanted it into the bootable one, and then was able to boot into the BIOS. (Yay for small victories.) I auto-assigned the hard drive, and attempted to boot. Nothing. I removed the other hard drive and attempted to boot. Click, click, click, click. Dammit!

So, with another thought, I removed the hard drives from the IBM and the Compaq. Using the precision screwdriver set I had, I was unable to release the screws from the IBM’s HD shroud (why do they need to have it mounted sidways?) so it was placed back into the IBM. I tried to remove the Compaq’s HD from it’s shroud, but theirs was even more devilishly ingenious.

“Hey, let’s glue the shroud and 2.5″ adapter right to the drive itself!” Curse you, Engineers!

Finally, after an hour or so of tinkering (man, I dislike dirty technology) I was a little further along, but no true successes as yet. I’ve put out a request for any power supplies for the IBM and Compaq, and will likely be donating the Toshibas to another local freecycler, if he wants them.

I’m still on the lookout, of course, and am determined to get one laptop into fully working condition, so that I can start with the software installation part of this project.

Rick // The DurhamDev

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