Over the weekend, I was given two old laptops by someone who knew about my computer collection and restoration projects. He gave me a Toshiba Tecra with Pentium II processor and a Satellite 4030CDT with Celeron. Bulky laptops, for sure. He himself wasn’t sure if they were working. I took the laptops home and decided to experiment. From my experience, such laptops usually present two challenges, namely, absence of adapter and either dead hard disk or the absence of one. I was fairly sure that the adapter wouldn’t be an issue, since, I have a Voltcraft Universal adapter for laptops that come with various pins for a variety of old laptops. Toshiba models are well covered. So, I could power both the machines up. Then a simple BIOS inspection showed that both the laptops lacked hard disks. Crap!
This led me to a visit to our local flea market, hunting for hard disks. I was lucky enough to find one laptop hard disk with the capacity of 6 Gigs for 5 bucks. Then the hack began. It was quite a thing to get the laptop opened and attaching the hard disk. But, fortunately it fit the Tecra laptop. Once done, it was time to test software.
First choice was OpenBSD 5.1. It installed just fine. Had to work a bit to get the proper X resolution. But, apart from that everything went fine. Next up was network. The laptop got no ethernet port. Fortunately, it has a usb port and I had a spare DLink DHub USB to ethernet port converter. I got it long time ago when EEE 1000H model came out. You see, by the time the model came out, OpenBSD had support for the wireless chip on the machine, but not for the ethernet card. After doing some research, I settled down on the DLink device, since, it was well supported by the axe driver on OpenBSD. But, support for the 1000H ethernet port came about fairly quickly after my first install of OpenBSD, hence the DLink DHub was just lying around in my collection. It came in handy for the Toshiba. Hooked it up and it was all good. axe driver kills! Now, I have network on the Tecra 8000 as well.
I intend to keep the machine lean, since I gotta work with 256MB RAM. Only terminal programs are installed. I thought I could use this device exclusively to continue my Joker Project, hence, I call it The Joker Device.
Here are some pictures. Please ignore the shaky few pictures. My old hands are not that stable anymore.
Now, a screenshot of OpenBSD 5.1 in action on the resurrected Laptop.
Once Tecra was restored, I turned my attention to the Satellite 4030CDT. Same issue as with the Tecra, no hard disk. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an appropriate one for this little machine. I have started looking into Ebay and other sources. I am sure its just a matter of time before I find a disk. In the meantime, I was able to test other features of the laptop and I must say both Tecra and Satellite are worthy additions to the family. Here are a couple of pictures of the Satellite.
That was my weekend folks! It’s time to get back to The Joker Device for more writing.