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Most Interesting Member
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Discussion Starter #1

I picked this up this weekend at a garage sale.
It's a Compaq 486c. It's supposed to be an early laptop.
It's got Windows 3.1.1 and Dos 5, and yes that is Slot Race Manager on the screen!

I got it because of the flat screen that is independent of the keyboard.
I intend to build a 8 ft table bullring and set this up as the lap counter.
I could also use it for a drag strip. Just a thought.
It has a fax modem to send race results across the country quickly.

Only thing is I gotta whack it to get the monitor to work sometimes.
In Windows, if you leave it sitting too long, it locks up. No problems in Dos so far.

Any of you guys out there remember these, or know anything about them?
I need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.


4,512 Posts
Definitely a museum piece (I'm not kidding) with the unique distinction of looking more like a sewing machine than a computer. Looks to be in good aesthetic shape and may be of interest to people who collect antique computers, especially ones considered "portables." At only 18 lbs, you could theoretically carry it around. Use it on a plane? Not so much. Compaq made the first "portable" PC and at only 36 lbs it was quite popular. They were the pioneers in this area.

I do remember using these old lunchbox style computers in the early 1990s. Their main advantage over laptops at the time was that they used standard desktop based components. More importantly they had standard ISA, EISA, and PCI card slots. If you were developing a board level product or needed to use a big ISA/EISA/PCI card in a machine that could be moved around, they fit the bill quite well. They also tended to get beat up from being moved around so yours looks surprisingly clean.

Here are some resources about the old beast:




You could probably Google around for more information or user groups that dabble in vintage machines. When Compaq got gobbled up by HP the support for legacy Compaq products went by the wayside.

By the way, I have a small collection of vintage BASIC programmable handheld, i.e., "pocket computers," from the 1980s, of this genre (http://thepcmuseum.net/details.php?RECORD_KEY(museum)=id&id(museum)=537&PHPSESSID=xopebqlmueo). They don't take up much space. If you find anything like these, PM me.
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