Login [Register]
Don't have an account? Register now to chat, post, use our tools, and much more.
In one of my classes, my teacher had a really old laptop up on his display shelf and today I asked him if I could take a look at it. Turns out it was a Toshiba Satellite Pro series T2400CS made in 1994. I think it was used for mobile film viewing and editing a long time ago.
I looked it up and found its specs and ports:
    bios version probably 1.40
    cpu SL Enhanced i486DX2 50MHz,
    memory 20480kb
    base 6400kb
    extended 19648kb
    shadow bios rom 192kb
    hard disk capacity 330mb


    PCMCIA Slots (14.5mm PCMCIA 2.0 Type III and 15mm PCMCIA 2.0
    Type II.)
    Memory (72 pin Toshiba propietary)
    Port Replicator (120 pin)
    Parallel printer/external FDD port
    RS-232 Serial port (9 pin)
    SVGA display port
    Integrated SCSI-2 port
    PS/2 Keyboard port
    PS/2 Mouse port

    display vga compatible
    lcd color

Over half the ports I've never seen before nor have any idea what they could be used for. Laughing

Astonishingly, I was able to find a bunch of compatible power cords, (it uses a standard power port still used today) although finding the correct voltage was a bit tricky. The laptop requires 18v (it's stated by the power input Very Happy ) but most of the adapters I could find were either 6v or 12v.

By looking the status lights, I was able to see some cool things.
With 6v it refused to even say that power was being supplied.
With 12v it said it had constant power, but shut off the moment I tried to power it on.
I finally found a 18v adapter and it turned on! It stopped at the blinking underscore though and wouldn't let me type in anything.

I assume this means, unfortunately, the boot disk is gone so I couldn't do anything with it, but I asked the teacher if he had any floppy disks and he thinks he might have some at his house that could be bootable! I hope he can find them, according to the website above, I may be getting Windows 3.11! I wish I could boot it with one of my flash drives, but since USB came out roughly 5 years after this computer, I'm going to have to settle for 3D printed save icons floppies.

My only question is, is there a way for me to install, say Linux, using one of the ports I've never heard of before? If I have to use floppy disks that's fine, but is there a port that can be easily adapted to USB?


Oh, that's pretty, I love old computers.

Most standard Linux operating systems won't work on a machine this limited, but there are some that are specialized for low-end machines, like Slitaz, but you'll probably have trouble even getting that on this machine.

Nothing is going to be better than the OS that came on it, so I'd look into getting MS DOS back on that thing. There are USB floppy drives you can get to write installation disks for machines like this, you might be able to find some files that'd work online.
It has a 486, which is technically supported by linux, and 20M of RAM, which is just barely enough to get by.

Your best bet for installing it, I think, is probably by installing the drive in another computer via an adapter, and doing a lot of work trimming a kernel down to the bare minimum necessary. You might be able to use a Compact Flash card wtih an adapter, since most CF cards speak IDE natively.

You would probably not have a very complete linux OS with only 20M of ram. My guess is that you could get a small busybox system up, and use it as perhaps a serial terminal.
Hi TheLastMillennial,

I have old computers and old calculators. When i use them i also read old magazines about computers and programming.

All theses things give me a feeling of time travel.

So personnally i dont search to upgrade them with new OS or softwares, i prefer use only old softwares corresponding to their age.

And you know what ? they never have big problems, not like new materials... Probably due to the production constraint, producing more, faster, cheaper...

Out of subject :
The actual world live a very important evolution since a lot of years : communication. And we live also an other important evolution : 3D printers. People call them "printers", i prefer the term "materializer" because with them you transform an idea, a file, in the real world. Sorry for this "out of subject"
Unfortunately, my teacher couldn't find any floppy disks so I'll have to get my own OS and put it on the single floppy disk I own. Razz
I'd love to put Windows 3 on it, Linux was just an example (though are you sure even DSL can't fit on it?). However I don't know how hard it'll be to find a installer.

Thanks for your feedback guys!
amihart: I'll see what I can do about getting MS DOS back on it. I assume that's the first step in getting Windows 3 back on.
Hooloovoo: Where would I put the CF card? Or what adapter would I need? I've never used most of these ports before so it's new territory for me. Razz
Dear Fried: Yeah keeping the original OS for the old laptops is always fun to do, that's why I'd like to get Windows 3 back on it. Could you share your old calculators here? Smile
TheLastMillennial wrote:
I'd love to put Windows 3 on it, Linux was just an example (though are you sure even DSL can't fit on it?).


It's hard to know without trying it. This laptop seems to meet DSL's minimum specs, so it may run. The specs apparently say you can also get DSL to boot from a floppy, so I'd look into trying that.

I'm not sure what kind of driver support DSL has, so you may be limited to what you can do with the computer in comparison to just using the intended OS.

Quote:
amihart: I'll see what I can do about getting MS DOS back on it. I assume that's the first step in getting Windows 3 back on.


Yes, you'll want to install MS DOS and then within MS DOS you will install Windows 3.1.
If one day your floppy disk drive is dammaged, I think you can find an external floppy drive and connect it.
Concerning windows 3 it's now an abandonware, you can download the images and convert it to some floppy.

If you have problem to solve all your material issue, you can also use with recent PCs a free utility wich name is DOSBOX. It transform your nice top of the top computer in an old one with dos system...
(there is also an android app wich do the same but it's not free)
And if you search software, i know a french website very well managed (Abandonware France)
I think there is also a lot of english website well organised, just type abandonware in google (the only society wich you can say the name during a strangulation )

Concerning my old calculators collection it's too difficult to take picture, they are not grouped in one place, so i use them when i find them randomly...
Nice retro laptop.
On the issue of the hard disk, that laptop is designed for a 2.5 IDE disk. I assume that only the smaller capacity disks work due to the age of the machine, such disks are very pricey even on ebay and have probably gone stale on the shelf (old unused disks have a hard time spinning up)

Your best bet getting anything installed on there is a CF to IDE connector. That being said, I cannot guarantee that the hardware supports CF to IDE, but the CF connector is certainly based off of the IDE specification. Make sure that the adapter you will be getting fits in 2.5 drive bays, and you will need to take the laptop apart to install an hdd. Try to stay small with the CF capacity, MS-DOS came with FAT16 which only supported up to 2.1 GB in the best circumstances.

Of course, in theory, DSL linux would work, but I wouldn’t expect reliable performance for even the simplest of modern OSes on a 1990s laptop. Installing the OS which came with the machine is preferable, but you can also consider FreeDOS if you want the DOS experience at no cost.

Be careful with abandonware - although it is free to access real deal software and seldom comes with viruses, keep in mind the laws of where you live. While it is not full-on pirating since the publishers are no longer making money off abandonware, it’s considered copyrighted.

@Dear Friend: USB external floppy drives are a great alternative to replacing the internal drive. Unfortunately, the laptop here has only those old ports like serial and parallel ports, and I have not been able to find an economical external floppy that supports those interfaces.

While DOSBox is a great way to test out software, it does have its differences from an actual machine, and the experience does feels different.
Have fun!
Nice find, it should run Win95 just fine. I used to run it on a similar rig that I had many years ago - even though it only had 4MB of RAM :X.

PLENTY of retro games could be run on this beast!
Quick update: I got a DOS 6.22 IMG and Windows 3.11 IMA files! Now I just need a bunch of floppies.

A few things I'm a bit confused on, what exactly is a 2.5 IDE disk? I know it's a hard drive, but what's different about it from today's HDDs? Also, what's a CF card? As far as I can tell CF is like the predecessor to SD cards? And why can't I just stick in a floppy installer, I'm fairly sure the hard drive is still in the laptop, though I can't be for certain. Lastly, where do I plug all this stuff (besides the floppy)? I'd prefer not to take apart the laptop since I don't think my teacher would appreciate that (also, the plastic seems pretty brittle and I'm afraid of cracking it).
A 2.5" IDE HDD is a standard laptop sized hard drive, but with an IDE interface typically found during that time period. You can still buy drives with this interface, but would likely need some time-specific parameters if you are wanting a new one for the machine.

CF or Compact Flash is indeed an earlier form of portable storage.

You can also get PCMCIA CD-ROM drives iirc.

Win 3.11 on floppy disk would be a good idea, though like I said earlier, the machine should run Win95 just fine. Technically it should run Win98 too, just would need a larger HDD for that.
TheLastMillennial wrote:
Quick update: I got a DOS 6.22 IMG and Windows 3.11 IMA files! Now I just need a bunch of floppies.

A few things I'm a bit confused on, what exactly is a 2.5 IDE disk? I know it's a hard drive, but what's different about it from today's HDDs? Also, what's a CF card? As far as I can tell CF is like the predecessor to SD cards? And why can't I just stick in a floppy installer, I'm fairly sure the hard drive is still in the laptop, though I can't be for certain. Lastly, where do I plug all this stuff (besides the floppy)? I'd prefer not to take apart the laptop since I don't think my teacher would appreciate that (also, the plastic seems pretty brittle and I'm afraid of cracking it).

Oops, I misinterpreted that you were missing the hard disk, I just realized you only needed a boot disk upon a closer reading. In that case, you don't need to take anything apart. PCMCIA ports are very useful for external equipment, I had not considered that in my first post when addressing user Dear Friend's concern about floppy drives.

Glad to hear that you got working copies of Windows 3.11 and DOS. In my experience, both OSes will fit on the internal disk with plenty of room to spare.

tr1p1ea did a good explanation on the HDD, CF card, and the potential of installing later versions of windows.
I collect vintage Toshiba laptops.
The plastic is indeed brittle.

If the FDD works, it's all you need to communicate with a modern computer, USB FDDs are cheap. You'll probably never need to use any of the other ports unless the FDD doesn't work.

With the blinking cursor, it does mean hard drive failure. If left alone long enough it should display a message saying as much. You may be able to access the BIOS settings by pressing F1 during boot.

http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/manuals/Toshiba/Other/Toshiba%20T2400CS%20and%20T2400CT%20-%20Maintenance%20Manual.pdf is the manual.
I also recommend trying to get into BIOS, it should be something along the lines of pressing DEL, F1, or ESC during the machines Power-On-Self-Test - It should tell you what to press.

If this works you should be able to get a better system health status out of it.

If you don't get any kind of logo or boot test display then it could mean that something more serious has failed.
I'm glad you're a Toshiba guy Caleb, that link really helped! I left the computer to boot up for about half an hour and when I came back it said 'error, bad checksum'. I pressed [F1] and I'm now in the BIOS!

Here's what it says:

BIOS version=5.00

Memory:
Total=12288KB
Base=640KB
Extended=11456KB
Shadow BIOS ROM=192KB

Display:
Display Adaptor=VGA Compatible
LCD Display mode=Color
Ext. Scan Mode=Interlace (Could someone explain what this is?)
Power On Display=Internal/External

Battery:
Battery Save Mode=Full Power
Manual Set of Battery Level=E ??? F (what the heck does this mean?)

Hard Disk:
No Drive (I thought this had a HD in it, I guess I was wrong, darn.)

COM/PRT/SCSI/SOUND:
Serial Port=COM1(IRQ4/3F8H)
Printer Port Type=Output
SCSI=Enabled

Password:
Not Registered

Others:
Power-up Mode=Boot (Resume is the only other option)
CPU Cache=Enabled
Processing Speed=High
Speaker Volume=High
Alarm Power On=Disabled
Keyboard=layout/Fn
Pointing Devices=Auto-Selected
Boot Priority=FDD→HDD



I'm about to try and exit the BIOS, I don't think it'll do anything since there's no hard drive but I dunno, maybe something will happen.

EDIT: I exited the BIOS and it entered Self Test. After a few minutes it said
"Insert system disk in drive.
Press any key when ready..."
The only issue is, the keyboard doesn't have a button called 'any key'. Am I doing something wrong?
Just Joking

Anyways, now I guess I just need a HDD, Caleb, do you have any guides on how to install a new HDD?
It could have a hard drive that just totally failed. You can listen to what the computer sounds like, if it's making a spinning sort of noise - a lot of those laptop did not have fans at all so did not make any noise when the HD was off. I'm curious to see if it can boot from Fdd though!

It's interesting that it says it has a SCSI port. Sidenote, checksum error usually just means the backup battery is dead. I don't know about this one specifically, but I have some devices that default to saying no HDD and you have to change the CHS (cylinder head sector) setting to match the HDD. And some Toshiba devices require a diskette to change that setting, like the T3100/20 does. Alternately, you might just have no hard drive~

Like was mentioned earlier in the topic, getting an original HDD for these is a little dicey. We can still do it, but going through the process of using a CF card would probably be worth it. Hard drives from the laptop's own era are dying en masse, but if it can accept a generic 10-20gb one, there's still some of those around! Overall the process isn't too complicated after the "obtain a hard drive or suitable CF card" part.
Heh, it's been 24 years, I wouldn't be surprised if the HD failed. The room is really noisy right now so I can't check for sure, but before I left it to boot up, the computer repeatedly made a sound like something was quickly winding up, then abruptly stopped. It made the sound every couple seconds.
I'm fairly sure there's still a hard drive in it, knowing my school, the people that originally used the laptop wouldn't care enough to remove it, nor would they even know how. Laughing
I'll see what I can do to get a compatible HDD or CF card, any recommendations for one?

Like I said before, the computer has been sitting around for years, I'm not surprised every battery in it is dead. What's an SCSI port?
I agree it's likely it has the HDD in it. The symptoms you describe sounds exactly like one I had. It's not going to be reliable, but it's possible to kick start a drive like that by opening the drive and turning the platter manually. Considering I'm 90% sure that won't fix it, it's not worth mentioning, but hey it's a fun thing to do.

An SCSI port is a wide port with a lot of pins that can be used to connect an external SCSI hard drive (and possibly other devices). It's less common than IDE though (what it uses internally) and I don't know if it could boot from it.

Example generic IDE hard drive:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/253020722386

Example CF card (that supports IDE mode) :
https://www.ebay.com/itm/391807763005
Yeah it looks like the CMOS backup battery is dead, which makes sense.

Also correct, PC's back in those days were not 'plug into the same colour an it will auto-configure' like they are today. You can damage hardware if your settings aren't correct. If you get a new HDD you will need to ensure that everything is properly configured.
tr1p1ea wrote:
Yeah it looks like the CMOS backup battery is dead, which makes sense.

Also correct, PC's back in those days were not 'plug into the same colour an it will auto-configure' like they are today. You can damage hardware if your settings aren't correct. If you get a new HDD you will need to ensure that everything is properly configured.
Oh. Well that's a problem; how would I need to configure it? Would it need to be formatted a certain way or something like that? I don't really have access to a desktop so I'd have to buy an adapter to connect through USB if I needed to mess with the contents of the new drive. Speaking of which, thanks for those examples Caleb, I think I know what to look for now! Although I won't be getting one anytime soon unless I happen to bump into someone who happens to own one. Since the FDD is bootable, do I even need a HDD? Couldn't I theoretically put everything on a high capacity floppy?
  
Register to Join the Conversation
Have your own thoughts to add to this or any other topic? Want to ask a question, offer a suggestion, share your own programs and projects, upload a file to the file archives, get help with calculator and computer programming, or simply chat with like-minded coders and tech and calculator enthusiasts via the site-wide AJAX SAX widget? Registration for a free Cemetech account only takes a minute.

» Go to Registration page
Page 1 of 2
» All times are GMT - 5 Hours
 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 

Advertisement