How to upgrade a Toshiba gas plasma T5200 laptop.

Vipersan

Vipersan

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#1
As promised I'm starting this thread to illustrate the rather complex process of making a T5200 work with Win95 ..
yes ..you read that right.
This ancient lump of retro tech circa 1991 was released with a standard paltry 2mb of plug in memory and a few k of internal ram soldered to a plug in board.
Memory was a seriously expensive commodity back then ..and a fully upgraded 12mb machine could easily double the purchase price ..which was several grand for the basic machine.
It came as standard with a 60 or 100 mb ..not gb conner hard drive ..which had oil filled bearings.
over time these bearings released the oil which destroyed the hard drive surface ..so to have a worker is indeed a rarity..
I have such a rarity ..but for how much longer ?
To that end ..and to have more storage space I needed to fit a larger hard drive.
That was the first major problem..
The Bios only accepted Conner drives ..and nothing else.
I made friends with a smart guy called Ian ..who was able to hack ..reverse engineer ..and patch the bios to accept other hard drives ..
This of course required the modified bios be flashed to a replacement 1024 UV eraseable eprom.
so now I could run DOS or win3.1 on a HD of my choosing.
Problem was I still needed more memory/ram.
Toshiba used 40 pin proprietory simms which were expensive in their day ..but rare as rocking horse scat.
Ian had an idea that 72 pin EDO memory could be hand wired to the 40 pin slot connections ..using the original 2k of ram as parity ..
This too had limitations ..but at least 12mb was now a reality.
Ok
RAM sorted but still the unit could only run Win3.1 ...
Could it do Win95 ???
certainly it was never intended to..
afterall it pre-dated win95 by a few years..
well ..maybe ..
but in order to do this a faster CPU was needed ..
the original was a 386 ...BUT...a pin compatible 486 was made ..
and also a method of cache flushing was needed.
This was achieved with a small submounted 7400 nand logic chip ..and wired to the relevant points on the cpu etc.
Now it might be possible to install Win95.
BUT ..since the floppy drive was the only way to get data in and out ...a 22 floppy disk installation for win 95 was created.
but ..Oh dear the floppy disk drive no longer functioned ..and again ..was proprietory ..
A standard floppy drive might be used but was wired totally diferently.
A custom cable with the correct IDC connections had to be made up ..
..and a sigh of relief when the disks were recognised.
Now I could install my chosed OS.
The plasma screen dictates the colour depth and aspect ratio of the VGA output ..
So ..no SVGA or larger ..
max 640:480..
but progress nonetheless...and gass plasma screen and mirrored to an external monitor ..
in colour but at a paltry 256 colour depth.
This I fear is the limit..but still.
What about sound ??
Well there is the internal speaker ..but an ISA soundblaster would be nice.
The T5200 comes with 2 x ISA sockets as standard ..but sadly only one of these was 16 bit ..
The other is a short 8 bit socket...and I wanted not only sound but also network and a CD rom drive..
Well this is 1995 ..lol
How could this be done ?
Well ..I had a flash of inspiration ..
I could fit a 16 bit ISA card which supports PCMCIA ...but I wanted sound as well ..and I only have one 16 bit ISA socket.
Grrr ..
but what if I added a second 16 bit socket ?
I set about converting the 8 bit socket into a 16 bit socket ..
I manufactured an edge mounted riser card of which half the contacts could plug into the 8 bit socket ..and the remaining 36 connections hanging in the air could be hand wired in parallel to the 16 bit socket..
et voila ..
I now had 2x 16 bit ISAs ..one of which _could_ host a thin ..short ..pcmcia card ..which in turn could be connected to a dual pcmcia socket unit ...leaving the 'real' 16 bit socket for a sound card ..
The PCMCIA would support both a network card ..and a CD drive inerface card..
For the moment ..this is where I am at..
I'm attaching a general photo of the main pcb with the EDO hand wired ram in place ...the 486 fitted ..and the cache flush on the underside ..
other pics will follow with details if needed..
rgds
VS How to upgrade a Toshiba gas plasma T5200 laptop._1047198
 
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Vipersan

Vipersan

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#2
The modded 8 bit to 16 bit ISA riser ...
 

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Captain Jack

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#3
Just... Wow. That's a lot of ingenious work! It's almost like trying to get a gramophone to read CDs.

Glad to hear you've been keeping your mind busy!
 
Vipersan

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#4
The cache flush mini pcb underside of the motherboard
 

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Vipersan

Vipersan

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#5
More pics as I reassemble the lappy ..
rgds
VS
 

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Vipersan

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#6
So ..the huge Conner HD is a thing of the past ..and now replaced with a 2.5 inch 44 pin IDE ..which is small enough to allow space for the dual PCMCIA interface to be fitted ..
This required a hole cut in the laptop casing ..for access of the pcmcia cards ..
the hd is mounted on top of it ..
rgds
VS
 

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2cvbloke

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#7
Ah the days where modding your computer was actually modifying the computer, not adding colour-changing LED lights and transparent side-windows and water cooling and all that crap kind of "modding", PROPER modding that improved the computer electrically and electronically, rather than pointed out the lack of endowment of the owners... :-rofl2
 
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#8
Amazing work there, i'm lost for words :)

Ah memories!

I had a Cyrix 486SLC in a 386 Motherboard at one point in the early 90s with a 20Mb Seagate HDD. 1mb or 2mb of ram on 30 Pin Simms.

My uncle works for a large semiconductor company and used to send me boxes of CPU's with no markings, was pot luck what they ran at, 3.3v or 5v was trail and error, early overclocking if you will.

Then the Pentium architecture came out and he sent me some more chips, the P60/P90 was out then a cheaper P75 came out, so I got the board that took the P75 and fitted one of these chips, I for a few days/weeks/months had the fastest if not one of the fastest PC's at home. One of the chips was 166MHz and they did not exist back then, these were not even engineering samples, they were prototypes.

I took the PC in to a local computer shop as they did not believe me, the whole shop looked in awe as it booted up @166MHz :)
 
Vipersan

Vipersan

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#9
..and for the sake of completeness ..
a couple of pix to show there is a network attached ..and a CD drive ..
and a couple of pix to show both the gas plasma screen and vga out ..active
 

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RustySpoons

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#10
..and for the sake of completeness ..
a couple of pix to show there is a network attached ..and a CD drive ..
and a couple of pix to show both the gas plasma screen and vga out ..active
Wow! - love the glow on that gas plasma :)
 
Vipersan

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#11
Amazing work there, i'm lost for words :)

Ah memories!

I had a Cyrix 486SLC in a 386 Motherboard at one point in the early 90s with a 20Mb Seagate HDD. 1mb or 2mb of ram on 30 Pin Simms.

My uncle works for a large semiconductor company and used to send me boxes of CPU's with no markings, was pot luck what they ran at, 3.3v or 5v was trail and error, early overclocking if you will.

Then the Pentium architecture came out and he sent me some more chips, the P60/P90 was out then a cheaper P75 came out, so I got the board that took the P75 and fitted one of these chips, I for a few days/weeks/months had the fastest if not one of the fastest PC's at home. One of the chips was 166MHz and they did not exist back then, these were not even engineering samples, they were prototypes.

I took the PC in to a local computer shop as they did not believe me, the whole shop looked in awe as it booted up @166MHz :)
Dont suppose you kept any of those old chips ?
I could make use of a 486SLC ...and a maths co processor ?
 
RustySpoons

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#12
Dont suppose you kept any of those old chips ?
I could make use of a 486SLC ...and a maths co processor ?
I wish still had a lot of things, this was the early 90's, I've moved house more times than I care to mention and thrown out "Vintage" components etc thinking I would never use them again. :(

I think the oldest cpu in my drawer is a K6 II! might have a Z80 kicking around :-rofl2
 
Vipersan

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#13
I wish still had a lot of things, this was the early 90's, I've moved house more times than I care to mention and thrown out "Vintage" components etc thinking I would never use them again. :(

I think the oldest cpu in my drawer is a K6 II! might have a Z80 kicking around :-rofl2
No probs ..longshot but always worth asking.
:rolleyes:
 
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#14
No probs ..longshot but always worth asking.
:rolleyes:
Always is with asking :)

We have had a family bereavement, one of my uncles passed away this week :( However the uncle who works for that Semiconductor company is coming over for the funeral, I will ask him if he has anything stashed away.

*EDIT* @Vipersan

Just messaged a friend at the company I work for if there is a IBM/Cyrix SLC CPU/Co-pro in the stores, they keep parts for systems that are antiquated but need to be running, so there may be a good chance there is something there. I found a tray of Z80's in there a few months back. If there is anything else you're looking for post it here or drop me a message and I will try.
 
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Captain Jack

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#15
Blimey! Any Acorn stuff - the later RISC OS, such as StrongARM CPUs/motherboards?

I recently brought a CMOS battery-damaged mobo back to life, though sadly didn't have any time to really play with it.
 
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#16
Blimey! Any Acorn stuff - the later RISC OS, such as StrongARM CPUs/motherboards?

I recently brought a CMOS battery-damaged mobo back to life, though sadly didn't have any time to really play with it.
Nothing like that i'm afraid, it's PC based or custom systems.

Just run RISC OS On a Pi :D
 
Vipersan

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#18
Almost done..
.I will admit this was a mammoth task ...and there were days when I honestly thought about chucking in the towel.
But thanks to all the help from other T5200 owners and in particular Ian ..
All the current mods were done..
Modified bios ...which made ALL the following possible..
(A very helpful chap on Vogons - Ian tackled this)
Faster CPU 386 > 486
Cache Flush mod..
More memory 2mb > 12 mb
Larger hard drive .. 20gb 15gb C: & 5 gb D:
Windows 95
8 bit ISA to 16 bit ISA ..
Non proprietory Floppy Drive
Added PCMCIA ports x 2
Rebuilt Keyboard with new key switches.
Have I left anything out ???
hope not
Regrets non ...disappointments few ...but these would include ..no external Keyboard ...limited to 640 x 480 external VGA
..and this units inability to correctly use 2 x 16 bit ISA slots.
Here are some pics with it mostly reassembled for the first time since it was taken apart months ago.

but I can now add a soundblaster ISA
..and pcmcia Network card plus a CD drive
cool !!

Amazing to think this is what 11.5 grand would have got you in about 1991 ..less the mods of course
for that price you would have got a 386 ...2mb ram ..100mb hard drive...and maybe win 3.1 or DOS
 

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RustySpoons

RustySpoons

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#19
Almost done..
.I will admit this was a mammoth task ...and there were days when I honestly thought about chucking in the towel.
But thanks to all the help from other T5200 owners and in particular Ian ..
All the current mods were done..
Modified bios ...which made ALL the following possible..
(A very helpful chap on Vogons - Ian tackled this)
Faster CPU 386 > 486
Cache Flush mod..
More memory 2mb > 12 mb
Larger hard drive .. 20gb 15gb C: & 5 gb D:
Windows 95
8 bit ISA to 16 bit ISA ..
Non proprietory Floppy Drive
Added PCMCIA ports x 2
Rebuilt Keyboard with new key switches.
Have I left anything out ???
hope not
Regrets non ...disappointments few ...but these would include ..no external Keyboard ...limited to 640 x 480 external VGA
..and this units inability to correctly use 2 x 16 bit ISA slots.
Here are some pics with it mostly reassembled for the first time since it was taken apart months ago.

but I can now add a soundblaster ISA
..and pcmcia Network card plus a CD drive
cool !!
Absolutely amazing work, have you posted on the forum with it yet :D
 
Vipersan

Vipersan

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#20
Absolutely amazing work, have you posted on the forum with it yet :D
If you mean have I posted on Vogons ?
Then yes ..
they are aware of my antics.
lol
 
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