1232RE: [midatlanticretro] Flea Market Find...Grid Laptop
- Sep 5, 2005Between these Grid models, my Epson HX-20, Kelly's Tandy laptops, etc., maybe we can combine for an impressive early laptops display at East 3.0 next spring.Hi Bill,
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Christian R. Fandt
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 10:35 PM
Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Flea Market Find...Grid Laptop
Great catch Bill. There doesn't seem to be many left out there.
I've got one of those machines myself. Got it a few years ago at a sale
along with other stuff. Just came with the 3.5" external floppy and power
supply brick. Nothing else. Doesn't boot because the internal 20 meg HDD
doesn't spin up with success and, naturally, that HDD is made of some alloy
of unobtainum. To wit: JVC model JD3824G00-2 :-\
Sellam told me that Rob Borsari is the GRiD expert. I wrote a description
and queries to him but he wrote back he knows little about these later
models which came after the famous metal-cased GRiD machines of his interest.
Follows is my original query to him and his reply both of which shall serve
to give you (and perhaps others who may be interested) a bit of info that
has been dredged up (the *only* info, so far as I can find up to that time).
<BEGIN MESSAGE COPY - from 27 Jan, 2004>
Sellam Ismail from our classic computer email list (and Vintage Computer
Festival) has referred me to you. It is with regard to finding information
on a machine I've added to my collection. I hope you don't mind me
pestering you with this info request.
As you saw in the subject line, the machine in question is a GRiDLite Plus
model 1040. I recently got it from an ex-computer repair shop along with a
heap of other stuff. Included with it is a power supply and external 3.5"
floppy drive. Only info dredged up by Googling is a German website which
had some basic specs listed. To wit:
http://www.computer-archiv.de/comp0139.htm . Click on "Gridlite Plus" in
the Übersicht/Overview menu to see what I mean. Otherwise, just a bunch of
battery suppliers showed up in searching.
Upon opening the case to investigate what I have, I found the following:
It has an 80C86 CPU, socket for an 8087 math coprocessor (empty), backlit
LCD display (blue characters on green background), unknown amount of RAM
(some sort of pin-lead SIMMs, two total, one on each side of the keyboard),
no modem in its compartment, and an internal 20 meg HDD. Cool!
The German archive site indicates this unit has a touch screen. Is that
Upon powering up, the screen shows "Phoenix ROM BIOS Ver. 2.03, 1/18/88"
and a blinking cursor appears underneath while the HDD spins up. But the
HDD shuts down shortly after it seems to do its initialization. Then after
a minute or so passes a message "Hard Disk Diagnostic Failure" and "Disk
Boot Failure" comes up. It keeps trying as another "Disk Boot Failure"
message appears every minute or so. That's it.
The HDD is JVC model JD3824G00-2 and is not quite the typical 3.5", 1" high
IDE drive because of the single 26-pin power/data connector. Betcha they
can't be found too often :(
Thankfully, the external AC power supply and external 3.5" floppy drive
came with the unit. However, the floppy doesn't show any signs of life
during the bootup process. Additionally, no keyboard input hits the screen
although the default 15 character buffer fills and begins beeping at the
16th keystroke. Therefore, I cannot run SpinRite to checkout the HDD and
FDD systems or do much else.
The OS's that are listed in that German website to be used in the GRiDLite
are PenPoint, Penwindows, PenRight. What are all these?? Would M$-DOS
versions 3.3x, 5.0 or 6.xx work? -That is, provided I can get the thing to
finish bootup at least into a floppy disk.
Underneath a removable part of the case at the top rear of the machine
there is a connector for the modem and there are eight ROM sockets, all
empty. What are those for? A ROM-based OS or applications?
The internal NiCd battery had wires soldered between its flat terminals and
the respective spring leaf contacts in the system unit. Also, some clown
broke the battery compartment latch during the sale before I had bought it
thus causing the battery to not set tightly in its compartment. A heavy
object needs to hold the thing down.
However the AC PSU is marked as used for Gridcase 1200, 1307, 1500 and the
3403 Drive. Maybe the 60 watt power output is too low to handle the HDD in
the GRiDLite?? The PSU model number I have is 34170 if that helps.
That is all I know about it except for bits found on the German site shown
above. I would like to learn all I can and even get it working. I can email
digital images of the machine and/or specific areas inside or outside if
you would like them.
Any info or help you could offer would be most welcome. Thank you very much
for your time!
<END MESSAGE COPY>
<BEGIN REPLY FROM MR BORSARI>
Hi. I am not real familiar with the plastic case lines from GRiD.
Does it look like this one?
I don't know anything about the Hard Disk but most GRiD bios will boot
from the floppy if you hit the 'f' key during bootup. (I can't tell you
exactly when, its an art ;) I do not think this one has a touchscreen but
I could be wrong. I thought that only the pen based systems had RF
digitizers in the screen. The memory is most likely Sipps, probably they
are 256k each. The sockets are for OS or Application roms. There did not
seem to be many ROMS produced after GRiD moved to MS-dos. I have a few
GRIDOS roms for earlier systems and one system with DOS 3.3 in rom.
Sorry I can't provide much more than that. Good luck with it. -R-
<END REPLY FROM MR BORSARI>
Well, so much for that.
The machine shown in the link Rob gave in his reply is similar except no
hard disk is mentioned. The German link I found (and listed in my query)
lists the GRiDLite Plus but the page seems to be mistaken in mentioning it
has a touchscreen. Nothing like that on this unit. I tried six ways from
Sunday to try that trick of booting from the floppy Rob mentioned. No joy.
Wonder if having a DOS EPROM in one of the sockets will allow bootup in
spite of the bad HDD? What kind of DOS 3.21 ROM (p/n) is that one you
have? You mention the ROM and FDD are treated as drive "A", so they may be
Also, since you don't mention an internal HDD, perhaps the GRiDLite Plus
1040 had been sold with either an internal FDD or an internal HDD as each
of ours represents both possible versions.
Who's me? Well, I'm a lurker who joined the list back in March '05 just
after Evan announced the group. I am in Western New York State, ~80 miles
South of Buffalo, ~55 miles due East of Erie, and ~155 miles North of
Pittsburgh. Therefore, I'm not very able to run out to the Right Coast to
attend MARCH activities, NJARC activities, or other fun things. 6 hrs to
NYC from here.
Just consider me a supporter of the club. I'm much more into early radio,
like the NJARC group, but classic computers are a rather strong side
interest. I have, amongst a bunch of small and big-iron non-PC machines,
about seven or eight laptops of various vintages and conditions.
I too would like to get any literature and anything else that could be
found for this machine, if any is in fact extant. Copy costs and postage
shall be happily reimbursed. .pdf files from any literature found and
scanned work for me too.
Regards, Chris F.
Upon the date 09:02 05-09-05, billdeg@... said something like:
>I picked up a GRiDLite Plus 1040 at the local flea marketyesterday. I used
>to fix them so I figured that I would take a stabat getting this one
>running.figured it would be non-functional. I found it
> From the looks of it I
>literally in a boxof junk. I only noticed the corner peeking out of the
>because of my experience as a GRiD laptop support techie at
>job. As Iparts cables and carrying bad.
>dug around I found all of the
>fine. I guess it's true what they say about
>To my surprize it worked just
>those old GRiD's.This unit came with an internal 3.5 drive and an
>1/4. Also interesting was a ROM chip with DOS 3.21 builtin. The 3.5 drive
>AND the ROM drive are read together as drive A,the external drive is B.
>literature/disks from a GRiD Lite Model
>Does anyone have any of the original
>1040? I would be interestedin buying/trading for them.
>Christian Fandt, Electronic/Electrical Historian
Jamestown, NY USA cfandt@...
Member of Antique Wireless Association
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