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1232RE: [midatlanticretro] Flea Market Find...Grid Laptop

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  • Evan
    Sep 5, 2005
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      Between 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.


      From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Christian R. Fandt
      Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 10:35 PM
      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Flea Market Find...Grid Laptop

      Hi Bill,

      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>
      Hello Rob,

      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 √úbersicht/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
      really true??

      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!

      -Chris

      NNNN
      <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?
      http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=972

      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
      co-dependant?

      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.

      NNNN

      Upon the date 09:02 05-09-05, billdeg@... said something like:
      >I picked up a GRiDLite Plus 1040 at the local flea market
      yesterday.  I used
      >to fix them so I figured that I would take a stab
      at getting this one
      >running.
      >  From the looks of it I
      figured it would be non-functional.  I found it
      >literally in a box
      of junk.  I only noticed the corner peeking out of the
      >box.
      >because of my experience as a GRiD laptop support techie at
      a former
      >job.   As I
      >dug around I found all of the
      parts cables and carrying bad.
      >
      >To my surprize it worked just
      fine.  I guess it's true what they say about
      >those old GRiD's. 
      This unit came with an internal 3.5 drive and an
      >external
      5
      >1/4.  Also interesting was a ROM chip with DOS 3.21 built
      in.  The 3.5 drive
      >AND the ROM drive are read together as drive A,
      the external drive is B.
      >
      >Does anyone have any of the original
      literature/disks from a GRiD Lite Model
      >1040?  I would be interested
      in buying/trading for them.
      >
      >Bill
      D
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >Yahoo! Groups
      Links
      >
      >
      >
      >

      Christian Fandt,    Electronic/Electrical Historian
      Jamestown, NY  USA      cfandt@...
               Member of Antique Wireless Association
               URL: http://www.antiquewireless.org/ 

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