Help! A total newbie to Toughbooks has a few questions....

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by AnotherMike, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. AnotherMike

    AnotherMike Newbie

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    OK... I've been working with home computers since they had 8 inch floppies, and business systems since they used punch cards, but I am a total newbie to Toughbooks... I hope that this opening post passes moderator approval.
    I am NOT going to ask for bootleg restore disks. But after three hours with Google I don't know WHERE to go to purchase legitimate restore disks.

    Here's the situation...

    I am a semi-retired 2-way radio tech and recently was given THREE junk CF-28s and one CF-30 that looks complete but is missing the hard drive (however it has the carrier). None of the CF-28s has a CD or DVD drive.

    One of the 28s (a CF-28STJG8KM) sorta works. It has a XP product key sticker on it, but it looks like generic XP and continuously complains about missing drivers...

    It's a 1 GHz machine, has a 30 Gig hard drive inside and a 256mb memory card in the bottom. I have a 160 Gig hard drive in the junk box (out of a ThinkPad) and I'd like to install it (there is nothing on this machine's hard drive that I need to save) and max out the RAM... I've been told that Toughbook RAM is finicky, anybody have a known good part number for me to look for and purchase?

    I can't find a configurator that will crack a CF28 model number so I do not know if the working machine has WiFi, touch screen, GPS, or whatever, or what the other two hulks have. I do know that it has on-board Ethernet and USB as I tested them.

    My goal with the working CF28 is to swap the XP 30 gig drive for the 160 gig drive, wipe it, and install MS-DOS 6.22 and Win 98/SE... set it up to program older 2-way radios that use MSDOS or Win95/Win98 vintage programming software. So I need to purchase a DVD drive and locate a source of Win98 drivers for any peripherals that are built into the CF28.

    I might be able to assemble a second CF28 from the other two hulks... one is a CF-28MBFAADM and it has the hard drive in it, the other is a CF28-PBJA9QM and has no drive or RAM. Neither one has a battery. If the resurrection is successful it's going to need a DVD drive and then it will go to a friend that does radio for the Red Cross. Or I may put the image of the XP hard drive back on it and put it in my motor home on a pedestal as a navigation system... if si I'll need to add WiFi and if GPS is built-in I'd like to make it work, of not then I'll use a Garmin 18 USB GPS.

    The other Toughbook is a CF-30KQPAQ2M that is missing the hard drive (but has an empty drive carrier in it). I have an extra 2TB SATA drive that should fit in to it. This machine will be getting WinXP (or 32-bit Win7 if the Motorola, Kenwood, Icom, Tait and Vertex programming software can run under it) and be used to program the newer radios. Can anybody crack that model number and tell me what I have? It has some kind of a cellular modem in it, and I'm hoping it has a touch screen, WiFi and a DVD-RW drive.

    One issue with the CF30: the foot that is nearest the power plug is "pushed" into the unit - has anyone seen this before? (photo available) I've been concentrating on the CF-28 and not spent any time on the CF-30 to see how to get inside the unit...

    The working CF-28 has a battery that lasts about 20 minutes whereas the CF-30 battery lasts about 90 minutes so I definitely need a new CF-28 battery. If Toughbooks are like 2-way radios there are several sellers that sell junk and one or two that sell good stuff. I'm going to need a good battery for my CF-28, and a usable one for the giveaway CF28... Who sells a good Toughbook battery these days?

    So... I'm looking for a way to determine what I have in my three CF28s and my one CF-30, and in my friend's CF29 mark 5. I'm also looking for a source of known-to-work RAM modules to max them out. If the CF-30 does not have GPS it would be nice to add.
    And the BIG thing is to locate a LEGAL and legitimate source of restore disks for a CF-28 Win98SE and a CF-30 WinXP or Win7. I believe that my working CF-28 has a touchscreen... I'd like to make it work.

    And if a forum member knows of a knowledgeable resource in the Los Angeles area that would be willing to give me a bit of hands on help resurrecting a Toughbook I'd like to hear from them. BTW, I'm not looking for a freebie.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
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  2. UNCNDL1

    UNCNDL1 Notebook Deity

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    Some Linkage for your reading pleasure:
    http://www.toughbooktalk.com/

    https://www.bobjohnson.com/blog/a-note-on-model-numbers-for-toughbook-nerds/

    From the above somewhat obscure FAQ's:
    For OEM Restore Discs ($35 FedEx)
    http://www.heartlandsi.com/
    Heartlands Services is the US parts supplier for new parts. You have to call them on the phone, try to combine orders as shipping costs are very high.

    Google found this for the 28:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/the-cf-28-f-a-q-read-me-before-posting.210510/
    Google found this for the 29:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/the-cf-29-f-a-q-read-me-before-posting.241106/
    Google found this for the 30:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/the-official-cf-30-thread.264961/
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
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  3. SHEEPMAN!

    SHEEPMAN! Freelance

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  4. SHEEPMAN!

    SHEEPMAN! Freelance

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    Probably a Gobi 1000. This does not do GPS despite the NMEA setting.

    Integrated options shows none but a DVD MAY be in there.

    GPS is doable but may require a corner change on the lid as one option for OEM. There are other ways...like a CF-31 antenna.

    upload_2019-10-19_15-24-44.png
     
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  5. Michael AU

    Michael AU Notebook Guru

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    Have you considered FreeDOS? There is a link to it in my signature. I use it on a CF-29 for a program that requires DOS so that I can tune old General Motors Delco ECUs. It is lightweight and can run from a USB if your machine supports booting to a USB, it is also fully compatible with MS-DOS applications and even gets updated to add more functionality.
     
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  6. SHEEPMAN!

    SHEEPMAN! Freelance

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    Bootable usb is done by installing a tiny PlopLinux bootloader on hdd of the CF-28s.
     
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  7. evenflow153

    evenflow153 Notebook Evangelist

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    CF-28s go up to 137gb. Or at least thats what I have exprencied from a 170gb ish drive. Lucky for you look at the forum postes from 2007-2011 and see a ton of info on the 28s and read up on the CF-30 thread stickyed on the top of the Panasonic forum
     
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