Looking to purchase a used toughbook cf-19 or cf-31!

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by Jester321, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Jester321

    Jester321 Notebook Guru

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    Hey looking to get a toughbook for working in my garage. I will mainly use it for PDFs, youtube videos, VLC, tuning software, and run win 10.

    I want a model with a smart card reader and rubber keyboard. It looks like both cf-19 and cf-31 will support that? Also do both models support dual batteries if I want to go that route?

    So what model and generation would you recommend? Any recommended ebay sellers?
     
  2. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    private conversation started.
     
  3. thewanderlustking

    thewanderlustking Notebook Evangelist

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    Shawn will take good care of you whatever you decide! But let me also toss out a few points since this is EXACTLY how I use mine. And also I have built a small fleet of them being used in the same way.

    First off, what primary tuning software are you using? A lot of them don't work well in W10. I had actually posted up recently that I couldn't even access com port settings, and somebody posted a page showing it. Your luck may vary lol.

    But again a lot of the older tuning softwares are not so easy to use with W10. If your're using Tuner Studio, then any OS should work fine. W10 would work, if you can figure out the port settings.

    A lot of the cheap Chinese fake OEM diagnostic dongles DO NOT work on W10 well, if at all.

    I will also tell you you (probably) do NOT WANT a rubber keyboard. At least not if you actually need to TYPE on it. If you want it for backlight, then the emissive chicklet keyboards for the CF-31s are cheap, but the prices are coming down on the CF-19 ones.

    I can't even effectively tune with the rubber keyboard. And for tuning, if like me you do it at night, you almost have to have a backlit keyboard since you are using arrows and shortcut combos.

    Overall the CF-19s will be cheaper. The CF-31 will have options for dual batteries or DVD drive. The CF-19, doesn't. I have never found it to be an issue though. Grab a second battery maybe? I just leave mine on a dock or charger until ready to roll out.

    If you're in a machine shop with metal chunks flying, then yes go with the rubber keyboard. If you plan on pouring water on it once or twice a day, rubber keyboard. I have used normal keyboards though in automotive environment, ie professional shop, for going on 20yrs now. Most of that time has been with Toughbooks. I do go through some keyboards and in fact tend to keep 1-2 on hand. But maybe one every year or two. Still I keep them on hand as there are about 15 CF-19's I have built and sold to mechanics in this area. I had a CF-31 for sale too, but none of the mechanics wanted it.

    The CF-19 is the machine most often used in the shop environment. It is also the one most often used by the OEM manufacturers for their scan-tool systems.

    I have two CF-19s myself. An antique MK1, and a MK6 I just finished up. The MK1 gets used almost exclusively for tuning and automotive diagnostics with multiple programs in it. The MK6 is supposed to replace it and let me do more internet-y kinds of things. The MK1 sucks on the internet. I have sold about 6 MK5 recently, and most of their owners use them for both diagnostics and as home computers.

    Not sure there is a noticeable enough jump in the MK5 to MK6 speed. I would choose by cost. Right now there are some MK6s going pretty cheaply on eBay, if you can piece the machine together.

    There is zero reason why a CF-31 wouldn't work as well though. It has a bigger footprint, screen, and is heavier. That is most likely why my guys (and it is why I) choose the CF-19.
     
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  4. Jester321

    Jester321 Notebook Guru

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    Mostly I'll use it with tweaking dynojet power commanders I have on my bike.

    It will be used in a garage and some machine/wood working. That's why I am considering the rubber keyboard.

    I was using a tablet with a rugged case on it. But I've been struggling to be able to do anything on it once I start working. From oil, grease, etc.
     
  5. thewanderlustking

    thewanderlustking Notebook Evangelist

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    Well as many of us on here will tell you, typing on he rubber keyboards is near impossble. Even the chicklet backlit ones are a little bit harder than a stadard one.

    I have never had issues with mine, but I also wear gloves. If I need to touch a scan tool or computer, I take them off. The rubber keyboard is very unlikely to survive oil, grease, and other automotive chemicals for long.

    But you can easily find CF-19 wih them fo cheap. DO NOT pay extra premium prices fo one. Some sellers try to pretend it ian upgrade. Do yourself a favor tough, pick up cheap standard keybord too. I rarely pay more han 10-15 for stadard keyboards.
     
  6. Jester321

    Jester321 Notebook Guru

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    Yeah they are definitely not easy lol. I've been using them my whole military career and I am just an okay typer with them. But I just prefer them because it's alot easier to clean stuff out of.

    To confirm the cf-19 and cf-31 both can be swapped to rubber keyboard if I can't find a good deal on one without?

    I saw some eBay listings where they don't come with a hd. Do I need a caddy to install a SSD?
     
  7. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    Yes you can swap keyboards on CF 19's and CF 31's. 15 minute job usually.

    Yes you must have a caddy to install a hard drive or SSD.
    That's why many of the Ebay ones are cheaper. They are not complete.
     
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  8. Jester321

    Jester321 Notebook Guru

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    Thanks!
     
  9. thewanderlustking

    thewanderlustking Notebook Evangelist

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    The connection between the caddy and the computer is an odd (likely) proprietary one. There is a cable between that connector and the drive, with the drive end being a standard SATA connector. The caddy is the holder to align the proprietary connectors.

    The cables can be found separately from the caddy, but beware of the Chinese knock offs. It isn't worth the hassle to try to pull off.

    I have run these from thumb drives with Linux installs on more than one occasion.

    The reason you see so many missing the caddy, is it takes about 4 seconds to pull the whole thing out. To get the drive out of the caddy, it takes MUCH longer maybe 2-3 minutes. If you'er a recycler tasked with destroying the drives and selling the laptops, they simply can't justify the additional time. Especially when that time is multiplied by 50 or more.

    On one hand it sucks. But on the other it helps guys like us get these machines cheap when we would never have a couple grand sitting aside we could or would spend on a laptop.
     
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  10. Jester321

    Jester321 Notebook Guru

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    Hey picked up a CF-19 today!

    Its in pretty good shape, they said its a mk7. I wasnt able to find any info on that, so really just seems to be a mk6 to me.

    I was looking through the wiki and it doesnt seem to have any info on what all the options this one has. Could you help me out on what it all means? Its a model CF-191HYAV1M.

    Also has a tag for the 4g verizon sim card. Is that still usable?

    The place I bought it from was a non-profit and got a few cf-19s as donations from a local police department. They put in a 180gb ssd, 8gb of ram and installed Mint on it. Only issue I could find with it was a gouge in the factory screen protector, but screen underneath looks good! I got it all for $212! How did I do?!
     
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