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Go Back   BHM Forum > Self-Reliance & Preparedness > Communications/Computers/Software

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Communications/Computers/Software Ask questions and offer help on anything to do with electronic communication, computing, or related areas.

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  #1  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:29 AM
sethwyo sethwyo is online now
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Default Used Panasonic toughbook

i got an old panasonic toughbook, i think it was used by some police department untill it was dead then sold as scrap at a government auction.

i got it because it is very resistant to water, dust, mud and shock, it has a carry handle on it & some police demos showed how they could use it by holding it by the handle & beat people with it & the computer suffered no damage continuing to work. however it was never intended for use as a recreational toy as most computers are used for.

i want to put another computer inside of it, a new graphics card, Disk drive & hard drive so i can play & burn DVDs & other CD's, & also a wifi card to surf the web for sites like the BackWoodsHome form.

anyone have any advise or info for this project ?
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:59 AM
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DavidOH Male DavidOH is offline
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Talking Laptop assult weapon

I'll have to dig though my geek files for that one.....

I read some things on them a while back. Loved the design but way out of my price range. The specs were the same (or less) but would hold up to everything including a Hummer running over it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Dwbs...eature=related
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2012, 03:30 AM
sethwyo sethwyo is online now
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As for the price goes, i watched some go for 20 bucks. pretty well gutted out, No power cords, batterys, disk drives, hard drives.

but all those things can be had fairly cheap New. depending on what you want to get for brand name and quality the hardware is from a hundred on up to not much more. OP systems can be downloaded for free online.

i bought a new cd/dvd/ player/burner for $15, hard drives are 75. things are a lot cheaper than they wore a few years ago.

mabey some of those survivalist weirdos would be interisted in using these to defete the NWO with ad hok networks.
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2012, 10:08 AM
whitehairedidiot Female whitehairedidiot is offline
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Somewhere there is a serial number number on it. Look it up on Panasonic's site. See if it's still supported... print out what the specs are for this device.

You'll need this as a reference, for selecting appropriate components for rebuilding. Oh.... and for techie things... I'm a big fan of a website called "Newegg". Very professional folks there.

www.newegg.com
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2012, 12:53 PM
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DavidOH Male DavidOH is offline
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Thumbs up Piece man!

Might not be a bad idea rebuilding one of those. I have never fooled with laptops .....yet.
I was referring to the geek build it/modify if forums.

NewEgg is CERTAINLY at the top of my list for parts.
If I were to do something like that I'd check the Panasonic website for old pdf files with the diagrams, parts list, and all specs on the Toughbooks.
http://www.panasonic.com/business/to...ad-manuals.asp

Then look through Newegg for a new motherboard to fit.
A cheap case might make that worth doing.
A solid State Drive (SSD) is the way to go for something designed to keep running through hard knocks.

I'm on a slow computer now, so I'm not jumping into the research that I love to do.


...btw I've been to lots of state auctions where they have had those but they don't go cheap.
You'd often have to buy a skid load of them, or ask the buyer to sell you 1 or 2.

Last edited by DavidOH; 11-26-2012 at 12:59 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2012, 01:14 PM
whitehairedidiot Female whitehairedidiot is offline
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I ran across these, teaching a systems design/development project to create a $100 laptop. I definitely thought the shock-absorbing case and other elements were worth incorporating in the design. Prices have come down a little on these. Not as much as would make them practical for bouncing along in a tractor - or something like that! LOL...

I've not ventured much inside the cases - since my mac server in '99 - so I'm not going to be much help. But I did want to make a reference to newegg - they're not overly well known outside the techie/gamer world.
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  #7  
Old 11-26-2012, 07:37 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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Been inside a few laptops. My company always keeps the previous generation for spares or employees buy them. By then, they're out of warranty so I end up fixing a lot for coworkers.

The biggest enemy of laptops, besides dropping them , is heat. You're going to need to figure out how the donor laptop case dealt with that. Many, if not most, have some sort of liquid heat transfer device that pulls the heat off the processor and dumps it out the back with a system-controlled fan. That's generally easy enough to deal with, but pay particular attention on how the donor machine let the air into the case that the fan blows out. The airflow path may be necessary to duplicate in order to ensure adequate cooling of other components.

We buy a lot of Dell machines. I like them, but their laptops have an extra wire in the power supply connector that is used to detect the wattage of the power supply. When it works, it's great, but their machines are notorious for having issues. Sometimes a BIOS update will fix it, often there's an electronic or mechanical problem (poor solder joints usually) that are difficult to trace. And, of course, you need a Dell power supply and usually Dell batteries (although some Chinese clones adequately fake the machine into believing they are OEM equipment).

The only other issue I can think of is mounting of components. In a lot of machines, components are removable and the mounting assembly is pretty integral with the case. You may have to permanently mount otherwise removable items or otherwise work around that.
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2012, 09:51 PM
grumble Male grumble is offline
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The worst problem I have inside a laptop is unplugging the ribbon connectors. After a couple years, they seem to glue together, and taking them apart tears a couple pins.
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2012, 11:48 PM
macgeoghagen macgeoghagen is offline
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I use panasonic toughbooks all the time, both for work and for hobby. They are pretty good quality. most of them go to govt. auction because the battery will no longer hold a charge. They usually either remove or wipe the hard drive and lose the power adapter. Which model do you have? The model number usually begins with CF-##
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2013, 01:21 AM
btown319 btown319 is offline
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(edit: Gee, I didn't realize until I posted how badly I necro'd this thread... sorry)

I work with toughbooks all the time, used by local law enforcement. They have unparalleled durability, but are also astronomically expensive, chronically underpowered, and completely proprietary.

I hate to be negative, because they are great at what they do: but you will not find an aftermarket motherboard for these. Anywhere. Even different models of toughbook mobos and parts are not compatible with each other. Consequently, there is no way to cost-effective way upgrade these things.

There is some after-market value for certain toughbook parts on ebay, if your unit is in good condition. But if what you want to do is to resurrect a CF-72 or a CF-28, forget it. These things don't have enough power to run a current operating system except for puppy linux, and you'll pay extortative prices for spare parts including batteries.

Get an IBM thinkpad T43, T61, or T400 instead if you want a good rugged (for a consumer grade product) bargain basement computer. Max it out with ram and put an ssd in it.
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  #11  
Old 02-20-2013, 03:18 AM
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Well, I have had a CF - W4 for a very long time and last month it burnt out the back light on the monitor. Anyone know where I can source one of these.

I like the machine and use it in a dirty, wet, dry windy environment. So far the batery is holding a charge for as long as I need it to get the job done.
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2013, 02:49 PM
btown319 btown319 is offline
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Order lamps for all laptops off ebay. Careful - it's thin as a pencil lead.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw...+lamp&_sacat=0

http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-1-Wide-LC...item4845db44a3

Hardest part is taking the darn thing apart. You'll want a set of jeweler's screwdrivers if you don't already have some. Panasonic toughbook service manuals are limited distribution, but you can find them if you look hard enough It might not be exactly the same subtype but they are similar within major models. Save the pdf locally, you don't know if it will be there tomorrow.

http://tim.id.au/laptops/panasonic/

http://tim.id.au/laptops/panasonic/CF-W4HWEZZBM.pdf
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  #13  
Old 02-22-2013, 02:53 AM
Dame Dame is offline
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Thank you, I have asked the local IT to order the part. UBS cannot find us out here and I would like someone with much younger eyes to do the actual work.
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  #14  
Old 02-22-2013, 09:12 PM
btown319 btown319 is offline
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Right on, happy to help.
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  #15  
Old 02-23-2013, 01:36 PM
sethwyo sethwyo is online now
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i have not got a working computer out of the project, not yet. But i have However gotten a lot of knowledge about computers.
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