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Got to love the county surplus auction.


Automan2164
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Just picked up something for the garage at the local county surplus:

 

 

Panasonic CF-28 Toughbook.

800 Mhz Pentium III

30 GB HD

248 MB ram

Windows XP pro

Dual battery capable

 

Not much there, but it has the backlit keys for night, a special display thats readable in full sunlight, its shock resistant, in a magniesium case, supposedly water-spray proof... Etc. I picked it up for $50. Had a password, but I just typed in the computer sign in name, and that worked. Now I just have to go through it, and clean it up. It only came with a power cord, so I don't have anything to do a complete from scratch deal. I plan on using it in the garage for alldata stuff, and CC on the spot. I would like to get the wifi antenna that goes on the top (anyone know whats involved to install one?) and get the GPS that can go on the side (again anyone have knowlege?). That way I can have the GPS for road trips with microsoft streets and trips, and use the wifi where I can.

 

And, for $50, if I do trash it, its only $50.

Rob L.

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I have all kinds of field experience using that exact model. We had a number of CF-28's while I was in Iraq back in 2003. They are decent laptops and are TOUGH but they are so well built & enlosed they don't operate well in hot environments. (Go ahead and throw it on the ground, :brows: j/k)They aren't ventilated very well and overheat pretty quickly in 90+ weather. We didn't use Wi-fi so I don't know what to tell you there. For $50 you got a heck of a deal.

 

Personally, I'd remove Windows XP since that laptop was designed to work on Windows 2000. 800mhz and 248mb of ram is pretty low specs for running XP. If you are going to intall any type of mapping software I would definately upgrade the RAM, 1GB would be preferrable. If you decide to buy an aftermarket Wi-fi card, go with a PCMCIA version. USB version will do nothing but suck what little cpu power you have on that.

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I agree with wallisek on the RAM and the PCMCIA card. I would keep the XP though. Mostly for the software support that is out there. 800Mhz is fairly low, but unless you are doing a lot of video stuff or games, you should be fine. Just be sure what the max RAM capacity is for the motherboard. Usually 1 Gig is max, even if there are two RAM slots. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to just throw another 256 stick in there if it has one stick and there is an open slot. XP usually runs just fine with 512. A 256 stick off e-bay is usually stupid cheap.

Same with PCMCIA cards. I just had two new in package D-Link 108G cards on e-bay for $10 plus shipping and only one sold. I use the same exact card in one of my laptops, and it has better range than any of my other laptops with built in cards. I doubt that unit has an excess of USB slots anyhow.

Those laptops are stupid expensive new.

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Xp is fine on that box, for the uses you have in mind. I'm running Xp Pro on a Dell desktop with a 1 GHz CPU and 512MB (the max the motherboard will recognize) and I have no problems. But I'm not into games. My wife's desktop was a similar Dell Dimension with a 600 MHz CPU and 768 MB of RAM. Again, no problems ... until a virus she downloaded took out the boot information. I got her a notebook to replace it, but I'll reformat the desktop's hard drive and use it as a spare machine, perhaps in the basement workshop.

 

You got a steal of a deal.

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As for the wireless, I would like to go this route:

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/Panasonic-Toughbook ... 286.c0.m14

 

They came with wireless with an antenna that used the top corner of the laptop(I have the rubber plug in mine) I would like to try and use all of the Toughbook stuff and keep it durable, and simple(right?)

 

Also I think there is an internal GPS available for the toughbooks, but I can't seem to find one.

 

Basically, what I am going for is a one laptop does it all, with no external cards, usb items or what not...

 

Any more ideas guys? I am somewhat computer savvy, but this more in-depth stuff is over my head.

Thanks, Rob L.

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If you can get that wireless card off of ebay (the one you linked) that would be a good setup. Cisco doesn't make cheap products.

 

Based on what it says there wallisek, or anyone else, think I would be able to do that on my own? The way he words it, it make it sound like a daunting task to install everything and program it to work. I don't have a problem installing the hardware, but the programming is another story.

 

Thanks

Rob L.

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There won't be any programming unless you are talking about the configuration. (tcip/ip settings, channel, name, security settings, etc..)

 

If you aren't comfortable taking the laptop apart to make the ebay kit work, I'd just look at an aftermarket card with a small or internal antenna. Something like below

 

http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/products/WPC54G

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Thanks. Yeah, I think I am going to just buy that card and antenna as long as it doesn't get to outrageous. Is there a way to wipe the computers slate clean? Not having access to anything with out a admin password. I would like to just do a re-boot, and have nothing but windows.

 

Rob L.

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So far, I have been relying on this site for help:

 

http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=210510

 

They have a write up on HD swaps too:

 

http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=188522

 

I am finding that this Toughbook looses a lot of similaities with other notebooks. The rugged components add another level of complication. :ack: Like where I read about the HD swap and the GEL encasement that surrounds the HD. That all has to be swapped onto the new HD.

 

Ugh. Why can't this just be simple? :roll:

Rob L. :dunce:

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Swapping the hard drive is actually fairly easy. It isn't complicated at all and any 2.5" IDE drive will work. I agree with you about wiping everything and starting new. Assuming the copy of Windows XP is a legit legal copy, you can re-use the serial / cd key to re-install a new copy. Either buy a "cd only" copy of Windows XP [home / pro] (which ever version you have), or download a copy. You can retrieve your existing serial / cd-key by using the software below.

 

http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/

 

Again, this is assuming the existing copy is legit. If not, you might be better off (legally) to purchase a retail copy, or go with a free opensource OS like linux. Probably more than you want to deal with. :D

 

:thumbsup:

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Just found out I can do one better! When I got to work (I work for a public works dept), I talked to the seregent on duty about the toughbook. He tried bypassing it while sitting here, and I mentioned just calling the town where it came from and asking for the Admin acess stuff. He said he knew some people at the PD. So he called over, and got to the IT guy. Turns out he was coming into our area of the county today anyway, and is going to bring all the disks he needs to wipe the slate clean for me! What a deal! Now all I have to do is get a hold of that wireless card off of ebay and I will be a made man!

 

Man I love being connected with public works. :banana:

Rob L. :D

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