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qmacpoint
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Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:19 pm

Heya guys!

I got myself a neat project a while back and I've been working a bit diligently restoring an IBM ThinkPad 380XD and a Logitech MX510!
Pic of the setup: https://imgur.com/a/ZqOX4Rj

I've already installed an SSD on the laptop and cleaned the gunk on the mouse so it works, and both work flawlessly, so now I'm focusing on restoring the cosmetic aspect of both and could use some help:
  • ThinkPad: The finish in the keyboard rest was scuffed and damaged with gunk beyond repair, so I used WD40 to remove the gunk, and now I'm working hard to remove the finish from the rest - There's a regular plastic layer that looks way better than the top finish nowadays but it's taking me a long time to remove. Do you know or have dealt with anything like this? Any tips to do this faster? I'm using cleaning wipes at the moment for this.
  • MX510: The sides already went shiny (as it is common with mice from that era/style) and there are lots of surface scuffs on the sides. Do you know if there is any solution that can smooth out these scuffs? I was thinking on using acetone and wiping it really fast, but I'm quite scared of doing this haha!

Any tips are appreciated!
 
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:48 pm

I would not risk the acetone unless you have another non-functional mouse of the same model available to test it on first.
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Waco
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:07 am

Acetone on plastic is a great way to ruin the base structure. Brillo pads might be your best bet.
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:24 am

Progressively finer grits of steel wool or sandpaper could do the trick also. I also wouldn't try to use acetone or some kind of solvent. It'd probably be really hard to get any kind of uniform finish that way. Easier just to abrade the surface until those scuffs go away.
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:01 am

Don't use Acetone. It will quickly break down the type of plastic used for your mouse. To take some of the scuffs away, you can try high grit sandpaper (2000 grit). It will produce a brushed satin type effect. Can be helpful to smooth out any bumps. If you have some around, just test it on a throwaway bit of plastic to see.
 
qmacpoint
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:08 pm

oh I was thinking on using acetone fumes (i.e. pouring acetone in a sealed container and let the fumes melt the plastic) but I was thinking that could also damage the screw threading and other things. I'll go with a 2000 grit sandpaper for the mouse in that case. Do you have any tips for the 380XD? Thinking I'll just rely on elbow grease for that one...
 
mikewinddale
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:08 pm

I'm really curious: how did you get an SSD in that laptop? The ThinkPad 380 is from 1997, so Pentium II era. So it must have Parallel ATA/66, right? How did you get an SSD to work with the PATA interface?

Online, I can find some PATA/IDE-SATA adapters, but I'm surprised you were able to fit it in the laptop's drive bay.

Also, a laptop in 1997 would probably have had some BIOS limitations regarding addressable space. I think a lot of BIOSes at the time were limited to 8.7 GB. I'm really surprised that a new SSD would work in a 1997 laptop. Please give us some details!
 
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:39 pm

mikewinddale wrote:
I'm really curious: how did you get an SSD in that laptop? The ThinkPad 380 is from 1997, so Pentium II era. So it must have Parallel ATA/66, right? How did you get an SSD to work with the PATA interface?

Online, I can find some PATA/IDE-SATA adapters, but I'm surprised you were able to fit it in the laptop's drive bay.

Also, a laptop in 1997 would probably have had some BIOS limitations regarding addressable space. I think a lot of BIOSes at the time were limited to 8.7 GB. I'm really surprised that a new SSD would work in a 1997 laptop. Please give us some details!

A SATA->PATA adapter should work, provided he uses a small enough drive (as you mentioned), and the adapter plays nice with old systems. I got an old Pentium Classic 166 system up and running last year using a Compactflash->PATA adapter and a 16GB card. It was a piece of cake, and I really didn't have to do anything......though I think I remember reading that Compactflash is just a straight 1:1 conversion to PATA without the need of a translator chip.

If I ever mess with any really old systems again in the future, I'll be using Compactflash again for sure. Not worth the aggravation of messing with such old mechanical HDDs.
 
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:51 pm

mikewinddale wrote:
I'm really curious: how did you get an SSD in that laptop? The ThinkPad 380 is from 1997, so Pentium II era. So it must have Parallel ATA/66, right? How did you get an SSD to work with the PATA interface?

Online, I can find some PATA/IDE-SATA adapters, but I'm surprised you were able to fit it in the laptop's drive bay.

Also, a laptop in 1997 would probably have had some BIOS limitations regarding addressable space. I think a lot of BIOSes at the time were limited to 8.7 GB. I'm really surprised that a new SSD would work in a 1997 laptop. Please give us some details!

You are correct on the BIOS limitation - I did not know about this as I upgraded from a 486 to a Pentium III with a healthy 20 GBs back in the day and completely skipped this limitation. I just found about it and I'm trying to see if there's anything to do with this machine, which doesn't look likely, but given that this is a Pentium I and is running Windows 98 at best, I think I'll keep it for a DOS, low-end games, so I'm not too worried.

The adapter I used was a MSATA to PSATA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01N5D2N0W/ and I got the cheapest M2 SATA SSD I could find (because I ain't buying high-end stuff for storage on this little guy). I had to directly connect the PCB to the connector inside the laptop as the case was too big and was at an offset, it did not let me connect the entire thing. I had to go this route as I was dealing with a laptop, otherwise I would've gone with a bracket mounted adapter (for Compact-Flash, SD cards, etc.)
 
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:36 am

Oh, okay, I didn't realize that mSATA-to-PATA adapters existed. Cool! Now that you mention it, it makes sense, but I just didn't think of it.

I was imagining you using one of these kinds of adapters, and I couldn't figure out how you did it in a laptop: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=sata+to+pata&ref=nb_sb_noss_2.

So cool, now I know mSATA-to-PATA adapters exist. Thanks!

And to the other poster above, I didn't realize CompactFlash was just PATA, so that's good to know too - just replace an old mechanical HDD with CF. Thanks!

I don't have any old computers with PATA lying around, but this is all good to know.
 
qmacpoint
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:06 am

mikewinddale wrote:
And to the other poster above, I didn't realize CompactFlash was just PATA, so that's good to know too - just replace an old mechanical HDD with CF. Thanks!

CF is not quite PATA or IDE (I forgot which), but it's missing some instructions or something along those lines... what did get my attention was that apparently very intensive write activities such as having a cache will wear down those cards easily (such as running Windows 9x, OS/2, etc.) so that's why I went with an SSD for this. Some reference material:
https://www.daniel-boehmer.de/thinkpad-cf/
https://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/CompactFlash_boot_drive
 
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:49 am

qmacpoint wrote:
mikewinddale wrote:
And to the other poster above, I didn't realize CompactFlash was just PATA, so that's good to know too - just replace an old mechanical HDD with CF. Thanks!

CF is not quite PATA or IDE (I forgot which), but it's missing some instructions or something along those lines... what did get my attention was that apparently very intensive write activities such as having a cache will wear down those cards easily (such as running Windows 9x, OS/2, etc.) so that's why I went with an SSD for this. Some reference material:
https://www.daniel-boehmer.de/thinkpad-cf/
https://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/CompactFlash_boot_drive

I've successfully run old (Socket 754) Athlon systems from CF cards plugged into a PATA port. I've also worked on projects where a single-board computer (Celeron-based x86) ran Linux directly from a CF card connected to the PATA port. So whatever bits of the protocol may be missing (if any) apparently aren't important ones for typical use cases.

Write performance and flash wear are definitely concerns though.

Edit: The adapter I used was very similar to this one: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id= ... 3cQAvD_BwE - Plugs directly into the PATA port, and other than a few status LEDs and a floppy-style power connector to power the CF card there aren't any chips on there that could be doing any sort of protocol conversion.
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qmacpoint
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:02 pm

I've tried an XP install disk and I can see the full 64 GB now, but I don't have any reasonable tool that will run in this old computer to create a long FAT32 (old Gparted tools won't start even) think I will use a Windows ME setup disk to create the partitions and then move to 98 (because I want that MS-DOS full support - ME is just fine)
 
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:34 pm

If it's still squirrely about seeing the entire drive, you could try to dig up an old copy of OnTrack Disk Manager or EZ-Drive. Those were commonly used to install bigger drives in older computers.
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qmacpoint
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:49 pm

bthylafh wrote:
If it's still squirrely about seeing the entire drive, you could try to dig up an old copy of OnTrack Disk Manager or EZ-Drive. Those were commonly used to install bigger drives in older computers.

Well yeah that did the trick, with OnTrack (https://www.philscomputerlab.com/ontrac ... nager.html) I can see all the drive! Wasted two CDs with gparted when I could've reused a floppy, oh welp. Thank you very much!
 
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:56 pm

Glad that led you to the right place. It's been /ages/ since I used that program - on a 1-gigabyte hard drive plugged into an old Packard Bell 486, whose BIOS topped out at a bit north of 500 megs.
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Re: Help restoring and old-a** PC and mouse!

Sun May 12, 2019 9:10 pm

Waco wrote:
Acetone on plastic is a great way to ruin the base structure. Brillo pads might be your best bet.


Agreed. Acetone's bad.

I'd try Goo Gone in most cases. It's what I use to get sticker residue off laptop and workstation plastics and metals.
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