Toshiba T4600C 486 Laptop

Toshiba T4600C

Year: 1990
CPU: 486SL 33Mhz
RAM: 20MB (4MB + 16MB RAM card)
Disk: 500MB
Floppy: 1.44MB (broken)
Ports: VGA, PS/2 Mouse & Keyboard, parallel, serial DB9, Dockingstation, 2x PCMCIA

This laptop was a top-of-the-line business machine in 1990!
It has 4MB RAM onboard and an additional 16MB RAM card in a slot on the left side.
Besides the colour display there’s a small LCD to show various system information like battery capacity in %, battery remaining time, disk & floppy activity and bootup error messages. On this very same display I got the error P30 (B3V Voltage is over the maximum allowable limit) and the machine didn’t boot anymore. Read about this issue and how to fix it here.

The laptop was used by an insurance company and had to be very mobile. I got this laptop neatly packed in a Samsonite suitcase, which also includes an HP printer! And everything is already cabled and connected: just plug in the power cord and it’s ready to work, right inside the suitcase!

This Toshiba already includes a security chip: the harddisk is encrypted and cannot be read in another computer (I tried!). It has a BIOS password configured, which is known to me, but I cannot disable the security encryption, as it is in “advanced security mode”. I guess there is a special ‘admin password’ to disable this. There seems to be no way to reset the bootup password, not even with a jumper on the mainboard. The laptop has to be sent in to Toshiba for a reset.

Some nice features and interesting bits:

  • it has a trackball which can be clipped on the right side of the keyboard. Unfortunately the ball is missing in mine.
  • the lid on the PCMCIA slots can be openend in three separate parts. To connect the phone or ethernet cable, just open the small lid. to get full access to slot one, fully open the top lid. to get access to the 32bit slot, take off the big lid (see photos, it’s hard to explain).
  • it has three batteries in total: the big one for the laptop itself, a AA battery for the small LCD and a button cell for the CMOS.
  • the construction seems overly complicated. I removed 45 screws when I did the teardown to fix the P30 error! It’s a damn jigsaw puzzle to put it back together…

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