GRiDCase 1520 DC-DC Converter Repair

While diagnosing a RAM failure in my more sickly GRiDCase 1520 I noticed an unpleasant odour coming from the rear of the machine. Pretty soon it started behaving erraticly, rebooting at random. It's capacitors again — this time in the DC-DC converter module. Time to break out the soldering iron!

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Gridcase 1520 Battery Eject Button

My more beat-up Gridcase 1520 was missing its battery eject button. To get the battery or power supply out I needed to poke a flat-bladed screwdriver into the hole where the button should be. Very inconvenient!

Since I had my other 1520 disassembled I removed the battery eject button to have a look at it. It's shaped like a long, thin 'T' with a step in the middle to keep the button held in place against the rear of the battery compartment. The 'base' of the T is sloped so that when the button is pressed it slides over and depresses the spring-loaded clip that holds the battery in place.

I measured it up and managed to bash together a workable model using OpenSCAD. A friend with a 3D printer very kindly printed a couple for me. It fits almost perfectly!

The OpenSCAD source and STL model are available for download.

Faraday Electronics datasheets found

After trawling through a lot of parts distributors sites I've managed to dig up datasheets for the FE3000A and FE3010B ICs used in the GRiDcase 1520 portable computer. I also found some extra scanned PDFs relating to other Faraday/Western Digital products which seemed like it might be useful, so I've put together a summary of Faraday Electronics chipsets.

I'm still missing datasheets for the FE3020 address buffer and the FE3030 data buffer so if you have any leads on those, please let me know.

Gridcase 1520 CMOS Battery Replacement

Time to look at a Gridcase 1520 portable computer. Not the one that had the power supply failure; this is the cheaper model with the LCD screen instead of the gas plasma display. When it turns on it complains that the real-time clock has stopped and the CMOS configuration is invalid. Time to open it up and replace the CMOS battery!

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Repairing a Gridcase 1520 Power Supply

A few years ago the power supply for my Gridcase 1520 portable computer died. It emitted a cloud of bad-smelling smoke and wouldn't turn on again. I placed it to one side and forgot about it for a few years. Now it's time to get it working again!

The Grid 15xx-series of portable computers use a removable power supply. It's shaped a bit like like a brick with one edge rounded off. Once the power supply is removed it can be replaced with a battery pack and the power supply used as an external charger. I have a couple of battery packs but they are long since dead and will not hold a charge. Maybe I'll open one up one day and see if they're fixable…

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