Donors: Brenda Taylor (Model ZWL-184-97)
Dennis Huntsman and the Idaho Falls Salvation Army (Model
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Like your nice clamshell laptop? Thank Zenith, as they
helped establish this design with a series of laptops.
These machines signal a change away from the CP/M based
luggables to DOS based laptops. Nice big screens replace
the little bitty screens of the luggables. Truly portable
cases replace the sewing machines. 3.5 inch drives
replace 5.25. And batteries come as standard equipment.
Quite an advance over the days of the luggable. These
laptops are XT clones, usually with 640k. Modems were
available as internal add-ons.
This may not strictly fit into
the museum's idea of an obsolete computer, but it is
notable as one of the early "real" laptops. It
uses a 20 Meg ESDI hard drive, 1.44 Meg floppy, 2400 baud
internal factory modem, 640K of RAM, and has a CGA
"color" LCD display. All ports are accessible
via a door in the back.
As it came the hard drive had
been wiped clean so I don't know what software was on it,
but the keyboard layout suggests some type of word
processing. Now it has DOS and WordPerfect 5.1. It
doesn't have any capability to use batteries, instead
needing to be plugged in via the rather large converter
to the right. I have not been able to find any
documentation or any way to access the CMOS, so I've
avoided tinkering on it.
It's fairly light compared to
contemporary machines, but heavy compared to modern
notebooks. The two biggest drawbacks it has are the need
to be plugged in and the "color" display that
shows everything as shades of blue and really only seems
able to show about 16 shades, if that many.
A rather serious design flaw is
that the CGA display is built onto the power supply, so
electrical interference and overheating are problems to