Lydian's FastMHz

Autie retro tech geek!

DIY 486 Laptop Using SBC

This project has one intent: Run Cubic Player with full 16b/44KHz sound in bed, without having to plug in.

Specs are:
AMD 586 (really a 486)
32MB RAM
BATTERY POWERED – 12v@12aH lithium pack
SB AWE64 ISA
120GB SSD
FreeDOS

The laptop is build in a small aluminum case.  I managed to find one that fit everything *just right* – 11 x 8.8 x 2.5 Inches in size.

Most components are secured with 3M VHB double-stick tape.  This is the stuff they use to hold emblems on cars and such, it’s wicked strong.

The SBC is a 4865X86SBCVERG2 half-size ISA card.  It has onboard PCI graphics.  The Dallas clock is socketed.  There are a few of these floating around on eBay for around $500 if you want an exact match, however cheaper 486 SBCs appear time to time.

The monitor is a generic 10″ LCD “Beyi 10.1 inch” I got for around $65 on Amazon.

The batteries are pulled from a pair of Talentcell Rechargeable 6000mAh Li-Ion Battery Packs, in parallel for a combined total of 12v @ 12aH.  I chose to buy portable power banks and rip the cells because they have a convenient lithium BMS built right in.  I kept those BMS circuits with the cells, so I can’t over-discharge or over-charge.

Power is obtained by feeding the batteries into a boost-buck DC-DC converter to ensure a constant 12v even as the battery voltage sags.  This is fed into a 12v-ATX power supply to obtain +12v, -12v and +5v.  This is then fed into a two-slot ISA backplane.

The first time it was powered on.  The only power wires connected so far are to the backplane.  The clothespin holds the remainder of the wires from the ATX plug.

I then installed a genuine SoundBlaster AWE64 audio card, and an IDE-mSATA adapter for the media storage.  I have over a hundred gigs of MOD/S3M/XM/IT files and needed a large drive.

The keyboard is a Cherry Compact Keyboard G84-4100 PS/2, which I plug into the SBC to use.  I want to switch to a wireless PS/2 KB but haven’t found a compact one yet where the PS/2 transmitter is small enough.

I loaded FreeDOS and Cubic Player and some MOD files on a temporary drive.  I installed a battery voltage monitor as well; 9v is a dead battery.

I installed extender cables for PS/2 and audio to be on side of the case, and also installed support hinges so that it can be opened / tilted and stay.

I get around 3-4 hours per charge out of this unit which is a pretty good MOD file listening session in my book!!