The LTE 5000 FAQ

This is my attempt at answering many of the common questions I have been asked in times past about the LTE 5000. This FAQ also covers all LTE 5000-series machines as they are all very similar to one another. If you don't find your question here, please double check to be sure you didn't miss it, and if you still don't find it, please don't hesitate to drop me an e-mail.

Please note: I still have my LTE 5000, but it's no longer the center of my computing activities. I invested in a brand new laptop computer back in March of 2005 and have been using it since. These pages will remain online for as long as I have any control over them--you don't have to worry about them magically disappearing. This just means that updates to this page (and other related LTE 5000 pages on this site) won't be nearly as common as they once were. (Actually, this FAQ and the related pages pretty well stabilized after I wrote them. I haven't done anything other than make basic accuracy and wording changes to things that seemed confusing when I read them later on. I would say that I have also corrected various typing mistakes, but I know there couldn't possibly be any typographical errors in these pages. ;-) )

Please Read At Least Once: A lot of time has gone into the preparation of this FAQ. I've tried to cover everything I've been asked about the LTE 5000 that had a ready answer. While the cost to provide this resource is negligible, it exists nonetheless. Therefore, please do take the time to browse this resource thoroughly before e-mailing me with questions that have answers here. Don't get me wrong--I love reading and responding to emails, especially when I can help, but I don't have enough time at certain points to respond in a timely fashion...and if your question has been answered here, I'd hate to waste your time by being able to give you no better answer than to look here in the FAQ.

DISCLAIMER: All information in this FAQ is as accurate as I can make it. That is to say that the information I found and am providing here worked for me. It may not work for you, and your results may differ from mine depending upon a variety of factors. Information provided here probably isn't the official Compaq/HP answer. If you want that, call their support, but don't expect to get much based on what I've been told by others who called them with questions. I cannot and will not be held responsible for any damage or loss to your LTE 5000, yourself, peripheral devices, or property in relation to your following (or your inability to follow) directions listed here. Anything in this FAQ is to be done at your own risk.
First Time LTE Owner Questions:

Q: I didn't get a power supply! Can I substitute another?

A: This is not recommended...for your own safety and that of the machine. I have gotten away with using another laptop's 19 volt adapter (the LTE uses about 19VDC) but I would highly recommend getting the right AC adapter for your machine, even if it means waiting to get one. They are cheap on eBay, amongst other places.

If you really want to use a different supply, make sure it is rated at a maximum of 19 volts DC with center positive wiring and at least a 2 amp output rating. You may want to check with a meter to be sure the supply doesn't put out too much or too little power despite the label rating. Some power supply manufacturers don't always hold themselves tightly to specificiations. It is also a very good idea to make sure the plug on your supply will fit without damaging the socket on the LTE.

There is at least one other reason why substituting another power supply cannot be recommended. Use of any but the original supply seems to cause some minor problems with the battery charging circuit.

Q: I didn't get any drives! Where can I find new drives?

A: Your best bet is eBay, at least as far as price goes. Compaq parts resellers do exist, but you may well end up paying for a $90 drive in a $20 LTE, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, drives seem to be far more valuable than actual LTE computers. Prices on eBay may be at least $60.

Buy a drive with a guarantee if you can--in my experience drives sold as-is are dead drives.

Q: My drives are dead or worn out! Where can I find new drives?

A: eBay is your best bet, once again. If you have an early LTE, like an LTE 5000, look for parts for later machines as they are usually much better built and will last longer. Drives new in box do appear from time to time and they are worth buying if you can find them.

The floppy drive module is at least theoretically repairable if you have the time and tools. Hard disks are of the standard 2.5" parallel ATA (IDE/EIDE) type and are still readily available today. See the end of this FAQ for more information on this.)

Q: My battery is dead! Where can I get a new one?

A: New batteries are sold by a number of different companies. Doing a Google search should turn up several. You can also find new batteries for sale--usually at greatly reduced prices compared to the retail market--on eBay, but beware. Some sellers are not honest and will sell used batteries as new. Used batteries for sale from anyone are best avoided unless you get a guarantee that the battery works fine.

Interstate Batteries sells new LTE 5000 batteries as well. I do not recommend buying these as neither of mine lasted very long. Personally, I've purchased batteries from The EBC Battery Company with excellent results from their battery. You might also try
1-800-Batteries (not their current name, I know...) as they probably carry an LTE 5000 battery.

Q: What's that long delay at startup? (Or: Why does the machine seem to hang up during POST?)

A: It's a bug in the last BIOS ever released for the LTE line, which happens to be version 07.32 for US machines. Downgrading to an older BIOS can solve the problem if it really bothers you. I'm using 07.20 with no noticeable difference in functionality from 07.32.

Q: What operating systems can I use?

A: Any OS that you'd like to use should work. Windows 95 or 98 are good bets for most machines. You could also run Windows NT, but that is not very notebook friendly. OS/2 may work as well. Windows 2000 would also work with machines that have at least a 133MHz CPU and enough RAM to run it...

Since this FAQ was created, I have heard one report from Paul Brownsea that Linux works very well on the LTE 5000. This report came from a user of Debian 3 Linux. If you have more information on other distros that work, I will post them here and give credit for your submission if desired.

Q: What types of PC Cards can I use in my LTE?

A: Your LTE supports only true PCMCIA cards. It does not support CardBus cards. Most notebooks will prevent you from inserting a Cardbus card where it does not belong, but the LTE will not always do so. Some CardBus cards "fit" and others do not. I do not know what the end result would be, but I'm sure the card wouldn't work and might very well burn something up on the card or the motherboard.

I cannot stress this enough--BE SURE you are only attempting to use TRUE PCMCIA (16 or 8 bit, 5 volt) cards in your LTE. To the best of my knowledge, no true PCMCIA card has the "golden row of lumps" that CardBus cards feature at their plugin points. If your card does, you probably shouldn't be trying to use it in your LTE 5000.

You can use Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 PC cards with the LTE 5000 series.

Be sure when buying PC Cards that you are actually buying PCMCIA cards. Some card vendors don't use the term Cardbus to indicate that they are selling Cardbus cards...they call them PC Cards or PCMCIA cards instead. Watch out for this.

Q: What if the internal fan is dead?

A: By all means fix it! The LTE will downclock (slow down) to protect itself from overheating, but this can only do so much. That fan is there for a reason and a dead one will ruin the system. I haven't been able to locate a direct replacement yet, but you can use one of those little fans made to cool video card heatsinks or simply take a fan from another LTE notebook.

Q: Where can I get replacement parts?

A: The best and most reasonably priced source of LTE parts is another LTE 5000 computer. I've seen lots of them sold without disk drives and batteries at auction, and a machine like this (even if perfectly functional) can be used to donate parts to the LTE you are using. You might also try looking for machines that have (for example) a damaged LCD display as the rest of the computer is usually fine.

If you are willing to pay the big dollar, plenty of companies exist that will happily sell you new or refurbished LTE 5000 parts. This is usually something to do only as a last resort if you can find the part you need no other way.

Q: Is the LTE a reliable computer?

A:I have found thatmy LTE is a computer that keeps on going with little or no need for replacement parts as time goes on. It does exceptionally well considering it is a notebook computer and therefore is exposed to hazards that normal computers don't have to deal with.

Questions Asked When You Get Up And Running:

Q: My machine doesn't have enough hard disk space or RAM. Can I get more?

A: Yes to both questions. Many companies sold larger hard disks as plug-in-and-run kits for the LTE 5000 series. One such manufacturer was Procom with their AtomDrive product line. Memory kits were sold by nearly every major memory vendor and may still be available new. I do not believe that LTE hard disk upgrade kits are still available new, but I could be wrong.

Q: So where can I find a new hard disk (or RAM?) Do I need a special drive (or type of RAM)?

A: You can buy new laptop hard disks from certain computer retailers. I do not have a list. Laptop drives also show up on (you guessed it) eBay from time to time.

The good news is that you can use any standard 2.5" laptop hard disk drive. The LTE hard disk carrier and most aftermarket carriers can be opened nondestructively to reveal a standard drive, which can be removed and replaced with a larger capacity unit.

The LTE 5000 series of notebook computers has a disk size limit of 8GB. You can use disk manager software packages to overcome this limitation, but many drive makers are no longer providing or supporting DOS-based disk manager or "drive overlay" programs. Many of them appear to be under the mistaken impression that nobody would need such a thing in 2007.

RAM for the LTE is of a special type. It does not use standard SODIMMs like some newer laptops do.

Q: How much RAM is supported? How big of a hard drive can I install?

A: For the LTE 5000, you can install up to 74 (72) MB of RAM. For the LTE 5300 and 5400, you can install up to 80MB. (The difference in maximum capacity is caused by the processor cards coming with more onboard soldered RAM in the later LTE models...)

As for hard disks, I have used a 12GB Fujitsu model in my LTE with no problems. It has worked with BIOS releases 07.32 and 07.20. The 07.20 and 07.32 BIOSes will see an 8GB drive with no problems. Anything larger will require the use of a so-called "disk manager" software program, usually available from the drive's manufacturer at no cost to you. However, see the blurb above about obtaining a suitable disk manager. You'll probably want one that can be placed onto a floppy diskette and runs from DOS. Unfortunately, these are getting hard to find in this modern age.

Using a drive that requires a disk manager program for the computer to recognize the entire capacity of the drive may require to you to use an operating system that doesn't try to take over control of the hard disks from the system BIOS. I have had odd issues with computers using disk manager programs and Windows NT or 2000, as these systems do not use the BIOS provided INT13 disk access routines that are patched by a disk manager.
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Copyright 2004-2007 by Walsh Computer Technology. All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce this resource so long as this copyright notice is supplied in its entirely and no charges except reasonable costs for making a copy of this information are allowed. Updated 03/18/2007.