Categories
Portables

Portable Windows 98 Handheld Computer

In May of 2020 I built a portable Windows 98 Handheld Computer using an AMD Geode LX TR2350 motherboard.

I got the idea when I was reading a post about a mini x86 compatible motherboard on toughdev.com, here is the Link: http://www.toughdev.com/content/2015/03/exploring-amd-geode-lx-tr2350-mini-x86-compatible-motherboard/

The board is only 13cm by 17cm big, which is a good size for portablizing. I went to ebay.com and ordered one. It worked great with Windows 98, all my games that didn’t require DirectX worked straight out of the box. Unfortunately, it has no dedicated 3D graphics card integrated, and there is no PCI slot to add one, so I was out of luck with 3D games.

For the monitor I chose a 5 inch 640×480 display I found on aliexpress. It works fine with retro games, but the colors are weird in 320×200 VGA mode, but at least that mode is supported somewhat.

At first I wanted to build a keyboard myself, just like Ben Heck did in his Portable Raspberry Pi Zero did: https://youtu.be/Ko7eNx0zAuI?t=303 Another possibility I wanted to check out was to use a DreamGear Mini Keyboard (https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/mini-keyboards.952/) but ultimately I decided to use an RT-MWK02 wireless USB keyboard. It works fine with Windows 98 as the OS sees it as just a normal USB Keyboard.

Internals of the Handheld
Internals of the Handheld Computer

Here is a full list of the Handheld’s features:

  • TR2350 motherboard (500MHz CPU, 256 MB RAM)
  • 5 inch 4:3 640×480 screen
  • external VGA, Ethernet, Serial, USB and Audio ports
  • PC Speaker as well as stereo speakers
  • power led and low battery indicator led
  • CF hard disk (4GB installed)
  • 36mm total thickness
  • 3000mah @ 7.4V lipo battery (4h battery life)
  • 1A interal lipo charger with charge&play feature

I also made a post about it on sudomod.com: https://sudomod.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9850

If you like the project, please leave a comment below and also check out my other articles as well!

5 replies on “Portable Windows 98 Handheld Computer”

Hi,

This is ToughDev. I am impressed at what you have achieved using this tiny board! I have updated my blog article with the link to your website.

You post revived my interest on this board and I am going to purchase another one to build my own Windows 98 laptop, with 3D-printed casing, built-in floppy drive and maybe even a CD-drive (which can be, for exampled, USB portables hard-wired to the built-in USB ports).

How did you manage to get 12V to the board from a 7.4V LiPo battery? Do you use something like a boost converter with perhaps a voltage regulator to stabilize the output?

For my part, I am thinking to simply use 10xNiMH AA batteries as my knowledge of LiPo is rather limited.

Thanks for the comment!

It has been a while since I finished the project, so I don’t exactly remember all the details. The board runs fine with 7.4V (6V-8.4V from the 2 cells), I did not need a boost regulator. For the charge&play feature I used 2 “ideal diode” boards from aliexpress, which work very well for my application and without any drawbacks.

I like the idea of the Windows 98 laptop, I’m looking forward to read about the build!

Sure, will keep you updated.

Btw, how did you get USB to work with Windows 98? When I tried it, I could not get the Windows 98 to detect the USB chipset so attaching thumbdrives is out of the questions.

The USB mouse/keyboard worked out of the box, Windows 98 installed standard HID drivers by itself. I dont’t quite remember if I ever tried a USB thumbdrive, I just used the CompactFlash card to copy files to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.