Complete Atari Portfolio disassembling and repairing

23 04 2019

So I had a Portfolio since years and unfortunately it suffered batteries leakage and would not start at all after that. Since the case was still in pretty good shape I decided I could try and figure out if I could repair it.

There are some good articles on how to (partially) disassemble this palmtop, best I could find are

  • The incomplete Atari Portfolio disassembly guide here,
  • Broken Atari Portfolio HPC-006 Repaired here.

Following both I found out that not only the keyboard circuit was damaged but also that the ribbon connecting the screen (and the speaker) to the motherboard showed cracks. I could have tried to save the ribbon and solder bridges of copper on it (as in the second article) but I did not feel this would last long. Besides, my sodering skills are far from epic. Instead, I searched on the well known auction site to find a unit with a working screen. The general state of the thing was a disaster (keyboard dirty, case missing the locks…) but I did not care. I just wanted to swap the screens and the keyboard circuits. Here’s how.

First thing was to decouple the screen from the keyboard. First article above gives all the necessary steps, follow them carefully. One thing though: before removing all the silver screws from the metal shield (also those holding the three black cables and the metal plate)… make sure to mark the direction of each black cable!

Next you need to remove the plastic shield protecting the screen. To do this, gently insert a knife blade starting from the top right corner (hint: swiss army knife works great). The shield’s fabric is pretty thick and can yet bend a little. Proceed with caution but you should be fine. Under the shield you will find two black screws keeping the case secured. Remove them and then open the case.

With the case opened you can unscrew the four iron screw holding the screen to the case in each of the four corners. An the screen comes smoothly out of the case ! To be fair, the second article has been pretty useful, kudos to the author.

Finally I had all elements available (check the first picture on top of this post :)) and I could play “lego” a little bit. After several attempts (and a few hard resets), the result is as I intended it to be… a working Atari Portfolio. Now I just need to find out what to run on it…!



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