Robohub.org
 

Toughbook: The super rugged laptop teardown

by
25 March 2015



share this:

In this post I tear down a Panasonic Toughbook CF-18 to see just what makes these computers so rugged. Keep reading for details, or scan through for pictures (you can click an image for the larger version).

toughbook_full
toughbook_rotated

Swivel touchscreen top. Can swivel 180degrees in the clockwise direction. Lock button for the screen is at the base of the swivel.

The computer weighs 4lb 10.8 oz and feels as solid as a brick. The entire case and most of the internals are made from metal, which makes for a very strong laptop that feels like it can be abused. The designers were nice enough to leave the screws exposed for easy maintenance, repair, and teardowns. Gotta love it! The bottom of the laptop claims that there are dangerous voltages inside and no user-serviceable parts.

toughbook_warning

Uh Oh… We better not open this!

Using the laptop can be a bit difficult at first. The keyboard is small (9.2 x 4.2 inches) and can be hard to type with. It requires a good amount of force to type (somewhat more than a standard laptop), which I found pleasing. Also, the mouse is not the most responsive and has a small touch area (2 x 1.5 inches). The touchscreen is really nice for the era and helps to compensate for the mouse.

The display on the monitor was pretty good. It had even back-lighting and sufficient power.

toughbook_front
The front panel has a metal lock that holds the lid shut. This is a two-part lock that will keep the lid closed nicely. On the left is a strong slide switch for power with a few soft buttons on the right for contrast, locks, etc..

toughbook_left_side
The left side has a majority of the connectors. It has the power, USB, modem, ethernet, and the PC-CARD slots. Each port is covered by a rubber sealing cover, to help keep dust and water out. The stylus for the touchscreen slides into the bottom part of the screen.

toughbook_right_side
The right side has both the battery and the hard drive. In order to open those slots you need to move the switch over and then down in two separate motions … really strong. All of these covers (also on other sides) are screwed down to the metal bottom frame.

toughbook_battery_HD

Hard drive and battery removed from slots.

The battery is a Li-ion 7.4V 7.65Ah from Matsushita Electric in Japan.

toughbook_back

Note the strap and the clip on the right to open the strap. Nice!

The back of the laptop has speaker, microphone, VGA, serial (RS-232), and a lock port. In addition, there is a strap running across the back that can be used as a carrying handle.

The bottom of the laptop has a large panel that can be removed to get into the laptop, a docking port, as well as the speaker on its own plate.

I was wondering where the RAM was hidden since I thought that it would be considered a serviceable item. I found it under the speaker. After removing the speaker mounting plate there was a 256MB DDR PC-2700 333MHz RAM (with a label that says “FOR PANASONIC”). The speaker panel is sealed with 4 screws and some sticky foam. There is what looks like a thermal gap pad between the RAM chips and the metal of the speaker mount, possibly to help thermal dissipation. At first I was surprised to see standard crappy metal clips holding the RAM modules in, but then I saw a curved piece of metal on the speaker plate that coupled with the gap pad make sure the RAM module cannot move.

toughbook_RAM

RAM inside the speaker compartment.

Finally to get into the computer’s bottom I had to open 17 screws (4 of them on the speaker module). The screws all had traces of locktite on them, making it difficult to open. My fingers were really hurting after opening the first few screws. Opening the bottom plate caused the “Warranty Void” sticker in the battery compartment between the bottom and the case to come loose.

toughbook_inside

The cover is finally open.

toughbook_in_slots

Showing how battery and hard drive slide in.

I was not able to non-destructively open the top since I could not get the screws loose. Sorry about that. :(

Doing a youtube search for toughbook torture yields some nice videos.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. If you have any field experience with the Toughbooks or have a question, please leave comments below.



tags: ,


Robots for Roboticists David Kohanbash is a Robotics Engineer in Pittsburgh, PA in the United States. He loves building, playing and working with Robots.
Robots for Roboticists David Kohanbash is a Robotics Engineer in Pittsburgh, PA in the United States. He loves building, playing and working with Robots.





Related posts :



Meet the Oystamaran

Working directly with oyster farmers, MIT students are developing a robot that can flip heavy, floating bags of oysters, helping the shellfish to grow and stay healthy.
08 December 2021, by

Exploring ROS2 with a wheeled robot – #4 – Obstacle avoidance

In this post you’ll learn how to program a robot to avoid obstacles using ROS2 and C++. Up to the end of the post, the Dolly robot moves autonomously in a scene with many obstacles, simulated using Gazebo 11.
06 December 2021, by

Team builds first living robots that can reproduce

AI-designed Xenobots reveal entirely new form of biological self-replication—promising for regenerative medicine.
02 December 2021, by

Exploring ROS2 using wheeled Robot – #3 – Moving the robot

In this post you’ll learn how to publish to a ROS2 topic using ROS2 C++. We are moving the robot Dolly robot, simulated using Gazebo 11.
30 November 2021, by

An inventory of robotics roadmaps to better inform policy and investment

Silicon Valley Robotics in partnership with the Industrial Activities Board of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, is compiling an up to date resource list of various robotics, AIS and AI roadmaps, national or otherwise.
29 November 2021, by

Robots can be companions, caregivers, collaborators — and social influencers

People are hardwired to respond socially to technology that presents itself as even vaguely social. While this may sound like the beginnings of a Black Mirror episode, this tendency is precisely what allows us to enjoy social interactions with robots and place them in caregiver, collaborator or companion roles.
26 November 2021, by





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association