CREEPINGNET'S WORLD
THE NEC 1ST GEN VERSA PAGE

(UltraLite) Versa (1st Gen)


My personal favorite laptop computer from the early 1990's is the NEC (Ultralite) Versa. These were "notebook" laptop computers released by NEC in 1993, and produced until 1996. All but one model was based on various versions of the intel 486 microprocessor (the P/75 being the Pentium based model). They came (generally) standard with 640x480p color screens that could be hot-swapped and/or removed while in operation, and even certain models had touch screens in color or monoochrome that could be flipped over and used as an early form of convertible laptop/tablet combo like the Lenovo Yoga and Microsoft Surface - a full 20 years before Windows 8! The later M and P series introduced smart batteries and sound into the mix (WSS on the M, and SoundBlaster compatible on the P).
NEC Versa History
NEC Corporation is the "Japanese IBM". They were well known in Japan for their electronics, particularly the NEC PC-98 series of computers which were sysnonymous with our x86 IBM Compatibles in America (and shared some hardware similarities as well).

Ultralite (1988, left) - The Versa series began with the NEC Ultralite. In 1988 NEC's commuincations division was develping a PABX terminal (Analog Phone System) for PABX technicians to use while hanging from telephone poles on the job. Someone from the PC division saw this and asked if could be converted to run MS-DOS. The PC division of course gave it a shot and the resulting was the highly influential (but also not that well selling and very expensive) NEC Ultralite, an 8086 based IBM Compatible "notebook" PC that ran for 8 hours on a single charge, and had a monochrome screen (backlit!!), 84 key keyboard, and stored data on battery-backed solid state storage in the form of 1 or 2MB cards proprietary to the Ultralite - making it technically the first laptop computer to use an SSD - in 1988!! The PC itself was only 4.4LBS and had it's length and width dimensions roughly the same as an A4 piece of paper.

Ultralite 286/SL/SX (1991-1993, right) - NEC Continued to innovate of the next several years with new versions of the Ultralite, start with the 286V and 286P in 1990, continuing on to the SL and SX series in 1991-1992, which included several innovative "notebooks" such as the NEC Ultralite SL/25P which offered pen support in a laptop, among one of the first, and the Ulralite SL/20C which offered an active matrix color display when DTSN monochrome was still the common standard for portables.

Ultralite Versa (1993-1994, left) - In 1993, NEC released their next model, the Ultralite Versa starting the transition to the VERSA brand for their notebook PC's. The Ultralite Versa was a strong contender at the time, with the fastest graphics performance due to using VESA Local Bus Circuitry inside the laptop standard for it's video. Versa also referred to "versitility" in that these laptops were largely tool-less and could be upgraded/modified by the user using various modules including user-replaceable screen assemblies - which could also be flipped for presentations (a placeholder for the later convertible tablet pioneer versions with touch that came up with the later "E" Series Versa), user replaceable "VersaPak" HDD which were just standard 2.5" IDE drives mounted into a special caddy w ith a handle like a miniature Mobile rack. PCMCIA style memory upgrade cards allowing initially for up to 20MB of RAM (40MB on the later M/P models), a hot-swappable floppy diskette drive that could be exchanged with a second battery for as long as 7 hours (color) or 8 hours (mono) of battery life. The only consumer complaints were the giant PSU that was the size of an actual brick, and the lack of a built-in trackball (addressed by providing a Microsoft Ballpoint "Mouse" Trackball that clipped to the edge of the keyboard on these early models as a purchase-time option). These original Ulralites used a 486 DX SL CPU in 20/25/33MHz.

NCR, AT&T, and NEC DemystifiedM - Also around the same time, National Cash Register (NCR) was sold to AT&T Communications and needed a higher-end model than their rebadged Samsung Notemaster models to rebadge for their top-tier portables. So they chose the NEC Ultralite Versa as a platform and released the 33MHz model in mid-late 1993 as the AT&T Safari 3180. It was identical to the Versa but had brighter gray and foam green accents whereas the regular NEC products were only gray.

E/V/M Series (1994-1996, Versa 40EC at Right) - In 1994, The "Ultralite" was dropped from the "Versa" name as marketing felt it made the name "too complicated", and the DX2 SL (clock doubled 486 based) models were released known as the "E" or "Enhanced" Series (speculation). These new models addressed the complaints about the previous models by reducing the power supply down to the size of a large walkie talkie, and adding a "VersaTrak" trackball. Later in 1994, the "Multimedia" enhanced "M-Series" was introduced, which used 486 DX4 CPU's that had the low-power SL technology. During this period, the 3M MicroTouch based resistive pen/touch enabled touch screens came out, though offered more like an unofficial option, seldom mentioned. Toward the middle and end of the year, the Versa M-series included a "True Color" "TC" Model, and a 800x600p "HC" (High REsolution Color) model added to the options list, and toward the end of 94', the "Value" minded Versa V-series with non-removable screens were introduced. Also, a "Slimline" S-series was introduced - which will get it's own special page as it was a unique design compared to the rest of the mainline Versa models.

Versa P - In 1995, the Versa P/75 was announced, it was much the same machine as a Versa M/75 or M/100, but with a new, special, Pentium processor under the hood, which required new tooling to accomodate the excess heat. However, by this point, the PC-4xx platform as I call it, was considered an "aging platform" and was being outshined by much sleeker, newer, more advanced designs. THe Versa P, along side the Versa V, managed to cling on until 1996, when they were replaced with the NEC Versa 2000/4000/6000 series portables. Most of these early NEC Versa retained a long service life well into the mid 2000's before being considered "old junk", mostly due to cracking plastic being the #1 problem with most models, with some of the less as sturdy models (Ultralite, E, P/75) being notorious for cracking apart and sometimes the resultant structural integrity issues causing the laptop to have problems that seem far worse than they really are.


The 1st Generation Versa in a Modern Context
Currently, much due to people such as The 8-bit Guy and his video on DOS Computing on actual hardware in recent years, a lot of various laptop models from the early-late 1990's have become prime targets for retro-computing both on the go, or with a reduced footprint, on actual hardware. This has lead to a huge (and dare I say RIDICULOUS) dearth of makes and models going for insanely high prices. Some of these models may even have worse issues than the NEC units do. The top three being IBM ThinkPad, Compaq LTE, and Toshiba Sattelite and Tecra models.

But first, let's talk about the positive stuff. These were among the top-rated machines, especially the earlier models, in their respective markets, at the time. To understand this, you have to understand that that time, the typical "notebook" was typically a 1-2" thick laptop computer with a monochrome screen, weighing in at around 7-10LBS, and a 386 SX CPU running at 3.3vdc, with a NiCAD battery or at best NiMH battery, with a life of around 1.8hours, and no PCMCIA slots for expansion, VGA graphics (only in color on an external monitor), and a paltry 80MB 2.5" IDE HDD intended to act as temporary storage while on the go - so the user could move their files to their full sized Desktop. Portables were lagging a bit behind the modern Desktp that would have twice as much RAM (8MB), 2-4x HDD (250MB Vs 80MB), a 486 DX/DX2 CPU, and a sound card, and color graphics full time on a CRT monitor.

By comparison, the NEC Ultralite Versa could come with a full color Active Matrix 640x480 Pixel screen that is on par with some modern Laptop OLED displays in vibrance and color, driven by a VESA Local Bus C&T or WD SVGA graphics controller on an internal VESA Local Bus circuit with 1MB of VRAM, hard drives in capacities from the 80MB to 250MB initially, 4MB of RAM standard upgradable to 20MB by the user, and a 486 DX SL CPU offering full-desktop performance in a 7.2LB notebook package, and expandable via 2 PCMCIA Type II slots on the side. Later models had DX2 and DX4 CPUs and up to 40MB of RAM, and HDD as high as 2.1GB in size, not to mention Sound. They also had a "VersaDock" as an option that added 2 ISA Slots into the mix and the ability for a second Floppy Drive and/or a CD-ROM drive, basically making the computer a full fledged Desktop when docked. The Versa M/75HC was THE FIRST 800x600p color active matrix laptop on the market, and what it paid for in battery life, it made up for in screen real-estate, so if you want to do some Win31x or early Win95 gaming, that machine will deliver. And the greatest part - detachable screens, which means at around $25-60/Versa you can have multiple screen options, plenty of spares, and the panel are all standard industral displays so if you dig hard enough you can find them cheap.

In Real-World Performance, these machines are amazing for DOS and early Windows gaming. DOOM runs smoothly, Duke Nukem 3D also does, and Quake can be quite tolerable on these devices, especially the later Dx2/DX4 models. Even the first 2 GTA releases run great on these in DOS with UniVBE. Even the 40MHz Versa 40E performs more like some slower DX2 66 machines. I kind of see the Versa as one of the best kept secrets of the Retro-DOS gaming world. Compared to many other vintage laptops, such as the IBM ThinkPads (high price, sticky-good from the rubberized coating disintigrating), Compaq LTE's (again, high priced), and the Toshiba laptops (which are a bit like the lottery when it comes to screens), the Versa, being as the maajority shipped with Active Matrix panels that are industrual screens that are still obtainable (though not as cheaply as when I first started using them), makes them an attractive choice for retro-computing on the go.

The main drawback though, is the plastic. The plastic on these tends to crack, a lot. Thankfully it's easily fixable using baking soda and superglue, and the repairs hold almost as well as if it was molded that way well. Also, internal plastic structures can be strenghtened using J.B. Weld, Epoxies, and other hard, plasticy-type products. The only othehrreal drawbacks are some memory management caveats due to how the CIrrus chipset handles PCMCIA, and to a lesser extent, sound, as all models were either internal speaker only or WSS until the Versa P came out (ESS688 AudioDrive with OPL/3).

The second most-common general problem is with the hinges getting too tight due to breakdown/loss of lubrication with heavy use or disuse. This is particularly bad on the most common screen - the 640x480 Actiive Matrix Color LCD's, and especially on older models. What happens is the hinge getes stiffer as the plastic gets more brittle, and that's why a LOT of these 1st generation Versa are often found witih cracked/broken screen hinges. Some just break the brass screw anchors free, while others literally shatter the whole front an dback of the screen assembly requiring some incredible plastic/expoxy/JB Weld work to fix.

Other than that, the electronics tend to be pretty solid on most models from the Versa E onwards, with the most common problems being those of most other vintage PCs (dead CMOS batteries, blown fuses, failed hard drives). Actually, an extra special note on the hard disks, it seems NEC used some pretty quality drives in these (Seagate & IBM mostly, with IBM being the most common), these drives often still work flawlessly at over 30 years old, which is quite amazing when you think about it. The only real electrical gremlin seems to be with the original Ultralite Versa and AT&T Safari 3180 series machines that had electrolytic capacitors on thte motherboard that would leak and/or fail.

Also, the Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, SMART or regular, can sometimes be revived on these to at least act as a nice "bridge battery" when taking the laptop from one room to the other uninterrupted. In rare cases I've gotten them to hold a charage as long as 2 hours. These laptops were very efficient on battery power at the time they were new.


Individual Models - aka. Base Units
There were five major models of 1st Generation NEC Versa based on this platform with between 2 to 4 submodels for each version. While they do share the same chassis design in general, there are large variations between various models that make only certain chassis parts exchangable between several/all models.

Left-Right: 1993 NEC Ultralite Versa 20 (PC-400), 1993 NCR (AT&T) Safari 3180 (33MHz)

NEC Ultralite Versa (1993-1994), AT&T Safari 3180 (1993-1994)
Models: PC-400-xxxx (20 MHz), PC-410-xxxx (25 MHz), PC-430-xxxx (33MHz)
Graphics Options: 640p Mono DTSN, 640p Color Act Mtx, 640p Mono w/Touch, 640p Color w/Touch
The NEC Ultralite Versa was released in 1993 and is told apart from the other models by a lack of a trackball in front under the space bar, a longer memory door than all but the Versa V, and if provided with a power supply, a much bigger (physically) power supply about the size of an actual brick used in construction. The original batteries were listed at only 3400mAH but bumped up to 3800mAH later on when the Versa "E" was released. The most common variationo of this model seems to be the 100MB Color Active Matrix Model (Versa 25C) in 25MHz. The CPUs used were all 486 DX SL CPU's using 3.3v for power saving. It seems NEC may have changed the video chipset from a C&T 65535 to a WD90C24 chip sometime in the product's lifecycle. The CMOS Battery was a CR2540 soldered to the CPU board inside the laptop. This model was also sold as the NCR Safari 3180.


Left-Right: 1994 NEC Versa 40EC, 1994 NEC Versa 40EC (same), AT&T Safari 3181

NEC Versa E (1993-1994), AT&T Safari 3181 (1994)
Models: PC-440-xxxx (40 MHz), PC-450-xxxx (50 MHz), PC-460-xxxx (75MHz)
Graphics Options: 640p Mono DTSN, 640p Color Act Mtx, 640p Mono w/Touch, 640p Color w/Touch
The NEC Versa "E" for "Enhanced" (speculatory) series were an improved version of the original Ultralite. They can be easily told apart by the screen assembly just saying "Versa" on it and no other markings or branding (however, keep in mind these screens are interchangeable with other models including the Ultralite, M, and P series). The major changes were the addition of a Trackball marketed as the "VersaTrak", whcih seems per Hardware Identification utilities to be a reverse-engineered or integrated Microsoft BallPoint Mouse (of which was offered as a pack-in with the original Ultralite Versa for a pointing device solution), as well as a new, smaller, OP-570-4401 Power Supply that was roughly the size of a guitar wireless transmitter box, and the memory door was made smaller. Internally, the latches for the battery needed relocated for the trackball to fit, the power-board was now a snap-in piece rather than soldered in, making it easier to fix/replace, all electrolytic capacitors were eliminated (YAY!), and the CMOS battery was now located on a holder on the CPU Board, though you still had to take the laptop apart to change it. These were the first models to have touch from the get-go (the REAL reason for that detachable screen), provided by 3M's MicroTouch division, and used a special Stylus with a 1/8" phono jack - this feature was also applied to the Ultratlie models, and unofficially to some Versa M models. Also battery mAH was bumped up to 3800 from 3400. The E-series was offered in initially 2, later 3 models: the 40E, 50E, and 75E (# tells clock speed), but the only way to tell which one you have is to look at the sticker on the bottom and match the model to the model#. These were sold as the NCR/AT&T Safari 3181 (50E), and 3182 (75E) models with NCR/AT&T bright gray/foam green color scheme.


(Left-Right): 1994 NEC Versa V/50D (Beige-O-Vision's), 1995 NEC Versa V/50C

NEC Versa V (1994-1996)
Models: PC-700-xxxx (40 MHz)?, PC-710-xxxx (50 MHz), PC-720-xxxx (75 MHz)
Graphics Options: 640p Mono DTSN, 640p Color DTSN, 640p Color Act Mtx
The Versa V came out after the Versa M but I'm including it here because of it's similarity to the Versa E series. The Versa V came out somtime in mid-late 1994 as a "Value" model. NEC redesigned the latch for the screen, made a new all-in-one hinge-cover/palmwrest assembly, and all this was to forrce the laptop to be just that, a regular laptop with a non-detachable screen. But just like the Versa E series, it used the same CPU options, same Memory limitation (20MB), same CMOS Battery, albeit relocated to under the memory door which was the longer version from the Ultralite, and it featred a new chassis design with a reduced screw count (with the power board screwing into plastic rather than being stacked through to the metal backing of the keyboard. The keyboards, motherboards, and CPU boards are different on these as well, only sharing a power board with the Versa E, but the parts will intechange and worrk except the main planar as a newer screen attachment cable has to be used to attach the screen to the motherboard (more on that later in the tech section). Versa V's are awesome laptops with great power for their configuration, and it seems the reduced motherboard component count helped the speed of these quite a bit to make them just a little bit faster than a Versa E. The keyboard also is a bit different assembly-wise, being a more robust assembly with a bit different feel than the others of this generation.


(Left-Right) 1994 NEC Versa M/75CP (Touch!!), 1994 NEC Versa M/75TC, 1994 NEC Versa M/75HCP "Frankenstein" (Webmasters M/75)

NEC Versa M (1994-1996), AT&T Globalyst D250 (1994)
Models: PC-470-xxxx (75 MHz), PC-480-xxxx (100 MHz), PC-570/580 are "True Color" models
Graphics Options: 640p Mono DTSN, 640p Color Act Mtx, 640p Mono w/Touch, 640p Color w/Touch, 800p Color ACT Mtx, 640p Color "True Color" (PC-570/580)
The NEC Versa M/75 and M/100 - probably meaning the buzzword "Multimedia" - were the first laptops in the Versa Series to feature sound, in the form of a Crystal Semiconductor CS-4231-KQ Windows Sound System (WSS) Compatible audio chip, without FM Synthesis of course (facepalm). This addition was marketed as "Crystal BUsiness Audio" and was aimed primarily at voice-guided presentations on these laptops. The base M-series laptop differed from the others in that the pen/tablet stylus holder was omitted from the molds (the Versa Ultralite and E have these), they had the short memory door of the E-series, a pinhole for the mic above the keyboard, and a speaker-vent near the memory door. Internally, a new "barrel" type CMOS Battery attached with a small molex connector was used, as well as a whole new one-piece endoskeleton made of thicker aluminum. This is where weget to the bridge between models - the LCD controller daughtercard - located between the PCMCIA Slots and HDD connector on the main system planar. Theree was one card for the standard PC-470/480 Versa M, and then a special version for a special pair of submodels called the Versa M/75TC and Versa M/100TC. THese models are told apart as the screen assembly is about 3mm thicker than the standard versa screen assembly, and have a more rounded-hinge cover. They also say PC-570 or PC-580 on the bottom. Later M/75 and M/100s were availible with an 800x600 pixel Active MAtrix screen as the Versa M/75HC and M/100HC respectively. Overall, these seem to be the most rugged of the Versa models since I have yet to run across an M-series Versa that won't POST no matter how messed up the case or supporting hardware is. The Versa M uses a special floppy drive only compatible with the Versa M and Versa P, and can use the new "Smart Batteries", but also can use the old 4 contact "dumb batteries" as well.


(Left-Right) 1995 NEC Versa P/75HC, 1996 NEC Versa P/75HC 10.5" Model, 1996 AT&T Globalyst 250P 10.5" (Preterhuman Wiki)

NEC Versa P (1994-1996), AT&T Globalyst D250P (1995)
Models: PC-490-xxxx (75 MHz)
Graphics Options: 640p Act Mtx Color, 800p Act Mtx Color, 800p Act Mtx Color 10.4"
The Versa P first started advertising in late 94' and started being produced as early as December 94'. The Versa P, in electronics, is basically just a "bus castrated" Versa M/75 with a Pentium processor in place of the regular 486 DX4/75 CPU it had. Otherwise, the chipset, PCMCIA slots (no Cardbus), and everything but the audio was technically the same. With the audio being an ESS 688 AudioDrive SoundBlaster Compatible chipset with Yamaha OPL/3 FM Synthesis. These were often bashed a bit in computer magazines because they were "an aging platform" and needed some revamping for the up-and-coming Windows 95 era of computing. Performance overeall is not that much different from a M/75, it's very close, where it shines is running Windows 9x applications designed for a Pentium, and even then, the chipset and system bus are holding it back somewhat. The mjor achilles heel though is the apparent cost-reduction and strutural weakness induced by having to add more ventilation for the super-fast Pentium CPU, and required board changes requiring different methods of attachment. A common problem, as a result, is the cracked plastic inside causing the motherboard to detach on the bottom, causing trackball issues, intermittant connectivity of the CMOS battery part of the CPU board (which is now a coin cell shrinkwrapped with a Molex connector), sound issues (sound not working ecause the sound daughtercard is disconnecting due to flimsy plastic and/or force of heavier parts pulling the motherboard down). It shares batteries and floppy drives + VersaBay options with the Versa M, butcan also use the older Dumb Batteries just like the M can as well.


Screen Options Explained (Versa Ultralite/E/M/P only)
The user detachable screen feature on these notebooks provided the ability for the user to upgrade (or downgrade) as they please. They also make figuring out what model you actually have very confusing hence why there is a separate section. Unofficially, there was a "denotation letter" added to the end of the model name for the notebook to tell you what screen it came with from the factory ie a color Ultralite 25 would be a "25C" while a Versa M/75 with True Color support would be an "M/75TC". The Versa V had three options unique to that model and that are generally considered not user interchangeble.

Monochrome Models 640x480p, 64-shades of gray
Denotation: none/D
Base Units:Ultralite, E, V, M
Panel Type(s): Kyocera 9.4" DTSN Dual Twisted Neumatic
Backlight(s):unknown

Touch/Pen Monochrome Models 640x480p, 64-shades of gray
Denotation: P
Base Units:Ultralite, E, V, M
Panel Type(s): Kyocera 9.4" DTSN Dual Twisted Neumatic
Backlight(s):unknown
Digitizer:3M MicroTouch 10.4" (9.4" Active area) 5-wire, Resistive Touch w/ wired active stylus

Color DTSN Models 640x480p, 4096 colors max
Denotation: D
Base Units:M/75, M/100, P/75
Panel Type(s): Kyocera 9.4" DTSN Dual Twisted Neumatic Color
Backlight(s):unknown

Color Active Matrix 9.4" 640x480p, 4096 Colors Max
Denotation: C
Base Units:ALL
Panel Type(s): 9.4" Active Matrix 640x480p: NEC P/N(s): NL6448AC30-03, NL6448AC30-06, NL6448AC30-10
Backlight(s):2x Socketed CFLs (NL6448AC30-03), 2x Soldered CFLs (NL6448AC30-06), 1x Socketed User-Removable CFL (NL6448AC30-10)

Touch/Pen Color Active Matrix 9.4" 640x480p, 4096 Colors Max
Denotation: CP
Base Units:ALL
Panel Type(s): 9.4" Active Matrix 640x480p: NEC P/N(s): NL6448AC30-03, NL6448AC30-06, NL6448AC30-10
Backlight(s):2x Socketed CFLs (NL6448AC30-03), 2x Soldered CFLs (NL6448AC30-06), 1x Socketed User-Removable CFL (NL6448AC30-10)
Digitizer:3M MicroTouch 10.4" (9.4" Active area) 5-wire, Resistive Touch w/ wired active stylus

True Color Active Matrix 9.4" 640x480p, 32-bit color
Denotation: TC
Base Units:M/75TC, M/100TC
Panel Type(s): 9.4" Active Matrix 640x480p: NEC P/N: NL6448AC30-09
Backlight(s):2x Socketed User-Removable CFLs

High Resolution Color Active Matrix 9.4" 800x600p, 4096 coolors
Denotation: HC
Base Units:P/75HC
Panel Type(s): 9.4" Active Matrix 800x600p: NEC P/N: NL8060AC24-01
Backlight(s):2x Socketed User-Removable CFLs

High Resolution Color Active Matrix 10.4" 800x600p, 4096 coolors
Denotation: HC
Base Units:M/75HC, M/100HC, P/75HC
Panel Type(s): 9.4" Active Matrix 800x600p: NEC P/N: NL8060AC24-01
Backlight(s):2x Socketed User-Removable CFLs

NEC Versa V information - The NEC Versa V models had a permanantly attached screen that came in DTSN and Active Matrix formats in either 64-shades of gray (mono) or 4096 Color Max (color). The Screens used in the V models included the Kyocera panels used in the other models, and the NEC NL6448AC30-10 panels used in the Versa M/P models using a single-wire connector to the motherboard (likely the same one used on the later - 11/1994 - NEC M/P builds).


Heavier Screen Technicals (wiring, boards, etc.)
NOTE:This part only applies to the NEC Versa Ultralite/E/M/P models, the Versa V is excluded due to the non-detachable screen. This is also on a deeper level than someone without electronics skills may want to go into. This is all information I have done by either reverse-engineering or modifying NEC Versa Laptops. Any mods or changes I have listed You Do at your own risk!. I am not responsible for damage to your computer if you attempt any of these mods/upgrades/changes.

Connection Boards for Color Screens
There are two types of connection boards for NEC Versa screens. These boards are what make the removable screen feature possible, and are housed inside the hinge cover. There are three types...


A Pair of Versa Type III Connector Boards, the top has IA9 populated (Versa HC models), the bottom ddoes not (Versa C Models)
  • Type I - Type one boards use 2 connectors and were primarily used on models were availible only with 640x480p/4096 colors for the screen resolution (Ultralite and E-Series mostly), though some may have found their ways onto early Versa "M" laptops as well.
  • Type II - Type two boards are only used on the Versa M/75TC and M/100TC. They look similar to above but the molex connectors used are different and won't let the standard 2 wire cable connect to them. Also, the cable used is not compatible with the standard board above. THis board is unique to these models only and also requires the TC daughtercard on the Versa M's motherboard to work. They also have bigger Molex Connectors on the board-end of the connector and it appears some wiring was altered/omitted for the TC models.
  • Type III - Type three boards have a single connector and 2 Multiplexer ICs on it which are bridged in circuit by one or two code 105 SMD resistors (500K). These were used in the later 640p boards as well as the 800x600 "HC" screens (9.4", not sure about 10.5" since I have not had one yet).

The type I and early Type III cables also included an extra connector for attaching to the 3M MicroTouch Digitizer system for the touch screen models. Usually this was taped off with cloth tape on the non-touch models. Versa P's and TC models did not have this connection on their cables.

Digitizer Information


The Cracked 5-wire Resistive Touch 3M MicroTouch Digitzer from my M/75CP and the label from it with the part#, Serial, adn Revision# - please e-mail if you know where I can find more of these or and/or the stylus

The Touch Screen Laptops (P/CP) had a 3M MicroTouch digitizer setup inside the laptop screen itself. This option was offered later on on the original Ultralite and later Versa E series, as well as a limited number of Versa "M" Series laptops had it as well (despite not having a Stylus mount across the back). The Digitizer was a resistive touch 5-wire setup - with an annode at each corner, and a "hoop" around the screen. The digitzer itself was roughly 10.5" overall with a 9.5" "active" area where the touch s creen ran, and had the wires taped on with orange tape. I'm not 100% of my part#'s and other details outside of what I got from my Versa M/75 that came with a touch screen as it was a part of a Words+ System 2000 Augmentatitive Speech Synthesizer system originally (whiich I still have and will write about as well). See #'s below. The Millimeter measurements of the panel (as I may end up using a non-OEM, likely Aliexpress replacement) are 213x172mm roughly.

  • (White Tag on right Side) 63-4631-00-01 (Part#?)
  • (white Tag on right Side) MicroTouch R2.2 (Revision 2.2?)
  • (White Tag on right Side) 29036-94-GP2356 (Serial#?)
  • (Tag inside Glass/tape on Right Side) 57061 (Lot#?, Glass Part#?)

And the wire pinout - yes I took the digitizer apart to reverse-engineer this - is the below - from top to bottom...

  • Black - Top Left Corner Anode
  • White - Top Right Corner Anode
  • Green - Hoop/Perimeter Anode
  • Red - Bottom Right Corner Anode
  • Blue - Bottom Left Corner Anode

The pinout for the stylus/pen, I have not yet figured out. This is something I will need to figure out so I can rig-up/rewwire an RJ45 variant to work with the 1/8" phono port on the right side of the screen. The touch screen should work both with fingers, and pen, and I could even see when the glass was broke it tried a few times to register a touch from my finger (the top layer can break and the touch can still work).

Upgrading/Downgrading from 640x480/800x600 (Normal 4096 color screens only w/ Type III Connector)

It is possible to upgrade a Versa M or P series laptop from 640x480 to 800x600, or reverse down to 640x480 easily so as long as you have a Type III connector board with the single connector and the 2 multiplexer chips on it. I did this to my Versa M/75 to create a non-existent model I call the NEC Versa M/75HCP (High Resolotion Color with Touch), as a replacmeent 800x600 panel was cheaper than a 640x480 panel, and would allow me to draw in higher resolutions at times anyway for digital artwork.


Components IA10 IA9 is a 500K Ohm Resistor (SMD), this is the resistor used to switch between 800x600 and 640x480 pixel activ matrix screens on a Type III Versa screen connector board. The one above is the 640x480 board from my M/75CP that I upgraded for 800x600 after the original NL6448AC30-10 screen died.I replaced it with a NEC NL8060AC24-01 800x600 9.4" panel which I paid $25.00 for. For 640x480, NL6448AC30-06 and NL6448AC30-10 are the best panels to get. The 06's came in Versa E, and the 10's came in Versa M, V, and P models. The 06's tend to be brighter, but the 10's have field replaceable CFLs.

What you will have to do is dissassemble the hinge cover first and take out the controller board, it should look like the two I've shown below. There are 2 sets of SMD pads for a 105 code (500K) resistor marked IA9 and IA10. If IA9 is not populated, it's setup for 640x480, if IA9 is populated, then it's setup for 800x600. If it's setup for one, it won't accept the other. If you have an 800x600 and want to use a 640x480 screen (compatible models are NL6448AC30-03/06/10), remove IA9 and install one of those. If you want an 800x600 screen then you will need a NL8060AC24-01 LCD Panel, and IA9 will need a 500K resistor put on it.


Testing The Screen after my upgrade, put a pair of resistors in series for a total reading of 470K Ohms, later this screen setup was installed in the Touch Screen assembly to create a NEC Versa M/75HCP - a non-existant model that was an 800x600 touch screen Versa with active pen (!!). Goes to show how hackable these laptops can be.

My Experience - When I did this upgrade, I was replacing my original NL6448AC30-10 panel because trying to use the TC board with it blew it up. So I found some NL8060AC24-01 panels on E-bay for $20/ea and bought one. I took apart my P/75 and looked at the board and found they were the same board (where my photo came from), except the 500K resistor on the second multiplexer on the M/75's original board was missing. Since I did not have a 500K resistor - SMD or otherwise - I rigged up a 470K resistor using 2 resistors in series to get as close as I can, and then shrinkwrapped them together neatly. When I tried it, the M/75 booted right up letterboxed in 80x25 column text mode. I put in Windows 95 and it booted up and accepted 800x600 full screen. I've been using this setup for almost 2 years for now, and the M/75 is my "Daily Driver" of the lot so it's gotten pretty well broken in.

Versa M-Series Graphics Daughtercards


The above board is for the Versa D/C/HP/CP models that use a regular 4096 total color or 64-shades of gray LCD panel. This board fits beneath the CPU board between the CPU board slots. It will not work on a TC model - which uses it's own special board. This board is the ONLY difference between a PC-470/480 and PC-570/580 Versa M-series laptop.

The NEC Versa M/75 and M/100 were unique in that they were availible as 2 different actual base units based on the screen used: the regular models (D/C/CP/HC) and the "TC" models with true color screens. One part of this was the use of a special, thicker, industrial panel P/N NL6448AC30-09 - which was capable of 32-bit "True Color" at 640x480 pixel resolution. The other part, however, was a diffrent graphics daughtercard from the one found in the Versa M/75 regular models.

I have pictured the two cards above. The one on the left is the standard Versa graphics daughter card compatible with all screens used on the PC-470-xxxx and PC-480-xxx models. On the right is the "TC" Daughtercard which only works with the PC-570-xxxx and PC-580-xxxx screen assemblies. Also, the plastic mount for the PC-570/580 is KEYED so that it only fits into a PC-570/580 machine, as damage to the screen circuitry or control board can occur if you use the wrong screen with the wrong base unit, as they are incompatible with each other.

4096 Color Screen Pinouts

The below pinouts are for the 3 connectors on the actual screen so you know what signals come down those pins. This applies to the NL6448AC30-03, NL6448AC30-06, NL6448AC30-10, and NL8060AC24-01 LCD Panels ONLY. I took this from the original datasheets for the NL6448AC30-10 and NL6448AC30-06 LCD Panel that can be found online.

CONNECTOR 1 (top)

  1. Clock
  2. Ground
  3. Ground
  4. Horizontal Sync
  5. Vertical Sync
  6. Ground
  7. RED 0
  8. RED 1
  9. RED 2
  10. RED 3

CONNECTOR 2 (Middle)

  1. Ground
  2. GREEN 0
  3. GREEN 1
  4. GREEN 2
  5. GREEN 3
  6. Ground
  7. BLUE 0
  8. BLUE 1
  9. BLUE 2
  10. BLUE 3
  11. Ground
  12. ACA
  13. Backlight On/Off

CONNECTOR 3 (bottom)

  1. Ground
  2. Vcc
  3. Vdd
  4. Vdd
  5. N.C.
  6. Ground/Blue
  7. Ground/Blue
  8. DE
  9. MODE
  10. Vcc On/Off
  11. GND


Base Unit Technicals - What You Need To Know
The base unit refers to the actual computer itself. There are several FRUs intended to by the user, but there is also some stuff that can be changed if you have a little know-how.

Memory Upgrades


Memory Cards for the NEC Versa were made in 4MB, 8MB, 12MB, 16MB, and 32MB Capacities. Above are 2 NEC branded 4 and 8MB units, and a 4MB Kingston unit. Most people upgraded with Kingston. I also have an MPM branded memory card as well. Contrary to the connector these are NOT PCMCIA memory card, and they use a special 3.3v interface and different wiring.

The NEC Versa Ultralite/E/V/M/P Series all use the same sort of memory cards, with the Ultralite/E/V topping out at 20MB using cards up to 16MB, and the M/P models being able to go as high as 40MB using a 32MB card. These cards were availible in 4MB, 8MB, 12MB, 16MB, and 32MB Capacities, with 4MB and 8MB being the most common at the time. The Ultralite/E/V came with 4MB on board standard, while the M/P came with 8MB on board standard with no card installed respectively. Memory is installed by sliding the memory door off - which is located on the keyboard bezel on the upper right.

Hard Disk Upgrades

The original hard disks on these machines were sold as NEC "VersaPak" modules. These were basically a 44-pin IDE 2.5" HDD in a capacity of 80MB to 3GB provided in a special plastic/aluminum foil enclosure with a special edge connector attached to attach it into the laptop. The "paks" had a metal fold-out handle to pull them out of the machine with, allowing for fully tool-less removal. They are located beneath the memory door which has it's own part that slides off toward the bottom.

Of course, being as these drives are almost 30 years old, it's a wise idea to replace them. Unfortunatley, and one of the downsides of these machines, is that the controllers are a little picky about hard drives, particularly when it comes to solid state technologies. I have not tried CF Cards in there, but I have tried mSATA to IDE converters with no luck so far. The best luck I've had is with a Dynamic Drive Overlay on cheap 8-128GB ATA-100/133 drives, allowing for a lot fo storage, including ISO files for CD-ROM based content that can be run virtualized in DOS. Just one caveat though, the screw holes for modern PATA laptop drives don't line up with the holes for the old 2.5" drives from the 90's. Usually I put these in the original paks with a styrofoam filler piece above the HDD so it has a cushion and the original aluminum can + plastic frame holds it in place, then I wrap a piece of Scotch or Electrical tape around it in one strategic spot to hold the whole thing together for a "stock" appearance.

Batteries

The 1st Generation Versa used 2 types of battery pack, Smart Batteries, and dumb batteries. The dumb batteries have 4 contacts, and the smart batteries have six contacts. They look similar but are shaped differently, likely to prevent attempting to use a smart battery in one of the earlier models not compatible. Oddly the "dumb batteries" work in the computers with smart battery capability.

These batteries are very similar in construction, with the major difference being that the "Smart Batteries" share a common ground between both negative pads, and there are two pads for the controller below the 4 regular pins. Both packs use 2 banks of six "A" cell Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery cells with tab connections for each "pair" spot welded together and then put inside a green/turquoise tube, where they seem they are treated as a single cell.

the primary 4 pins are usually marked on the bottom. From right to left they are: Positive, Sense (bridges ground and negative with a thermistor that cuts off charge when overheated), Negative Bank 2, Negative Bank 1. The two extra pins on the bottom of the smart battery are likely used for further measurement, sensing, and information control of the battery charge cycle to improve life, performance, and longevity. These wires go to two of the 4 wires that go into the BMC for the battery.

Trying my rejuvination techniques on these batteries may require removing the "smart module". On official NEC Batteries this can be easily done by prying off a cover to the left of the contacts and then removing the module (it is removed with a molex connector). Unfortunatley some 3rd party batteries lack this feature and won't let you get at the control module inside. However, I have hit these batteries pretty hard and not damaged the module inside the battery so it is possible to do.

While I plan to do a "general" guide on bringing old batteries back to life someday, I'm putting the techniques I've used here and the results for anyone interested. Keep in Mind I am not responsible for any damage to property, or things that happen that you choose to do, follow this information at your own risk!!. That said, this is onoly for NEC Ultralite/E/V/M/P Batteries only, only with a Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Chemistry, and only the ones that work on these laptops.

Attempt at Scientific Explaination on what I'm doing - Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever try this with a Lithium Ion battery - it WILL catch on fire and it WILL explode, and it can and possibly WILL kill you. Nickel Metal Hydride is a entirely different **chemistry** from the NiMH or NiCAD batteries NiMH replaced. TBH, NiMH is a much better chemistry as it does not suffer the crap effects of NiCADS, is better for the environment than Lithium Ion, and is far less dangerous. I have managed to make one of these packs blow by over-charging it a little bit, but it did minimal damage to the laptop - and the battery pack was resuable once I took the exploded cell out. That said You are doing this AT YOUR OWN RISK!!. I cannot remind everyone enough.

Anyway, what happens to NiMH batteries that are either well used, or have sat around, is they develop shorts inside the battery cells or the entire pack. The "grounds" inside the pack, when it's new, are very very fine, and can store electricity to their maximum potential. As the battery is used, these "Grounds" are made "coarser" and they cluster up, and if they cluster up enough, they can cause a "short" within the pack,and the cell will no longer hold a charge. So what we are doing, by "smacking" the cells with "over voltage" is effectively breaking up those shorts, allowing the battery to at least store SOME electricity. If we are very very lucky, we can sometimes get FULL Capacity that way - that's how a couple batteries I have now have almost full battery life, including, surprisingly, a 4001 model from an Ultralite versa that somehow decided to

To attempt to rejuvinate the "dumb" batteries. You need to bridge the two negative contacts and attach to a negative power source and the positive contacts to a positive power source. I was using between 15-21vdc for a power source at between 1 amp to whatever the heck my drill charger throws out. Currently I'm using a Skil cordless drill charger that throws out 21vdc. This particular charger is great for this because it has an LED on it that tends to get brighter as the battery starts to take a charge. Once it's at it's brightest, that means the shorts are broken up, or breaking up, and the battery may start to work again. I have on 30 year old NEC dumb battery that actually holds a charge for about 10 minutes like this now, I'm sure if I exercised it more, Ic ould maybe bring it back to life a good chunk and actually use the laptop as an actual latpop.

CMOS Battery Replacement

The CMOS Battery is different depending on the model of NEC Versa laptop you have.

Ultralite Versa - The battery is a CR2340 soldered to the bottom of the CPU Board. To access it you need to take the screen off, memory door, HDD door, then undo the 7 screws on the bottom, CAREFULLY snap off the keyboard bezel, disconnect both keyboard cables, disconnect the "sleep" cable, and then pull the CPU board out, desolder the battery, and either solder a new one in, or better yet, get a SMD holder for a CR2302 or CR2540 - and soolder that in and put the new battery in that. It does hang upside down though so make SURE to get a good battery holder.

Versa E-Series - The battery is a CR2340 located in a holder under the keyboard bezel. You need to remove the screen, memory door, HDD door, undo the 2 screws on the bottom, carefully snap off the bezel araound the keyboard, and then the CMOS Battery is located on top of the CPU board in a holder, just replace as you would a regular CR2302 battery. Should be good for a long while.

Versa V-Series - This one is it the easiest, just open the memory door and it's there right next to the DIP switches and Memory Card. No need to take the machine apart at all (why they did not do it this way for all models must have had something to do with board real-estate).

Versa M-Series - This one is the second most involved but despite, it seems these are the CMOS batteries of thot that last the longest. Remove screen, memory door, HDD door, Battery, and FDD. Undo the 7 screws on the bottom, carefully snap off the keyboard bezel, then remov the keyboard, CPU board, and pull out the aluminum "endoskeleton" - the battery is located on the bottom of that in a holder of it's own. Replace, plug the new battery into the CPU board molex connector, and reassemble.

Versa P-Series - This one involves removing the screen, memory door, HDD door, then carefully removing the bezel, and then lift up the keyboard (no need to detach it). Under the keyboard, in a recessed space in the center of the laptop, will be a shringwrapped coin-cell battery that connects to the motherboarrd with a molex connector. Just unsnap this and replace, then reassemble.

And many of these models could be modified/altered to use a CR2302 which is more common and easy to replace. I did that to my P/75. My Versa M/75 still uses it's original CMOS battery (it's like my GEM 286's Varta, just keeps giving), the V and E both had thehirs replaced and I have 2 spares. I think I spent $.50 per battery at Batteries & Bulbs for the CR2340s.

General Assembly/Disassembly These models all have a similar assembly proceedure. Basically the layout is screen assembly. I will be putting an exploded view below of a generalized Versa layout. There are six (V/P), or seven (everything else) screws on the bottom, a battery, HDD, FDD (or second battery), memory card (if equipped), memory door, and HDD Door to remove. The two longest screws of the 6-7 are the two that hold the keyboard in and are in the center bottom of the case.

Once all bottom screws are removed, the keyboard bezel comes off first. This is removed by un-snapping it from the edges over the floppy/battery bays, and from the front around where the trackball is/would be. I usually work on the sides first, with a battery and floppy drive IN the bay as these are the most delicate parts of the chassis as the bottom plastic has 2 thin, long sections of plastic with snaps on them that tend to break free with regular use. I then try to "roll" the front of the keyboard bezel forward to unsnap that, that usually works with good success, but USE YOUR FINGERS because you want to be very delicate. This is another common breakage point, particularly that small bit of plastic between the latch and the spacebar.

Once the keyboard bezel is off, if you have a Versa V-series, you will need to disconnect the video cable located just above the CPU board. Then the keyboard is removed by undoing the 2 snap-connectors on the CPU Board, if you have worked on modern laptops, you should be familiar with this. If you have a Versa Ultralite/E/M model, there will be a tiny cable and a button on a separate board you have to disconnect at the upper left corner for the sleep button. Once these are disconnected, as well as CMOS Battery (M/P models), the CPU board lifts right out. Of course, sometimes I leave the CMOS battery and keyboard attached and remove the whole lot of stuff.

Under this is the metal "endoskeleton". On the Ultralite and Versa E, this is 3 separate pieces, one above the PCMCIA slots, one above the HDD cage, and one large one you have to remove first that goes over the entire bottom 2/3rds of the laptop (Battery/FDD bays and power supply board). the M/P/V models have a one-piece endoskeleton that pulls right out as one piece. Make sure not to drop/lose the metal support posts that are held in by screw tension alone, there are two where the keyboard goes, and sometimes another one or two in the separate sections on a Versa Ultralite or Versa E.

Once the endoskeleton is removed, we can get to the power module (Versa E/V/M/P Only). Ultralite Versa have theirs soldered to the motherboard and would require desoldering to remove. On the Versa E & M models, this part just pulls right up as it's staked in by one of the bottom screws which attaches to a raised screw anchor on the bottom of the keyboard. The Versa V and P have it screwed into the bottom plastic via a very coarse thread screw where the 7th screw would be on all the other models. There are 2 general power boards that were removable - one used on the Versa E and V models, and one used on the Versa M & P models. Other removable modules on these boards are the LCD controller board on the M models (what makes it a TC model or not), or the sound card on the P-model (ESS688). These just sit between the connectors for the CPU board and can be pulled up and out. There's also a bridge battery next to the hard disk bay, Ultralites have TWO with the second located above the PCMCIA slots.

Once all this is removed, if you have a Versa E/V/M/P model, you need to disconnect the VersaTrak Trackball. This connects with a 4 wire connector at the bottom of the "T" of the motherboard, and can be removed by removing one or two screws located in the unit in front. It's suggested to remove the ball and retainer before removing the VersaTrak.

To remove the motherboard, most should not be screwed in at the front - save for thte P model, which has 2 screws at the front of the motherboard under where the power-board was, that need unscrewed. The entire board should just tilt back a little bit, and allow you to carefully work it loose from various slots and anchor points inside the bottom plastic, with the trickiest part being where the PS/2, Serial, and Parallel I/O Ports arer located (which are on a separate circuit board attached to the motherboard by a ribbon cable).

Once removed, you have a bare chassis. The reverse process is done to re-assemble. If you get used to the quirks of the NEC Versa, these are actually VERY easy laptops to work on. I'm able to tear into my Versas within about 15 minutes with just a screwdriver and a guitar pick for prying the plastic, so a lot of things that wwould be a major process for most other vintage laptops with these are a medium to minor experience to say the least. What's even more funny about this is I rarely ever have to open mine except to repair cracking plastic.

VersaTrak Repair

The VersaTrak Trackball came in 3 versions, an earlier version with a slightly heavier ball, steel roller pins, and rubber rollers that had a tendency to travel around. These were found on the Versa E and feel the smoothest but they can get annoying if the rollers start moving around. Then there was a later version used on the Versa M and Versa P that had black sleeves on the pins to prevent the rollers from moving around. Lastly was a version used on the later M's and the Versa P that had what appeared to be one-piece roller/encoders.

The VersaTrak assembly consists of 2 circuit boards joined by a series of jumper wires, a black plastic frame in which the ball and encoders sit, 2 springs that hold the encoders down to the ball, a metal shield that vits between the trim panel in front, 2 buttons, then the front trim panel, then the ball, and then the ball retainer part. the whole thing is held together by a series of tiny black screws.

The most common problem with the Versa E is the balls on the rollers getting off-kilter, causing the X or Y axis not to work or work consistently. You can move these into a good position using a toothpick and a magnifying glass,, and then test, and retry. Typically they should be sitting just a hair off-center fo the slots they fit into. When it's working right, it will be REALLY smooth.

Another problem is with the later plasatic one-piece encoders not wanting to move well under heavy wear. I found the fix for this was to sand the ball with some 1000 grit sandpaper to give it more texture, and then it grabs the rollers a lot better. Though it's a good idea to check and see if it's binding somewhere first before doing this. Could be dirt/hair/lint stopping things up, but sometimes they just don't want to cooperate when clean on the later models.

I have seen once case of dried out rollers that cracked and stopped working. This was the case with my Versa V. I'm looking at ways of making reproduction or make-shift roller-balls..possibly using something like window adhesive or milled-down tire plugs at some point. The only other option is to get another VersaTrak and take the rollers/encoders from that and replace.

If It Does Not Power On (Fuses & power boards)

Some NEC Versa may refuse to start despite showing that they are charging or getting power to the system board. This can usually be told if you have a battery (good or bad) installed and the laptop is on it's AC Adapter. IF you see the battery symbol, pull the slide switch to turn it on, and it does not start. There are some fuses you can check on the motherboard. Most fo these are 6.3a fuses. There is also one jumper on the Versa V/E power-control board that you can check as well.

The first fuse is often located near the power board, it's a 6.3A. the way to test this is to test for continuity, then if there is none, jumper a small wire between each side (soldered) and then see if it powers up, if it powers up, the fuse is bad, if not, there are 2 more fuses to check.

There is a second fuse located near the graphics chipset on the bottom of the motherboard, likely tethered to the docking station connector. Check, jumper, and test this one. If it does not work, there is sometimes a third fuse in the power section that might be cutting everything off.

Another source of issue is the battery board itself, which has 2 fuses on it, and also has a jumper wire on the V/E models that can sometimes act as a fuse if the battery is over-voltaged or if something goes awry with power management on the board in a major way. I fixed my Versa E by replacing this jumper Wire as I burned it out trying to rejuvinate a battery and getting the battery up to 10.4VDC - which melted the jumper wire in half - protecting the laptop - though it did power on and run for 30 minutes once I let the battery simmer down to around 9vdc.

Plastic Repairs - Options, What Works, What does Not

The #1 problem with these laptops of course, is cracking plastic. The #1 place for it is the hinge, but also it's common for the trim-pieces on the bottom plastic above the battery and FDD to crack/break off, as well as the bottom of the very thin Versa Bays to crack. The worst models plastic wise are the Versa Ultralite, Versa E, and Versa P, though YMMV. It seems this problem is a mix of issues. FIrst is the bromminated plastic losing it's nitrates and becoming brittle, causing it to crack. It's nowhere near as bad as some Super NES consoles or Apple products from the same time period, but it can be pretty bad at times. Then there's the internal support structure. The earlier modesl (ultralite, E) have 3 separate metal "Skeleton" pieces which provide a lot less support han the one-piece structure parts found in the Versa V, M, and P mdoels. The Versa V and P both have the power-board affixed by a coarse thread screw into a extruded plastic screw anchor that can break. The P is particularly flimsy due to a huge vent uunder the power supply board area that tends to weaken the structure. I have seen where the Versa P will crack right through this section and the whole front of the case is dislodged (something I fixed on mine in a 3 hour video I put on YouTube). I also have seen latches come loose (P), corners of the keyboard bezel (M), sometimes the butterfly latches for the screen crack at a diagonal (all), and of course, the #1 problem - a too-stiff hinge causing the screen or hinge cover to crack, break, or shatter (sometimes both).

Screen/Hinge - For the most common issue, screen hinge shatter/break. There are many ways to go about it. BBISHOPPCM'S World used some thermal epoxy with poster-tack as a "DAM" to create a solid area where the hinge goes on his Versa 40EC. Beige-O-Vision did something similar with the hinge cover on his Versa V/50D. My method is a bit more intensive though.

I will remove the screen, then undo the 5 screws holding the metal plate to the bottom of the cover., then remove the connector board, and the hinge (will need to remove the screen bezel and undo the screw closest to te cover on nthe right side). If the hinge cover has cracks or is broken, I wrap it in tinfoil tape/muffler tape after aligning the pieces to act as a "mold" of sorts. Then I use J.B. Weld original to fill in the empty spots between screw anchors, sometimes using the screws to hold the screw anchors in place where they should go. Give at least 24h to cure, maybe 486. For the area near the hinge, I'll fill and spudge on as much J.B. weld as I can, and then grind it to shape with a Dremel later - just BARELY enough to clear the hinge. The hinge will have it's retainer clip slightly pried loose so that the screen is just tight enough to stand on it's own, but loose enough to not put stress on the plastic anymore.

For the screen side, I will usually use superglue and baking soda first, using small bits of foil tape to make sure the screw anchors are in place just right. Once the foil tape "molds" have done their job, they are removed. Then then that dries (qhich is pretty quick, I'll slather on the J.B. Weld. For a fully shattered hinge, I take a two layer approach, including a differently mixed lot of J.B. weld for the outside to act as a "Crack filler" as J.B. weld can be mixed to match the color of the original NEC plastic and diguise the repair if done right.

For particularly nasty repairs, you can do what I did and put a layer of contact paper over the damaged cop-cover/bezel/etc. This is how "Marble" (Versa 40EC) came to be - I had the first of this kind of repair I'd ever done and it was not particularly pretty, but when I put that combo together, it looked AWESOME, so I've kept it that way.

Bottoms of Versa Bays - I've found the best method for this for small cracks, like those on my Versa E, is just to patch them over with foil tape or packing tape - or even double them up. Sometimes the Superglue/Baking Soda method is too thick, and sometimes the risk of trying to grind that stuff flat enough is too hard. If you don't care about cosmetics, you can do what I did and lay over the bottom of the case that way too.

Versa P Repair - Whole front broke off - This was done by taping the front together in place with scotch tape and foil tape as a mold for any chipped off spots, and then taking a copious amount of baking soda, then supergluing along the cracks, and "sweeping" the baking soda in with a Q-tip. I had to do this several times, considering how the battery/floppy drive would fit into the bay, so I Could fill up and "Diagonal" the corners a little bit, building some extra structural ridigidity. So far it's been 2 years and that repair has held up.

The Future - Alumalite - Something I've been considering doing in the future is making molds of the original plastic casing (after repairs if needed), and then MOLDING new plastic chassis for them using alumalite. What this would entail is removing all logos and hardware, making some silicone molds of the parts - using mold separator to create layers, then making a solid structure to maintain separation of the parts, and then mold new parts using the alumalite mixed with gray color powder (or even mixing in or using other colors for some custom cases). This plastic should be stronger and more durable than the original brominated plastic, making these laptops practically "ruggedized" as a finished "product". Then all the original NEC badges and stickers are re-applied with double-sided tape and industrial adhesive, and then the laptop is put back together as-normal. What the intended result would be is a laptop that looks like an original 1990's Versa, but minus the cracking plastic issue.


Accessories & PCMCIA Card Experiences
Lastly, the NEC Versa laptops were released with many accessories and options over the years. Some of these can still be quite useful, and I'm also going to add in cards/accessories I feel might be useful to some of you out there for modern applications

AT&T DS Docking Station (rebranded VersaDock II for the AT&T/NCR Safari/Globalyst 250 series) with my Versa 40EC surfing the internet via Links browser

NEC VersaDock/AT&T DS Docking Station - NEC Released multiple versions of this docking station, which is roughly the size of a Baby AT Desktop computer. It features 1 internal 3.5" bay for a 3.5" Hard Drive, 1 half height 5.25" slimline bay that uses rails for a CD-ROM or 5.25" floppy drive, and a 1/4" height slimline bay for a 2nd slimline floppy in any format. It supports up to two IDE Devices and 2 FDC devices inside. It also has 2 ISA Slots, and ports for Serial, Parallel, and VGA. Floppy Drives can use the internal floppy on the laptop or an external floppy in the dock as a primary floppy - selectable via a switch on the back near the ISA Slots (also a source of consternation to some owners). Mine has a custom wood monitor stand that's longer/bigger than the one offered by NEC which was a often lost piece of plastic.

NEC Port Replicator - This was a smaller solution that used a regular laptop power supply and attached to the back of your NEC Versa while clipping to the sides. It seems less as common than the VersaDock, which likely had widespread use in corporate environments.

NEC Battery Charging Station - There was a charging station released that allowed for up to two batteries to be charged at a time so you could keep several "spares" at ready while out and about (a common practice in the 1990's). I have yet to see one show up yet.

NEC MediaDock - To address the issue of a lack of multimedia features on the earlier Ultralite/E/V models, and the lack of OPL/3 and SoundBlaster Support on the Versa M - a "MediaDock" was released which snaps in the Versa and adds an ESS688 AudioDrive SoundBlaster compatible sound card with OPL3 FM synth, and a 4X CD-ROM Drive, as well as a pair of stereo speakers. It makes your Versa about the size of a smaller Crosley Cruiser turntable (!!).

NEC VersaBay TV Module - This module was advertised in late 94 in a PC Mag article about the Versa M/75TC. Basically, it's a module that is like an expanded version of hte PCMCIA "VersaVideo" kit I have mentiioned below. It allows you to watch TV or record full motion video on your NEC Versa using the VersaBay usually occupied by the floppy drive. This one only works with the Versa M/P models.

NEC VersaBay PCMCIA Expansion Module - Another expansion module mentioned in PC Mag in 94' was the PCMCIA Expansion module that allowed you to add 2 more PCMCIA Expansion slots to your Versa for additional expansion. This only works with the Versa M/P models.

Microsoft BallPoint Mouse - With the original Ultralite Versa, as it lacked an internal trackball, a Microsoft BallPoint mouse was offered as an option. It clipped to the side of the keyboard and plugged into the mouse PS/2 port in the back of the Versa. Not really exclusive to othe versa, it's an interesting mention because several benchmark/system information software I've used identifies the later VersaTrak trackball as a "Microsoft BallPoint Mouse" - seeming that NEC May have gotten license from Microsoft or reverse engineered their BallPoint mouse product for their own interenal trackball design electronically.

PCMCIA Expansion Cards

Cards Bundled With

MegaHertz 14.4K XJack Modem - Later models shipped with a 14.4K V.33 Xjack Faxmodem by MHz. It seems these were crazy popular. I have no experience using them but I do have one in my collection.

Clippercom 14.4K Modem - Earlier models shipped with a CLippercom V33 14.4K Faxmodem by Clippercom. These used a dongle which I have not yet identified.

MegaHertz 10mbps Xjack LAN Adapter - This is an ethernet card I got with a dead 40EC. The card has an xJack connector rather than a dongle (Way better). The only downside to it is that it lacks a packet driver for DOS in the driver packages I've found/seen.

NEC VersaVideo (Nogatech NogaVision LLZ256) - Nogatech Nogavision card rebranded as NEC VersaVideo. It's a COmposite capture card which can capture digital video to indeo/MP4/. Also works in Windows 95 with NOgavision drivers.

NEC SCSI Card (Adaptec) - Standard Adaptec SCSI Card rebranded for NEC. I got this one with my vErsa V/50 (Which I took apart to see if there was any audio deivces inside). Seems to be a fairly common card, probably used a lot with CD-ROM drives at the time.

3rd Party Cards

Lucent/Avocent WaveLAN Silver 802.11b WiFi - This is based on the much revered Orinoco Silver chipset. I've heard Orinoco gold based cards can do WPA2-PSK, which is something I might look for in the future in a format I can close the case on. That said, it's a good, reliable card with execellent connectivity, and it works in DOS and Windows 9x. You might be able to get WPA using a 3rd party utility in Windows 98 SE like the Cisco card below.

Cisco Aironet LMC-352 802.11b WiFi - This has been my WiFi Card of choice since 2020. I bought this AND the Lucent above around teh same time. It's an Agere chipset card, that supports WEP, and has support for DOS, Windows For Workgroups, and Windows 9x, with support for WPA-PSK in Windows 98 SE via 3rd party WiFi management utility (so modern WiFi's will be happy with your vintage laptop with this card). There's also a version with an antenna that sticks out of the case for better range known as the PMC-352, which is a more traditional option. I prefer the LMC because I can close the PCMCIA cover and let it be in there like a modern laptop with WiFi. It's just more plesant than having a bit black piece of plastic sticking out of the side.

Panasonic D20 Sound/SCSI - This is a Sound/SCSI controller card by Panasonic intended to be used with their KXL-D7xx series Cd-ROM Drives and/or the D20 breakout box. Currently I'm attempting to figure out the pinout to the edge connector so I can build an adapter-cable/circuit for it that allows you to have sound INSIDE your laptop computer from this card without having to have a breakout box. I have seen "service manual" downloads online but I've been unable to get them.

DIY/OpenSource Cards and those I'm Anxiously Awaiting

YOTTATSA's CardBarker PCMCIA Sound Card - This is a Yamaha OPL/3 equipped Sound Card, OpenSource project on github. It seems to be similar to Sergey's "Snarkbarker" project but for a Laptop computer. I've been toying with getting a board printed up for this and building one out for my M/75, the only thing better than that would be the card below - which would make an M/75 one of the ultimate DOS laptops for retro-gaming that ever existed (WSS, SB, and OPL3 on a 640x480p Active MAtrix 486 laptop with touch/stylus and with a 80GB HDD - I'M IN!!).

YYZKEVIN's PCMCIA Sound Card - User yyzkevin and a few others at VOGONS have been working on a new SoundBlaster compatible PCMCIA sound card for the past year or so. This is quite exciting because the world of PCMCIA expansion cards for vintage laptops are pretty limited with the IBM MWave and Panasonic CF-VEW211 being the more desired options (but also practically made of "unobtainium"). So far this has been looking promising.


Model Decoding
Type (2) Model (3) Screen (1) Series (1) HDD (1) RAM (1)
PC - This could stand for "Portable Computer" or "Personal Computer", I have not decoded NEC's nomenclature fullly yet (though a lot of it is glaringly obvious). -400 = Ultralite 20
-410 = Ultralite 25
-430 = Ultralite 33
-440 = Versa 40E
-450 = Versa 50E
-460 = Versa 75E
-470 = Versa M/75
-480 = Versa M/100
-490 = Versa P/75
-570 = Versa M/75TC
-580 = Versa M/100TC
-700 = Versa V/40
-710 = Versa V/50
-720 = Versa V/75
0 = 640x480 9.4" Mono STN (_/D)
1 = 640x480 9.4" TFT (C)
2 = 640x480 9.4" Mono Touch (P)
3 = 640x480 9.4" TFT Touch (CP)
4 = 640x480 9.4" V-series Mono (V/xxD)
5 = 640x480 9.4" V-series Color (V/xxC)
6 = 640x480 9.4" TC model (M/xxTC)
7 = 800x600 9.4"TFT (M/xxHC, P/75HC)
8 = 800x600 10.4" TFT (P/75HC 96')
Model Series is 5 for all models 0 = 80MB
1 = 124MB
2 = 250MB
3 = 320MB
4 = 540MB
5 = 810MB
0 = No Card (4/8M)
1 = 4MB
2 = 8MB
3 = 12MB
4 = 16MB
5 = 32MB

Part Numbers
I'm building an extensive part# list to help with finding replacement parts for these laptops. It seems despite reaching 30 years old that these laptops somehow have a pretty large availibility of parts and used systems in a lot of places. I started it out by listing all base-units by model#, and I'm working on the screen part#'s - if you have monochrome or monochrome touch screen's I'd love to add the part#'s for them here.

Just a hint, this "platform" is reasonably interchangeable. Memory, HDD, Screens (save for the PC-5xx seres Versa M laptops), and of course standard stuff like PCMCIA cards and batteries, are interchangeable among all models (except smart batteries).

Part Number Part Type Applicable Models/Submodels Description
PC-400-XXXX Base Unit NEC Ultralite Versa 20 (20MHz) - P/C/CP NEC Ultralite Versa 20 Base Unit
PC-410-XXXX Base Unit NEC Ultralite Versa 25 (25MHz) - P/C/CP NEC Ultralite Versa 25 Base Unit
PC-430-XXXX Base Unit NEC Ultralite Versa 33 (33MHz) - P/C/CP NEC Ultralite Versa 33 Base Unit
PC-440-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa 40E (SL2 40MHz) - P/C/CP NEC Versa 40E Base Unit
PC-450-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa 50E (SL2 50MHz) - P/C/CP NEC Versa 50E Base Unit
PC-460-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa 75E (DX4 75MHz) - P/C/CP NEC Versa 75E Base Unit
PC-470-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa M/75 (DX4 75MHz) - D/C/CP/HC NEC Versa M/75 Base Unit
PC-480-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa M/100 (DX4 100MHz) - D/C/CP/HC NEC Versa M/100 Base Unit
PC-490-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa P/75 (Pentium 75MHz) - D/C/HC NEC Versa P/75 Base Unit
PC-570-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa M/75TC (DX4 75MHz) - TC only NEC Versa M/75TC Base Unit, true color model (keyed screen connector)
PC-580-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa M/100 (DX4 100MHz) - TC only NEC Versa M/100 Base Unit, true color model (keyed screen cocnnector)
PC-700-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa V/40 (40MHz, 4SL2) - D/C NEC Versa V/40 Base Unit
PC-710-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa V/50 (50Mhz 4SL2) - D/C NEC Versa V/50 Base Unit
PC-720-XXXX Base Unit NEC Versa V/75 (DX4 75MHz) = D/C NEC Versa V/75 Base Unit
Screen Assy, Mono Ultralite/E/M/P - adds no Designation 9.4" 640x480 DSTN Passive Matrix Monochrhome LCD w Brightness & Contrast
Screen Assy Ultralite/E/M/P - adds "P" Designation 9.4" 640x480 DSTN Passive Matrix Monochrhome LCD w Brightness & Contrast + TouchPen
Screen Assy, Color Ultralite/E/M/P - adds "D" Designation 9.4" 640x480 DSTN Passive Matrix Color LCD w Brightness & Contrast
OP-370-4001 Screen Assy, Color Ultralite/E/M/P - adds "C" Designation 9.4" 640x480 TFT Active Matrix Color LCD w Brightness, Ultralite Logo
OP-370-4401 Screen Assy, Color Ultralite/E/M/P - adds "C" Designation 9.4" 640x480 TFT Active Matrix Color LCD w Brightness, plain "Versa" Logo
Screen Assy, Color w/ Touch Versa M/75/100TC - adds "CP" Designation 9.4" 640x480 TFT Active Matrix Color LCD w Brightness & 3M "TouchPen"
Screen Assy, Color M/75TC and M/100TC - Only Fits These Models 9.4" 640x480 TFT Active Matrix Color LCD w/ Brightness, Thicker Casing, NL6448AC30-09 LCD
Screen Assy, Color M/P - adds "HC" Designation 9.4" 800x600 TFT Active Matrix Color LCD w Brightness
Screen Assy, Color M/P - adds "HC" Designation 10.4" 800x600 DSTN Active Matrix Color LCD w Brightness
Screen Assy, Color M/P - adds "HC" Designation 10.4" 800x600 DSTN Active Matrix Color LCD w Brightness
Screen Assy, Color M/P - adds "HC" Designation 10.4" 800x600 DSTN Active Matrix Color LCD w Brightness
OP-220-4704 HDD Ultralite/E/V/M/P HDD, VersaPak
OP-220-6004 HDD Ultralite/E/V/M/P HDD, VersaPak
OP-400-4403 Mainboard? Versa V/75 or E/75 Unknown Part
OP-410-1201 4MB Memory Versa Ultralite/E/V/M/P Memory
OP-410-4001 4MB Memory Versa Ultralite/E/V/M/P Memory Card
OP-410-4002 8MB Memory Versa Ultralite/E/V/M/P Memory Card
OP-410-4005 12MB Memory Versa Ultralite/E/V/M/P Memory
OP-410-4003 16MB Memory Versa Ultralite/E/V/M/P Memory
OP-520-4001 AC Adapter Ultralite/E/V/M/P Older "Big" Style Versa Ultralite Power Adapter, IEC Plug
OP-520-4401 AC Adapter Ultralite/E/V/M/P Versa E AC Adapter (works with others)
OP-520-4701 AC Adapter Ultralite/E/V/M/P Versa M/P AC Adapter (works with others)
OP-560-4001 Docking Station Versa Ultralite/E/V/M/P VersaDock Docking Station (first version)
OP-560-4401 Docking Station Versa Ultralite/E/V/M/P VersaDock Docking Station (first version)
OP-560-4701 Docking Station Ultralite/E/V/M/P VersaDock II Docking Station w/ Multimedia Support
OP-570-4001 Battery Ultralite/E/V/M/P 3400 MAh NiMH 7.2vdc Battery Pack for Versa, non-smart
OP-570-4002 Battery Ultralite/E/V/M/P 3400 MAh NiMH 7.2vdc Battery Pack for Versa, non-smart
OP-570-4401 Battery Ultralite/E/V/M/P 3800 MAh NiMH 7.2vdc Battery Pack for Versa, non-smart
OP-570-4002 Battery Ultralite/E/V/M/P 3400 MAh NiMH 7.2vdc Battery Pack for Versa, non-smart
OP-570-4001 Battery Ultralite/E/V 3400 MAh NiMH 7.2vdc Battery Pack for Versa, non-smart
OP-570-4701 Battery Versa M/P 3800 MAh NiMH 7.2vdc Battery Pack for Versa Smart Battery
OP-570-4702 Battery Charger Versa M/P Battery Charger for OP-570-4701 "Smart Batteries"
OP-580-4701 Carrying Case Versa Notebooks 12x12x3.5 Versa Carrying Case
OP-590-4701 Carrying Case Versa Notebooks 12x12x3.5 Versa Carrying Case
OP-810-4701 Versa Bay Video Versa M/P VersaVideo for VersaBay DV playback & Capture
OP-810-4702 Versa Bay Battery Versa M/P Versa Bay Battery Pack
NL6448AC30-03 LCD Panel Ultralite Versa/E/V/M/P 640x480 TFT active Matrix 9.4" LCD Panel, 4096 Colors, Dual Backlights, FFC Controller
NL6448AC30-06 LCD Panel Ultralite Versa/E/V/M/P 640x480 TFT Active Matrix 9.4" LCD Panel, 4096 Colors, Dual Backlights (Non-Removable), Soldered Controller
NL6448AC30-09 LCD Panel Versa M/75TC & M/100TC 640x480 TFT active Matrix 9.4" LCD Panel, 32-bit Color, Dual Backlights (FR), Soldered Controller
NL6448AC30-10 LCD Panel Ultralite Versa/E/V/M/P 640x480 TFT Active Matrix 9.4" LCD Panel, Single FRU Backlight, Soldered Controller
NL8060AC33-01 LCD Panel Versa M/P - HC 800x600 TFT Active Matrix 9.4" LCD Panel, Dual Backlights, Soldered Controller
NL8060AC26-04 LCD Panel Ultralite Versa/E/V/M/P 800x600 TFT Active Matrix 10.4" LCD Panel, Dual Backlights, Soldered Controller
136-235165-001-A Floppy Ultralite Versa/E/V/M/P FD1139H Floppy Drive for Versar
136-236037-001A Cover, CPU, Top Versa ? Keyboard Bezel?
136-237635-001A CPU Board Versa P/75 CPU Board for NEC Versa P/75 & AT&T Globalyst 250P
136-237714-0 Bottom Base Versa ? Bottom Casing for 1st Gen Versa Model?
136-238071-A Keyboard Plate Assy' Versa E/V/M/P/Ultralite Keyboard Plate Assemby
136-238074-001A
136-238565-002A
136-244578-0 Keyboard Versa Ultralite/E/M/P Keyboard Assembly, Notebook
136-245548-0 Cable Unknown Cable
136-264968-8 LCD Monochorme LCD, 9.5", NH810
136-266356-001 Floppy Drive Versa Ultralite/E/V 1.44MB 3.5" Floppy Drive, Versa V/50
136-266358-001A
136-439833-A CPU Board Vers 50E G8PRZA, 486 DX2 SL 50Mhz, 4MB RAM, CR2340 CMOS
136-550126 Riser Board VersaDock II Riser Board for NEC VersaDock II
136-439833-A Motherboard VersaDock II Motherboard for NEC VersaDock II
136-550127 Adapter Board VersaDock II LED Adapter Board for NEC VersaDock II
136-878567 LCD Plastic Cover NEC Versa LCD Bezel/Cover
136-878568 LCD Back Cover NEC Versa Back cover for LCD
136233010001A Keyboard Versa 40E/50E Keyboard Assembly for Versa 40/50E models
158-026166-000C Logic Board Versa 486 Logic Board, Details Pending
158-026167-000B DX2/50 Processor Board Versa 486 486 DX2 SL CPU Board, Details Pending
158-026167-100B DX4-75 Processor Board Versa 486 486 DX4-75 CPU Board, Details Pending
158-057354-0 Carrying case Versa Black Leather Carrying Case
808-873119-001-A Trackball Versa Trackball Assembly
63-4631-00-01 Digitizer, Touch Screen Versa P and CP submodels 3M MicroTouch 9.4" capacitive Touch Touch Screen, ClearTek 1, 5-wire, 5pin Molex
808-873119-003A Trackball Versa Trackball Assembly

Values & What is the Best Machine
So now that you know just about everything I can give on the 1st generation NEC Versa line, here's the "review" section on each computer I've owned + what I think they are worth.

1994 NEC Versa 40EC PC-440-1531 - 8/2019
Paid: $35.00
Repairs?: Replaced Motherboard, CMOS Battery. Hinge (weakened but not yet broken)
Specs: 8MB RAM (4MB Upgrade Card), 250MB HDD, no PCMCIA cards, Act MTX 9.4" 640x480 Color Screen
Review: This was an ex-Ford Motor Company computer that someone had put into storage "as working". When I recieved it, it would periodically power on acting like it had an issue with the charge jack. Luckily, at the time, e-bay had replacement E-series Motherboards for $20.00 each from a California firm so I bought one of those and recieved it, and that resolved the issue as it also came with a power board. At first I used it pretty much stock but slowly began to upgrade it with a Aironet PCMCIA WiFi Card (and a Secondary Orinoco card I used first). Later an 80GB Drive out of a Compaq V2000 I used to have was used to give the computer more storage space so I could run more applications on it. I have since had to repair the power management board, restore 2 different batteries or it, replace the screen (the original burned out it's power and logic boards), replace the motherboard twice. So it's not the most reliable of the lot. However, some of these repairs were due to all of the experiments I was doing on this laptop as it was the first vintage laptop I'd had in 15 years and I really wanted to find out ways to prolong it's life. Overall, performance on this is more on par with a lot of 486 DX2-66 machines, with sound it'd be a formidable retro-DOS laptop.

1994 NEC Versa M/75CP PC-470-1731 - 11/2020
Paid: $75.00
Repairs?: Lots of plastic repairs with J.B. Weld (case coming apart)
Specs: 12MB of RAM (8MB Upgrade Card), 320MB HDD w/ Stacker, Words+ System 2000 AAC, 3M MicroTouch Touch Screen, Serial PCMCIA Card for Words+
Review: This was a $6000 medical equipment setup for Louisiana State University Hospital, and was not wiped despite the sticker on the bottom. It had cracked chassis parts all over and was very flimsy. I used it for a year and a half as my main with packing tape and J.B. Weld holding the laptop together, until it started just rampantly falling apart in 2021, where it was combined with the M/75 TC Below to make what it is now. This one is still my main vintage laptop and I'm still using it a lot, though now it has maxxed out RAM, 80GB HDD, an 800x600 screen, and is being prepped to have a replacement chinese Digitizer installed and a modified 3M MicroTouch pen. The remnants of this one were put together with the M/75TC below to create a more solid M/75. The performance is on par with many DX4-100 machines and it holds it's own with Creepingnet 486. WSS means that if one put an OPL and SoundBlaster capable card in this, with the touch screen, it would basically be the ULTIMATE MS-DOS laptop.

1995 NEC Versa P/75HC PC-490-1751 - 12/2020
Paid: $25.00
Repairs?: Lots of plastic repairs, some serious structural issues causing erratic behavior at first
Specs: 8MB of RAM (no RAM Exp Card), 320MB HDD, 800x600 Active Matrix TFT, no cards, Replacement Battery with 2hrs life left on it (OP-570-4701)
Review: I bought this AS/IS for parts from some guy in New York. The VersaTrak was seized, requiring cleaning, the case was coming apart everywhere within a month, and I did a whole 3 hour video of me fixing the plastic on the bottom. It's still not perfect but it's better than it was. It came with a working battery I used in this and the M/75 above quite often. Right now it runs Windows 95 OSR 2.5 on a 80GB HDD that also has WFW311 on it. Performance is only marginally better than the M/75 models, it's basically a bus-castrated Pentium or a Pentium-ized 486 depending on how you look at it. It does use some rather strange silicon for the CPU as there is no Intel branding on it, adn the heatpipe arrangement seems quite unique and innovative for it's time. That said, the one major benefit of this model is the ESS 688 SoundBlaster compatible sound with OPL/3 making it the best choice for a Versa for retro-gaming with sound.

1993 NEC Ultralite Versa 25C PC-410-1521 - 3/2021
Paid: $30.00
Repairs?: Totaled, entire case was cracked to pieces, would not power up, was used for parts for other Verss (what few were good)
Specs: 8MB RAM (4MB Exp card), 120 MB HDD, Working Battery, Clippercom Modem 14.4K PCMCIA
Review: This was bought to fill the gap of the original run systems and be my slow one for older games. I had planned to re-house the top lid section as I had a spare casing left but the entire thing crumbled like a cake when I got it. It also would not power on, though it did show batteries charging. Components on the bottom of the case were rusted and smelled like a bowl of steamed clams that had 40 years to ruminatte within the laptop. So it was parted out and not even used. It seems these early Ultralites tend to have issues with electrolytic caps (the later models don't have them except in the screen assembly). Unfortunatley, since it never worked, I never got to get an assessment of it's capabilities. I dod have my eyes on a couple AT&T 3180's and an Ultralite 33C that are in much better condition and at least one of those I know for a fact works.

1994 NEC Versa M/75TC PC-570-1451 - 4/2021
Paid: $55.00
Repairs?: Parted out (huge issue with screen centering, was DOA at first due to screen electronics issues)
Specs: 12MB of RAM, 540MB HDD, PCMCIA 14.4K Modem
Review: This was bought to replace the other M/75 as the case was coming apart, it turned out to be DOA, it would not start up. When I DID get it to work with the original screen, it had a problem with the display showing everything shuffled down by several pixels. I spent about 3-months tweaking the NL6448AC30-09 True-Color panel to try and resolve that issue but never managed to. So it was parted out and combined with the other M/75 to make the M/75HCP model I created out of it so it lives on - case-wise - as my current favorite M/75. The performance is pretty high, but the 800x600 screen has robbed some battery life from it. However, the M/75TC case, for some odd reason, seems a little more solid than the original M/75CP case wwas. I have not installed a Digitizer yet so I don't know how well it will handle touch, at least, not until I figure out the digitizer situation.

1995 NEC Versa V/50C PC-710-1531 - 5/2021
Paid: $15.00
Repairs?: None
Specs: 4MB RAM, no HDD, no Battery, NEC SCSI Card (Adaptec) PCMCIA, PCMCIA Ethernet (Etherlink III) without Dongle
Review: This was bought because it came along real cheap, and I had parts to flesh it out with all the spares from the other Versa that I had. This one also has been the leasts problematic. A failed HDD however, took the power-section of the board (fuse) out and I had to literally wire it together with a wire for the time being until I can get a 6.3a Surface mount fuse to use to repair it properly. This laptop has grown on me, though the keyboard is a bit different and does not feel as good as the other models. It is, however, a more solid version of the Versa E pretty much.

1994 NEC Versa 40EC PC-440-1531 - 9/2021
Paid: $20.00
Repairs?: Parted Out, DOA
Specs: 12MB of RAM, 250MB HDD, PCMCIA 14.4K Modem Xjack, Etherlink III XJack LAN PCMCIA, 9.4" 640x480 Active Matrix
Review: I bought this specifically for parts and I have a bunch of them stored away, including a 2nd top cover for the screen for the other 40EC in case I get tired of the marble or it decides just to crack to pieces one day, or if I want to do a display of what it looks like stock. I also bought it because it had a PCMCIA Ethernet card that I could actually use as my docking station died and is being (slowly) repaired byb me over the course of 2020-2023.


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