Ok so after thinking I had some bad hard drives, and that the power supply on my imaging box was fried, I am back on to refurbishing the laptops that I save from the recycling pile.
The hard drives were ok, I did FRY another 2.5 to 3.5 ide adapter. My local computer parts store didn't have any. MicroCenter to the rescue!
MC only had one left, the plan was to buy two so I always have a spare.
Ebay and the Hong Kong parts to the rescue, 2 for half the price of 1 !!
Back in business. Two Dell Latitude LM's,
Pentium/166 MMX, 256Kb of pipeline-burst cache, 40Mb of RAM, 1.6Gb hard disk, ten-speed CD-ROM, 12.1in SVGA TFT colour screen, 1.1Mb NeoMagic graphics, removable floppy drive, ESS AudioDrive ES1688 audio, integrated stereo speakers, 115Kbits/sec infrared serial port, one Type III or two Type II PC Card slots, lithium ion battery)
it's real nice when I get common machines, makes setting them up easier after figuring out the first one.
No boot - have to add pnpbios=off to boot line.
My default Puppy Image installed, but the video resolution on these old boxes was too low to run in an acceptable manner. Try DSL - couldn't get any video to work, let alone be acceptable. Ok, no problem, I'll make these cli only machines for people who want to learn command line.
Install Ubuntu CLI only Hardy - about 350 megs installed - NICE.
The tty font sucks - ugly - hard to read - dpkg-reconfigure console-setup to change tty fonts to something acceptable - terminus - clean.
Hmm, I know I can increase resolution and add a desktop; more to come.