Author Topic: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown  (Read 7222 times)

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Offline Halcyon

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 03:17:59 pm »
Those Panasonic Toughbooks can take an absolute flogging. Brilliant machines although very expensive. That one looks like it has had a hard life or was maybe run over by some kind of vehicle. At work we've had them fall off car roofs, left in extreme heat (it actually had a built-in "extreme heat" mode to protect the lithium battery, in high temperatures, it will only ever charge the battery pack to 80%).
 

Offline MK14

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 03:46:31 pm »
I think the original link, is missing the last character of the URL.

 

Offline craigh

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2016, 04:44:46 am »
Interesting tear down, thanks Dave.  I used to work for a company that built industrial PCs and touch screens.  We had rooms, heated to 60C, full of products burning-in before they were shipped.  I ran the shock and vibe lab for a while.

Wondering what happens to stuff left over from one of your tear downs?  Is there a good e-waste recycling facility nearby, or does it end up in a landfill.  I live in a small town in Canada and it's hard to properly dispose of e-waste.  Getting better each year though.
 

Offline mjt

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2016, 05:19:34 am »
I sent that in. The reason it looks so knackered is because, to get one for free, I asked for one they were going to throw out.

The port covers normally have two parts - the flexible rubber you see forms the hinge and seal, and a second bit of plastic keeps it rigid and forms a latch. Those were taken as spares to keep other units running. The same goes for every other part that could be removed for reuse :)

The yellow buttons on the back are user-configurable. We had them both set up for 'scan barcode'. Several of the buttons on the front are also configurable - we had them set to zoom the sat nav, and switch between the satnav and the order-tracking program.

There are two batteries - but surprisingly, you need them both in for it to operate. I'm not sure why they didn't use a single battery.

Some of the connectors are probably because there are options missing - you could get it configured with a camera, an RFID reader and a fingerprint reader; you could also lose the 3G, GPS and barcode scanner. I think there were also options for CPU and RAM.

The docking connector could be used two ways - either for docking, or to screw an accessory onto the bottom. At the bottom of http://notebookitalia.it/tablet-notebook-panasonic-toughbook-toughpad-2012-14775 you can see one with fitted with the "CF-U1 PIMD" magstripe reader. The grounded screw holes on the bottom were for such accessories to screw into.

List price when they were introduced in 2008 was "starting at $2500" according to https://gizmodo.com/5019515/panasonic-toughbook-cf-u1-pricing-and-specs-of-the-rugged-little-intel-atom-umpc and subsequently there were minor revisions to support Windows 7. The price dropped as it got older - but Panasonic knew customers didn't have a BATNA without a lot of software rework, so it never got seriously cheap. You can pick them up used on ebay for $100 but not in enough volume to run a business on :)

When it was introduced the level of integration was pretty cutting edge - smartphones weren't yet in everyone's pockets, Android hadn't even been released, and the iPhone 1 didn't support apps, GPS or 3G. Anyone who thinks they need something like the U1 these days should probably do an Android app instead and get hardware that's smaller and cheaper at the same time :)
 
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Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2016, 07:06:36 am »
Toughbooks are extremely tough there are people out there who set out to try and break them, you tube has lots. But this is the one that I like most.



It gets burnt up in a vehicle fire and still boots up, there is al;so a picture around of one that stopped a 50 cal bullet but that stopped the toughbook.
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2016, 06:06:56 pm »
I've used the CF-19's extensively. Well worth getting your hands on for knocking about the garage etc... new they are about AUD$5000 but you can get re-furbished units for about $900. One of the many great things about them is the new models still come with a 9-pin serial port and they actually have decent battery life (Panasonic claims up to 10 hours but real world we get about 6-8 hours).
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 06:09:52 pm by Halcyon »
 

Offline silicon_ghost

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2016, 08:44:19 am »
I've had a fair bit of experience with the Toughbook laptops (CF-29, CF-30, CF-31 series).  Very reliable, sunlight readable, and ran for 8+ hours on the battery.  No complaints at all about reliability.

I can't be sure if this is the same SATA+PWR connector on this model but Toughbook laptops wrap the hard drive in additional shock protection.  So you can use a standard drive and put it in the cocoon and slide it in.  Yeah the drive options are expensive but we were able to buy COTS drives and RAM when we later upgraded the systems.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2016, 09:20:41 am »
I've had a fair bit of experience with the Toughbook laptops (CF-29, CF-30, CF-31 series).  Very reliable, sunlight readable, and ran for 8+ hours on the battery.  No complaints at all about reliability.

If I win the lottery I'll definitely buy one. They look sooo cool (which is why you constantly see them in action movies, etc.)

Plus they have a carrying handle.
 

Offline MK14

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2016, 10:07:30 am »
I've had a fair bit of experience with the Toughbook laptops (CF-29, CF-30, CF-31 series).  Very reliable, sunlight readable, and ran for 8+ hours on the battery.  No complaints at all about reliability.

If I win the lottery I'll definitely buy one. They look sooo cool (which is why you constantly see them in action movies, etc.)

Plus they have a carrying handle.

Presumably the carrying handle is so that you can easily tie a string to it, and tie the other end to a bicycle, so you can cycle down some steep stairs, and through a stream, in some semi-exotic place. To make your next you tube video, extreme tough book test.

Then repeatedly drop test it.

Only to find that the battery got smashed up, and the computer is fine.
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #925 - Panasonic CF-U1 ToughBook Teardown
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2016, 06:27:52 pm »
The great thing about the toughbooks is they are so modular, it makes it easy to hack the hardware. I made a CF29 into a tough portable DSO by taking out the cell phone card and replacing it with the guts of a USB scope. The card connections have usb on them so it is easy to solder onto, stupidly I sold it to a garage mechanic.
 


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