TI TravelMate 4000M

Before selling it’s computer business off to Acer in 1997, Texas Instruments, famously known for their line of table calculators, also produced computers. Here’s the TravelMate 4000M, a 486-class Notebook of the early 90s.

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Historic Overview

While the TravelMate brand ist associated to Acer in present days, the brand is known since around 1990, when used the first time by Texas Instruments. Before sellings it’s computing division off to Acer in 1997, Texas Instruments – producing computers since the early 80s – introduced the  TravelMate 2000 in 1990.

TI TravelMate 4000M

Since its initial release the TravelMate underwent several refits, with the 4000 series beeing third generation built on Intels 80486 line of processors, debuting in around 1994.

Sporting 486 CPUs in the speed range between 25 und 75 MHz, a default RAM size of 8 MiB and hard drives starting at 210 MiB, the 4000 series offered good portability at decent performance.

With the optional docking station, the TravelMate 4000M could also act as a full desktop replacement, including a built-in multimedia CD-ROM drive.

As opposed to other systems at the time, the BIOS setup can’t be accessed during the POST phase (or at least, I didn’t figure out how). But booting into a plain DOS session allows the setup utility the be accessed by simply pressing CTRL+ALT+ESCAPE.
Optionally, one might press FN+ESCAPE in plain DOS, which is supposed to run a programm called “SET_UP” off your hard drive, which offers the same capabilities.

If somebody happens to have original restore floppies for the setup utility, please provide me some disk dumps.

Specs

The PHINTAGE Collection currently holds a TravelMate 4000M.

VendorTexas Instruments
ModelTravelMate 4000M
Released1995
Original Streetprice3799 US$ for the 4000M base model (486SX-25 CPU)
Guestimated around 5000 US$ for the 4000M with 486DX2-50 CPU
Weight4.5 KG
Dimensions28cm x 21.5cm x 5 cm
Builtin DisplayYes, 9.5″ Passive Matrix Color LCD
Builtin BatteryYes
CPUIntel 80486 DX2 @ 50 MHz
RAM8 MiB
Storage
  • 523 MiB 2.5″ PATA hard drive
  • 3.5″ 1.44 MiB floppy drive
Network Supportoptional

 

  • via PCI adapter (in DockMate station)
  • via PCMCIA adapter
USBNo
Video Output1 VGA
Other1 PS/2 port (Keyboard or Mouse), Audio in/out, Microphone in, 1 RS232, 1 Parallel Port, 1 Dock Connector, 1 SCSI connector
Operating SystemMS-DOS 6.22, Windows for Workgroups 3.11
Overall Condition
  • very good condition, minimal wear, system is in usable condition
  • Battery worn down
  • Floppy drive is defective
  • CMOS battery replacement not possible due to defective mainboard
Restoration Parts needed
  • Replacement battery
  • Replacement floppy drive
  • Eventually, replacement mainboard

Gallery

Coming soon.

Downloads

Here’s some original ad flyers promoting the TravelMate in 1995.

7 Comments on “TI TravelMate 4000M

  1. Hi, mine is also in the same conditions as the one described here. The battery can be repaired: if you open the box inside you will find Aaa batteries. But for the floppy unfortunately there is nothing to do.

    • The floppy drive can be repaired. Over time the small rubber drive belt gets gummy and loses its elasticity. You can find packages of miscellaneous small drive belts on ebay or amazon. Finding the right size belt can be tricky, but putting it in is pretty easy. But whatever you do, when you are dismantling the floppy drive, you have to remove a metal tray from between the magnetic heads mechanism. If your fingers slip and the two heads touch as you remove the tray, they will never work again. I destroyed a couple floppy drives this way while learning how to replace the belts. But as long as you can avoid the two magnetic heads touching, a piece of cardboard will help keep them apart while you work, and you can find a small drive belt that fits and doesn’t bind, the floppy drive should work again. I’ve fixed a couple now successfully on a to travelmat 4000m, and an old toshiba t2400ct. Its a tricky repair but totally doable if you have patience and a couple extra floppy drives in case you mess up.

  2. Hi
    I’ve got a
    “Texas Instruments TravelMate 4000 WinSX
    486SX-25 Megahertz” in very good condition.
    Power supply, Replacement battery, Mouse.
    Windows 95, Excel, Word, Norton Commander and so on.
    What do you mean: whats the street Price for this vintage gadget?
    Regards
    Thomas

    • Hallo Thomas,

      Das mit den Preise ist immer ein sehr relatives Thema, das kommt auf viele Faktoren an.
      Diese alten Grossväter sind zwar mittlerweile alle selten, aber einige kriegt man auf Ebay oder am Flohmarkt ständig nachgeworfen, und andere sind kaum zu kriegen.

      So als Faustformel: Ein Notebook aus den 90ern, durchaus mit gewissen Gebrauchsspuren, aber grundsätzlich noch funktionsfähig, liegt in der Regel irgendwo zwischen 50-250 Franken bzw. dem Gegenwert in Euro oder Dollar.
      Für richtig gut erhaltene oder gar neuwertige bzw. ganz neue Geräte (originalverpackt, NOS/new original stock condition) sind die Preise definitiv höher, bisweilen liegt durchaus auch der Neupreis drin.
      Ganz seltene Geräte, z.B. die ersten IBM und Compaq Portables von Anfang der 80er liegen auch gebraucht schnell mal bei 500-1000 oder noch weiter darüber.

      Eine pauschale Antwort ist daher schwierig.
      Ich empfehle Dir, auf eBay selbst nach deinem Gerät zu suchen und es mit vorhandenen Angeboten zu vergleichen, das gibt dir einen ungefähren Anhaltspunkt für die Preisspanne für dein Gerät.

      Grüsse
      Gianpaolo

  3. Hey,thank you for all the Informations ! Are you still looking for a recovery DISK ? I recently purchased a TI TM4000M and there was an original Disc in the Discdrive. I already did a image of it. Just shoot me an email.

    • Yes, I’d be interested in a recovery disk.
      Drop me a note to “hostmaster_at_phunsites.net”

      • hey, hi, can you share the recovery disk? i also own one and would love to try that!

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