Buying a Black Hawk CF-29 & CF-30 Panasonic Toughbook

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Looking to buy a Toughbook?  Which Model?  What Accessories? Here is some good information to get started. 

Many of the Panasonic Toughbooks being sold on eBay are either functional, Not-Working, Rebuilt, Brought to near new standards, Refurbished or Parts, Buy 3 and maybe you can salvage parts to get 1 good one. The Caddy carrying the HDD, is the most sought after part, next a DVD Drive and finally a Battery.  Get all those and a decent machine, and you have the World's Best Computers System.  Shoot for  the Ultra Rugged models like the BLACK HAWK TOUGHBOOK's Consider first the CF-29, the CF-30, the CF-18. The most up-to-dat machine is the CF-31. However, you will not be able to get the CF-31 because they run nearly $5000.00, the CF-19's are a bit pricy and the CF-28's and below are too old to be worth while. 

Start at the CF-29.  Perhaps Panasonic's most successful laptop as this machine take all of the best combination of form and function and made the best Rugged Laptop and perhaps the Best Laptop ever.  Most were purchased by Govt. Agencies, thus there may have been some data that would have either been erased from the 2.5 inch IDE HDD, or the agency removed the entire Hard Drive The Hard Drive Caddy and tossed it.

You need a Caddy for the Hard Drive and you need a Caddy for the CD, DVD Optical drive.  Don't get caught up in sellers selling a CD/DVD for the Toughbook without a Caddy.  Don't expect to drive your engine to work, you are going to need a car wrapped around it.  Battery;  Forget the new ones, go for an original used Panasonic Toughbook Battery.  They are perhaps the most interesting laptop batteries because the 5 year old batteries still hold an hour charge.  The AC cord.  No big deal, just find one that has the 2.5mm and 5.5mm tip.  You will need to purchase the machine with the caddy and hard drive or you can buy them apart.

A good option is a completely formatted CF-29 HDD and Caddy with the necessary System Restore Disks.  These will pop up on eBay at times in the $155-175.00 range.  The restore disks are a treat because they contain the Original System Restore Data for your model of Toughbook.  Either a 1.2GHz MK1  or a 1.3GHz MK2  or a 1.4GHz MK3  a 1.6GHz MK4 or MK5.  The latter 2 will use the DDR2 less expensive ram and the MK1-MK3 will require the DDR1 ram.

The Rubber Knobby Protector by Black Hawk Toughbooks is a neat and cool item designed to protect the lid of the Toughbook.  Some have painted the machines, however caution should be taken. If paint gets into any port or even disrupts the connection of Wire to Connector, you are going to have a possible issue with both, the wireless and the LCD.  Besides when painting, it just looks bad when a laptop isn't painted correctly. Consult somone about painting, properly tape the machine, use a quick dry paint, one that will withstand heat but mostly adhere to metal that can be flexible and not crack, chip or leave residue.

There is that rare Chrome Lid Toughbook out there however those are left for the more collector types.  Remember, they are completely quiet, no fans, no dust, no heat, great battery millage.  The CF-29 can be use by children, contractors, even pets without worry about damage. Consider one if you travel lots and worry about the kids dragging one in and out of the car, consider one if you are an outdoors person, but forget it if you are looking for that small net-book form factor item to put in your coat pocket.  The thing weighs 7 lbs.

More to come:   Keyboards, Touch Screen Fixes, WiFi, and GPS Devices inside and out. To see more and learn more go to
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