Last night my Compaq IA-1 showed up so I spent most of the evening gently cracking the case, looking at the BIOS (not much there) and trying to get Jailbait (A compact linux distro intened for the I-opener) onto a 16MB CF card.
To save some headaches, the following is a detailed description of how to disassemble the unit, reset the BIOS, and put it back together with minimal pain.
Note: Compaq was pretty cool to use only a few different types of screws so you don't have to keep track of exactly which screw went where. Some manufacturers use 10 or more different sizes and threads but the IA-1 seemed to use only 3 different sizes so it's not a big deal keeping it straight.
First, remove the grey tail piece from the base that is held in by 1 screw. This will expose two tabs which you will press on with a screwdriver to separate the top and bottom halves of the clambshell case (not now though). Next, remove the 4 screws from the bottom of the case. Do not try to separate the base pieces yet as you need to disassemble part of the display case before you can get it apart. Remove the 2 silver screws from the top of the base which hold down a smallish plastic cover right behind the panel. This also cannot be removed until after you open the panel case. (hey, I know this sounds backwards, but that's how I did it alright)
Next, with a very small flathead or somesuch, pop out the 4 white rubber nubs from the back of the panel case. Remove the, now exposed, 4 screws which hold the frame around the display. Using a very flat tool (screwdriver, knife, whatever), separate the front of the panel from the back of the panel. Compaq used a lot of simple edge snaps to hold the case together, so just find out which edge is on top and work your way around till you get one to release. Once one is off, the rest follow easily.
At the bottom of the display panel (below the contrast and brightness buttons) you will see a seam in the plastic going around the panel hinges. Using your flat tool, pry at this seam to release the edge snap holding the two pieces together. Now, you can remove that small cover behind the panel (on the top side of the front of the base). It may take a little prying and moving the display back and foreth, but it will come.
Now, get to prying the base apart. A good place to start is under where the tail piece was. Pop one, or both, of the tabs there and work your way outward to release all of the edge snaps.
Remove the 4 silver screws that attach the display panel hinges to the base and leave the panel hanging forward from the the base. At this point I set the unit on it's base and tipped the display all the way forward. You should be able to see well inside the unit at this point. If you don't want to disconnect the cables going to the display you don't have to, but I'm sure that would make it easier to move around. I was able to do all the rest without disconnecting these cables so I know it is possible. You will have to disconnect 2 black grounding wires though. These are attached to the top of the metal shield that straddles the processor and board. Also pull off the top end of the black plastic film that is wrapped around the power supply. The film has adhesive on one end and it pulls away from the metal shield easily.
Now, remove the heat sink from the processor. It is held on by 3 screws and may also be adhered to the processor itself. Mine was not (probably because it was a refurb), but if yours is glued on I recommend twisting or sliding motions to separate the two. Once the sink is off, remove the 3 silver screws holding the shield to the case (2 in front by where the panel hinges are attached and 1 in back that was covered up by the black film). Now, before the shield will come off, there is also 1 black screw to the left of where the heat sink was that needs to come out. You should now be able to tip the shield up and massage the cables to see into most of the innards.
If you are looking at the unit from the back, the BIOS reset jumper is in the back left (look for the silver button battery). Put the jumper on the other set of pins (the foreward set), plug the power in (display will get weird, don't worry), pull the power and let the CAPACITORS DISCHARGE FOR 60 SECONDS (ZZZZZAP). Now, move the jumper back to it's original position and plug it back in.
You will know your handiwork was good if you see the POST performing a memory scan in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Press the Compaq button on the keyboard (remember the keyboard is IR, not RF so it has to be pointing at the front of the unit) and you should get the BIOS setup screen after the POST.
All right, pull the power cable (wait 60 seconds remember) and do all the disassembly stuff in reverse.
A few notes on the bios:
You don't have an F10 key to save or an Escape key to cancel, but for some reason I found that the "T" key works for F10 and the "Compaq" key does cancel. From the boot menu, selecting Hard Drive means to boot from the internal 16MB flash and Floppy means boot from the CF slot.
If I get linux going, I'll post with how that works too, but it would be REALLY cool if someone else who has already done it would throw out some tips here.