Compaq Contura Aero 4/33C

Compaq released Aero 4/25 and 4/33 small notebook computers in 1994. They were one of the first computers of small factor, they had even no floppy disk drive nor CD drive - everything was external. This gave the machine possibility to be ultra-portable. Compaq experimented with pointing devices by using trackball in different places - in this unit is is on the right part of casing while buttons ae located on its side, in other models they moved trackball to the lid, right below LCD, while buttons were on the other side - you had to grab it and move the ball with thumb, pressing buttons with index and middle finger.
The computer had to be energy-efficient, so it has a small, low-power 486SX processor running at 33MHz. On board, there is 4MB of RAM expandable by modules. Models were equipped with drives from 84MB to 250MB. Aero notebooks were supplied with MS-DOS and Windows 3.x, floppy drive was PCMCIA-based. Simulatnaously a LapLink-like solution was pre-installed to transfer data by COM port. Although video card had 512kB, only 256kB was accessible allowing 640x480 to be displayed.   
Because of their small size these computers were quite expensive and never got true popularity. However there are still some fan-clubs of these small computers.


Manufacturer Compaq

Origin USA
Year of unit 1994
Year of introduction 1994
Type Laptop, PC
CPU Intel 486SX, 33MHz
RAM 4MB,
expandable with modules
Floppy Disk External only (PCMCIA)
Hard Disk 250MB IDE
Other media None
Graphics and display: LCD display, 640x480 in 16 colors
Sound: PC Speaker
Keyboard and pointing device: Small PC keyboard

Trackball with 2 buttons located on side.

OS: MS-DOS, Windows 3.x

Power supply:

1 - GND
2 - 17.5V DC, 2.5A
(17V works too)

I/O: Serial port, parallel port, PCMCIA, dock/expansion connector.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Possible upgrades:  - RAM Expansion
 - External FDD
Additional peripherals:  none

My unit has been bought in flea market and its origins are unknown. Its hard disk contains Windows 95, installation, a few DOS games and nothing more, especially that disk is severely damaged by bad sectors. I don't have also a floppy drive for it so I can't even replace the hard disk as BIOS Setup partition needs to be restored from floppy disks as in Compaq Presario CDS510. For what I've found, it was bought in Poland and used until 2002-2003 when it fell while operating.

The computer needs PCMCIA floppy disk drive. You may encounter problem while installing operating system from floppies which loads own PCMCIA drivers - floppy may disappear in the middle of preparing to install. The solution is to use hard disk to store installation files or skip PCMCIA drivers loading during install. Some traces point to the hint that this computer can boot from RS232 too, but they are too vague to be used.

Servcie manual and FAQ
Setup and diags disk (SP 2054)
BIOS/DOS/Win drivers/tools pack (SPs 0993, 1992, 1454, 1743, 1125, 2158, 1630, 2517, 0891, 0801, 1585)


Contents: Links    

Links

https://remember.the-aero.org/ - Webpage with information about programs, manuals for download and SoftPaqs listed.
http://www.jave.de/aero/aero.htm - Little Aero page -
http://www.zenspider.com/~pwilk/aero_stuff.html - Aero stuff - Links, very good FAQ, diagrams, photos.
http://conturaaero.tripod.com/ - Compaq Aero Land - Information and (mostly outdated) links.
http://www.zenspider.com/~pwilk/aero/pinout.html - Base unit connector pinout (Local mirror)

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