VOGONS


First post, by Zack_H

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Here is a collection I’m very fond of, my Compaq Conturas:

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I currently have the 3/25, 4/25, 4/25c and 4/25cx. These are all part of the original Contura series, not the Aero or 400-series. The main ones I am lacking now are the 3/20 and 3/25c.

The only one that doesn’t fully work is the 3/25, because half of the connector for the keyboard on the motherboard is missing, so the internal keyboard doesn’t work. I currently have another 3/25 on the way to fix it, so that should be straightened out soon.

The 4/25cx was the only member of the original Contura series to have an active-matrix display and integrated trackball. It was also the most expensive of them all, at a list-price of $3,848.

The Contura was Compaq’s consumer-oriented notebook, with the LTE being at the very high-end of the spectrum. However, the Contura was one of the most expensive consumer notebooks at the time.

Anyways, just thought I’d share this! I’ll probably post some better pictures later...

Starting Windows 95. . .

Reply 1 of 13, by Jo22

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Cool! I'm a proud owner of a Contura 420c (?), myself. 😎
By the way, if you need drivers, have a look at https://remember.the-aero.org/.
Some of them are useful for the other Compaqs, too. Espcecially the PCMCIA and Windows 3.1 stuff.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 2 of 13, by Cyrix200+

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Cool. I have 3/25 myself. The harddisk has died and some of the plastic is broken. The screen is bad, I don't know if that's just the way they are or if it's the age.

The 'rubber pad' on the pad had degraded/melted and got really sticky. It is removed now (with the help of much IPA).

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.

Reply 3 of 13, by Zack_H

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Thanks everyone!

Thanks for that link. I’ll have to check that out.

The hard drive in your 3/25 is likely fixable (assuming it’s a Conner drive), because there is a rubber bumper that the head arm rests on inside, which deteriorates causing the arm becomes stuck to it, making it impossible for the drive to un-park the heads. Do you hear a bunch of “clicks” from your drive? If so, that’s your issue. There is a video on YouTube about how to fix the Conner laptop hard drives. There is actually one of two ways you can do it, one with tape and one with superglue.

What do you mean exactly by your screen being bad? Keep in mind that this is a dual-scan passive matrix display, so they always looked blotchy, with some streaking and shadowing. The active-matrix displays were much brighter, with more vibrant color, faster refresh-rate, no blotching, and a much wider viewing angle. This may be what you are thinking of.

I’ve gotten a few with melted rubber pads as well, and a few of my others are starting to degrade now. Need to find a roll of appropriate-thickness rubber so I can start making some new pads. The pad is actually far superior to feet in my opinion, as the pad keeps the laptop from sliding off of your legs. Shame they didn’t really catch on.

Also, the other 3/25 I ordered arrived yesterday, and I got it all working now, so I finally have a fully-functional 3/25 for the first time ever. I also restored the 120MB Conner hard drive to fully-working order. Surprisingly, it was completely blank, so I have been spending the last few hours loading it up with software.

Starting Windows 95. . .

Reply 5 of 13, by Zack_H

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Well, the Aero is technically part of the Contura series, but it was made later and is a "sub-notebook," rather than a full-sized notebook like the original Contura.

The Aero 4/25's screen should be very similar to the Contura 3/20, 3/25, and 4/25, although smaller. I personally like the passive displays. They are very "retro" for sure. 😀 My first laptop also had one though, so that may be part of it. It was already ancient when I had it though!

I've never owned an Aero though. Would like to have one someday.

But, really, there's just something cool about Wolfenstien 3-D in monochrome passive-matrix. 😀

Starting Windows 95. . .

Reply 6 of 13, by Zack_H

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The 3/25 is now finished! I even included an internal shot of the hard drive for anyone interested (since I had to open it for repair anyway).

This laptop also came with an original power supply, which is something I didn't have before.

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Starting Windows 95. . .

Reply 7 of 13, by Jo22

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Thanks for the pictures! 😀

If you need to replace the HDD with something new at some point in the future,
a Compact Flash card with a passive adapter might do.

However, the BIOS might be a bit troublesome on some models here.
In such a case, using a DDO (Dynamic Drive Overlay) software might be worth a try.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 8 of 13, by Zack_H

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No problem! 😀

Yes, a CF card adapter with an overlay would absolutely work here. However, I do have a few more working drives on standby in case this one fails. I love the sound of these old drives!

Starting Windows 95. . .

Reply 9 of 13, by Jo22

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Glad to hear! 😁
Yes, I'm also using the original HDD still because of the sound..

While I really love CF cards (-they're slowely becomming retro, too!-),
I don't want to miss being able to "hear" the programs that I run. Makes things feel "real".

So I dedided to run DoubleSpace.. Not great, but performance is okay (-hey, it's a mighty 486, after all! 😉 -).
In fact, the compression compensates a bit for the low I/O speed of old PIO transfers.

And as long as I don't exchage the HDD for file transfer (as possible wit CF card), things are fine.
I suppose, on a Win9x rig, though, using DoubleSpace/DriveSpace *perhaps* wouldn't be such of an issue.

Generally Speaking, Win9x (and Me) can read/write such volumes, or so I heard.
Though I don't really know the difference/compatibility between DriveSpace 2 and 3.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 11 of 13, by Zack_H

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jo22,

Good to see that you like the sound of real hard drives too! I like solid-state solutions, but try to use them as a last resort. I want to keep these real drives around for as long as possible!

MAZter,

Thank you!

Starting Windows 95. . .

Reply 12 of 13, by Cyrix200+

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Zack_H wrote on 2020-01-10, 10:27:
<snip> […]
Show full quote

<snip>

The hard drive in your 3/25 is likely fixable (assuming it’s a Conner drive), because there is a rubber bumper that the head arm rests on inside, which deteriorates causing the arm becomes stuck to it, making it impossible for the drive to un-park the heads. Do you hear a bunch of “clicks” from your drive? If so, that’s your issue. There is a video on YouTube about how to fix the Conner laptop hard drives. There is actually one of two ways you can do it, one with tape and one with superglue.

What do you mean exactly by your screen being bad? Keep in mind that this is a dual-scan passive matrix display, so they always looked blotchy, with some streaking and shadowing. The active-matrix displays were much brighter, with more vibrant color, faster refresh-rate, no blotching, and a much wider viewing angle. This may be what you are thinking of.

I’ve gotten a few with melted rubber pads as well, and a few of my others are starting to degrade now. Need to find a roll of appropriate-thickness rubber so I can start making some new pads. The pad is actually far superior to feet in my opinion, as the pad keeps the laptop from sliding off of your legs. Shame they didn’t really catch on.

<snip>

Thanks! I will look into the hard disk repair. I did open it just for fun when I took it out, it is spinning but the drive doesn't move. Might be the rubber bumper! I found this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsP5QYOcuSs

The screen indeed has streaking and shadowing. The contrast/intensity also varies when just turned on but later stabilises.

Reply 13 of 13, by Zack_H

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Check this video out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YhiiOUWu64

You'll have to skip forward to find where he shows the hard drive repair.

Also, your drifting contrast is caused by a bad capacitor on the inverter board in the display housing, but the display always had streaking and shadowing, as I mentioned above.

Starting Windows 95. . .