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The Compaq Portable III


Description
Manufacturer Compaq Computer Corporation
Model Compaq Portable III
Date Announced 1987
Date Canceled Unknown
Number Produced Over 10,000
Country of Origin USA
Price $5,000 plus for a typical configuration
Current Value $25-$100
Specifications
Processor Intel 80286
Speed 12 MHz
RAM 640K
ROM Unknown
Storage 5.25" 1.2MB floppy drive, 20 or 40 MB internal HD
Expansion One IBM PC/AT compatible slot
Bus ISA (Industry Standard Architecture)
Video CGA 320x200x16 color (shades of gray) or 640x200x2 color. RGB out.
I/O Parallel and Serial
OS Options MS-DOS, CP/M-86, Windows 286 and others
Notes Compaq was one of the first successful IBM PC clones and they eventually took a brief technological lead of the clone marketplace when they released the first Intel 80386 based PC. The Compaq Portable III was introduced prior to that as an AT class machine.
Related Items in Collection Guide To Operations Manual, Compaq MS DOS 3 reference manual, Compaq expansion (2 slots), Compaq Portable Computer, IBM PC AT
Related Items Wanted Other Compaq models with software, manuals, etc. Compaq Setup/Diagnostics disk.


Compaq Computer Corporation was started in 1982 by three men and a place mat. These men, Rod Canion, Jim Harris and Bill Murto conceptualized a portable version of IBM's new PC (drawn out on the place mat) and formed the company around the idea.

The Compaq Portable followed the recent tradition of portable machines like the Osbornes and Kaypros of the day while shunning CP/M in favor of MS-DOS and PC compatibility. The idea was a hit and catapulted Compaq to the lead in the PC Clone market.

Over time Compaq introduced many innovations to the PC industry. Amongst these was the Compaq Portable III which weighed a mere 20 pounds but offered full IBM AT compatibility. It was a self contained unit that sported a tilt-up gas plasma display and a built-in keyboard.

My Portable III is a fully functional, clean example that came with most of the original documentation and the 2 slot expansion chassis. All it needs is the setup disk to be useful!.

Compaq Portable III - closed

The machine closes up into a nice, compact package

Compaq Portable III 5.25 inch drive

This Compaq Portable III came with a 5.25" disk drive as well as the built-in hard drive.

The Compaq Portable III Documentation

The Compaq Portable III in my collection came with much of the original documentation.


(Submitted August 27, 2016 06:56:06 by Paul Ponsford)

I need a 'Diagnostic diskette 'on 5.25 inch for Compaq III portable on floppy. willing to pay for service, can you help???


(Submitted February 28, 2016 12:45:35 by Thomas)

I just started mine after a couple of years. After a few minutes running, the system turned off. Till now it won't start-up again anymore :( Only the red mainboard led keeps blinking with the power led and the keyboard....

Does anyone know a solution? Please help.. Thanks in advance!

Regards, Thomas.


(Submitted October 19, 2015 07:33:25 by james)

I have just found my very old Compaq 111. It is in working order but I do no longer have the 4 boot disks. Can any one help please? Regards James


(Submitted September 15, 2015 15:18:00 by Dennis)

I have a Compaq 3 Portable. It is for sale. Contact me.


(Submitted May 3, 2015 07:27:28 by Mike )

Looking for all of the setup disks for the Compaq III. I have 4 of which 2 are functioning. I need the disk set in 5 1/4. Contact me with a price. Thank you much in advance


(Submitted January 3, 2015 05:53:20 by Frank )

I have a Compaq Portable III. Still works! Make an offer


(Submitted November 1, 2014 16:53:38 by DenJen49)

I have a Compaq Portable III w/40MB hard drive, complete with the disks, manuals, expansion, and bag. Also have WordStar5. If anyone is interested, please let me know. Thanks.


(Submitted February 5, 2012 16:08:58 by Michael Carew)

I have a large quantity of 5 1/4 disks, some in there original packaging or plastic cases. Some programs also. I have a DTK Computer Model KEEN - 4033 with 200 watt power supply, ISA video card, ISA controller card, AMD AM386 DX-40 PROCESSOR witha second processor socket also. Second socket needs 132 pin adapter & a duplicate processor. It also has a single piece 3 1/2 & 5 1/5 drive unit that functions. I put a 2.5 G hard drive in it but haven't tested everything out. In the process of checking all 5 1/4 drive discs & 3 1/2 floppies Word Perfect 6.0, 1st Act,TVGA9000C Driver Utilities,QUATTRO ETC.


(Submitted January 26, 2012 14:24:16 by Rolf)

Im looking for a compaq portable III with 5,25 disks and including program disks for works and word.

Rolf


(Submitted June 9, 2011 15:16:04 by AUTUIN)

Here's a hack using one of these: http://freegeekvancouver.blogspot.com/2011/06/old-gear-lives-on-hack-part-2.html


(Submitted April 13, 2011 13:49:08 by fibrewire)

you can download the setup and diagnostic files at http://oldcomputers.net/compaqiii.html, just scroll down the page. Once you run the program, it will create 2 or 3 new files + a text document. Run the QRST program to create a floppy. 720K floppy can be made by covering the HD notch on the 3.5 floppy. If unsure, cover both holes. Use the DOS command FORMAT A: /T:80 /N:9 because XP doesn't support the F:/720 switch anymore. If you aren't clever enough to create a 720K floppy, or you need 360K 5.25 disks for your machine, send me an email and i'll make you OEM style disks for your COMPAQ Portable III or 386/20 machine for $10 USD shipped.


(Submitted April 13, 2011 01:26:40 by monty)

i have one too but it keeps showingthe following message non system disk error please replace and press any key to continue yet ther is no disk in the floopy drive can any one tell me what to do?


(Submitted February 20, 2011 19:05:05 by steven stowe)

I HAVE ABOUT 12 OF THE COMPAQ 3 HERE WITH ME AND NUMERIS OTHERS OLD AND ALL OF THEM STILL WORK MAKE OFFER AND WELL TALK I HAVE ALMOST ALL OF THE FIRST COMPUTERS MADE


(Submitted October 9, 2010 17:13:27 by Justyn)

I have a COMPLETE Compaq Portable 386 with Portable Expansion, with VGA Card and Soundblaster. Windows 3.1 and Dos 6.22 loaded on it. Has 6MB RAM and 250MB Hard Drive AND Portable CD ROM Drive! If anyone is interested in purchasing it off of me, please email me at justyn82@gmail.com


(Submitted June 9, 2010 13:28:12 by Edward Whittington)

I have a Compaq Portable III, and like the others, it couldn't boot without the bios disk. So I fixed that by replacing the battery with a equal voltage lithium cell phone battery, and it has been perfect now for a year. I never need the bios disk. I also changed the floppy drive to a 3.5 The 20MB hard drive still works, but it sometimes is stuck and cant spin up (bearings are old) so I good whack to the side gets it going. :)


(Submitted May 4, 2010 23:44:47 by Freddy)

I have a Compaq Portable III. I even have a diskette that has a bunch of games on it that work well with it. Super Sweet! I found it in my basement a couple years back. it is in perfect condition. It even has the nice protective black carrying case. If anyone is interested let me know.


(Submitted April 29, 2010 15:56:24 by darren )

i have a compaq wth no manuel if you would like to buy contact me


(Submitted April 13, 2010 16:15:09 by ugo)

hello. I've one of that.. but inside there is a flat cable not connected. It run out from plasma display. so could you describe me what is the card or the place where to put on? thanks!!


(Submitted March 30, 2010 15:54:18 by (a href=mailto:johng935ATgooglemailDOTCOM)JOHN GEE(/a))

I have just purchased a COMPAQ PORTABLE III, fully functional apart from a dead hard drive which spins up but can't be seen. i also have the COMPLETE original (YES ORIGINAL) floppy drive set of installation disks, if anyone wants a set copied then 25 GBP VIA Paypal will get you a checked and tested set of disks on 5 1/1 floppies, shipped anywhere in Europe or USA/ Canada. YOU must send me the floppies and make sure they're tested, on receipt i will do a disk copy of each, ;-

COMPAQ USER DIAGNOSTICS V 5.02 015987 REV.C PROGRAMS V 5.03 062587 REV.D MS DOS 3.2 020687 REV.A SUPPLEMENT 020687 REV.A INTERNATIONAL USER PROGRAMS 020587 REV.A

ALSO HAVE OVER 120 5 1/2 FLOPPIES PACKED WITH STUFF, ALSO A SET OF 3 WORD CRAFT WORD PROCESSOR DISKS. IF YOU WANT COPIES OF PROGRAMS DROP ME A MAIL, YOU'LL NEED TO SUPPLY A BLANK GOOD WORKING FLOPPY, 2 GBP A DISK, NO HAGGLING.


(Submitted February 23, 2010 19:22:31 by Joe)

I have one. $100 U.S.I'm in Alaska, If your interested Works,


(Submitted February 19, 2010 11:27:27 by Joe)

I have acquired a fully functional Compaq Portable III. 1 Floppy, No Hard, no manuals or disks. I am looking for the docs more than the disks. I am also looking for any 5 1/4 floppys.


(Submitted February 9, 2010 18:25:48 by Dan)

I have a working 2660 and can answer Roger's question. Both the 2660 and 2670 had a dual mode display that would work in either MDA or CGA mode. I would try two things. First if you are using Compaq DOS 3.31 on this machine (it's native OS), type at the command prompt MODE SEL CGA and then run your program. That will reset the display to CGA, and should get it working.

If that doesn't work, there is a jumper setting on the motherboard that is probably set to MDA mode, but actually should be moved to default to CGA (that's the factory, but it's possible your system has changed).

Last it could be software compatibility; however, I've had very few issues running CGA on my system, so try the above two things, and it should work.


(Submitted January 14, 2010 20:23:59 by Roger)

I just purchased a Compaq Portable III Model 2670 with ISA expansion chassis off eBay. I needed it to host and old, full-length ISA card and run a DOS software. Problem is, the software in question requires a CGA card to run but this unit seems to only have an MDA adapter. Would anyone know whether it is possible to add a CGA or EGA or VGA card in this machine without having the BIOS or Setup disk?


(Submitted August 28, 2009 16:56:55 by (a href=mailto:tDOTgardnerATcomputerDOTorg)Tom94022(/a))

The Portable III is likely the first computer system to use a Conner Peripherals hard disk drive. It would be nice to know the model of HDD in this computer.


(Submitted August 1, 2009 19:40:01 by (a href=mailto:)HOLY COW(/a))

OH MY GOD THIS COMPUTER IS THE SHIZZLE. SO PORTABLE. I COULD GO ON A JOG WITH THAT THING. IF ANYONE WANTS TO SELL ONE PLEASE CONTACT ME AT COMPUTER_GEEKZ0RZ@HOTMAIL.COM, THATS WITH A ZERO. I AM WILLING TO PAY UP TO 800 FOR ONE WITH MANUAL. THANKS.

GEEKS UNITE!


(Submitted May 31, 2009 09:39:32 by ROBERT J. VANAT)

if you are get a compaqIII to work. there is a clock ds1287, battey life 10 years, so it is dead. it has 15 byte of memory for bios use. want power come on memory byte will 1 or 0. one byte tells bios to have a hd. 1 - have hd 0 - no hd replace this chip, before you put your hair out. best buy, jameco electronic. robert vanat


(Submitted April 18, 2009 09:28:31 by Alastair Green)

I WOULD VERY MUCH LOVE TO BUY ANY ONE PLEASE CONTACT ME EMAIL OR PHONE ali_g12@hotmail.co.uk 07935079397


(Submitted February 10, 2009 21:17:42 by Robert)

I would like to get my Compaq Portable III running a stripped down linux os that could run simple classic games or generic look-a-likes, like tetris or asteroids. How hard would it be to do this considering there is no BIOS or setup screen? any help would be much appeciated. Thank you in advance!


(Submitted December 6, 2008 16:52:03 by Aaron)

Here is the system disk download http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=55994


(Submitted October 8, 2008 16:22:01 by Gilles)

Hi, I am french, so be indulgent with my English ! I am found of Compaq Portable III computer. Here in France it is almost impossible to get documentation (original) and diskettes (Diag/setup and so on). If anybody wants to contact me or to give me some adresses, thanlk you in advance. Gilles


(Submitted October 2, 2008 21:54:16 by (a href=mailto:)Bob(/a))

I was recently given one of these by a co-worker. Thinking about gutting it out and putting a p4 inside of it :D


(Submitted August 8, 2008 01:04:53 by Choik)

Anyone know if I can install a different Harddrive? I'm trying to find installation floppy's but am unable to find one, please email me!


(Submitted July 7, 2008 17:21:52 by (a href=mailto:)warmotor(/a))

I had the original Compact and this model, both castaways from the office my dad worked in. This is the first machine I set up for dual boot, UNIX/DOS. God, I miss it. The big ass LCD screen made BBSing so freaking AWESOME. Of course my wristwatch has more horsepower now, but man, back in '93...


(Submitted February 25, 2008 15:21:42 by Richard)

I have just listed an unremarkable but working example on Ebay (UK).

Regards.


(Submitted February 13, 2008 19:39:49 by Tim)

I just received one of these Portable 3's from someone who was getting rid of their old computers. It starts up and works, too! It's going on eBay tonight for a 3 day auction so bid large and fast on it!


(Submitted February 5, 2008 14:54:51 by Walden)

My Portable III has crashed!!! Will boot from the floppy drive but doesn't know it's got a hard drive. In the upper left corner of the screen is for following error message: 1790 disk 0 Does anyone know what this means? W - - -


(Submitted February 4, 2008 10:26:25 by jerry)

I got one and just plugged it in for the first time in decades, still have a box full of floppys. It lit up and fan came on but cant get anything on the screen, forogt how to use it I guess!


(Submitted February 1, 2008 09:33:02 by E)

I also have portable III, I get the same screen on one above, I'm in same boat as Dave above, I'm thinking of trying a null cable to get data onto machine, any thoughts? I would be interested in buying 51/4 disk if avialable.


(Submitted January 21, 2008 10:34:08 by (a href=mailto:)mark(/a))

Using information from this site http://oldcomputers.net/compaqiii.html I now have my Portable 111 working again.


(Submitted November 1, 2007 11:51:54 by Mike)

Hello, I have a Portable III with the small hard drive. If someone could copy down their BIOS setup and email it to me (battery long dead), I will send you $20US if I get it running. Hard drive contents should be in operable condition. Thank you.


(Submitted October 19, 2007 15:31:06 by Al)

I have a Compaq Portable III. Still works! Make an offer.


(Submitted October 3, 2007 05:05:37 by Gregg)

I bought a Compaq III back in 1988. It is a 386/20 with 387 coprocessor, 6MBytes of RAM (supposedly supports 8MB), a 100Mbyte ESDI hard disk and the optional ISA expansion chassis into which I currently have a VGA card and network adaptor. Occasionally I swap the network card for a Soundblaster. The system comes with 2Mbytes of Ram on the motherboard and can accept 2 expansion cards adding 4Mbytes each for a total of 10MB. Set me back a good $15,000. After 20 years the plasma screen is still bright (though slightly fuzzy around the edges) and it runs Dos3.33 , Windows 3.11 + Office well. It can even run Doom and Descent! It weighs a ton but is still giving me great service.


(Submitted June 24, 2007 00:14:42 by bill)

I am in need of some help for an old professor friend. He is a well published poet from NM and used his PX-8 to store many documents. I have his PX-8 but am unable to get the thing going. He has a lot of work on cassettes and would like to get to the info. He now has a number of medical issues including not being able to speak well or even to write out his thoughts. I am heartborken when he comes by since we can no longer visit. I have to try to guess what he wants. Can anyone help with getting the data off the cassettes?

TIA,

Bill


(Submitted May 9, 2007 05:40:21 by Dave)

Hi All, I have obtained a vintage Compaq III luggable computer because I need a slow beast to program some radios. The computer came with a large cardboard box full with s/w on 5 1/4 disks but the system s/w had been deleted from the hard drive! I have downloaded the setup program but in this day and age don't have a computer that is capable of the Internet with a 5 1/4 disk drive on it! Does anyone out there have a setup disk on 5 1/4 they could help me with to get this old girl going again? Any help much appreciated and any expences covered Thanks in advance....Cheers Dave UZN


(Submitted May 7, 2007 02:05:08 by (a href=mailto:)MoonShadow(/a))

I'm pretty sure this old beast had 32kb of ROM. I have one, I've opened it up (not recommended!), and there is a jumper setting that sets 32k or 16k. 32 is the factory default. There are 2 ROM chips. I probably have no idea what I'm talking about.


(Submitted April 28, 2007 12:32:26 by Chris Gibson)

I have one of these machines and a dozen or so floppy disks for it, make me an offer and its yours!


(Submitted March 7, 2007 08:37:36 by chris)

I have a CompaQ Portable 3 with all manuals..Any idea on value.?.It has been in basement for well 15-20yrs...CL


(Submitted January 18, 2007 16:56:19 by im_an_alien)

That looks cool... I want one.

ps. does anyone know where I might get a Compaq Portable (one) manual? I got one with no documentation.

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