Year 1992

Initial price: $3,855, $7,151 in 2020

In 1992 Olivetti got on the market seven notebooks with the dimensions of a sheet of letterhead paper. The Philos line.

Philos Model 33 is offered two versions, B / N and Color. The built-in microphone and speaker lets you use it as a digital audio recorder. The PCMCIA slot allows a quick connection to different devices, while the modem  is integrated into the body. The built-in mouse with a retractable trackball is located on the right side of the computer and this is probably the best designs I ever seen!

The computer is full metal jacket (see where paint got off) and its designed to survive a full day of work even in dusty or less friendly environments. The charger is also a battery pack, you have an option to place it instead of your floppy drive and keep on going!

  • CPU: Intel 386SL a 20 Mhz
  • RAM: 4 MB espandibile fino a 32 MB
  • Graphics: 640 x 480 (monitor LCD 10” retroilluminato)
  • Input/output: PMCCIA, VGA, parallel port, serial port, pop-up mouse, keyboard, bus extender
  • 1 floppy disk (3,5”) 1,44 MB
  • 1 Hard disk 84/120/240 MB
  • Integrated SoundBlaster16

The Olivetti Philos 33 is one of my favorite because of the pop-out mouse (like the Omnibook). This 386 machine is way ahead of its time, everything is modular, you can pop out the FDD drive and input the power supply or an extra battery and I heard that there was also a CD-ROM 1X available for this beauty.

It does power up but I get a full contrast screen like the contrast button is set on max.  I can see most of the caps are dead and also corrosion has started to eat its way so I decided to take it apart and replace all caps and clean everything nicely. Once complete the take apart and other details will be posted here.

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13 thoughts on “OLIVETTI PHILOS 33 B/N”

  1. Ronny Verminck

    I have a same machine, but AZERTY and, to bad, the harddrive died.
    Also the powersuply died and, offcourse, the battery is dead.
    I have a old 527Mb harddrive and have no idea if it would be accepted by this machine.
    The 527Mb drive has a few bad blocks, but is accessable.
    There was some specifique windows application on this and is somewhat impossible to find again. There was like “soundrecorder” on it especialy made for the Philos.
    I wish i could revive this piece of antique again.

  2. Glad to hear you own one as well!
    The 527 Mb HDD seems fine, I also upgraded the drive with a 320Mb IBM drive and works fine. Worked fine… after recap the computer came alive and I was able to boot it into MS-DOS. Then the internal power supply has failed. I get no voltage on 5V line. I will definitely come back to rescue this machine when time will be on my side.

  3. good evening, i own a pc olivetti philos 33 b / n but, unfortunately, I have not done in due time to make a backup copy of the system disk. now the machine starts and only the message “non-system disk or disk error” appears. could anyone provide me with a recovery disc for this computer? greetings and thanks angel

    1. Ronny Verminck

      Hi Angelo,
      I have made a backup of my Philos 33.
      It is Italian tough, but you can overwrite the DOS/Windows in your own language.
      I have installed a Dutch DOS-5 on my working disk and i have no problems. I don’t want to mess to much with my working disk before i can get my own disk back to work. (Read here further on my problem with a symbol shown on the LCD)
      Also, i am searching some manual.

  4. Ronny Verminck

    Hello again,
    I have no luck with harddrive. When i start the machine, it says “fixed disk not present”.
    I tried with a IDE to SD-card adapter and somehow it stated “PRESENT” for a while. Now, it does not see the drive anymore. Could this also be a capacitor problem and what caps should i replace? Those on the mainboard or on the DC-DC board? I realy would like to start this machine again.
    Also, when i start-up, it goes into some kind of BIOS setting. When i press ESC, i only get the option to “Cancel config” or “Back to main menu”. I don’t know how the save the changes i have made. That BIOS settings is not like the BIOS menu when you press the FN+Tools button. ANy ideas maybe?

  5. Ronny Verminck

    I have found a Philos 3 3 for sale in Italy.
    The machine powers up and boots also. The disk runs welland the original software is still on the disk. The only problem, for me that is, the BIOS and the applications are in Italian.
    I have taken a backup of the drive on 13HDD diskettes. Now i want to restore this to my own drive, that is recognised by the system now, but it seems it does not want to partition the harddisk. I see activity, but it fails to restore the disk.
    What i see on the LCD Display, at the left side, a symbol like a snowcrystal inside a B/W square. I have no idea what this symbol means and how to disable it. I have tried to find a manual on the internet (maybe a Philos 22, 33, 44 have some settings alike).
    Maybe someone can help me to find out what this symbol means.

  6. So great to see one of these. this was the first PC I ever bought as a teenager back in about 97. I’ve just found another one on eBay so hoping to get hold of one to teach my daughter all about DOS games. Does anyone know if it will boot from a PCMCIA hard disk?

    1. I just tried last night to boot it from a PCMCIA HDD and I could not. It seems the BIOS looks only for fixed disks and does not recognize the PCMCIA HDD as a fixed disk.

  7. Hi, I got a working philos 48 color plus, but with a new 3.2gb hd with win95 installed. I returned it to dos/win 3.1, but can’t get sound working again.. It seems it has no windowssoundsystem 2 (like retorted in a Japanese site) neither a sb16 compatible card, like stated in this blog.. Could someone share the original hd backup?

    1. Hi, I have a Olivetti Philos 33 that now work, I restord it by replaced one of timer quartz and all smd capacitors. Who need help or info tell me. Bye

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