NEC PC8201a and PC8300 FAQ

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    1. NEC PC8201a & PC8300 FAQ 
         1. Introduction:
         2. Q. What is an NEC PC8201a or PC8300?
                   1. Kyocera KC85
                   2. NEC PC8201a
                   3. NEC PC8300
                   4. Olivetti M10(US) and M10(Euro)
                   5. Tandy Model 100
                   6. Tandy Model 102
                   7. Tandy Model 200
         3. Q. What are the STAT settings?
         4. Q. Where can I get online support for the 82 and 83?
         5. Q. Can I get a manual anywhere? 
                   1. Q. Are there any magazines currently covering the 82 and 83? 
         6. Q. Is anyone still selling stuff for these machines?
         7. Q. How do I keep my text file from running over the perforations when I print using the LIST on the menu of my
            82?
         8. Q. My 82 or 83 used to remember files when I turned it off. Now it doesn't. What can I do?
         9. Q. How can I run my 82 or 83 for six weeks in the desert without all those AA batteries?
        10. Q. Where can I get a spreadsheet, scheduler, project manager, etc.?
       
     _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
                                                                
                                                     NEC PC8201a & PC8300 FAQ
                                                                 
   (October, 1994)
   
   by Ron Hopkins-Lutz -- aa747@cleveland.freenet.edu
   
Introduction:

     This FAQ is provided to help owners or users of the NEC pre-MSDOS model PC8201a and PC8300 portable computers. All
     information is as accurate as I could make it. However no guarantee is made that this information is 100% accurate. It
     is based on 9 years experience with the model PC8201a, old magazines, and notes taken through the years. For the rest
     of this FAQ the PC8201a will be referred to as the 82 and the PC8300 as the 83. Please send me any corrections,
     updates, or technical information at my E-mail address above. 
     
   Although this is obviously target toward the Nec machines, it gives useful information about the history of the M100 line,
   and most of the information here pertains to the whole family of the Kyocera line
   
Q. What is an NEC PC8201a or PC8300?

   A. In 1983 Kyoto Ceramics, Kyocera, (or also try this bio page) started manufacture of a series of light weight battery
   powered computers based on Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) microprocessor called the 80c85. There were
   eight variations produced under four brand names. Seven were built by Kyocera and one by Nec. All were available in the
   United States and other parts of the world at various times. The 82 and 83 were the NEC variants.
   
   All eight variants shared certain features:
   
     * Powered by 4 AA batteries or optionally by a 6 volt AC adapter.
     * Screendisplay 40 characters wide on an LCD screen.
     * Size of a three ringnotebook.
     * Text editor (TEXT), BASIC programming language (BASIC), and telecommunications (TELCOM) software permanently in ROM.
     * Ability to take programs on an optional ROM socket.
     * Memory could be expanded.
     * Full size keyboard.
     * Minimum of 8k RAM installed for programs and files. (Most had more)
     * Weight under 5 pounds.
     * Could save and load programs and data from a cassette recorder with a special cable.
     * Simple text based point and shootinterface. Sort of a text Macintosh.
       
   
   The eight models are listed below with their individual variations.
   
    Kyocera KC85
    
     * 16k RAM installed expandable to 32k
     * 8 line display
     * Simple database & scheduler included
       
    NEC PC8201a
    
     * 16k RAM installed, expandable to 2 banks of 32k each.
     * 8 line display
     * Redefinable screen character set
     * Could take memory cartridges of up to 128k in special slot
     * Video monitor interface available.
     * Portable disk drive available.
     * Portable printer available.
       
    NEC PC8300
    
     * Built by NEC
     * 32k RAM installed, expandable to 2 banks of 32k each or 1 bank of 64k.
     * 8 line display
     * Redefinable screen character set
     * Could take memory cartridges of up to 128k in special slot
     * Video monitor interface available.
     * Portable disk drive available.
     * Portable printer available.
     * Able to emulate PC8201a
     * Internal modem optional.
     * Advanced TEXT with printer formatting.
     * Advanced TELCOM with X-Modem file transfer.
       
    Olivetti M10(US) and M10(Euro)
    
   These machines differed internally as to memory addresses and in software for conventions for the two markets.
     * 16k RAM installed expandable to 32k
     * 8 line display
     * Simple database & scheduler included
     * Tilt up 8 line display.
     * Modem included.
       
    Tandy Model 100
    
     * 8k (later 24k) of RAM installed expandable to 32k.
     * 8 line display
     * Simple database & scheduler included
     * Modem included.
       
    Tandy Model 102
    
     * Lighter weight than Model 100.
     * 24k of RAM installed expandable to 32k.
     * 8 line display
     * Simple database & scheduler included
     * Modem included.
     * Minor bugs from Model 100 fixed.
       
    Tandy Model 200
    
     * 24k of RAM installed expandable to 3 banks of 24k.
     * 16 line clam shell type display
     * Simple database & scheduler included
     * Expanded Tandy BASIC.
     * Modem included.
     * Heaviest and largest of all the machines.
       
Q. What are the STAT settings?

   A. The STAT settings are the way you configure the COM or communications port on an 82 or 83. The six digits break down as
   follows.
   
   |------Baud Rate
   ||---Parity
   |||--Word length
   ||||-Stop Bits
   8N81XS
   ||-SI/SO flow control
   |-Xon/Xoff flow control
   Baud rate: 1=75 2=110 3=300 4=600 5=1200 6=2400 7=4800 8=9600
   
   Parity: N=None E=Equal O=Odd I=Ignore
   
Q. Where can I get online support for the 82 and 83?

   A. On the Internet there are two newsgroups where you can post questions. The first is comp.sys.laptops and the second is
   comp.sys.tandy. The tandy newsgroup has many participants who have old magazines, etc. and who sometimes answer posted
   questions.
   
   If you are on America Online there is a support area run by NEC. It has a message board that has a topic area for older
   and no longer supported portable NEC computers.
   
   If you are on Compuserve there are archives in the Tandy area that include text files and programs for the Model 100.
   There are also files on how to use these on an NEC. There are some files specifically for the NEC machines.
   
   If you are on GEnie there are archives in the Tandy Roundtable that include text files and programs for the 82 and 83, the
   kc85, the Olivettis, and the Model 100. There are also files on how to use the Model 100 files on an NEC.
   
   I do not know what the status is on Delphi or Prodigy, but if you are members there it won't hurt to look.
   
   NEC also has a technical support BBS at (508) 635-4706. I do not believe they have any files for the 82 or 83, but they
   _might_ answer questions.
   
   Club 100 is a BBS in California that also sells some accessories that fit the 82 and 83. They charge for membership and
   have some files for the 82 and 83. The phone number is (510) 939-1246. See below on the vendor list for mailing address.
   Their consignment area often has a lot for the 82 and 83, but you must scroll through all of it. One thing they have is
   back issues of Portable 100 and Pico magazines, which are a gold mine of information. They also produce some products for
   the 82 and 83. They were still operting as of late September of this year.
   
   The Daily Planet BBS offers both files for these machines and is a contact for Daniel Cohen, a dealer who supports these
   machines. The BBS number is (808) 572-4856 or 7. The BBS is free. Daniel responded to E-mail on his system in thelast
   couple of weeks and confirms he has some parts for the 82 and 83 as well as produces a custom ROM for some models. Daniel
   has had praise from acquaintances who have dealt with him.
   
Q. Can I get a manual anywhere?

   A. NEC parts used to have manuals. They ran about $35 with shipping. Last person I know of who ordered one, was still able
   to get one in early 1993. Please let me know if you get one.
   
   If you you can't find a manual, about 90% of the operations of the 82 and 75% of the 83 were identical with the same areas
   on a Tandy Model 100/102. Old books on those machines should help. Pinouts of the ports are available by E-mail from me at
   my address below.
   
   Also Marvin Mally wrote a book called "Exploring the Nec PC-8201a." It is out of print, but sometimes Club 100 or others
   have copies. This was nice because it summarized the NEC manual and was small enough to slip inside the case. It included
   port pinouts, amoung other things.
   
    Q. Are there any magazines currently covering the 82 and 83?
    
   A. No. However the following magazines did cover the machine in the past. Back issues may be available through libraries,
   etc.
     * PICO - Wayne Green Publications - Included programs, technical articles on most portable machines. Many articles on
       the NEC machines.
     * Portable 100 - (IDG?) - Originally for the Tandy machine, it later covered the other Kyocera machines. Many articles
       applied to all or were partially applicable to all.
     * Terry Kepner's Portable News - (Portable Computing International Corporation) - This tabloid size newsletter started
       up in January of 1993. It took over the archives and mailing list of Portable 100. It advertised back issues of
       nPortable 100 as available. I do not know if they are still publishing. My attempts at telephone contact met with no
       answer.
       
   Last contact address was:
   Portable Computing International Corporation
   145 Grove Street Extension
   P.O. Box 428
   Peterborough, NH 03458-0428
   Phone: (603) 924-9455
   FAX: (603) 924-9441
   
Q. Is anyone still selling stuff for these machines?

   A. Yes, believe it or not.
   
   Memory is still available from:
   
   Purple Computing
   2048 Southside Road
   Murphy, OR 97533
   (800) 732-5012
   8k RAM chips, Memory cartridges up to 128k
   (Confirmed 9/94)
   
   Other miscellaneous stuff can be found from time to time from the following vendors:
   
   Club 100
   P.O. Box 23438
   Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
   Phone: (510) 932-8856
   FAX: (510) 937-5039
   BBS: (510) 939-1246
   Also have for sale area on BBS with occasional things.
   (Confirmed 9/94)
   (They are still there - Andy Jan, 1996 - 2400 baud MAX!)
   
   Pacific Computer Exchange
   1031 S.E. Mill St., Suite # B
   Portland, OR 97214
   (503) 236-2949
   Buys and sells Tandy and NEC equipment, buys 83s, sometimes has stuff for 82 and 83.
   (Confirmed 9/94)
   
   Daniel Cohen
   The Daily Planet BBS
   Box 237
   Plymouth, NH 03264
   Phone: (800) 338-1839 (Sales - Voice mail)
   BBS: (808) 572-4856 or 7 (8N1 300/1200/2400/9600)
   E-mail: sysop@tdp.org
   E-mail: 1:345/111 (Fidonet)
   
     
     Mr. Cohen has been supporting these machines for years and has many,special products not available elsewhere. He has a
     FAX on demand service. He provides full support so his prices are reasonable but do not expect garage sale prices.
     People who have dealt with him report they are very pleased.
     
   
   (Confirmed 10/94)
   
Q. How do I keep my text file from running over the perforations when I print using the LIST on the menu of my 82?

   A. You need a print formatter, the LIST option from the main screen was designed to list programs. A simple print
   formatting program came on a cassette with the machine. If you have the cassette you can try it.
   
   There are several excellent formatting programs in the archive on GEnie and Compuserve.
   
   Here is a simple formatter. It is printed in a special format to make it easy to understand how to modify it. Type it in
   like any other BASIC program though. For example line 21 should be typed as 21FILES:PRINT
   
   ======== Program Listing Begins ========
   FORM.BA
   =======
   Print formatting program
   from PICO Magazine - June, 1988
   Page 8 - Letters column
   ---------------------------------------
   
   1 CLS :'Clear screen
   21 FILES :'list files
   :PRINT :'extra screen line
   22 W=64 :'set print width
   :G=8 :'left margin
   :J=1 :'line spacing
   :C=INT(49/J)
   :O=W :'print width temp
   23 INPUT "*.DO file";C$ :'file to print
   :OPEN C$ FOR INPUT AS 1 :'open file
   30 INPUT "Page # [Y/N]";E$ :'number pages?
   34 IF E$<>"Y" AND E$<>"y" THEN GOTO 36 :'if no jump over #
   35 A=A+1 :'page number count
   :LPRINT TAB(39);"Rick Hopkins-Lutz, Page ";A :'print page #/name
   36 K=1 :'position on page
   37 FOR M=1 TO O :'get line of text
   38 H$=INPUT$(1,1)
   :IF EOF(1) THEN GOTO 51
   40 I$=I$+H$
   :IF H$=CHR$(10) THEN N=W
   :GOTO 46
   41 NEXT M
   42 FOR N=W TO 1 STEP -1
   43 IF MID$(I$,N,1)=CHR$(32) THEN GOTO 45
   44 NEXT N
   :N=W
   45 J$=RIGHT$(I$,W-N)
   :I$=LEFT$(I$,N)
   :GOTO 47
   46 I$=LEFT$(I$,LEN(I$)-2)
   :J$=""
   47 LPRINT TAB(G);I$; :'print margin
   :FOR X=1 TO J :'do line spacing
   :LPRINT
   :NEXT X
   :K=K+1 :'line count
   49 I$=J$
   :O=N
   50 IF K>C+1 THEN GOTO 52 ELSE GOTO 37 :'end of page?
   51 LPRINT TAB(G);I$ :'print text line
   :K=K+1 :'line count
   52 IF NOT EOF(1) THEN LPRINT CHR$(12) :'end of last page?
   :GOTO 34 :'if no new page
   53 LPRINT CHR$(12) :'end of last page
   56 CLOSE 1 :'close file
   :MENU :'leave program
   ======== Program Listing Ends ========
   
   If all else fails you can E-Mail below and I will E-Mail you an ASCII listing and instructions for an advanced Wordstar
   command print formatter. (At some point I may upload these to The Daily Planet BBS, if requests get too heavy.) E-Mail to:
   
   aa747@cleveland.freenet.edu
   
   Topic: NEC PRINT UTILITY
   
Q. My 82 or 83 used to remember files when I turned it off. Now it doesn't. What can I do?

   A. Your 82 and 83 have a small wafer Nickel-Cadmium battery in them. It is recharged by the AC adapter or the penlight
   batteries when the machine is not in use. They were designed with about a five year life before they wouldn't charge
   anymore. Yours just died.
   
   You can try a couple of things.
   
   1. You can keep it plugged in or AA batteries in it when not plugged in. A set of AA batteries will keep the memory for
   about a year if you don't run the machine itself off them. If you do, plug it in when changing batteries.
   
   OR
   
   2. Open up the bottom of the case and take out the little Ni-Cad. Some versions had a single wafer, others two wafers
   together with heat shrink around them. Go to you favorite electronics parts catalog or service man and see if you can find
   a match.
   
   OR
   
   3. Take out the old one. Install a small battery holder (the old cell was soldered in) and replace with any Ni-Cad that
   will fit and is the right voltage and a similar amperage. There's really quite a bit of room in the case where the battery
   goes.
   
Q. How can I run my 82 or 83 for six weeks in the desert without all those AA batteries?

   A. Because any 6 volt DC circuit can run the thing if it has the right plug, just make a battery pack with 4 D cells in
   it. Take along a set of AAs as a backup. You could also try something fancy with solar cells to recharge batteries, etc.,
   but the size of 4 D cells is more practical. For emergencies, take along a couple of wires with alligator clips and run it
   off the 6 volt battery in your camp lantern.
   
Q. Where can I get a spreadsheet, scheduler, project manager, etc.?

   A. Try GEnie's Tandy Roundtable or CompuServe's Model 100 area. There were quite a few of these things there last time I
   looked. The listings are quite long to type in but the text files can be converted using the instructions in the NEC
   manual.
   
   You can also try The Daily Planet BBS (see above) with your 82 or 83. Since this is a long distance call borrow the
   fastest modem you can. Progams cannot be downloaded with the 82 or 83 unless you have first downloaded the programs
   XMODEM.PCH and XMODEM.DO from The Daily Planet. These two files are in a special text format. Any file ending in .ZIP must
   be downloaded to a PC and unZIPped first. The only one on TDP at the moment that qualifies is the one on using the Tandy
   Portable Disk Drive
   
   with the NEC machines. If you can't find what you want, E-Mail me at the above address and if I have what you want I'll
   send it back to you.
   
     Sometimes the simple machines do more because there is no complexity to slow you down
     
   (c) 1994 by Ron Hopkins-Lutz -- aa747@cleveland.freenet.edu
   
   --
   
   "The peace of Allah be with you and in your heart."
   Ron Hopkins-Lutz -- aa747@cleveland.freenet.edu


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