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N > NEC  > PC 8201A     

PC 8201A

Sheduled to be released in the U.S. in 1983 summertime, the PC-8201 was expected to compete directly with Tandy Model 100. Both machines were very similar, but the NEC could expand its internal RAM memory from 16 KB to 64 KB (only 32 KB for the Model 100).

The 8201's 32 KB ROM contained the operating system, Microsoft BASIC interpreter, a simple text-editing program and a telecommunication program. It could display the full 128 ASCII character set as well as Japanese Katakana characters and 61 user-definable characters.

Nec produced its own range of peripherals for the 8201, like a floppy disc controller (PC-8233) and various floppy drive units, including the most sold 3.5" unit (PC-8031). A video monitor adapter (PC-8240), an acoustic modem and a bar-code reader were also available.

Same hardware basis, made in fact by Kyocera, was also sold as the Tandy (TRS-80) Model 100 (USA), Olivetti M10 (Europe), and Kyocera Keytronic (Asia).


Ben adds:
You can sync this computer with a standard PC using a serial cable connection and some terminal program like PROCOMM. I've gotten it to work with ASCII protocol so far.
Something else really cool is that this system should last 20+ hours on a single charge of batteries. That, and a really high-quality keboard for quick note-grabbing during a class or a presentation.

We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.



I used an NEC PC8201A in the early 80s to hook up a Mettler balance to do "real-time" fill weight for medical solutions at one of our plants in AltaVista, Virginia. I wrote the interface program in basic to allow the inspector to place the bottle on the scale, hit the spacebar to take the reading, and the statistics for all the bottles were displayed when completed, flagging in and out of spec bottles. It was a great machine!

Saturday 16th November 2013
Mark (Chicago / USA)

I had one. I cannot tell you how usefull it was. I bought a third party wordprocessor and with it became a indespensable tool for my work. I am an engineer. I was able to writte several engineering programs that I used in my engineering calculations. It eventually brokedown and by that time there were other alternatives. I had a lot fun with it. I tell the young generation about this "lap computer" I used to have and they are skepticall that such computer could ever exist in the 80''s.

Friday 13rd September 2013
René (Puerto Rico)

I used the PC8201A for a job in Greenland about 1986.
Some Landis $ Gyr substations used for a supervision system should be exchanged to newer models.
I used the teletype to save the configuration data, used the wordprocessor for search and replace, and the basic to generate some other conversions. And then the teletype to upload to the new substations. It was simply marveless for the job. Would love have one. I also made a speedpilot-program in basic to calculate time to desination, and a BLOCK game.
I really like the basic in it.

Wednesday 11th May 2011
Jesper (Danmark)


NAME  PC 8201A
TYPE  Portable
YEAR  1983
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke 67-key with 5 function keys and arrow keypad
CPU  Intel 80C85
SPEED  2.4 576 MHz
RAM  16 KB up to 64 KB internally, and 128 KB via IC sockets underneath unit
ROM  32 KB (standard, up to 64 KB)
TEXT MODES  40 chars. x 8 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  240 x 64 dots
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  4 channels, 3.5 octaves
SIZE / WEIGHT  30 (W) x 21.3 (D) x 3.3 (H) cm. / 1.7 kg
I/O PORTS  RS 232 (DSUB 25 pin type), SIO1, SIO2 connectors, 8 pin duPont BERG modular jack - 3 megabytes/minute max transfer CMT socket - 8 pin DIN plug for cassette recorder, Standard centronics printer port, Bar code reader socket - 9 pin DSUB connector, SYSTEM SLOT - for ram cartridges (programs, software etc.)
BUILT IN MEDIA  CMOS battery backup RAM
POWER SUPPLY  4 x AA batteries, NiCad battery pack or AC adaptor (DC 6-8.5V, 600mW)
PERIPHERALS  External FD units, RAM expansion, external monitor adaptor, bar-code reader
PRICE  $675 - £546



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