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.
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 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
I still have one under my bed - it was a Japanese version of PC-8201 in silver color.
It has N82-BASIC, and surprisingly it has a dedicated word processor (text editor should be a more accurate description), and a TTY terminal... really went ahead of its time.
Saturday 15th May 2010
Slowmotion (Hong Kong)
I bought my PC 8201 while living in Tokyo shortly after it came on the market in 1983. I used it for note-taking, correspondence, learning basic and for hooking up to largely unsatisfying mail boxes. After learning basic on it, I wrote a "mastermind" program (including stone-age graphics and sounds) that I stored on audio cassette tape. It worked wonderfully for the entire time I used it. Very long battery life. Very crisp feel to the keyboard. Instant boot-up (no non-volatile memory of any sort). When I moved on to other computers, I could never bring myself to dispose of the PC 8201. I still have it and it still works.
Monday 17th July 2006
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Microsoft BASIC 1.0
Full-stroke 67-key with 5 function keys and arrow keypad
2.4 576 MHz
16 KB up to 64 KB internally, and 128 KB via IC sockets underneath unit
32 KB (standard, up to 64 KB)
40 chars. x 8 lines
240 x 64 dots
4 channels, 3.5 octaves
SIZE / WEIGHT
30 (W) x 21.3 (D) x 3.3 (H) cm. / 1.7 kg
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
4 x AA batteries, NiCad battery pack or AC adaptor (DC 6-8.5V, 600mW)