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E > EPSON  > HC / HX-20


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Epson  HC / HX-20 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message! For other purposes like sales messages, hardware & software questions or information requests, please use our main forum.

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Tuesday 8th February 2011
Frigolit (Uppsala, Sweden)
HXEmu - Epson HX-20 Emulator

I got my dad''s HX-20 when I was about 7-8 years old or something. It''s 27 years old now and is still working, except for the microcassette... I should try repairing it some day.
My dad did both software and hardware development for the HX-20, including a parallel I/O board called the HX-PIA (Parallel Interface Adapter i think) which is pretty nostalgic for me for various reasons. It''s also the first computer I programmed on.

A while ago I set out to build an emulator for the HX-20 and it''s going pretty well. As of right now, most opcodes are implemented (~10 remaining) and the ROM is trying to write stuff to the LCD right now :)
At the same time I''m fixing documentation, graphics and photos for pretty much everything about the HX-20 which I will post on my site and on the Wikipedia page.

Thanks a lot to Lorenzo for hxtape, I haven''t tried it yet but it''ll definitely come in handy.
If anyone has programs, as ROMs, cassettes, BASIC code or hex dumps, it would be great if you could send them to me for archiving.
I can even accept physical ROMs via mail since I''ve built a ROM dumper.

I wanna go as overkill as I can with this :)


Saturday 13rd February 2010
Lorenzo J. Lucchini (Italy)
HXTape

I''ve written a small program to read and write HX-20 using a PC soundcard, and transfer data to and from an HX-20 with an audio cable.

It is in a very preliminary state, but it works for me. It can be found at http://hxtape.sourceforge.net/ and feel free to contact me (via mail or SourceForge forum) if you encounter any problems with it.

If it works for you, then also feel free to upload any HX-20 programs you have to the wiki!


Monday 5th September 2005
Mark Barratt (UK)

The Epson HX-20 was used by a lot of retail environments in the uK as it was handy to carry around stock rooms and print lists etc. One of the biggest users was a firm called Vestric which was a pharmaceutical company and franchised many local chemist shops. they had to use these devices for prescription labels and stock control, ordering items over an acoustic coupler. To the best of my knowledge, there are still some in use today.


Tuesday 14th June 2016
David Filmer

Epson HX-20

Product Brochure: https://files.support.epson.com/pdf/hx20__/hx20__sl.pdf
User Manual: https://files.support.epson.com/pdf/hx20__/hx20__u1.pdf

Contemporary magazine review from Creative Computing (March 1983):
http://archive.org/stream/creativecomputing-1983-03/Creative_Computing_v09_n03_1983_March$page/n103/mode/2up
The article notes, “This is the first computer for which the documentation is larger and weighs more than the computer itself.”


Tuesday 14th June 2016
David Filmer

in 1985, Freightliner heavy trucks sold a Limited Edition "Interstate 200" model which included the “Trucker’s Portable Accountant Computer System” based on the HX-20. You can see a picture of it in the sales brochure:

http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/stephen_procter/2003/nov27/email008081.jpg


Sunday 29th November 2015
Owen Mooney (New Zealand)

Finding this brings back memories! In 1984 I was designing a simulator for the ionosphere using a (then) high performance DSP processor. We were about to embark on the build of a user interface (using a custom microprocessor deign) when this came along. It did the UI brilliantly!, as well as computing some complex equations. I''m proud to say this must be one of the earliest SOA architectures around


Thursday 7th November 2013
Peter Simpson (England)

I bought an HX20 to see if I could use it as a portable computer for journalists at the newspaper group where I worked. One of its great strengths was the superb keyboard which had a lovely feel that has rarely if at all been bettered since. Journos were not happy about the output from the printer though. I ended up putting into the field Texas Instruments Silent 700''s. The HX 20 I still have and (2013) it still works


Saturday 21st July 2012
Philip Mallon (Australia)
lessonsfromhistory.info

I loved this computer and still have it. I purchased the expansion unit and programmed a number of ROM application programs. Its biggest impact here in Australia was that my work, the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) used it as a SCATS traffic signals terminal. I also programmed it to be a real time GIS (Geographical Information System) using the barcode reader connected to a car''s odometer - this was NSW government''s offical RoadLoc system and was used for many year''s until GPS based system''s came along. I developed a CMOS eurocard based Data acquisition system for it using the same 6301 processor and this was used for many road and surveying projects including a profilometer. It was also used to maintain all the electronic toll systems in NSW. The preat thing about it was that EPSON encouraged third party development - documentation was the best for any computer ever and I still have all of the engineering manuals.


Thursday 7th June 2012
Vie (UK)

For those of you of an Automotive bent, you might be interested to know that this particular computer was fitted in the ''Executive'' trim level of Daimler DS420 limousines during the mid 1980''s. For some reason they fitted two of them, along with a large amount of other hardware - including a printer. Seems rather incongruous to fit a printer when the computers it must have been hooked up to already had built in printers. Maybe they had some custom software for word processing or something?


Thursday 17th April 2008
Holger Steinmann (Germany)

The silver version was indeed sold in Germany (I still got one). Two extensions were also available:
1. A box to connect a standard monitor (enabling a display of 80x40) - almost a 'must' for doing serious programming...
2. a dual floppy drive (more expensive than the HX-20 itself), which offered a great advantage against the tape for storing and loading data.


Monday 7th April 2008
Harald Dehner (Germany)
The work-in-progress Minolta PCW-1 Site

On the Demo-scene-event "Breakpoint 2008" (see http://breakpoint.untergrund.net/ ) someone calling himself "bEnd oF crUsH" entered competition in the category "Wild console" with a small BASIC-program featuring graphics, printing (!) and sound on a Espon HX-20. He placed 2nd. A video of that demo can be downloaded on http://pouet.net/prod.php?which=50186


Thursday 28th June 2007
Andrea Gangemi (Italy)
harzack home page

HX-20 has been my very first computer where i learned BASIC language, I was just 11.
It was bought by my father back in the early 80's to have a portable system to make some numerical analisys on pressurized lines.
When he was not using it i was playing with it and doing some very simple programs.
Wonder if some PC emulator exixts


Sunday 18th July 2004
A. Clarkson (UK)

I used to work as a telephone engineer and came across one of these, with an expansion pack, but branded with a British Telecom logo rather than Epson. They'd sold them to collect call logging information. We were removing it, and I also got a huge bag of tapes, all dutifully labelled with dates! They came in really useful, being the same type as used in most dictaphones. I still have a few, but I imagine the data on them will be pretty boring - early nineties call records for some company in Northern England!


Sunday 30th June 2002
Arno (Winschoten, NL)

For the HX-20 there existed several programs in ROM, as I once had a text-editor, a forth-compiler, an assembler, and some more. Don't know, where to find them now; if I could have new batteries for my old HX-20, I could send you some programs by mail, and you could burn them in eprom.


Sunday 26th May 2002
Finnegan (Minnesota, US)

I'm just wondering if anyone knows if the HX-20 had any pre-loaded ROM software (text editor, etc.)? I can't seem to track down an answer to this question...





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