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K > KAYPRO > Kaypro II   

Kaypro II

Despite its name, the Kaypro II was the first Kaypro model. The name was KAYPRO II, because the Apple II was the most popular system (besides the IBM PC) around back then, and Kaypro decided to follow in the image.

It was conceived by Non Linear Systems inc., a company with over 30 years' experience of producing small portable aerospace electronic equipment, which would later become Kaypro.

The Kaypro systems were known to be square-built ! All the hardware is packed into a solid aluminum case. These computers can resist to a lot of trouble as they proved when ten of them (Kaypro IV & 10) were used by doctors for the Paris-Dakar 84's edition. Non of them failed despite extreme conditions.

One asset of the Kaypro, over the Osborne 1 which was available at about the same time, is the 9" built-in monitor, easily twice the size of the Osborne's. Though the Kaypro 2 has no graphic features, it can display 80 x 24 characters. There are two single-sided / double-density full-heigth 5.25'' disk-drives (190k each). One can be used to boot CP/M and the other to run the software.

The Kaypro II is a real "luggable" system. Even if it weights more than 10kg, it can be easily moved with the handle found at the back.

At the rear of the system, one can find a serial port, a parallel port, a keyboard connector, a brightness control knob and reset button.

Perfect Writer, Perfect Calc, Perfect Filer, Perfect Speller, S-Basic, CP/M and Profitplan were bundled with the system. Later WordStar was also available.

As usual with Kaypro, the model names logic is quite dramatic to resolve. Several Kaypro "2" were marketed :
- In 1984 a new Kaypro 2 (refered as Kaypro 2'84) is introduced. It has two SS/DD half-height floppy drives, a Z-80A running at 4.0 MHz, 2 serial ports and rudimentary graphics (through graphic characters).
- The same year, the Kaypro 2X is released. Very similar to a Kaypro 2'84 but with DS/DD half-height drives.
- Still in 1984, in order to be compatible with IBM software, a special version was marketed with an Intel 8088 CPU instead of the Z80A. It was called the Kaypro II Plus 88!
- In 1985 another Kaypro 2 refered as "New 2" is sold. It is basically an old 2X motherboard, with one or two DS/DD floppy drives, but no 300 baud modem previously found on the 2X. It comes with just CP/M and Wordstar for software.
- And to spice up a bit things, Kaypro decides to rename its Kaypro 4'84 as Kaypro 2X (sometimes also known as 2X MTC), thus dropping the previous 2X model!

See ! I told you...

Trivia :
In 1985, Arthur C. Clarke published a sequel to 2001 : 2010 Odyssey Two. He worked with Peter Hyams in the movie version of 2010. Their work was done using a Kaypro computer and a modem, for Arthur was in Sri Lanka and Peter Hyams in Los Angeles. Their communications turned into the book The Odyssey File - The Making of 2010.

Thanks to Bolo's Computer Museum for the picture.

Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to or one of our partners from anywhere in the world (Europe, America, Asia, etc.).

Special thanks to Linda Mack who donated us this computer !


I worked tech support for the original Kaypro II and the Kaypro 10 as my first job out of high school. I took calls from Peter Hyams helping him send files by modem to and from Sri Lanka, and from William F. Buckley Jr. trying to format his printing in Perfect Writer.

Tuesday 21st August 2018
Dave Williams (United States)

I was a freelance writer when I bought my Kaypro II about 1984 from 47th St. Photo in NYC. My productivity increased dramatically. Simple and rugged $ it was modelled as the VW of computers. Kaypro encouraged people to fix their units themselves (a la Compuserve) I remember the text on my monitor was distorted. I called California, got the service tech who told me it was an easy fix. He stayed on the line as I removed the cover and found the plastic adjustment tool (included) for the tuning pots. Just as I was about to $ the tool into one of the pots the tech warned me: "Be careful. The power source is right there. Don''t touch it." Too late! I had a silver bracelet that glanced against the power source. The next thing I know I''m on the ground across the room. There''s the smell of burnt hair in the room. I can hear the voice of the tech on the phone. He must of surmised what had happened: "I told you to watch it." Love that old machine.

Wednesday 8th August 2012
Ansi Vallens (New York, NY, USA)

Hello, I have an old Kaypro that I have not used for years and is sitting in a closet. I believe it''s the II model because it has two slots for floppy disks. It worked well up until the time I replaced it with an updated computer. I have all the disks for the programs, plus some extras. I also have all the books that go with the programs. I would love to sell this to someone who would appreciate its vintage. Anyone have any idea on the best way to do this?

Friday 3rd March 2023
BJ Fister (United States)


NAME  Kaypro II
TYPE  Transportable
YEAR  august 1982
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  None (M-BASIC and S-BASIC on diskette)
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke 70 key typewriter style keyboard with 18 programmable keys
CPU  Z80
SPEED  2.5 Mhz
RAM  64 KB
TEXT MODES  80 chars x 25 lines (character matrix : 5 x 8)
COLORS  built-in 9'' non-glare green phosphor screen
SOUND  Beep only
SIZE / WEIGHT  45 x 36 x 21 cm / 13 Kg
I/O PORTS  RS232c serial port,
BUILT IN MEDIA  two 5.25'' SS/DD full-height floppies (190k)
OS  CP/M 2.2
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PERIPHERALS  400 KB or 800 KB 5.25'' floppy drives, 10 MB hard disc, battery pack/charger
PRICE  $1795 (USA, 1982) - £1259 (U.K., 1983)

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