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C > CANON  > X-07


Sinclair QL

The Canon X-07 was a good little machine somewhere between a pocket and a portable system. It was so nicely designed that it was cool to take it with you onto the street, people thought that it was an ultra modern laptop, hey hey.


The LCD screen displayed 4 lines of 20 characters, or 120 x 32 individually addressable pixels from the integrated Microsoft Basic. Also the X-07 had some cool graphic instructions for a computer of its category (LINE, CIRCLE, PRESET, PSET). Ok, the display remained in black and white, and the display speed rate was rather slow in BASIC, but you could still draw some funky things.

The white keys were of a calculator type but quite pleasant to use, and made a "beep" sound each time you press a key (hopefully you could adjust the "beep" volume). The spacebar and the "return" key (which is blue) were rather large. There were even big cursor keys and a kind of numeric keypad (accessed by pressing the "num" key and then a part of the keyboard reacts as a numeric keypad, like some modern notebooks). In the same way, by pressing the "grph" key, you had access to a lot of graphic symbols and accentuated letters via the keyboard.

Regarding memory, the X-07 had 8 KB, of which 6748 bytes were free for programming. But if you wished to expand the memory, you had plenty of choices! You could either add a memory chip in the compartment reserved for this purpose (on the picture it is Toshiba chip of 8k), or insert a small memory card powered by lithium cells, which were about the size of a credit card (here an XM-101 card of 8k). And finally, you could connect some memory extensions through the expansion port (up to 128 KB). Isn't that wonderful?

Also, you could use the memory of the X-07 as a virtual hard disk by reserving a part of it with the FSET statement. Once you've set the memory size you want to use, you could save your programs with the SAVE command and see the content with DIR. Easy!


On the diagram on the left, you can see the cells compartment. That was a very cool feature at that time compared to modern laptops: the whole thing could be powered by only 4 AA cells… Think about that!

Inside, there is a NSC800N CPU, Z80 compatible, and some other chips. Here are the exact references of them:

B8311 / NSC800N / GPDA393
Hitachi 3C1 / HD61L202F / Japan
Hitachi 4G1 / HN613128 / AA1 Japan / WA391691
Toshiba Japan / TC5332P / 8924 / 8422AAA

There were not many games for the X-07, although it was possible to program good language machine programs, something that Japanese people probably did... On the other hand, serious software was available on memory cards (File management, spreadsheet, budget, etc).



Well, it's a quite an interesting little beast and it has a lot of appeal (I know it's weird for a computer). Once you own one, you discover its qualities, and it has some!

It is larger than a pocket but smaller than a portable system, and with all its' cool extensions, it rules!



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+ Its small size
+ Its extension possiblities
+ The optical transmitter (Excellent !)
+ Powered up by 4 cells

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- Its low memory size (without extensions)
- Not many games !

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ADDITIONAL TECH INFO - by Eugen Brochier

You could add memory up to total 40Kbytes of RAM. On the motherboard is one 74LS138 for addressing the MemoryPages. Cut the lines and rewire them for 3 times 8Kbyte RAM chips in the internal socket. Solder al lines of the 3 chips except to CE pin like a sandwich. Connect the CE-lines with a wire to the select lines form the 74LS138. One can find the memory paging in the yellow hardware documentation book. After restart the build in Rom Basic reports 40 Kbytes of RAM (including the 8 KBytes of the XM-01 memory card).

I also added 2 channel 8bit-DA-converter using the 8085 bus connector on the rear-side of the X-07. The DA-converter where paged in the I/O map of the processor. The build in Basic is able to execute machine code for the NSC800 (which is nearly the same as the Z80). The code has to be placed on absolute memory address and will start with "exec ADDRESS". So I had a simple function wave generator. The waves where calculated using standard Basic and output by a small loop programmend in machine code.

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