NEC PC-8201A The NEC PC-8201A was produced starting in 1983 and was NEC's version of the Kyocera-family of laptop computers, which included the Tandy Model 100, 102, and 200. It was based on the 80c85 cpu, had an 8 line, 40 column LCD screen, shipped with 16k of RAM, and would run for nearly 20 hours on 4 'AA' cell batteries. Power could also be provided using a 6-volt A/C adapter and it had printer, serial, cassette, 2-SIO, AC, and barcode reader ports on the rear. There was also an expansion port on the side, which was generally used for external RAM upgrades, as well as a secondary ROM socket available for additional programs to supplement the Microsoft BASIC, TEXT (simple text editor) and TELECOM (communications program) that shipped with the machine. Due to their small size, less than 5 pounds and smaller than a 3-ring binder, and the fact they would run so long on readily available 'AA' batteries, the Kyocera-family laptops were very popular among jounalist and such. They also had the feature of having battery backed RAM in case of battery failure, a small nicad battery taking care of this. The nicad battery is recharged from the 'AA' batteries or A/C adapter when the machine isn't in use. The PC-8201A could also take up to 128k of RAM using cartridges through it's external expansion slot, and also featured a redefinable screen character set.

Though the machine could only access 32k of RAM directly, it was expandable up to 64k of RAM and 64k of ROM internally. In the case of the RAM, the system allowed you to bank-switch between the two 32k chunks, essentially giving you two seperate machines with seperate data storage areas. Peripherals such as light wands, thermal printers, disk drives, RAM expansion cartridges, and video monitor interfaces were also available for the machine. PCM magazine at one time printed programs for these machines, mostly for the Tandy Model 100, in the form of barcodes, which the user then scanned into the computer. A book called "Exploring the Nec PC-8201a", written by Marvin Malloy, was available at one time, though it is long out of print. These early laptops were followed by machines such as the Tandy 600 and Epson PX-8. The PX-8 had an 80 column screen, built-in tape drive, 64k of RAM, and ran the CP/M operating system. The PX-8 was introduced in 1984.

This particular machine has been expanded to 64k of RAM internally, though it retains just it's original program ROM with no additional applications added. It also includes the original manuals, external 300bps modem, 40 column thermal printer, which is also battery powered, and the soft slipcase. The portable 40 column thermal printer is roughly the size of a box of 10 3-1/2" floppy disks and connects to the rear of the PC-8201A by way of a 26-pin ribbon cable. Data storage is by way of a standard cassette recorder, connected to the computer's CMT port using a special cable.

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