µ[micro]electronics info

A weblog focused on interesting circuits, ideas, schematics and other information about microelectronics and microcontrollers.




Because I have not tested all electronic circuits mentioned on this pages, I cannot attest to their accuracy; therefore, I do not provide a warranty of any kind and cannot be held responsible in any manner.

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Pocket PC challenge

Do you remember the old pocket PCs like the SHARP PC-1500, PC-1600 etc.? A small plastic brick with an ASCII keyboard and simple LCD.

I'm looking at the pictures of HP-85 and such handhelds and I'm saying: It should be a piece of cake to build such device nowadays... So - why not? Let's build!

Of course, not really in a "pocket size". But - think: The technology is a far away than back in the 80's. Two-lines LCD is as cheap as one burger (with a diet coke, maybe). Our microcontrollers can EMULATE the CPUs used in these computers in a real time... So it should be easy to build your own "pocket PC" - the tiny computer with very simillar parameters.

Let's look at the typical Pocket PC - PC-1600: Z80-based CPU, 16-80kB of RAM, tiny graphic display, programmed in BASIC. It have to be a "few weekends project"!

I think it's possible to build contemporary homebrew "Pocket PC clone" - such as graphic LCD in the tiny PS/2 keyboard, powered with a small AVR/ARM/PIC/whatever. I plan to build my own, just for fun and test my programming skills (the BASIC interpreter should be the greatest part of it).

Anyone wanna try to build such device? ;)

Here are some links for inspiration:
SHARP pocket computers summary
Sharp Pocket PCs
SHARP programmables
Harald Richter's page about PC-1600

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