Panasonic RL H1400 handheld computer

'Computer Collector Newsletter' news at computercollector.com
Sun Feb 26 17:14:35 CST 2006


Don't worry Jack, you're not alone, a bunch of us have RLH models.  (There
was also a 1200 and a 1600 I think -- I might have those numbers wrong --
the differences were in the amount of memory in the computer.)

The computer (generally called a "pocket computer" when you search on the
web) was designed by Friends Amis.  Shortly before they finished it the
company (or maybe just the product line?) was acquired by Matsushita which
sells as Panasonic / Quasar.

There's a very handy description at
http://old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=644 -- make sure you
also click on the icons on the right side of the page for more information.

The computers were mostly bought by insurance companies.

Roger M. last year was making copies of the BASIC module, maybe he still is.

By coincidence, last week I spoke with guy who was software manager at
Friends Amis.  He was moderately helpful; the best information he gave me
was names of other Friends Amis people who were higher up and / or joined
the company earlier than he did.  So now I'm trying to contact those people
and, of course, I will post updates here if / when I reach them.

-----Original Message-----
From: cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org [mailto:cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org]
On Behalf Of Tony Duell
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2006 3:42 PM
To: cctalk at classiccmp.org
Subject: Panasonic RL H1400 handheld computer

Can anyone tell me useful stuff about the Panasonic RL H1400 computer? I
believe it was also sold under the Quasar brand name.

I've just bought one. As well as the machine (which I've not tested yet), I
got a little thermal printer/cassette interface, the AC adapter (for 110V
mains), and 13 EPROMs in carriers. These seem to be insurance programs (what
a suprise -- NOT), but are at least UV-erasable EPROMs.

A few things : 

I have of course taken it apart, it is painful to dismantle with wires
soldered between everything. The contemporary HP machines are a lot nicer to
work on. 

With the bottom cover removed, you see the component side of the CPU board.
I recognise the 6502 processor, some TTL and 4000-series CMOS chips, 2 8K
ROMS soldered in, and 2 6116 (2K each) SRAMs. There's also a square PQFP
chip, looks to be custom (I/O???). Alongside that board is a 6V NiCd pack
with a fuse in series. 

A bit more desoldering and unscrewing let me flip that board out of the way.
On the underside is another TTL chip and a lot of SMD passives, etc.

The other PCB carries the keyboard contacts, the display, half-a-dozen Epson
PQFP chips (display drivers?) and a couple of 4071s, which IIRC are OR
gates.

There's an expansion connector on the end of the CPU board. 44 contacts. 
Looks to be the 6502 bus + power some others.

The printer also comes apart from the bottom. Its PCB contains a 4K ROM, an
80 pin PQFP ASIC, a driver chip, and a few small logic chips. Getting ito
the rest of the machine is a bit more tricky, all it contains is the printer
mechanism and 4.8V-worth of NiCds.

I also cracked open the mains adapter.More complicated than I thought,
there's a regulator chip in there. And a fuse mounted in clips (what is the
point of a clipped in fuse inside a glued case??). 

Anyway, I've done a web search. Nothing very useful turned up. I did read a
user manual on one site, which told me little that wasn't obvious. 
Anyone got any technical information on it? Any useful software?

-tony




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