Dear PockEmul’s fans, I am pleased to announce the new PockEmul release. It will be available in the next few days.
It includes 3 new packages, some new features and bug fixes :
- Sharp PC-13xx package
- Sharp PC-1500 package
- Sharp PC-1600 package
- The new AI-1000 model in the Casio PB-2000 package
- Some new features and bug fixes
- Some missing features, postponed because it is unfortunately necessary to limit features to release a version.
Sharp PC-13xx package
It includes the PC-1360 and the PC-2500.
The PC-1360 is an evolution of the Sharp PC-1350. It has:
- More memory: up to 64 Kb of RAM
- More ROM: It can directly manage the CE-140P (a serial colour ink printer) and the CE-140f (a 2.5 inch floppy disk). These devices will be available in this package in the future.
The Sharp PC-2500 is a strange handheld computer.
It came out at a time when the laptop didn’t exist and in response to the Epson HX-20. It is actually a PC-1350 combined with a plotter. One of its main advantages is the integrated business application.
Its form factor is not well adapted to smartphone, so a ‘condensed’ skin is provided in the Display menu.
PockEmul is the only known emulator for this model.
The emulation is not yet perfect and some features are missing:
- The user manual is only available in french. You can use the manual from the PC-13×0 for the Pocket Computer part and the CE-14OP user manual for the plotter. Unfortunately, for the Business Application, only french is available.
- The serial function has not yet been emulated.
- The tape interface is missing.
- This is the export version of the PC-2500. A Japanese model exists. There are plans to add it to PockEmul as soon as the specific Japanese ROM is dumped.
Sharp PC-1500 package
The PC-1500 is one of the most known Pocket Computer.
It was released just after the first one, the PC-1211, with a unique extension, a small colour plotter.
Plotter stepper motors are directly driven by the PC-1500’s Cpu thru the system bus and a ROM located in the plotter.
PockEmul fully emulate the PC-1500 and the CE-150 at the bus level.
This package provide :
- The full PC-1500 family : PC-1500, PC-1500A, PC-1500Jap, PC-1501
- The CE-150 plotter
- All memory modules
- The CE-157: kana characters support + 4Kb of RAM
Sharp PC-1600 package
The Sharp PC-1600 is the ultimate 80’s Pocket Computer from Sharp. It has all the features we could dream of at that time:
- A large screen (unfortunately with a very bad contrast)
- A lot of memory
- An integrated Analogic / Digital converter
- An high speed serial port
- A very powerful BASIC
- The PC-1500 retro compatibility. In fact the PC-1600 has a full PC-1500 inside.
- A large A4 format plotter
- An external Floppy disk
It is one of the most searched models today, and you often have to spend more than 300$ for a decent model with memory modules.
The Sharp PC-1600 is a very complex Pocket Computer. It has 2 main CPUs and a sub-CPU. The first main CPU is a Z80 compatible one and the second is a LH-5803 (derived from the PC-1500 LH5801) which bring the PC-1500 compatibility.
The third CPU is a non documented proprietary CPU which manage several low level task: power management, reset management, password management, timer functions, …
The two memory slots are managed and it is possible to create a virtual File System on Slot 2 with a size of 256KB.
PockEmul is the only known emulator which emulates the PC-1600 and the CE-1600p.
A unique reverse engineering job has been done to retrieve a large part of the sub-cpu features.
One feature that make this pocket so unique is the ANALOGIC Input port. This port value is accessible from BASIC by the AIN function. PockEmul had to propose an easy way to use this unique feature.
The analogic digital connector is fully emulated in PockEmul.
In the context menu, choose the option to show a slider. Check the box to assign the slider to the accelerometer sensor (Still an alpha feature).
The emulation is not yet perfect and some features are missing:
- The UART chip is not yet emulated and an error message “CHECK A” is displayed at startup. Simply press the CL key to continue the normal power up sequence.
- If connected to the CE-1600p, the start-up sequence takes a long time due to the plotter’s initialization sequence.
- The Mode 1 function has not been fully tested. The PC-1500 compatibility feature may therefore not work perfectly.
The Casio AI-1000
While the pocket computers of the time offered BASIC-type programming languages, the AI-1000 stood out by offering the LISP language as standard, intended for so-called ‘expert systems’ processing in the field of artificial intelligence.
The ‘AI’ of ‘AI-1000’ stands for Artificial Intelligence.
The user manual for LISP language is unavailable. It will be a challenge to use this Pocket Computer.
The AI-1000 is now part of the Casio PB-2000 Package.
Some Bug fixes
- PB-1000 and PB-2000 family: the ANS Key is now working
- Sharp PC-U6000: the base memory is now set to 64Kb instead of 32Kb.
- A new ‘Information’ entry is available for new models in the context menu. It describe some PockEmul limitation in the model emulation.
- The Backlight status is now saved in the session.
The features postponed
There are so many features we wanted to include:
- The CE-140P: a colour printer designed for the PC-1350 and the PC-1360. It has an undocumented auto-detect feature using some unused pins of the serial connector of the PC-1360. By this way, it is not necessary to OPEN the serial port to use the printer. I still have some issue with this feature.
- The PC-1600K. It is the Japanese version of the PC-1600. I will release it as soon as I have dump the specific ROM bank.
- The CE-1600f. It is the floppy disk extension of the CE-1600p. Its emulation is quite advanced but it needs to be improved.
- PC-2500 Business Application manual in English. I don’t have this manual and it is unavailable on internet. If you have it, I am interested in a copy.
- PC-2500S. It is the Japanese version of the PC-2500. Unfortunately, I don’t own this model and its ROM is différent from the export model
- The Casio AI-1000: The Lisp user manual cannot be found
- Manage Serial communication for models with this feature
- The Virtual Keyboard: you paste plain text and PockEmul simulates pressing keys at high speed. This will be a nice feature for models without a serial port.
- The next available package will be ‘Some exotic pocket computers’ (Nec PC-2001, General LBC-1100, Sanco TPC-8300, National JR-800, with their extensions).