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N > NEC  > PC 8201A   

PC 8201A

Sheduled to be released in the U.S. in 1983 summertime, the PC-8201 was expected to compete directly with Tandy Model 100. Both machines were very similar, but the NEC could expand its internal RAM memory from 16 KB to 64 KB (only 32 KB for the Model 100).

The 8201's 32 KB ROM contained the operating system, Microsoft BASIC interpreter, a simple text-editing program and a telecommunication program. It could display the full 128 ASCII character set as well as Japanese Katakana characters and 61 user-definable characters.

Nec produced its own range of peripherals for the 8201, like a floppy disc controller (PC-8233) and various floppy drive units, including the most sold 3.5" unit (PC-8031). A video monitor adapter (PC-8240), an acoustic modem and a bar-code reader were also available.

Same hardware basis, made in fact by Kyocera, was also sold as the Tandy (TRS-80) Model 100 (USA), Olivetti M10 (Europe), and Kyocera Keytronic (Asia).


Ben adds:
You can sync this computer with a standard PC using a serial cable connection and some terminal program like PROCOMM. I've gotten it to work with ASCII protocol so far.
Something else really cool is that this system should last 20+ hours on a single charge of batteries. That, and a really high-quality keboard for quick note-grabbing during a class or a presentation.

We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
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I bought one off a friend when I worked on What Micro magazine in London, late 1984. I got a Brother disk drive for it, which was slow - the access sw was written in Basic so I rewrote the load and save sections in machine code which made it 10x faster. I sold the rights to that sw to a firm who marketed it. Great little computer.

Thursday 13rd April 2023
Barry Thomas (United Kingdom)

I have an NEC 8201A and NEC8300 both in good working order and still use them regularly. I have the Ultimate ROM II and mainly use the outliner IDEA!. Still have all manuals, etc. True trailing edge stuff.

Saturday 2nd April 2022
Stephen G. (Australia)

I owned one of these, my first computer, after my brother-in-law showed me his Radio Shack M-100. I also got the external drive. I learned basic on it and programmed it to handle our construction company''s payroll and taxes.

Thursday 14th October 2021
Michael (US)


NAME  PC 8201A
TYPE  Portable
YEAR  1983
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke 67-key with 5 function keys and arrow keypad
CPU  Intel 80C85
SPEED  2.4 576 MHz
RAM  16 KB up to 64 KB internally, and 128 KB via IC sockets underneath unit
ROM  32 KB (standard, up to 64 KB)
TEXT MODES  40 chars. x 8 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  240 x 64 dots
COLORS  Monochrome
SOUND  4 channels, 3.5 octaves
SIZE / WEIGHT  30 (W) x 21.3 (D) x 3.3 (H) cm. / 1.7 kg
I/O PORTS  RS 232 (DSUB 25 pin type), SIO1, SIO2 connectors, 8 pin duPont BERG modular jack - 3 megabytes/minute max transfer CMT socket - 8 pin DIN plug for cassette recorder, Standard centronics printer port, Bar code reader socket - 9 pin DSUB connector, SYSTEM SLOT - for ram cartridges (programs, software etc.)
BUILT IN MEDIA  CMOS battery backup RAM
POWER SUPPLY  4 x AA batteries, NiCad battery pack or AC adaptor (DC 6-8.5V, 600mW)
PERIPHERALS  External FD units, RAM expansion, external monitor adaptor, bar-code reader
PRICE  $675 - £546

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