Whoops, I broke my HP 200LX.. I'll have to get it repaired before I can re-open this project.
A portable computer.
Clamshell, Full QWERTY-keyboard with a keypad and macro keys, authentic Intel 8086 hardware, true DOS, a task-switching application, and a number of GUI applications and productivity software. It is truly a portable computer.
- On the left would be the PCMCIA Storage card.
- On the right is the power cable, IR sensor and serial connection. The battery goes behind the IR cover, not that you can see it.
- The front has a lever which is used to push the PCMCIA card out.
- TODO - I should probably take my own pictures one day.
user guide (470 pages)
- ~2015-08-27 -- This was replaced by my Zaurus SL-C1000.
2006-06-12 -- I still have my HP 200LX which I adore but just haven't been using.
2005-11-05 -- This was ported from my old CMS, and refactored.
- I had noted: There's more work to be done though, and more porting to be had.
I got this before 2001-03-04, and around or after 2000-10
- TODO - maybe I have receipts from eBay.
- 1 Physical overview
- 2 Technical overview
- 3 Software overview
- 4 Hardware
- 5 Hardware upgrades
- 6 Various notes
- 7 Inbox
- 8 Archive
- 9 Link dump
- 10 TODO
Physical overview ∞
See also HP 200LX review
16 x 8.64 x 2.54 cm (6.3 x 3.4 x 1 in)
Most palmtops this size are missing most of their functionality by not including a keyboard. Anything with a keyboard is significantly larger. This is, to my knowledge, the smallest handheld PC. Add-on keyboards are available for many palmtops, but I prefer the clamshell-style.
~312g (11oz) with batteries
- FIXME - What is the weight without batteries?
- TODO - Estimate a card weight or get specs from the net.
TODO - Figure out the weight of other oft-carried things?
Clamshell; folds over itself to protect the keyboard and screen. Unfolds like a laptop.
Unmatched-quality keys unique to this line of computers.
The keyboard may be completely controlled via automatic macros.
Technical overview ∞
TODO - make an "HP 200LX processor" sub-project for additional information, including caching software, the EMM memory thing, and such.
7.91 MHz 16bit 80c186
FIXME - Processor type
Crystal-overclocking to 15.8 MHz.
- This is not a processor upgrade per-se, but replaces the onboard crystal with a 32 mhz crystal to allow the processor to push data faster with a greater power expenditure.
- FIXME - details on the power expenditure
- An even faster crystal is possible, but is not suggested or particularly supported because it requires a memory timing driver. I don't have details on this.
- Self-overclocking: FIXME - integrate notes from palmtoppaper.com ~July2000
overclocking to higher speeds is possible with an alternate driver
- FIXME - details on overclocking
- 64x18 (zoomed)
- 40x16 (zoomed)
- Several models exist, with a factory standard with 1MB, 2MB or 4MB memory.
- Third party memory extensions were available up to 128MB, but currently only some 5MB, 6MB and 8MB are still available on www.200lx.com and www.200lx.net.
- The system is MS-DOS real mode, which means that on 640 kB is available as base memory (just like a normal computer).
Some or all memory past 640 kB can be used as:
- 2x AA batteries, any kind.
- NiCd and the modern NiMH are rechargable in the unit. An AC adaptor is available. The system can run off of AC power while recharging. For NiMH it is advised to use an extra charging driver, e.g the (now freeware) ABC/LX package.
Coin cell (standard 3v cr2032) backup battery
- These last several years.
The memory state of the operating environment is saved.. so powering it off leaves things perfectly suspended.
See HP 200LX storage
Memory past 640 kB can be used as a RAM drive (as a drive letter).
- Natively supports SRAM cards
- Natively supports Parallel ATA flash storage cards up to 256MB without drivers.
-- Can use most adapters for other storage card types: CompactFlash, SD, etc. and use most of those types of storage cards.
- Supports modems or network cards with their appropriate drivers and software.
Serial Port ∞
9-wire full-featured RS232-C port, packed into non-standard 10-pin connector which is pin-to-pin compatible with standard 9-pin DB9 serial connector.
- (requires an adapter)
- Pin 10 is dedicated for protective ground signal.
The port can run with various speeds up to 115200 bps, with both hardware and software flow control modes supported.
Put the serial port to sleep to save some power.
- TODO - Does one also have to turn off the IR port??
- You can also turn off the serial port via the window manager, or DOS software.
The System Manager slows the serial port -- exit it for improved speed. System manager powers the serial port by default
- TODO - Create a settings walkthrough.
Infrared transmitter / receiver ∞
"HP-SIR" port, and not an IrDA port
- TODO - There are ways to make the IR port IrDA-compliant for several purposes.
- TODO - Not known: Speed, use, software, stuff.
I did use the IR as a remote control replacement.. it did work, but it had short range and was a bit awkward.
Standard PC speaker.
The one exception to 100% IBM Personal Computer hardware compatibility is that it does not have a digital-to-analog converter and cannot make dial tones. It is instead used to monitor battery charging. This means that you can get beeps out of the thing, but that's about it. No fancy MOD music for the 200lx; sorry.
- You can add an external headphone jack.
I don't know anything about PCMCIA sound cards.
Software overview ∞
- TODO - make a separate "HP 200LX bundled software" page for the core software, and then separate pages for its applications which have larger reviews.
TODO - list, describe, rate, screenshot, whatever.
- Application Manager
FIXME - details about the windower
In-built BIOS-level functionality ∞
- Although this DOS installation is missing some desktop MS-DOS 5.00 programs, they can be copied over and will work (list all internal apps)
-- TODO - make them available for download; I have the authentic install disks and files in deep archives.
- Although this DOS installation is missing some desktop MS-DOS 5.00 programs, they can be copied over and will work (list all internal apps)
Multi-booting between either the internal MS-DOS 5.00 operating system or the PCMCIA device.
- Most 80186-compatible OS' are possible.
- MINIX is possible with modifications, although there was very limited success.
- Linux requires an Intel 80386 dx and will not run.
- Note that ROM 1.02a is the newest
Memory past 640 kB can be used as:
Password-locking. On powerup, and usable manually.
- TODO - instructions
Bundled Productivity Software ∞
- Pocket Quicken (200LX only)
Lotus 1-2-3 release 2.4
- cc:mail Remote
- Data communicatons
- Appointment Book
- Phone Book
HP Financial Calculator
- CALC can use reverse Polish notation (RPN)
- CALC can use reverse Polish notation (RPN)
- Memo (text editor and outliner)
World Time and Stopwatch
Bundled Games ∞
It only comes with one game.. a silly maze type game. =/
Other bundled software ∞
- File compressor.
xine <infile> <outfile>
- TODO - I'm not sure how to decompress.
- Run a .MAC macro.
- TODO -
- TODO - This file is hidden! Its location is unknown.
- usage is unknown
- Icon editor.
- This file is hidden!
- This program is not included on the 100LX, but it can be copied from a 200LX and used on the 100LX.
Additional software notes ∞
See also DOS.
The hp200lx meets the system requirements of many thousands of existing DOS applications with no modification necessary.
- I have this registered.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20010620041205/http://www.jps.net/flexpad/ (the download link isn't archived)
- https://web.archive.org/web/20050313162336/www.hplx.net/super2.html (the download link isn't archived)
W programming language for MS-DOS
- Explicitly supports the 200lx.
- HP Palmtop Software by A. Garzotto
- I want these files. Who owns this domain? Who ran this website?
- https://web.archive.org/web/20140618071741/http://www.ccdominoes.com:80/hplx/ -- some nice software
- hp200lx-db - A collection of Perl modules which are used to access the HP 200LX's database files. It currently supports GDB, NDB, PDB and to some extent also ADB and WDB files.
- LXPGP - PGP 2.6.x frontend.
- https://www.vector.co.jp/vpack/filearea/dos/util/machine/hp/index.html archive, non english -- do this dead last as a followup to check for newer versions and cool toys..
- A CF modem or network card may work.
- car charger
- Parallel digital-to-analog converter (DAC)
- Newton Keyboard (Modified For Use Only With HP 100/200LX
- Accurite's PCMCIA Travel Floppy
- The FD-200, battery-powered, PC compatible 3.5" disk drive weighs under 3 pounds. The drive connects to the HP 95LX serial port and allows the user to run programs or access data directly from a standard DOS 1.44MB 3.5 inch disk. The unit comes complete and ready to use.
- Ham radio > Packet radio BBSs
- CP+ Telecoupler II provides universal access by transforming a normal modem into an acoustic modem. Useful for a payphone.
Many HP 95LX users found Sparcom's Drive95 and Station95/SmartDock products quite useful. Our Drive95 floats from desk to desk as the many Thaddeus Computing 95LX users back up their data to a 3 1/2" floppy. Different versions of Station95/Smart Dock HP 95LX docking stations allow users to modem, fax, print, connect the 95LX to a PC, and charge the Palmtop without a tangle of cables and peripherals.
- NOTE - The maximum current draw allowed for a PCMCIA card is limited to 150mA, so many modems won't work.
- To get a modem to work, configure the serial port and the software to be the same (
- modems that work with the hp95lx
- https://web.archive.org/web/20010707114845/http://ourworld.compuserve.com:80/homepages/siig/mdmindex.htm - Modems which work on the 100LX/200LX (I recommend the Simple Technology 33.6 Communicator with [Simple Jack])
- EXP ThinFax 1414LX Fax/Modem
- May work. Not sure.
- doesn't look like that would work.
- PCMCIA Data Fax Modem
- 9V / 14.4 acoustic modem https://web.archive.org/web/20010726165431/http://www.rundel-d.com/palmtop/modems.htm
Fax/Memory/Modem combo card specifically for the 100LX/200LX. It runs at 24mA active!
- I thought www.apex.com might be the right company, and I emailed them but got no response.
- Can use a 14.4 modem or a 28.8 when sped up. TEST BEFORE BUYING!
Network card ∞
- NOTE - The maximum current draw allowed for a PCMCIA card is limited to 150mA, so many network cards won't work.
- Care must be taken to use low-power network cards. Known working cards for which packet drivers have been written, are the are the Silicom Ethernet Card and the Accton EN2212 or EN2216 cards.
- Networking FAQ
- Not sure if this is for sale.
Netgear FA411 network card ∞
- I am told that SanDisk Ultra II CF cards Do not work
- https://hermocom.com/8-cat-hplx/13-storagecards.html [ 2 ] was hermocom.com/hplx/view-all-hp-palmtop-articles/13-storagecards
Built-in Printer driver supporting HP Laserjet, Epson FX-80 and IBM ProPrinter.
- There could be technicalities in printing: Setting the baud rate, hardware handshaking, printer compatibility etc...
- You may need to buy a serial-to-parallel convertor. The hp only transmits serial data.. most printers expect "parallel data".
Infra-red printers work too.
Creating a 95lx Printer Cable ∞
(source not recorded)
I want a single cable to connect to my Diconix 150 Plus printer. Since the Connectivity Pack cable HP makes was the only thing available, I cut the cable in the middle and soldered the wires to a Radio Shack male 25-pin connector (Radio Shack #2761547). The connections are: yellow lead to pin 2, white to pin 3, and red to pin 7. I coated the assembly with a household glue. This eliminates bulky adapters and greatly improves portability.
- Also their website - http://www.usedhandhelds.com/repair-service-for-hp-200lx-100lx-1000cx-palmtop/
Hardware upgrades ∞
NOTE TO SELF - Maybe try to get a 96 MB upgrade. What did I have?
Clip-on light which uses the serial port for power.
- http://www.daniel-hertrich.de - has the specs for the serial port-driven led light (there is software to keep it alive to drive an LED to sortof light the screen) has specs on making a serial cable or IR port (omg!)
Backlighting used to be somewhat-possible, but it damaged too many screens to be commercially viable.
Upgrade Resources ∞
- https://hermocom.com/hplx/view-all-hp-palmtop-articles/hardware-accessories-and-upgrades.html [ 3 ] was web.archive.org/web/20191110205530/https://hermocom.com/hplx/view-all-hp-palmtop-articles
- http://www.palmtop.net/cgi-bin/search.pl?Query=acecard -- for large cards
- Using the EMM200 EMS driver
- 200lx memory upgrades
Various notes ∞
was www.crypticlife.net/attic/www/hp200lx/ (not archived)
- https://web.archive.org/web/20170820140256/http://games.hplx.net:80/ -- he is no longer updating it.
serial code format:
- y = year
- ww = week
- SG = Singapore
- nnnn = number
- The 2 MB model has y = 6
- In some cases you keep a 1 or 2 MB
C:and the rest becomes
-- TODO - confirm
ctrl-alt-delis a soft reset
ctrl-shift-ONis a hard reset
- This will prompt to initialize the memory for emergencies. If the palmtop's memory is upgraded, more steps will have to be made to get the memory to work again (e.g. formatting it, etc)
- <&...) and letters -> used as hotkeys
MORE-MENU-a-tto exit the System Manager
- To get as much memory as possible for DOS applications.
- press the
altkey on bootup to get special options for bootup
escape-ONto enter into the testing modes.
To hard reset, press the
ONkeys at the same time.
- Or remove the main and backup battery for five minutes.
- An inverted question mark (press
Fn-3) inhibits the "Press any key to exit from DOS" ... message after finishing the application. An inverted exclamation point (press
Fn-FILER) disables the System Manager and prevents switching to another application while the current application is running, giving the application total control of the console and serial port. This is needed to make certain DOS programs (intersvr, terminal emulators, etc.) work properly.
- stacks 0,0 could cause instability because power management, battery charging the and alarm system require stacks. 9,128 is the default. I could run a serious tweak with turns off all those stack-dependant TSRs/whatever, and sets stacks 0,0 for more speed/memory... (e.g. win3.0)
If the time is regularly off, set to a perfect time, wait a while.. then gauge how far off it is over the length of time.. (e.g. 1 minute over 30 days).. then have a scheduled task which, every 30 days runs a dos shell with "time 12:01" on midnight. =) (and then have it shut back down)
Certain DOS programs enable the BREAK function when they execute and don't return it to it's original state when they terminate.
- With BREAK turned on, every time an application checks to see if a key has been pressed (and none HAS been pressed) the machine drops into "light sleep" for a little while. This slows down the running application significantly.
- To test your DOS application, type BREAK OFF at the DOS prompt, run your DOS application, then type BREAK at the DOS prompt. If your DOS application turned BREAK on and left it on, DOS will echo BREAK ON, otherwise it will echo BREAK OFF. With BREAK ON, built-in Applications run slower.
- The solution is to start your program from a batch file, and add BREAK OFF to the end of your batch file, just after the line that runs the DOS application.
- Windows 3.0 tricks and tips
In creating the database, it follows the standard
&underlining that letter and making it a hotkey. So
&Hotkey = Hotkeywhere
his the hotkey.
Running Tests ∞
- Turn it off
- press and release
Use the tests by pressing
enter. Don't press any keys during the tests or they will not run correctly. All the diagnostics (except the keyboard) will automatically repeat.
Fixing a loose palmtop hinge ∞
The HP Palmtops have a tendency to develop a loose hinge which can prevent the display from maintaining the angle that you set. Fortunately, the fix is quite simple, once you know the problem. The hinge is held on both the right and left sides. The left side hinge is only a pivot point. The right side hinge contains a "friction clutch" which is what keeps the display in the position you set. The trouble is caused when the clutch gets dirty. Cleaning the clutch will stiffen the movement.
To clean the clutch, gently remove the dust cover from the RIGHT SIDE hinge. This is done, by pulling it straight off with your fingers. (You may have to push your fingernail into the grove at the end of the cap to get it started. Place a drop of isopropyl alcohol (NOT rubbing alcohol, because it contains oil) in the center of the hinge (shown with the arrow.) Work the hinge back and forth, then replace the end cap. The hinge should once again be stiff. NOTE: Never put anything in the left hinge. The left hinge has the cable for the display passing through it, which might be damaged by foreign objects.
- Became https://web.archive.org/web/20170820140256/http://games.hplx.net:80/ which is down
- I cannot gain access to the mailing list archives.
- Various references lead to https://web.archive.org/web/20190907115932/https://www.eberl.com/ which is gone.
- Legacy hp200lx stuff. I have permission to use and re-host it.
- https://www.hermocom.com/downloads/HP%20Palmtops/index.html [ 4 ] was https://web.archive.org/web/20160521153646/http://hermocom.com/downloads/viewcategory/3-hp-palmtops
- hp mailing list (down)
- How to dismantle the HP 200LX
- HP200LX.NET -- Main page [SUPER]
- hp200lx.net -- stuff
- Palmtop Paper
- Khyber Technologies keyboard
- Newton Keyboard
Link dump ∞
Support (sales, repairs, software, advice) may still be found at The Palmtop Paper
- www.mrpalmtop.com - sales (more expensive than palmtoppaper imo)
- sales (US/Canada/other?), tips (thaddeus)
- http://www.palmtop.net - great T&T
- http://www.rskey.org/hp200lx [ 5 ] was http://www.rskey.org/CMS/index.php/exhibit-hall/7?manufacturer=Hewlett-Packard&model=HP-200LX
Gilles has a program which allows one to load or save the contents of a Franklin REX to the 200LX.
- [http://www.rskey.org/hp200lx.htm Detailed info]
- Purchasing, repairs, support, etc
- Purchasing, self repair parts, etc
- PDA Street message board archive
- Psion vs HP200lx
- Games for the 100lx and 200lx
- hplx.net Networking FAQ
- Ethernet CardBus PC Card has 200lx support
- They merged with http://pocketpctechs.com/!
- Repair it, obviously
- why care about it
- how it can be used
- support structures
- purchasing one - what to consider
taking care of one
- link to battery life
- the future of portable computing - make as an essay
- Be prepared to integrate Japanese character set support into your browser and pipe things through a translator if you really want to dig around with google.
- make the edge/border of the palmtop a ruler
- paint the case
- get the adapter specs (I should have them somewhere, or a link to them)
- Get software drivers for
F12!! -- pause key?
- Figure out the labeling for all the other weird keys..
- Library / airport security scanners might damage the device, it's not known...
C:\_DATand reset the Palmtop.
FASTDBprevents the database engine from "packing" the disk file every time you edit a database file.
- compuserve.com had forums, find "HPHand" archives
- Create a calculator function which will have regular and irregularly recurring expenses (bills, groceries, transportation ...) and income.. one which can figure out how much I currently have (and in what account), and how much I will have / will owe later..
- Get some grip-strips or something of the sort to improve the holdability so it won't slip and drop...
- To find
- there are drivers for the serial port which can be turned off to save power (
- vertical reader
- ram driver
Other ramdrive/driveram software?
Setup-F5for the internal ram drive
(palmtoppaper) 95 Utility Pack
- It's for the 95lx but it might work elsewhere.. has a contrast adjuster, volume control, keyboard state, and more.
- Macintosh to HP 95LX Connectivity With MacLink Plus PC
|^ 1||Backsolving is reverse-calculation|
|^ 2||was hermocom.com/hplx/view-all-hp-palmtop-articles/13-storagecards|
|^ 3||was web.archive.org/web/20191110205530/https://hermocom.com/hplx/view-all-hp-palmtop-articles|
|^ 4||was https://web.archive.org/web/20160521153646/http://hermocom.com/downloads/viewcategory/3-hp-palmtops|
|^ 5||was http://www.rskey.org/CMS/index.php/exhibit-hall/7?manufacturer=Hewlett-Packard&model=HP-200LX|