The Countdown’s on!

One more day until the Winter Warmup starts!

I’m making my final preparations and, in doing so, came upon a wealth of information pertaining to my Sharp PC-1500.  I’ve downloaded the technical reference manual and user’s manual from the site, and hope either one has a good breakdown of the BASIC commands for the unit.

Still haven’t found my CCR-81 cassette recorder, lab’s pretty cluttered.  I’m hoping to find it soon.




RCWW14: Preamble

(Note: All updates will be mirrored on the gopher site)

I’m looking forward to the Winter Warmup this year.  Of course, I say that EVERY year and bow out of the competition within the first week  (or, in the case of last year’s entry, within the first ten minutes!).  Of course, there were extenuating circumstances – my wife was having a rather difficult pregnancy – but that’s all resolved itself.

I got last years’ entry (my Sony HB-F1XD MSX2 computer) working during the warmup last year, but never had the chance to update the page. I took the floppy drive apart to replace the belt, but the drive was actually a BELTLESS model! There was a small piece of metal (the label with the drive’s serial number!) stuck on one of the magnetic heads, so I removed it and reassembled the drive. It didn’t work at first, so I left it alone until I cooled off a bit.

A day later, I tried to format a floppy in the drive, and it worked! So, I wrote an MSX disk image using my Thinkpad, and the next thing I knew, I was playing Undeadline on my MSX!

The MSX2 does have one issue though, one of the capacitors on the motherboard is dying, so the machine’s PSG sound volume is really low. If I turn up the volume on my monitor, I can JUST make it out. Apart from that, I’m having a lot of fun playing some classic games!

For this year’s entry, I went with a theme of “limitation”. I recently bought a Sharp PC-1500 pocket computer at Value Village for $8, and that included the printer dock/cassette interface. cassette cables, printer pens, and the “Getting Started” cards. The PC-1500 (aka the Tandy PC-2) requires 4 AA batteries, and is almost as thick as a paperback book.

I’ve long desired one of these babies, and now that I have one, I have to figure out what I’m going to DO with it. Sure, I can do complex calculations, but I want it to be MORE than a glorified calculator.

To do that, I’ll either have to find my CCR-81 Computer Cassette Recorder, or invest in a RAM expansion pack with flash memory, so I can store the programs I write. The RAM pack can be found online for about $50 from Europe, and the CCR-81 can be found somewhere in my lab. Ideally, I’d like the RAM pack for portability’s sake…

Storage will be a priority, as will be tracking down a BASIC manual for the PC-1500. I have a couple of ideas for programs, but I want to know how to implement them properly – no two versions of BASIC were totally compatible.


Retrochallenge Winter Warmup 2014

I have once again decided to enter the Retrochallenge!

I recently acquired a working Sharp PC-1500 pocket computer, complete with printer dock, cassette cables, and startup guide for $8 at a thrift store. Eight bloody dollars, when I’ve been outbid at $60 several times on eBay for the same bit of kit!

This year’s entry will involve my coming to grips with the PC-1500’s version of BASIC, and trying my hand at programming a few random things.

If I can find my old Radio Shack CCR-81 Computer Cassette Recorder, I may even be able to SAVE my programs! Needless to say, that will be priority number one.


-Sparc IPX (aka conceitedjerk)