Handy personal computer
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Next topicDate of acquisition: 2011/02/10
The Casio FP-200 by Joscelyn, Casio expert :
The Casio FP-200 laptop computer made its first appearance at the Tokyo Microcomputer Show in the early summer of 1983. The only other computer in this A4 form factor before it was the Epson HX-20 launched in July of the previous year.
Casio was not a newcomer in the pocket computing market. The manufacturer launched the world’s second programmable computer in Basic in 1981 (after the Sharp PC-1211), the FX-702P, which was a worldwide success. The FX-702P was followed by the FX-801P, an all-in-one portable computer identical in all points to the FX-702P but incorporating microcassette reader and thermal printer. In 1982, Casio launched the FX-9000P, a desktop computer strongly derived from the FX-702P but with a much more advanced CA-Basic and which inaugurates the expandable RAM system by 4 or 16 KB cartridges.
The FP-200 preceded the NEC PC-8201A siblings / cousins, Kyocera KC85, Tandy Model 100 and Olivetti M-10 by a few months. Unlike the latter, which shared a large 8-line x 40-character display that took up the entire front panel, the FP-200 had to make do with an 8-line x 20-character display. However, the available front space suggests that Casio had considered a display at least 40 characters wide.
Modular design : The only model of the brand to bear the name of ""Handheld Computer"", the FP-200 was distinguished by the possibility of extending its RAM from 8 to 32 KB by 3 devices of 8 KB. Casio will keep this possibility of extension on many models thereafter. Another distinctive aspect was its modularity. It was thus possible to add a single-sided, single-density 5'1 / 4 floppy disk drive with a capacity of 70 KB, as well as a 4-color plotter with the same dimensions.
In addition to its extremely complete C85-BASIC with mathematical, statistical, graphic and file management instructions as well as the possibility of keeping 10 separate programs in memory (PROG0 to PROG9) like all the brand's pocket computers.
Originality: The FP-200 included an integrated spreadsheet called CETL (Casio Easy Table Language). The inclusion of such a feature was a first, and Casio continued this path on its PF pocket diaries, the first of which, the PF-3000, was released in the summer of 1983.
Casio made a slight mistake by shifting the graphics display of his spreadsheet to an optional R.O.M. (FP-231CE), which finally gave it a real spreadsheet look. With no grid on the screen, you had to design the spreadsheet in your mind. The FP-200 could accommodate 10 spreadsheets in memory (FILE0 to FILE9), like it could in Basic. To switch from Basic to CETL and vice versa, all it is a matter of toggling the CETL-BASIC mode switch on the front panel.
Interfaces: On the I / O interface side, the FP-200 was fairly well stocked: the battery compartment (4 x 1.5V AA) contained the bus connector for the floppy disk drive. It also had a parallel interface to the Centronics standard, an 8-pin DIN serial port unfortunately limited to 300 baud, an 8-pin DIN port for cassette interface (300 baud), and a proprietary 6-pin connector for the numeric keypad. optional FP-210KB. A hatch on the back contained the compartment for two 1.5V AA batteries for memory backup and another hatch for the R.A.M and R.O.M modules. Finally, a potentiometer located on the upper side above the screen allows you to adjust the contrast.
Special Features: The FP-200 also had a few special features that are worth knowing :
When changing batteries, type RESET on the keypad to reset the memory.
The RAM is initially shared between the Basic and CETL zone. To repartition it, you must type AREA nnnn, this last figure being the memory allocated to CETL. Note that this operation is possible at any time and does not affect the programs and tables already stored in memory.
The FP-200 has a RESET button that is not labeled, located on the upper right side. You have to press it with a ballpoint pen, for example.
Although the bus connector of the floppy disk drive interface is the same as that of the FP-1000/1100 desktop computer (which it can otherwise use), no other peripherals (dual floppy disk drive, expansion unit or memory cartridge) is unfortunately recognized by the FP-200.
Before you can start INPUT / OUTPUT operations on files, it is imperative to reserve one buffer per open channel using the MOUNT n instruction (in Basic mode) otherwise the FP-200 will display MOUNT Error. Each buffer occupies 316 bytes (taken from the CETL memory area) and up to 15 channels can be opened simultaneously.