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What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
02-24-2019, 08:22 PM
Post: #101
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
I found here this: "Be aware that some models of the (SHARP PC) 14XX (and also the 12XX) series have four bit CPUs, which are not machine language programmable."
Is it true? How it can be identify?
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02-24-2019, 08:41 PM
Post: #102
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
Yes, these are the 1246, 1247, 1246S, 1248, 1270 and 1430.
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02-24-2019, 11:13 PM (This post was last modified: 02-24-2019 11:14 PM by rprosperi.)
Post: #103
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
Also, see this really useful website by Bill Symmes, owner of P*ROM, one of the largest VARs for Sharp Pocket Computers through the 80's and 90's, for lots of information on Sharp's full line of Pocket Computers, including lots of downloadable manuals.

http://sharppocketcomputers.com/

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02-24-2019, 11:38 PM
Post: #104
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-24-2019 11:13 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  Also, see this really useful website by Bill Symmes, owner of P*ROM, one of the largest VARs for Sharp Pocket Computers through the 80's and 90's, for lots of information on Sharp's full line of Pocket Computers, including lots of downloadable manuals.

http://sharppocketcomputers.com/

It has no info on my favorite Sharp! The PC-G850VS. Sad

Tom L
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02-25-2019, 12:05 AM (This post was last modified: 02-25-2019 12:19 AM by Jlouis.)
Post: #105
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(01-09-2019 01:04 PM)damaltor Wrote:  I would rather stick with casio, the fx-880p is what i would select. the pb-2000 with the basic module is decent, too, the pb-1000 has a nice basic os, but the worst possible housing.

all three possibilities are not exactly cheap, though the fx-880p is a very nice device which might be "worth it" for whatever it is needed for.

alternatively, the older casio basic models are nice too but have exceptionally small displays. the good point is that i made a usb interface a while ago which allows transfer from the basic programs to and from the calculator, and also allows use with the tools made by Marcus to compile/decompile the basic programs.

The Casio pockets computers are very underrated in this community. Specially the Fx-850p and Fx-880p. The fellow Alvaro tried to put some attention to them in this thread, but was completed ignored. Only Sharps, TI's and obviously HP were discussed.

But actually, they're fantatiscs machines, very capable, the display, albeit 2 lines visible, can be scrolled in 8 lines! 10 programs capability with plenty memory! Independent line numbers for each program, not like Sharps! Lots formulaes, or pre-installed programs (IIRC 140), that can be called from user programs! I have a 880p with a 32kb ram card, making it a 64kb machine! And long variables names! A superb machine, for sure.

Recently I get one Casio FX-702p, the grand father of the Casio pockets computers, and although very different in many ways , is a fantastic one, for 1981, with its only 1.6 kb!

Paraphrasing Valentin Albilo, Long Live to Casios' pocket Computers Smile

Cheers

JL
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02-25-2019, 12:06 AM
Post: #106
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-25-2019 12:05 AM)Jlouis Wrote:  Recently I get one Casio FX-702p, the grand father of the Casio pockets computers, and although very different in many ways , is a fantastic one, for 1981.

my 700P must be the great-grandfather then; perhaps not, I think I got it in 1984. I must dig it out…

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02-25-2019, 12:26 AM
Post: #107
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-25-2019 12:06 AM)cdmackay Wrote:  
(02-25-2019 12:05 AM)Jlouis Wrote:  Recently I get one Casio FX-702p, the grand father of the Casio pockets computers, and although very different in many ways , is a fantastic one, for 1981.

my 700P must be the great-grandfather then; perhaps not, I think I got it in 1984. I must dig it out…

We can say they are brothers,but not twins, being the 700p a little bit younger, from 1982.

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02-25-2019, 01:36 AM
Post: #108
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-25-2019 12:05 AM)Jlouis Wrote:  Only Sharps, TI's and obviously HP were discussed.
FYI, in the 1980's, in Quebec/Canada, scientific & programmable calculators/computers availability was something like ...
  • TI was available everywhere
  • Sharp was available everywhere
  • HP was mostly available in College & University cooperative
  • Casio were very difficult to be found, if available at all. The only ones I saw was one or two models, Tandy rebranded in Radio Shack Stores.
I do not know about Casio availability for the rest of Canada or in USA at that time.
In 1989, I move out of the calculator world and came back only in 2011, so in my case, I am just unable to comment on anything related to Casio.
Sylvain
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02-25-2019, 01:53 AM
Post: #109
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-25-2019 01:36 AM)Sylvain Cote Wrote:  
(02-25-2019 12:05 AM)Jlouis Wrote:  Only Sharps, TI's and obviously HP were discussed.
FYI, in the 1980's, in Quebec/Canada, scientific & programmable calculators/computers availability was something like ...
  • TI was available everywhere
  • Sharp was available everywhere
  • HP was mostly available in College & University cooperative
  • Casio were very difficult to be found, if available at all. The only ones I saw was one or two models, Tandy rebranded in Radio Shack Stores.
I do not know about Casio availability for the rest of Canada or in USA at that time.
In 1989, I move out of the calculator world and came back only in 2011, so in my case, I am just unable to comment on anything related to Casio.
Sylvain

Thanks for the information, Sylvain.

Maybe Casios were most available in Europe and Asia. I can say that Casio was/is very popular in Brazil, since the FX-702p.

But actually my comment was not a critical one, it was only an observation, and now I know that maybe Casio was not available or scarcely available in North America at the prime of the Pocket Calculators.

Warm Regards from the hot as hell Rio de Janeiro!

Cheers
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02-25-2019, 09:24 AM
Post: #110
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-24-2019 08:41 PM)Didier Lachieze Wrote:  Yes, these are the 1246, 1247, 1246S, 1248, 1270 and 1430.

Ahh, OK, I think that eg. some of SHARP PC-1403 made with 4 bit CPU and some of them with 8 bit. Thanks!
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02-25-2019, 09:42 AM
Post: #111
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-25-2019 12:05 AM)Jlouis Wrote:  
(01-09-2019 01:04 PM)damaltor Wrote:  I would rather stick with casio, the fx-880p is what i would select. the pb-2000 with the basic module is decent, too, the pb-1000 has a nice basic os, but the worst possible housing.

all three possibilities are not exactly cheap, though the fx-880p is a very nice device which might be "worth it" for whatever it is needed for.

alternatively, the older casio basic models are nice too but have exceptionally small displays. the good point is that i made a usb interface a while ago which allows transfer from the basic programs to and from the calculator, and also allows use with the tools made by Marcus to compile/decompile the basic programs.

The Casio pockets computers are very underrated in this community. Specially the Fx-850p and Fx-880p. The fellow Alvaro tried to put some attention to them in this thread, but was completed ignored. Only Sharps, TI's and obviously HP were discussed.

But actually, they're fantatiscs machines, very capable, the display, albeit 2 lines visible, can be scrolled in 8 lines! 10 programs capability with plenty memory! Independent line numbers for each program, not like Sharps! Lots formulaes, or pre-installed programs (IIRC 140), that can be called from user programs! I have a 880p with a 32kb ram card, making it a 64kb machine! And long variables names! A superb machine, for sure.

Recently I get one Casio FX-702p, the grand father of the Casio pockets computers, and although very different in many ways , is a fantastic one, for 1981, with its only 1.6 kb!

Paraphrasing Valentin Albilo, Long Live to Casios' pocket Computers Smile

Cheers

JL

My first pocket was a 850P with additional 8K RAM, I used it 1-2 hours on each day when I was student. I have figured out how the memory mapped, tokens of BASIC keywords, BASIC listings of 128 preinstalled programs - and thats it: because all of them closed machines. No way to program them in assembly. Great toys to play with the user definied characters, playing with direct screen POKEs and PEEKs, making BEEP {0, 1} "music", writing data from/to MEMO, like an "Internal RAM", but thats all.

SHARPs are more open architecture: you can easily dive into the deep, and you can make some marvels like this:





The TIs similar like CASIOs, but it has a possibility to dig to the core and HPs are real "systems" on another level - BUT: if you ever seen a SHARP PC-126x and you checks the data sheets, these little machines far better designed ones like HP-1xC calculators. Unfortunately the HP's roboust design and functions are far better for problem solving than a BASIC programmable unit.
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02-25-2019, 03:48 PM
Post: #112
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
Nice information, Czaba, thanks.

But I'm far from being a power user, so for me it doesn't matter if the architecture is open or not.

I have the Sharp 1402 and the 1421, but the one line and small display makes me prefer the Casios.
For the finance 1421, I think the basic language makes it much better than any other finance calculator

Anyway, it's ok to use them for fun. I appreciate the video very much. One day I will Learn to use them that deep.

Cheers

JL
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02-26-2019, 02:08 PM (This post was last modified: 02-26-2019 02:13 PM by xerxes.)
Post: #113
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-24-2019 08:22 PM)Csaba Tizedes Wrote:  I found here this: "Be aware that some models of the (SHARP PC) 14XX (and also the 12XX) series have four bit CPUs, which are not machine language programmable."
Is it true? How it can be identify?

The 4-bit pockets (PC-1110/1140/1150/1246/1246S/1246DB/1247/1248/1248DB/1270/1430) don't allow machine code, but the Basic interpreter is significantly faster than the 8-bit pockets containing the SC61860 CPU (not PC-1500/1600/PC-Exxx/PC-Gxxx).

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02-26-2019, 03:37 PM
Post: #114
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-26-2019 02:08 PM)xerxes Wrote:  The 4-bit pockets (PC-1110/1140/1150/1246/1246S/1246DB/1247/1248/1248DB/1270/1430) don't allow machine code, but the Basic interpreter is significantly faster than the 8-bit pockets containing the SC61860 CPU (not PC-1500/1600/PC-Exxx/PC-Gxxx).

In the 80s/90s, there were a few Master Vars for (most of?) these Sharp machines that produced "Compilers" for professional developers (mostly in the finance industry). They really did not compile, they really were BASIC code tokenizers integrated into an IDE so a developer could write and 'compile' BASIC code which generated a binary file that could then be loaded into RAM cards to test and EPROM cards to deploy in machines sold as vertical solutions.

Pygmy and P*ROM (maybe others too) had extensively analyzed the tokens used in the Sharp interpreters and had discerned which commands were smallest or fastest, etc. Also, the source code for these machines did not look like normal BASIC source, as the programmer could use modern control structures (While, Until, etc.), ignore line numbers, etc. so it was easier to write and maintain complex source code, yet still run in the simpler interpreter these small machines used.

One can often find examples of such machines for sale on eBay, typically found in a Sharp PC-1270, which was a dedicated run-time machine, which did not have qwerty, only a numeric keypad, YES/NO, and few other keys used under application control.

Here's an example.

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02-27-2019, 12:12 AM
Post: #115
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
.
Hi, Jlouis:

(02-25-2019 03:48 PM)Jlouis Wrote:  For the finance 1421, I think the basic language makes it much better than any other finance calculator

Indeed !

The HP-12C is a fantastic machine and the most successful financial calculator ever hands down. I love it and I've had a great time discovering its many capabilites, see my articles "HP-12C Tried and Tricky Trigonometrics" and "HP-12C Serendipitous Solver" for instance.

But as far as capabilities are concerned, it's far from the most capable finance calculator ever, that would be the fantastic SHARP PC-1421 that you mention, which can literally run rings around the HP-12C in terms of speed, RAM, programming capabilities and perfect integration of its financial functionality in the underlying BASIC language, with many specific financial BASIC keywords written in its internal assembly language and thus executing at full speed.

Add to that the possibility of saving/loading programs and data to/from external media and the possibility to print your results to a dedicated printer, neither of which can you do with an HP-12C.

Last but not least, though it's a financial model it's got a fully fledged Level 2 BASIC language including all necessary keywords for general-purpose programming, including trigonometric functions like SIN, COS, ASN, etc. That's very unlike the HP-12C, which lacks such functions and many others.

The aesthetics and built-quality are also very good, with a slim, attractive metallic body with an added golden tint, much larger alphanumeric LCD display (no annoying numeric keycodes) and pretty decent keyboard and there's little to be desired. On the minus side, though pretty slim it's still larger than an HP-12C so it won't fit your shirt pocket that well and its two CR2032 batteries won't last for years of use as the HP-12C's do but then nobody's perfect ... Smile

I've got two mint SHARP PC-1421 financial pocket computers in my collection and couldn't be happier with them.

Regards.
V.

  
Find All My HP-related Materials here:  Valentin Albillo's HP Collection
 
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02-27-2019, 09:21 AM
Post: #116
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
Hi Valentin,

This is identical to EL-5510?
Do you have English pdf manual for SHARP PC-1421?

Thank you!
Csaba
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02-27-2019, 01:25 PM
Post: #117
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-26-2019 03:37 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  They really did not compile, they really were BASIC code tokenizers integrated into an IDE so a developer could write and 'compile' BASIC code which generated a binary file that could then be loaded into RAM cards to test and EPROM cards to deploy in machines sold as vertical solutions.

Interesting concept to use the interpreter that way. Have you also additional information about the IQ-718M chess card?

[Image: IQ-718M.gif]

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02-27-2019, 02:17 PM (This post was last modified: 02-27-2019 02:23 PM by rprosperi.)
Post: #118
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-27-2019 01:25 PM)xerxes Wrote:  Interesting concept to use the interpreter that way. Have you also additional information about the IQ-718M chess card?

The "IC Card" application cards for the Wizard (OZ/IQ-xxxx) and Zaurus (ZR-xxxx) product lines were developed using a C compiler (GNU C Sharp modified to generate code for the ESR-x series of CPUs). The software tools (compiler, linker, debugger, etc.) were provided along with target ICE systems for creating both the consumer application cards such as Chess, Backgammon, Finance, AT&T EMail, etc. but also industry specific vertical solutions for various industries by VARs in those markets.

I don't recall who developed the Chess IC card, likely a company that was already selling Chess software that Sharp hired to port it to the Wizard. The "16" in the upper right refers to the cards intended use on the early 7xxxx series of models with a 16 character wide LCD. The later 8xxxx series had a 40 column screen and cards for this series had a "40" here. Some later cards would work in both series.

The OZ/IQ-707 "BASIC" Card included a quite impressive and fast version of BASIC, ported from the Pocket Computer line (same Engineering group - some really bright and incredibly hard-working guys) which could also be used as a Scientific Calculator, adding Trig, Logs, etc. There were also -770 and -870 versions of these cards also for VARs (same ROM inside, but with blank face so the keypad could be tailored for application-specific use). There are several entries in your awesome database from these cards, which will show their relatively high performance (for the time).

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02-27-2019, 07:26 PM
Post: #119
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
Merci for the explanation.

I've tested the IQ-718M at that time and was a bit disappointed for two reasons. The playing strength is pretty weak and it tends
to crash on longer thinking times. The card also works with later IQ models but without using the whole display of course.

While testing the Basic cards on various IQ models, I've noted the similarity to the CPU and the Basic interpreter of the PC-E500.

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02-27-2019, 10:37 PM
Post: #120
RE: What is the best BASIC Pocket Computer
(02-27-2019 07:26 PM)xerxes Wrote:  I've tested the IQ-718M at that time and was a bit disappointed for two reasons. The playing strength is pretty weak and it tends
to crash on longer thinking times. The card also works with later IQ models but without using the whole display of course.

While testing the Basic cards on various IQ models, I've noted the similarity to the CPU and the Basic interpreter of the PC-E500.

Yes, though I'm not much of a Chess player, I recall a guy in our group reporting that it could be readily beaten if you knew what you were doing.

Regarding IQ BASIC vs. PC-E500 BASIC - Both used the same CPU (ESR-L, Electronic Slide Rule, model L, there were many other models as well) and the BASICs were quite similar; I recall each had some performance advantage over the other. I cannot recall exact details, but I think that the PC-E500 had faster display, as it didn't have to deal with the IQ OS that let the user swap apps, etc. Also, these 2 models have quite good accuracy in Mike Sebastian's famous 'Calculator Forensics", though oddly, though they are not exactly the same, which is a bit unexpected.

As the PC-E500 was not sold in the US, even though I worked at Sharp throughout the 90's, I could not get my own PC-E500 until many years later. From eBay, just like everyone else...

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