The retro fire lit in my heart by my visit to the Vintage Computer Fair shows no sign of abating. On its way from the States is an unused Epson PX-8 Geneva series computer/laptop. I’ve cast my eye over a number of early 80’s machines but this (and a couple of Vic 20’s) are the first for which the wallet has been opened.
Featuring a Z-80 compatible microprocessor and a customised version of the CP/M operating system the machine uses a microcassette drive for storage and has two ROM slots into which PROMS with software such as Portable WordStar, CalcStar and Scheduler can be inserted, included with the machine are BASIC and CP/M utilities. The machine also sports a fold out 80 column 8 line LCD display.
Pictures will of course follow and I’m looking forward to getting acquainted with CP/M. Not only is the machine absolutely gorgeous in a Silent Running kind of way but the peripherals are equally desirable. My heart is set on a PF-10 floppy drive but as far as I can tell they are very rare and difficult to source, no doubt therefore attracting a premium price.
Now I’m going to try out a PX-8 emulator created by Toshiya Takeda, here’s a gratuitous shot of it running under Windows XP on my MacPro with VMWare Fusion on OS-X Snow Leopard.
There are a number of useful resources and I’ve started to assemble a list below. I’m very thankful to all those that have taken the time to create extensive pages of information on the PX-8, they will be a great help when the machine arrives. I shall also be watching keenly Earl Evans’ Retrochallenge project to create a PX-8 virtual drive.
Original review from Creative Computing
7 thoughts on “Epson PX-8 Geneva”
My only experience of CP/M was a system for programming a pick-and-place machine (for populating PCBs with surface mount components) at Morgan Smith-Electronics around 1990. You should have plenty of fun exploring – CP/M was buried by MS/DOS it still has a loyal following.
I have a complete Epson PX-8 Geneva system with modem, printer, software and manuals still packaged in original boxes. I would call it ‘new’ but I bought it in the 80s. Plastic still covers the micro cassette door, so it is obviously unused. Only thing I did was install labels on keypad and highighted some text in the Ops manual. Computer has only been turned on a few times, but never really operated because I didn’t understand CP/M. This was my first computer purchase! Any idea what the value is? Located in Texas.
Hi JPW, a company called Notebooksupplies are selling new, unused PX-8’s for $99.00 which gives you a benchmark figure. I’d certainly be interested in your kit if it’s all working and you’re prepared to ship to the UK. For a moment I thought you were going to say you had the original floppy drive, now they are rare and presumably quite valuable! Do you have the additional ram disk unit which sits underneath the PX-8?
Mark, my system does not include the floppy drive. I don’t think it has the ram disk either as I do not recall anything sitting underneath the PX-8. I will verify. I noticed a PX-8 for sale in the UK at http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=198 If you are still interested in my computer, contact me on gmail at bluestreak67
Thanks for responding. Cheers! Phil
I still have a couple of these in storage somewhere with manuals and docs, both sadly not going (dead CMOS Z-80 CPU’s I think), one with the Z-80 based RAMdisk add-on.
I used one for several years as a “remote keyboard” for my homebrew CP/M, transfering stuff written in the field using a serial cable. I’ve had many different machines over the years but this was one of my all time favorites. It got dropped on cement floors several times and suffered only minor extenal scratches – tough. It would run up to a genuine 14 hours on a single charge which allowed some serious writing in the field.
The micro tape drive worked, but in practical terms was pretty useless, the RAMdisk and RS232 being the main games. I also have a set of ROM’s and have/had a matching 300 baud accoustic coupler which was about as useful as the tape drive.
It also had some sort of A/D port and I wrote a chart recorder for it in Z-80 Assembler one time I needed a logging function.
Primitive by todays standards, but way ahead of its time back then.
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I have six PX8s available, three RAM disk wedges, two P40 printers, a P80 printer, and an acoustic couple modem. They are in Ontario, Canada, and I will ship them. I also have software and manuals, not a complete set for each unit, though.