Epson Equity LT

I’ve been trying to settle on one platform for the development of my Retrochallenge Winter Warmup project, a text adventure for my (and other) CP/M based Epson PX-8.  Not that long ago I acquired an Epson Equity LT laptop circa 1989.

The unit itself is in remarkable condition cosmetically and runs quite happily when booted into DOS using the internal 3.5″ floppy drive.  However when originally attempting to format the internal hard drive the format would progress normally to about cylinder 158 or so whereupon it would slow to a snail’s pace taken roughly 20 minutes per cylinder from thereon.

Given that I don’t really need 20MB of disk space for my project I got the unit out again and used fdisk to create a DOS partition that only used the first 156 cylinders or around 4-5 MB of the drive.  The format progressed successfully and I installed MS DOS 3.2 from the original Epson disk that came with the unit.

I have a fondness for Epson design from this era and I think it’s a great looking unit.  The screen is pretty good and I like the keyboard.  The main specifications are:-

CPU – NEC V30 (μPD70116) CMOS microprocessor, compatible with Intel 8086 runing at the same speed as the 8086 but 10% – 30% faster. (DIP switch on front on unit allows switching between 4.77 & 10mhz speed)

RAM – 640k

Floppy Drive – μPD765A controller supporting four 360Kbyte or 720Kbyte 3.5″ disks.

Hard Disk – JVC JD-3824R RLL type, 21.44 Mbytes 95mm diam.

Option Slots – Two 8bit expansion slots (Modem on the way from US)

Graphics – Built in LCD and RGB output for external monitor CGA standard up to 8 grey levels.

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14 thoughts on “Epson Equity LT

  1. Nice looking piece of vintage hardware there. Is there an additional option slot that’s not visible, or does the floppy fill one of them? You should make a extra storage module using an 8-bit IDE interface like the common design on the web (uses a latch to allow access to the full 16 bits) and a compact flash card with a fat16 file system (max of 32mb per drive/partition according to wikipedia, shouldn’t be too hard to find compact flash under 128mb). Might need some drivers though, not sure what DOS needs to access data from such electronics.

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  2. I haven’t opened her up yet but I’m as far as I can tell the model came with either two floppy drives or a floppy drive and a hard drive. There are two option slots, one is occupied by the hard drive controller card, the other is free although I do have a modem on the way. I know that flash drives for the Amiga are very popular, I’ll look into it, cheers.

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  3. I have found your blog fortunately!! I’m looking for the original Epson disks that came with the Epson Equity LT from long time. My machine is stopped for years cause I can not configure HDD in the BIOS.
    If you can, do you send me the images of these disks via mail ?
    You will help me to save my old machine from oblivion.
    Thanks a lot

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  4. Wow…the Epson Equity LT! This was my first PC that I learned on back in the day (when I was around 13 years old), I remember playing Space Quest, etc. on it! A year after we got this we ended purchasing an Emerson 286-16Mhz desktop with VGA graphics and I was floored by the speed difference! Nice to see one of these still floating around in such good condition!

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  5. Well,I`m writing this from my Equity Lt!
    Restored about 1 month ago,it`s the dual floppy model
    Running freedos+pppd+doslynx over a 9600 baud serial line.
    Greetings from this 20+ years old machine!

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  6. Greatings! I have just ordered one of these fine machines from a portal so I haven’t yet seen or tried it. Unfortunately I’m sure that it will come without reference disk and almost sure it won’t be set up all right. I would be very happy if You could send me the reference / setup disk image because without it I have barely a chance to get the machine working properly with HDD. I wish you good luck with this and other projects!

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  7. Wow,doslynx didn’t show my comment after i posted it,but it’s here!
    Of course i took some picture of the event,but i can’t find the one of this page…
    I’ll connect it again soon then 🙂
    I think my machine is a bit strange,since it’s almost “full optional” (backlit lcd,1200 baud modem) but no hdd…
    Taking it online isn’t too hard,it’s extremely slow during web surfing (20 minutes only for loading this page!)
    I’ve also discovered an interesting fact,”8-bit proprietary expansion slots” are simple ISA slots on a mini connector,so it’s *possible* to make some custom extra cards

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  8. I have an Epson Equity LT laptap in good working condition. It oviously has DOS on it. I would like to sell it. Where would I sell a unit like this. Along with it, I also have the original TRS-80 version of dBase II manual (almost new) with the floppy disks and the original Ashton-Tate dBase II manual in like new condition.

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  9. Hi everybody, I am looking for Epson Equity LT-286 reference disks as well. It would be really really nice if someone could provide me with a copy. Thanks in advance!

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