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 taking roughly 20 minutes per cylinder from there on.
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.
22 thoughts on “Epson Equity LT”
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.
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.
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
You’ve got mail.
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!
She’s in sweet condition, haven’t used her for a while but hope to have another play soon, cheers for dropping by.
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!
Excellent! Do you have any pictures? I’m hoping to use mine again soon and get a suitable phone cable for the modem.
You might also be interested in this:-
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!
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
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.
Dave, I think your best bet would be Ebay.
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!
I realize this article was from 2011. I was curious though, Would anybody be interested in the Epson Equity LT AC Adapter? It’s still in the box, never used and looks brand new, pristine. Found it cleaning out Mom’s house.
Hi, is it the type that looks like this: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/324530/Epson-Equity-Lt-386sx.html?page=31#manual
I’d be interested if you still have it, 5 years later. Looking for an adapter for an Epson Equity LT-386SX.
I don’t know if I’ll get a response but any help would be greatly appreciated. I was clearing out an office at my work and stumbled across this beauty https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pqKZ9SLIr6Z-sGsyCfhQURME7mxTiuNR/view?usp=sharing I would like to get it up and running but it is missing the DOS disks. Would anyone happen to have the image files?
This was the first laptop I ever used. I was about ten at the time. I played space quest 2, kings quest 1 and 2 and maniac mansion on this thing. I couldn’t remember what it was though. I’ve been searching for one for almost 2 decades now, with only “well its white and the brand started with an ‘e’, and the screen was monochrome….” I just happened to find a picture of my room from when I was a teen and found in the corner the very top of the laptop and began searching images. Thanks to you having nice high quality pictures on this post, I finally found it with the search ‘8088 laptop’. I can’t thank you enough for this post. Now I can finally begin looking for the actual laptop and see if I can buy one again.
What a great story, so glad you enjoyed the post and pictures. I hope you find one, unfortunately I sold this one a year or so ago, it really was in great shape for its age.
Thank you for the write up on the Epson Equity LT. Great photos too! Yours looks like it’s in excellent condition.
My model is a bit more scuffed up, but functional. I’m having a tough time getting access to the HD and I hope that the setup program will let me configure the system.
Would it be possible for you to share the setup disk image?
Hi Erik, thank you. Unfortunately I sold my Equity a couple of years ago so no longer have any of the disks that came with it I am afraid.
https://archive.org/details/epson-disk-images here are reference disks for the LT-286. might work.