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.