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LASER PC4 NOTEBOOK

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PORTABLE WP's

Early  Zilog CPU based

application notebooks,

ROM based units.

 

LASER PC4/5

Brother PN-4400/8500

QuickPAD

NEC 8300

Amstrad NC-100/200

Citizen CBM-10WP

 

GAME UNITS

Game consoles by

Tandy, and Intellivision

Tandyvison One

Mattel Aquarius

 

HANDHELD PC's

The PDA had arrived with

Casio's Tandy entry.

 

Tandy Zoomer

 

Introduced: 1990
CPU: Zilog Z80
RAM: 32K  (Expandable to 128K)

ROM:  2MB (5MB on the PC4/XL)
Ports: 15 Pin Proprietary, supports

Centronics Printer &  Serial RS-232

Controls: Brightness

Expansion: PCMCIA style Proprietary

Keyboard:  2/3 scale 57 Key (QWERTY)

Display: 4 x 40 LCD

Power:  12V (2.1mm + tip) 100 ma, or 4 AA batteries

Storage: Ram Internal

Dimensions: 7.6" x 10" x1.3" (2 lbs.)
Operating System: ROM Based Interface & Programs, 80,000 Word Spell Checker

 

Many good portables were built around the Zilog Z-80 processor and Vtech from Hong

Kong came out with their efforts under the branded name of Laser, from Laser Computer

Inc. in the USA.  Laser was more known for making 8088 desktop PC's in the 80's and for

the most part were parted IBM PC clones.  It was interesting to find portables under the

same banner.  The PC-4 was the first of what was to become the PC-5 and lastly the PC-

6.  The latter installment came with Voice Recognition technology. 

 

Printer Cable Pin-outs - CLICK HERE FOR LARGE IMAGETransfer Cable Pin-outs - CLICK HERE FOR LARGE IMAGESerial Cable Pin-outs - CLICK HERE FOR LARGE IMAGEThe PC4 is small

and for the most

part an interesting

unit.  Packed with

software this

computer included

a Spell Checker, 10

function Calculator,

Telephone

Directory,

Appointment Book, Alarm Clock with 16 different alarms, Personal File, Systems software,

Word Processor, Accounting/Expense Ledger, Lotus Compatible Spreadsheet, File

Transfer Utilities, Telephone Dialer.

 

The Laser PC has a neat little file

transfer system using a transfer

cable, (optional) or a serial cable

with a null modem (optional) 

Included here are the pin

assignments for construction of

your own cables.  Also, the Laser

PC supports several standard printers, including the Apple ImageWriter, Brother HR-25,

Epson FX & MX Series, an the Panasonic KXP Series.

 

The best feature of the Laser PC4

is the built in Basic programming

language.  This is not the full

GW-Basic from Microsoft but the

command set and syntax is almost

identical.

 

The internal memory is

expandable from 32K to 128K

using the same memory chips

found in the NTS / Citizen CBM-

0WP and the Tandy WP-2 and

WP-3's.  I upgraded by PC-4 to

128K using a chip from my Tandy

WP-2!

 

The back of the case says that

there are no user servable parts

inside.  Well two screws later and a little prying revealed it to be very true.  The Laser PC-

4 is soldered from one end to the other.  The flat cables connection the keyboard and the

display panel to the motherboard are hard soldered with no usage of Mylar connectors. 

This is a real shortfall and collectors should keep this in mind when buying faulty units.

 

 

The LCD display panel was

manufactured from ALPS

Systems (Part# MDK341V-0), and

the keyboard had no identifiable

markings.  The motherboard is

clearing marked (Laser TM) and it

was signed by  W.H. Leung, the

electronic engineer who designed

it.

 

Overall the Laser PC4 is a very collectable unit, and for the most part rare.  The only

drawback is the small 4 x 40 (actually 38) display with no back lighting.  But for an avid

collector it is a must have.

 

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(c) 2004, 2005 Brian K. Hahn

 All Rights Reserved.