rcamp48 Posted June 2, 2020 Share Posted June 2, 2020 This was all assembled by myself yesterday from the Atari Portfolio Archives, apparently the files have been there for 24 years but nobody has read any of them , including my self. I must apologize as it is 58 pages of good information , and is the best of the best for Atari Portfolio Information all in one place. Taken from the archives on June 1 2020 , Atari Portfolio News 2020 Assembled and picked by Russ Campbell. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Portfolio Hints and Tips From the Atari A.P.B . Volume 2, Number 1 If you want to get the current A.P.B. please send one U.S. Dollar to Atari Computer Corporation 1196 Borregas Ave. Sunnyvale CA. 94089 The Atari Portfolio is a powerful tool. It will grow with your needs and require only a basic understanding of proper computer care for trouble-free use. The following are hints and tips for optimum productivity and enjoyment from your Portfolio computer. Some users may consider the suggestions as basic computer knowledge. Others will benefit a great deal as they use the Portfolio more and more. * If you seem to have difficulties with Serial Interface file transfers, make certain the Serial Interface is initialized. This can be done within the RS-232 port option in the SET UP menu. Also make certain the baud rates on both computers are set the same.Install peripherals and Memory Cards only while the screen of the Portfolio is turned "OFF". This avoids occasional electrical static during installation and better ensures that the operating system of the Portfolio " knows" that these devices are installed. * If your batteries appear to offer unreliable operation, gently tilt the Portfolio from side to side. Should you suspect that the batteries may not be firmly in place, then responsibly bend the positive metal connector in the battery compartment outward to induce a tighter battery fit. Some "AA" batteries are slightly different in length depending on manufacturer and job lot. * When installing batteries in Memory Cards, mark a date eight to ten months later on the label in pencil. Reference that date for battery replacement. This time frame should apply to all size cards. If using a Memory Card (which is highly recommended), set the size of your " C:" Drive to 8K. If you plan to use the Calendar/Diary alarm functions, then set the "C:" Drive to 16K. From that point on, read and write your data files directly to the "A:" Drive. Refer to the FDISK command for setting the size of the "C:" Drive. * The Portfolio User's Manual will make no attempt to teach the use of DOS, Spreadsheets or Word Processing. These subjects sometimes justify accredited college courses depending on the level of expertise you wish to apply. It is suggested that users visit their local library or bookstore for books on these subject(s) if additional information is required. * Using the Editor, write the following batch file and save it as A:\AUTOEXEC.BAT. The line: A:\Update requires that an update program be moved to your RAM card from the FILE MANAGER card. If you do not have the UPDATE.COM program, then omit line 3 below from your batch file. @Echo Off Prompt=$p $ A:\Update Cls App * Some Portfolio manuals contain an error in reference to the creation of a CONFIG.SYS file. The proper entries are as follows: FILES=20 BUFFERS=32 COUNTRY=00l * If a MEMORY FULL error is encountered, try changing the BUFFERS=32 entry in the CONFIG.SYS file to BUFFERS=8 and warm or cold boot the computer without the FILE MANAGER installed. * Once low batteries begin to disrupt operation, do not rely entirely on an AC adapter. Replace low batteries immediately even if the AC adapter is being used. * The BATTERY LOW message is encountered only under specific circumstances. Do not depend on seeing it during the limited time that the Portfolio is capable of detecting and displaying such a condition. * You may change the battery in the RAM Memory Card without losing the data saved on the card. To do so, install the Memory Card in a Portfolio while plugged in an AC adapter. Press a key to turn "ON" the screen and replace the battery before the screen shuts itself off. Conservative users may wish to copy the files to the "C:" Drive as a precaution. The battery used in a RAM Memory Card is a CR2016 and may be found in most electronics stores. You may prolong the length of time before the screen shuts " OFF" by occasionally pressing any key. * If you encounter a DEVICE WRITE ERROR while saving a file to the "A:" drive, check the write protect switch. Make certain it is turned "OFF". This may also occur if there is not enough room on the drive for the file or the maximum number of files in the root directory may have been reached. If you installed the RAM Memory Card while the screen is "ON", the Portfolio may not know that the card is installed. In that case, try to save the file on the "C:" Drive. A warm boot may be required if the operating system needs to be informed that the "A:" Drive is installed. When numerous files are being used, create and use subdirectories to store them. * A DIVIDE BY ZERO or SYSTEM ERROR may occur for a number of reasons. If encountered, perform a warm boot and make an attempt to copy "C:" Drive files out to a Memory Card. Even if the operating system appears to be restored, perform a cold boot through the battery compartment to ensure that the problem has been adjusted internally. * The Portfolio will make every attempt to reload the last file you used in each application. If an error occurs while the application attempts to load the last file, delete the PERMDATA.DAT file within the SYSTEM directory on the "C:" Drive. You may also change your CONFIG.SYS file to set a lower number of buffers. Performing a warm boot after doing so may release enough memory to load the data file properly. You may also attempt to enter the application out of the FILE MANAGER environment as the FILE MANAGER does require space in RAM. * Many people misinterpret the SAVE YES/NO option when exiting an application incorrectly. When selecting "YES", the existing file on disk will be erased and a new file is created. If the file in memory is incorrect, incomplete or corrupted, the old data will be permanently lost. It is suggested that you always answer "NO" when exiting applications to avoid this possibility. To save a file, use the F1 option labeled as SAVE AS and deliberately name the file as you wish. The F1 window in all applications may also be accessed by pressing the Atari key. * If you accidentally exit the FILE MANAGER and wish to have it operating again, turn the Portfolio off, install the FILE MANAGER ROM Card and type A:\fm at the system prompt. * Avoid entering and manipulating files within the SYSTEM directory on the "C:" Drive. The only exception is the DIARY.DRY file which must be in that directory if you wish alarms to sound. * To determine the available space on a Disk, use the DIR command from the DOS prompt. The CHKDSK command makes many calculations and assembles groups of numbers which are often confusing. * The "ON" and "OFF" designations of the Portfolio refer to full operation, not to complete power. A Portfolio which is turned " OFF" must still monitor alarms, data, date and time. This is important to know for expectations of battery longevity. * The ADDRESS BOOK application may be used as a database for more than just names, addresses and phone numbers. You may also establish files for inventories, recipes and other subjects. * If you detect a periodic "blip" across the screen while the Portfolio is turned "OFF", check the display modes within the SET UP menu. Make certain they are all set to normal or the batteries will drain at an accelerated pace. * You may sometimes experience system inconveniences in the operating system which can be enhanced or corrected. A small program exists in the public domain called: UPDATE.COM. A copy of this file may be found on the FILE MANAGER/TUTORIAL ROM Card. Later versions may be found on on-line services and on the Atari bulletin board. If you are experiencing problems which appear unexplained, obtain the latest version of this program and run it immediately following a cold-boot. See an earlier tip for automatically installing the UPDATE.COM program using an AUTOEXEC.BAT file. * If you travel, you may wish to use clear packing tape and adhere a business card to the bottom of the computer by identification. A small address label might be placed on the inside of the battery and expansion bus covers as well. * To add a blank line between two existing lines in the Address Book, use the clipboard to "cut" a blank line you type at the end of the record, move the cursor to the new position and "paste" the blank line in place. * If the non-weekend alarms in the Diary are not functioning on your machine, you may still simulate the same result by creating five separate weekly alarms; one for each day of the work week. * The COS and SIN functions in the Spreadsheet sometimes return internal calculations and not the answers anticipated. Test your results when using these functions and use an alternative calculation if the operation is not responding as anticipated. * You may enter almost any special character into the Text Editor you wish. This can be useful to create custom batch file screens or to mark specific positions for global search/replace routines when files are transferred to a desktop PC. To enter such characters, enter the NUM LOCK mode by pressing the Atari key while holding the Lock key. The cursor will change to a flashing underline. Then, while holding the Alt key, type the numerical character code (1-256; use the red numeric keypad). When you let go of the Alt key, the associated character will appear. To turn off NUM LOCK, press the Atari key once again while holding the Lock key. FDISK SYNTAX: FDISK [n] Sets the size of the internal RAM drive. c:. to size n in kilobytes specified. The minimum value allowed is 8K bytes and the maximum is the maximum available internal memory minus an amount required by the applications and DOS This maximum will be displayed if you try and set too big a disk size. For example. the command: FDISK 16 [RTN] sets the size of the RAM drive to 16K bytes Use of this command also performs a cold start All files currently stored in the portfolio.s memory Will be deleted in order that the RAM drive may be re-sized This command should be used with care. Disk-Folio Article. 14/02/93 I think I've got great news for all port users who want to connect their Portfolio directly to a floppy disk drive: As the Portfolio is my only computer I was always dependent on some friends and their PC's after receiving new software for the port (for example a new issue of Re:port with another great utility-HOOK). The Drive 95 for the HP-95 seemed to be a good choice but 294,95 $ + shipping/handling (+ german VAT) was not the price I had in mind for that kind of hardware. Accidentially I got in contact with a company called GEMAC which had just finished a FDD-interface for the port ! The whole components sit in the case of an original ATARI memory extension (the one that isn't available in the USA). It contains a serial and a parallel port and a floppy cable for either a ATARI SF314 drive or a Shugart compatible drive. You initialize the interface by pressing Fn-O and rebooting the system after conneting it to the "DiskFolio". Now you can use the FDD as drive B: ! All this sounds great ?! - In my opinion, this is the *most* useful peripheral for the Portfolio I've ever heard about !! I use it for about five weeks now and it's really a completely new "Port-Feeling". As all this sounds rather enthusiastic there are still some minor problems to be solved : 1.)Diskfolio comes with all the necessary software in a built-in EPROM. Unfortunately you can't use UPDATE.COM yet together with the DiskFolio software, because it uses a ROM extension that isn't -yet- compatible to the original update program. (But according to GEMAC this problem will soon be solved.) 2.)DiskFolio isn't able to format a floppy disk (you can only use 720kb floppy disks !) But if you use pre-formatted disks this isn't a problem any longer. 3.)DiskFolio isn't able to create sub-directories. Use your PC to create sub-directories or write only to b:\. (with the file-manager the whole job is really comfortable !) The price isn't yet fixed, but will be around 300,-DM (about 180,- $). GEMAC also plans to offer a complete package of interface and your choice of FDD. To contact GEMAC you can call, fax, or write. GEMAC mbH Chemnitz Matthesstr. 53 D-O 9003 Chemnitz phone :++49-371-91190 fax :++49-371-31070 If you need further information call : Mr. Mario Reichel (he created the interface) phone :++49-371-9119-209 (if you contact him please tell him that I've sent you.) If you want to know more about this "universal-interface" (yes, I know we have already got one) feel free to contact me. Best wishes 14222 S1/Forum Business 26-Jul-91 16:16:02 Sb: #14192-PORTFOLIO & ATARI SUPORT Fm: DAVID CAGLE 75300,1267 To: MARC H SEIDLER 74270,2104 TO: Marc H. Seidler FR: Don Thomas, Atari DA: July 25, 1991 RE: Portfolio problem -----------------------------------------------------------Marc, I like to monitor the messages that get posted on CompuServe and every once in a while I'll put in my two cents when the mood strikes me. I regret you have been having problems with the Portfolio. I have seen a half dozen examples of a failed keyboard, but each time it has ultimately been resolved with a proper cold boot. Many people misinterpret the procedure required to perform a cold boot. A cold boot should be done in the battery compartment. While unplugged and batteries removed, press in on the metal plate found in a long, narrow notch. The plate should be gently pressed until it meets with resistance and held in for about 10 seconds. If the copyright screen, followed by the request for a keyboard language does not appear after replacing the batteries, the cold boot was not successful. The metal plate is hinged at the point closest to you and should be pressed in with a paperclip... not a ball point pen. I suggest that you try the cold boot once more and immediately run UPDATE.COM afterwards. Ammending UPDATE.COM to an AUTOEXEC.BAT file is a good way to get it to run automatically for you. There's a good chance that you will find your Portfolio is fine and simply needed refreshing after having sat around on your shelf for a while. It expects interaction from time to time. All functions are not active when shut off and it anticipates it can do some internal maintenance the next time it is turned on. If left unattended for a while, you may simply need to perform the cold boot just to bring things back up to speed. Of course your files will be safe as long as you wisely use your memory cards. Cold Booting An Atari Portfolio: 14814 S1/Forum Business 11-Aug-91 16:15:09 Sb: #14779-Dead Portfolio Fm: DON THOMAS 75300,1267 To: P CRAIG DAVIS 76304,2066 (X) There is ONLY 1 way to perform a cold boot on the Portfolio. I like to look at it as a long trip in your car. If your traveling and get lost, hold the ALT/CNTL keys and press DEL. This takes you back to the last intersection you made a turn to see if you know where you are. If you're still lost, then press in on the RESET button on the bottom of the Portfolio. This takes you back to the last town you passed through. If you still experience problems, then a cold boot is required (the other two are warm boots). A cold boot takes you all the way back to the beginning of your trip. A cold boot is performed by depriving the Portfolio of ALL power (batteries and AC). In the battery compartment, there are three notches. The leftmost notch (holding the Portfolio label-side-up) has the battery ribbon coming out of it. The rightmost notch has a metal plate. In some lighting, the metal plate may appear as a fine wire, but it is a solid metal plate. A paperclip should be pressed in so the bottomost part of the metal plate bends gently back into the machine. The plate should be held in for ten seconds. With no memory card installed, the cold boot is verified by powering up the Portfolio and seeing if the copyright screen appears. Press RETURN and the request to designate ENGLISH should appear. If so, the cold boot was successful. If not, try again. Immediately following a cold boot (or warm boot), UPDATE.COM should be run. UPDATE.COM is a no-brainer if it is part of an AUTOEXEC.BAT file. I hope this helps. BTW don't replace the batteries if they're not up to speed. They'll likely just take you back to never-never land even if you use an AC. Battery Use On The Portfolio: Batteries etc on the port: 1) Since rechargeable batteries aren't normally the best choice for the port, getting the most AA alkaline battery for the money is of interest to most port owners. Fortunately, Consumer Reports rated alkaline, heavy duty and rechargeable batteries in November 1991. Testing alkaline AA batteries at two different levels of demand, CU found Duracells, Panasonic, Sear's Diehard, and the Eveready Energizer, gave about the same level of performance. In other words, buy by price among these brands. Kodak Supralife and Radio Shack rated a little lower; but a sale or rebate offer can make one of these the best deal. Ray-o-vac cells were the poorest performers. This agrees with my experience. I don't think they could be priced low enough to make up for their poor or uneven performance. Avoid them. House brand batteries might be worth trying, since most of them are undoubtedly made by one of the major manufacturers; but since that may be Ray-o-vac, try a few before buying a case, whatever the price. If you find some good deals, let the rest of us know! 2) If you don't have three new AA cells when the low battery warning comes on (and carrying three spares can be a pain), a trick I've tried MAY help you get a few more minutes work done. (I don't THINK it will cause any problems, but this is only my thinking.) Try adding one new cell. If that doesn't bring the port back to operation, try swapping out each of the remaining two cells. Checking cells, I've found that sometimes one cell will be more exhausted than the rest. In fact it might be worth checking each cell's voltage before throwing them out to see if your experience matches mine. 3) The following applies to batteries, card contacts, etc. in the port, and electical contacts in general, such as on ste- reos, car batteries, PCs, etc. An electrical engineer friend of mine tells me oxidation on battery (and switch and other) con- tacts can create significant resistance. These invisible "re- sistive oxides" can build up even on gold-plated contacts, as the the plating is "porous" and lets the oxides form and migrate to the surface. This all adds up to energy wasted as heat and perhaps decreased performance. The answer is to carefully clean the contacts. Wiping with a solvent like alcohol will remove oils and grunge; gently rub- bing with a clean PENCIL eraser will also help. But what if this doesn't work, or if the contacts are inaccessible, as in a switch? One answer is a product used in industry called "CRAMOLIN", made by Caig Laboratories, Inc. as "Deoxit" or"Cramolin". Write them for information (1175-0 Industrial Ave Escondido, CA 92025). Initially, the stuff doesn't seem cheap - it costs $10 or more to get any form of it - but it goes a V-E-R-Y long way, is non-toxic and safe for all surfaces and best of all, really works. A small drop of the liquid or squirt of the spray is all you need. It migrates and penetrates like crazy, so applying it to a dry cell terminal will clean he contacts as well. Clean surfaces are maintained for about a year after in application. Use blue cramolin or Preservit to extend the protection. Use this on the battery terminals and all PORT/PC electronic con- tacts. (I cured an intermittent booting problem on my XT, e.g., by cleaning the card edges with it, and eliminated switch problems on my stereo amp after so-called "tuner cleaners" failed.) I now use cramolin professionally as well, on electron- ics used in the field or lab in biological research - these envi- ronments can be harsh, and cramolin definitely improves perfor- mance and reduces downtime for equipment. Caig sells the stuff direct, but you might be able to find at a local electronics supply store (Radio Shack doesn't have it) or order it from MCM Electronics(order or get a catalog by call- ing 1-800-543-4330, or write 650 Congress Park DR., Centerville OH 45459-6959). No I don't own stock in Caig (yet?). It is just that this stuff really works and will cure some problems (some of which you may be unaware of) with contacts, noisy switches, etc. This is an honest, cost-effective product that should be better known!Batteries etc on the port: 1) Since rechargeable batteries aren't normally the best choice for the port, getting the most AA alkaline battery for the money is of interest to most port owners. Fortunately, Consumer Reports rated alkaline, heavy duty and rechargeable batteries in November 1991. Testing alkaline AA batteries at two different levels of demand, CU found Duracells, Panasonic, Sear's Diehard, and the Eveready Energizer, gave about the same level of performance. In other words, buy by price among these brands. Kodak Supralife and Radio Shack rated a little lower; but a sale or rebate offer can make one of these the best deal. Ray-o-vac cells were the poorest performers. This agrees with my experience. I don't think they could be priced low enough to make up for their poor or uneven performance. Avoid them. House brand batteries might be worth trying, since most of them are undoubtedly made by one of the major manufacturers; but since that may be Ray-o-vac, try a few before buying a case, whatever the price. If you find some good deals, let the rest of us know! 2) If you don't have three new AA cells when the low battery warning comes on (and carrying three spares can be a pain), a trick I've tried MAY help you get a few more minutes work done. (I don't THINK it will cause any problems, but this is only my thinking.) Try adding one new cell. If that doesn't bring the port back to operation, try swapping out each of the remaining two cells. Checking cells, I've found that sometimes one cell will be more exhausted than the rest. In fact it might be worth checking each cell's voltage before throwing them out to see if your experience matches mine. 3) The following applies to batteries, card contacts, etc. in the port, and electical contacts in general, such as on ste- reos, car batteries, PCs, etc. An electrical engineer friend of mine tells me oxidation on battery (and switch and other) con- tacts can create significant resistance. These invisible "re- sistive oxides" can build up even on gold-plated contacts, as the the plating is "porous" and lets the oxides form and migrate to the surface. This all adds up to energy wasted as heat and perhaps decreased performance. The answer is to carefully clean the contacts. Wiping with a solvent like alcohol will remove oils and grunge; gently rub- bing with a clean PENCIL eraser will also help. But what if this doesn't work, or if the contacts are inaccessible, as in a switch? One answer is a product used in industry called "CRAMOLIN", made by Caig Laboratories, Inc. as "Deoxit" or"Cramolin". Write them for information (1175-0 Industrial Ave Escondido, CA 92025). Initially, the stuff doesn't seem cheap - it costs $10 or more to get any form of it - but it goes a V-E-R-Y long way, is non-toxic and safe for all surfaces and best of all, really works. A small drop of the liquid or squirt of the spray is all you need. It migrates and penetrates like crazy, so applying it to a dry cell terminal will clean he contacts as well. Clean surfaces are maintained for about a year after in application. Use blue cramolin or Preservit to extend the protection. Use this on the battery terminals and all PORT/PC electronic con- tacts. (I cured an intermittent booting problem on my XT, e.g., by cleaning the card edges with it, and eliminated switch problemms on my stereo amp after so-called "tuner cleaners" failed.) I now use cramolin professionally as well, on electron- ics used in the field or lab in biological research - these envi- ronments can be harsh, and cramolin definitely improves perfor- mance and reduces downtime for equipment. Caig sells the stuff direct, but you might be able to find at a local electronics supply store (Radio Shack doesn't have it) or order it from MCM Electronics(order or get a catalog by call- ing 1-800-543-4330, or write 650 Congress Park DR., Centerville OH 45459-6959). No I don't own stock in Caig (yet?). It is just that this stuff really works and will cure some problems (some of which you may be unaware of) with contacts, noisy switches, etc. This is an honest, cost-effective product that should be better known! Dip DOS Commands Made Easy: APP [/A/C/D/E/S/W/C] Only one allowed Takes you directly to ADDR BOOK,CALC, DIARY,EDITOR or SETUP BREAK [ON,OFF] BREAK (no arg)-reports current state BREAK ON -Fn B halts immediately BREAK OFF -Fn B halts at next screen or keyboard activity CD [dir string] (Change Directory) CD -returns current dir CD \ -changes to root dir CD A:\DATA\NEW CD .. -moves up one level CD NOTES (no \) -move down one level CHKDSK [disk][/p] (list disk content) CHKDSK a: -lists memory useage of disk /P =one page at a time CLS (clear screen) CLS -also homes cursor and window COPY [path1] [path2] COPY DATA.TXT TEMP.TXT COPY *.TXT A:\DATA\*.* COPY TEMP?.TXT C:\*.SAV * =wildcard, ? =single char wildcard DATE [mm-dd-yy] DATE 10-26-90 -sets date DATE -returns current date, asks for new one (RETURN keeps current) DEL [path] (Delete file) DEL MORTG.TXT DEL A:\DATA\TEST.* DEL A:\DATA\TEST?.TXT * =wildcard ? =single char wildcard DIR [path][/p][/w][>] (List directory) DIR A:\DATA -lists files,size,date & DIR time on default or /P =one Page at a time /W =names only across screen Width FDISK [n] (set RAM disk size) FDISK 16 -sets the size of the C: RAM disk to 16K also does cold start: all data lost FORMAT [disk][/V] (disk format) FORMAT A: -formats card in a: all previous data lost! /V will ask for volume name after format HELP (Lists DOS commands) HELP -lists only, no syntax or examples MD [disk][path][dirname] (Make dir) MD A:\HOME\DATA MD DATA -creates directory DATA below current disk\directory OFF (PF off (standby)) PATH [path1];[path2]... (search path) PATH A:\;C:\;C:\MAIN\PROGS PATH ; -reset to current working dir Sets search path for any executable command looking for a file, esp. in .BAT files PROMPT [text][$n$m..] (set sys prompt) PROMPT PRTF $p -Prompt=Prtf a:\data> $d=cur date $t=cur time $p=cur dr\dir $v=DOS ver# $n=cur drv $g= > $l= < $b= | $_=CR-LF $s=space $h=backsp RD [drive][dir] (remove directory) RD A:\DATA -directory must be empty REN [path]file1 file2 (Rename) REN TESTDAT.WKS NEWDAT.WKS REN A:\FINAN\MONEY.WKS TEMP.* -both names must have same path RUN [path][file] (Run mem card prog) (used ONLY for certain Portfolio mem card progs) RUN A:\FIXIT.COM SET [chrstr1]=[chrstr2] (set synonym) SET -returns current definitions SET NAME=DAVID SET NAME= -removes setting (used mostly in .BAT files) TIME [hh:[mm:[ss]]] (Set time} TIME -returns cur time and req new TIME 06:17:29 TYPE [path]filename[/p] (Type file) TYPE C:\NEWDAT.TXT -displays file con- tents TYPE TESTDAT.TXT/P -ditto, 1 p at time VERIFY [ON,OFF] (File write verify) VERIFY ON VERIFY OFF VERIFY -displays current setting VER (DOS version number) VER -prints DOS version number on screen VOL [disk] (Display Vol number) VOL a: -displays label for disk a: (see also LABEL) < [device] (Redirect input from dev) After any command requiring input Devices: PRN -parallel port AUX -serial port LPT1 " " COM1 " " NUL -no output CON -console(kybd) FILENAME > [device] (Redirect output to dev) After any command producing output Devices: PRN -parallel port AUX -serial port LPT1 " " COM1 " " NUL -no output CON -console(kybd) FILENAME Details about Construction of CCMS’s 163 (H) S12/Storage Devices 25-Jul-91 22:09:10 Sb: Card drives Fm: John Feagans 75300,703 To: SYSOP*Marty Mankins 75300,1770 (X) I had the good fortune (or bad) of running across a doa Portfolio RAM card. I popped it open to see what was inside. What I found was that they were using 32k x 8 SRAM die bonded to the board. One chip =32k, two =64, four=128k. They also had a small custom chip which took care of the miscellaneous logic, address decode, power detect, power down. Die bonding means that instead of mounting the die in a lead frame and encapclating it into expoxy, it is actually bonded on the printed circuit board, wires attached to the appropriate pads, and the whole works potted in exposy on the PCB. Everything is fine as long as the yield from the chips is good. Get one bad chip on a 32k board, you just generated scrap. Get one on a 64k card you just wasted one potentially good chip. Get one bad on a 128k you just wasted three potentially good die. You get the idea how the price gets out of hand quickly with larger cards. The PCMCIA cards on the other hand use already tested bonded, and packaged parts. I also disassembled one of those cards as well. The PCB has little square holes in it where the packages rest. They were gull wing and soldered to the board. It seems that their is an additional burden of cost on packaged parts but in the long run fewer parts resulting in less cost would be used. Details of Portfolio From A User: HTH: Palmtop Computers Once in a while, I rediscover a product that has escaped the attention it deserves. Atari's Portfolio was the first "palmtop" computer, a product category now coming into its own. Portfolio is a 1-pound IBM-style computer that runs on three AA batteries and costs $299 (Atari Portfolio, Dept. HB, P.O. Box 61657, Sunnyvale, CA 94088). At discount stores, notably CompUSA, you'll find it for $199. Portfolio was first released in 1989, but the recent release of a new software card, inspired by the product's appearance in Terminator 2, makes Portfolio easy to use for the average person. Comparable in size to Sharp's largest Wizard, Portfolio's screen shows 40 characters across and eight lines down. The keyboard is small and a little cramped, but large enough to write multiple pages comfortably (I'm using it to write this column). Built-in software includes a Lotus-compatible spreadsheet, a calculator that displays a running tape on the screen, a calendar/ appointment diary, a database of on-screen cards, an DOS-style operating system, and a simple word processor with a few sophisticated features like search and a clipboard. The new "T2" File Manager card adds some programs, including file transfer software to exchange files with a Macintosh. To accomplish that transfer, I used the new T2 card ($20), a $10 cable and a $80 serial interface that snaps into the Portfolio. It's best to buy at least one RAM card for storage (RAM cards are the common storage medium for palmtops). As with other palmtops, these eraseable RAM cards are costly-- a 64K card, with enough memory to store about 30 pages of text, costs $100; the 128K stores twice as much for $170. Pre-programmed ROM cards are also available. Chess shows a respectable on-screen board and plays well enough to intrigue amateur players. Instant Speller ($40) is a help for crossword puzzles (enter pu**le to see puzzle, puddle, etc.) PowerBasic is mainly for programmers (an alternate version of Basic is available free on CompuServe, along with a Tetris variation, poker, solitaire and dozens of other programs). Finance ($90) is also available; Bridge is coming soon. I've used Portfolio with MCI Mail and CompuServe. In keeping with the miniaturization theme, I connected by using the new 3-ounce Hayes Personal Modem ($179), a small box that draws power mainly from the telephone line (this modem can be used with any computer). The Hayes manual provided the few simple codes needed to operate the modem (ATDT, followed by the phone number, causes the modem to dial; ATM hangs up). I know this sounds complicated; with some patience and some help, it becomes routine, like any other computer endeavor. (By the way: new Atari users can call 800-848-8199, ask for operator 198, and receive a free sign up kit with $15 usage credit.) With 350,000 units sold worldwide, it's hard to understand why Atari isn't doing more advertising, promotion and software development. Books and magazine articles are hard to find. Only a few software titles are available commercially. But there is a wealth of information available from the community of Portfolio users-- friendly, knowledgeable experts who answer questions, usually overnight. I discovered them by connecting to CompuServe and typing GO APORTFOLIO. Through CompuServe, I heard about an indispensible newsletter called Re:Port (1618 S. Beech Ct., Broken Arrow, OK 74012-6205; 6 issues and six software diskettes per year/$50; subscribers enjoy a discount of about 20 percent on all Atari products). Computer Books (800-848-2023) sells Portfolio as a physician's best friend. Specialty cards called Drug Interaction, Patient Management, Physician's Reference, and Pharmaceuticals, cost $250-350 each. The same company offers an easy-to-use kit called Pocket Mac ($89.95) for Macintosh file transfers. Message Mover ($200) from Computer Friends (800-547-3303) is more versatile, but requires considerable manipulation of files on the Mac; it can also be difficult to use. How does Portfolio compare with other palmtops? Sharp's Wizard OZ-8000 is a better appointment book, more dependable (the Portfolio sometimes requires resetting and may drop appointments in the process). Sharp offers more software cards, but you'll find comparable Atari software in most important categories. Portfolio comes with a better word processor, a better keyboard, and a built-in spreadsheet. Hewlett Packard's new HP95LX offers a slicker package: MS-DOS 3.22 (compared with Atari's pseudo-DOS), twice as many lines on the screen, a lot more computer power (512K as opposed to 128K, though the Atari can be upgraded for about $300), a built-in serial port and communications software (these cost extra for the Atari), and Lotus 1-2-3 (Lotus co-developed this product). Applications are always open-- you can access program at the touch of a button without closing your current file. Ounce for ounce, HP's palmtop offers more than the Atari. But word processing is a problem-- the H-P's calculator-style buttons are hard to use for anything more than a short note. Compare H-P's $699 price tag with $410 for a similarly-equipped Portfolio. Also: Psion's new Series 3 palmtop (about $500 + $150 serial interface) offers a better screen and keyboard, and more powerful word processing, but no spreadsheet. END OF COLUMN PHOTO: A photo is coming from Don Thomas at Atari. Details of the Original Portfolio Products: The Portfolio Main Unit has a 60-pin bus connector on its right-hand side for the connection of peripheral devices. The bus is electrically similar to the bus on an IBM PC in that all address and data signals are present as well as control signals and power, so that it can be used with a wide variety of additional devices. The bus interface is unique to the Portfolio and is used only to interface with specially designed Portfolio peripherals. However, two of the peripherals convert the proprietary Portfolio bus interface into the industry-standard Centronics parallel or RS-232C serial interfaces, permitting the attachment of many existing standard peripherals such as printers and modems, and providing for connection to other computers. The bus is documented in the Portfolio Technical Reference Guide that is available to registered Portfolio developers. Although there is only one bus connector on the Portfolio itself, more than one peripheral can be attached to the Portfolio by means of "daisy-chaining." Certain peripherals, currently only the Memory Expander Plus, have two bus connectors: one female connector on the left to connect to the Portfolio (or another peripheral) and a male connector on the right that can be used for the connection of additional peripherals. This kind of peripheral can be called a "Bus Extender Peripheral." Other peripherals, currently the Smart Parallel Interface and the Serial Interface, have only the left bus connector that attaches to the Portfolio or a Bus Extender Peripheral and no bus connector on the right. This kind of peripheral can be called a "Bus Terminator Peripheral." It must be the last peripheral that is physically connected, and only one such peripheral can be physically connected at a given time. A chain of up to three peripherals can extend horizontally to the right of the Portfolio in a "bar" formation, while the Portfolio is arranged on a flat working surface. Such a configuration is not practical for portable use. All peripherals take their power from the batteries or A.C. Adaptor in the Portfolio itself; they do not need their own batteries or separate A.C. Adaptors. Peripherals containing RAM must remain connected to Portfolio to retain the content of their memory, even when Portfolio is turned off. Since peripherals draw additional power from the main batteries, battery life is reduced. Battery life for continuous operation of the Portfolio alone is approximately 14 to 42 hours. For a system that also includes two Memory Expansion Modules and a Parallel or Serial Interface, battery life is reduced to approximately 8 hours. Actual battery life under typical operating conditions is significantly longer because of the automatic shut-off feature. It is important to note that under most conditions the A.C. Adapter would be used so that the actual length of time of your battery life is much longer than it may first appear. MEMORY EXPANDER PLUS, Model HPC-104 This peripheral contains 256 kilobytes (256K) of random access memory (RAM) that is used to extend the internal 128K RAM in the Main Unit. The basic Portfolio comes with 384K memory in the form of 256K ROM and 128K RAM. With the addition of the Memory Expander the Portfolio becomes a 640K system: 256K Internal ROM 128K Internal RAM 256K Expansion RAM 640K Total Memory The memory in the Memory Expander is contiguous with the 128K internal RAM, yielding a block of 384K RAM shared between the internal RAM disk (Drive C:) and the area of memory used for programs and data. A larger RAM disk can be used for more and/or larger user files and a larger program/data area can be used to load and run larger programs and work on larger datasets. The Memory Expander Plus contains a slot that accepts a Memory Card or a Program Card similar to the slot on the left end of the Portfolio Main Unit. The second card slot can be used for several purposes. For example, you can have both a Program Card containing an external application program and a Memory Card that contains files that the application program uses. You can also use both slots for Memory Cards as a quick way to "Diskcopy" the content of one Memory Card to another Memory Card. The Memory Expander is a "Bus Extender Peripheral." It contains a bus connector on the left to attach to Portfolio (or another peripheral) and a second bus connector on the right for the attachment of additional peripherals. Two Memory Expanders may be attached to Portfolio at the same time to further extend the internal RAM memory to 640K RAM for total memory of 896K: 256K Internal ROM 128K Internal RAM 256K Expansion Module #1 256K Expansion Module #2 896K Total Memory If two Memory Expanders are used, only one of additional card slots is active. The Memory Expander uses battery or A.C. Adaptor power from the Main Unit and reduces battery life somewhat. Memory contents are lost when it is disconnected from the Main Unit. SMART PARALLEL INTERFACE, Model HPC-101 This peripheral implements the industry-standard "Centronics" parallel interface. It can be used to attach the Portfolio to a variety of standard peripherals that have parallel interfaces, such as printers, that are available from a variety of manufacturers. It can also be used to connect to the parallel interface of IBM PC-compatible computers, providing a method of transferring programs and data files. The Portfolio contains an internal application program called "File Transfer" that uses the Smart Parallel Interface to upload or download files with another computer. You can use this facility plus the included File Transfer software for IBM PC compatible computers, for example, to download compatible MS-DOS software and run the software in the Portfolio. You can upload Portfolio Text Editor text files containing notes and import them into your PC word processing program for editing, formatting and printing. You can download compatible Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet templates created on the PC and use them in the built-in Worksheet program. Many similar applications are possible. The PC File Transfer software is supplied on both 5.25 inch and 3.5 inch floppy diskettes. For this application a standard RS-232C serial cable with a DB-25P male connector, completely wired, is needed. This cable, commonly used with serial rather than parallel interfaces, is available from most computer dealers. The internal application programs of the Portfolio contain several options that allow printing. Printed output can be directed by means of the built-in Setup program to a printer connected to the Smart Parallel Interface. The Smart Parallel Interface is a Bus Terminator Peripheral, with a Portfolio Bus Connector on the left and a Centronics-type parallel interface connector on the right. It must be the last peripheral on the bus and cannot be used with another Bus Terminator Peripheral. You will also need a standard IBM PC parallel printer cable to go between the Interface and the parallel interface connector on the other device. This peripheral takes its power from the batteries or A.C. Adaptor in the Main Unit and reduces battery life somewhat. SERIAL INTERFACE, Model HPC-102 This peripheral implements the industry-standard RS-232C serial interface. It can be used to attach the Portfolio to a wide variety of standard peripherals with serial interfaces such as modems, printers or bar code readers, that are available from a wide variety of manufacturers. With appropriate additional software (not included), It can be used to connect to the serial interface of another computer so as to use the Portfolio as a terminal, or to transfer data or programs. The internal application programs of the Portfolio contain several options that allow printing. Printed output can be directed by means of the built-in Setup program to a printer connected to the Serial Interface. The Setup program also allows you to set low level communications parameters to assure compatibility with the device it is connected to: baud rate, parity, number of data bits and number of stop bits. No file transfer or modem communications software is supplied with the product. The Serial Interface is a Bus Terminator Peripheral, with a Portfolio Bus Connector on the left and a nine-pin D-type connector on the right. It must be the last peripheral on the bus and cannot be used with another Bus Terminator Peripheral. You will also need a serial interface cable with a nine-pin D-type connector on one end and appropriate connector for the other device. Since the connector is a standard one used on IBM PC ATs and compatibles, appropriate cables for different applications are widely available. As with most RS-232C devices, it is often necessary to modify or build cables for particular applications. This peripheral takes its power from the batteries or A.C. Adaptor in the Main Unit and reduces battery life somewhat. MEMORY CARDS, Model HPC-201 (32K), HPC-202 (64k), HPC-203 (128K) Memory cards are small, credit card sized units that are not peripherals, strictly speaking, because they connect to a special card slot on left end of the Portfolio or to the Memory Expander Plus rather than to the Portfolio bus. Memory cards contain RAM memory whose contents is preserved continuously, even when removed from Portfolio, through the use of a small lithium battery. To the Portfolio software user, the Memory Card appears to be a disk drive, or "RAM disk," typically drive A: or B:, containing data files or programs. Memory Expanders, on the other hand, extend the main RAM memory that is used to load and run programs (although a portion of main memory is allocated to RAM disk C:) Through special adaptation of programs into a uniqe .RUN file type, programs may be run directly from a Memory Card, without being loaded into main memory as .EXE and .COM files are. Memory cards are available in three sizes: 32K bytes, 64K bytes and 128K bytes. Card slots also accept Program Cards, which contains ROM or PROM (OTP) rather than RAM, and are used primarily for the delivery of commerical software or custom programs. Like Memory Cards, Program Cards appear to the software user as "ROM disk" A: or B: and can contain .RUN programs. They come in sizes of 64K and128K. Larger versions that use bank-switching in banks of up to 128K bytes will be available in the future. PC MEMORY CARD DRIVE, Model HPC-301 This is a peripheral for a separate personal computer, not the Portfolio, that permits Portfolio Memory Cards of any capacity to be read and written from a personal computer using standard MSDOS commands such COPY, REN, TYPE, etc. It consists of a controller circuit board for the IBM PC bus and an external cabinet containing a slot for a single Memory Card, plus a software driver on diskette. It may be used with any IBM PC compatible computer supporting the AT bus. It is another faster means in addition to the Smart Parallel Interface to exchange files with a PC and can be used to exchange files when there is a considerable distance between the two machines. A.C. ADAPTOR, Models HPC-401 (117V) The A.C. Adaptor connects to the Portfolio by means of a special subminiature jack, and powers the Portfolio and all peripherals that are attached. When it is connected, battery power is saved, in fact it is not necessary to have batteries installed. The A.C. Adaptor does not act as a battery recharger. Only the Portfolio's A.C. Adaptor should be used and not a separately available universal type. A Users Use for a Portfolio: Reprint of letter received 06/05/92 Uploaded by Atari Inc. Michigan-California Lumber Company Camino, California May 27, 1992 Atari Corporation Sunnyvale, CA 94089 Attn: Customer Support Dear Atari folks: Enclosed is our broken Portfolio and a check for a new Portfolio. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how useful the Portfolio has been in our operations. Michigan-California Lumber Company is a lumber sawmill and owner of 75,000 acres of forest land in the Sierra Nevada. Our land management activities include tree harvesting, tree planting and environmental monitoring. The Portfolio has proved to be an excellent tool for data collection in the woods. We use the spreadsheet capability exclusively to input data such as tree planting information, tree survival data, soil erosion monitoring data, tree measurement data and tree harvesting quality control information. As you might imagine, the Portfolio has experienced extremes, rain, snow, and lots of dust. I've even dropped it several times with no apparent harm. Throughout it all, the Portfolio has performed admirably. Our Portfolio met its fate this week when a co-worker was measuring log quality and fell with the Portfolio in hand. As he was instinctively bracing himself, the machine was slammed against a sharp branch thus damaging the LCD screen. To our surprise the machine still worked but had a crack with a much reduced window on the left side of the screen. Once back at the office we were able to upload all the information we had collected for the day and no data was lost as a result of the accident. We have looked at other date recorder computers that are designed specifically for forestry applications and harsh conditions but these machines cost 5 times as much, are heavier and bulkier than the Portfolio. We would like to commend you for producing an inexpensive, durable machine that has been useful even for unintended purposes. We are anxiously awaiting a replacement. Sincerely, C.K. Short Question Answer List for The Portfolio July 8, 1992 Mr. Michael Goldstein Editor-In-Chief PC LAPTOP Computers Magazine 9171 Wilshire Boulevard, #300 Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Dear Mr. Goldstein, A copy of your July issue was delivered to me this afternoon. In it was an article written by Mr. Arthur Leyenberger. I am in a position to believe that the article mave have contained some errors. The information may not have been up-to-date concerning the Atari Portfolio computer. Please allow me to cover some of the ones I noticed. Ref: "The DOS-compatible Atari Portfolio is a Personal Information Manager..." Ans: The Portfolio is a DOS-compatible programmable COMPUTER with built-in software including PIM applications. Ref: "Although most DOS software won't run on the Portfolio..." Ans: Most software is written to accommodate color monitors. The author makes it sound as if a MDA compatible screen is a defect. Ref: "...write short memos" Ans: A 50 page memo is not short. A 200 page memo is not short. A 10,000 page memo is not short. Although multiple files may be needed for a memo larger than 50 pages, the maximum storage capacity is limited only by how many diskettes (Memory Cards) the user carries with him/her. Ref: "memory can be increased to 640K by adding modules... doing so doubles the size and weight..." Ans: The internal memory can be expanded INTERNALLY to 512K adding no additional bulk or weight (or decreased battery life). The article also indicates that a serial or parallel port doubles weight or volume of the Portfolio. The interface for the serial or parallel weigh less than 4.5 ounces each. Each interface occupies hardly any more space than a pack of cigarettes. Neither interface comes close to doubling the weight or volume of the "hefty" one pound Portfolio. Ref: "Although Atari promised third-party software for their Portfolio, few..." Ans: According to the second volume number one issue of A.P.B.; Atari's official catalog of Atari software and peripherals there are well over 80 applications and peripherals are available specifically for or to be used with the Portfolio. Over 60 are listed as available in the United States. Many more have been designed for specific industry applications. For instance, there is a Portfolio in every paint department of every Home Depot store to assist sales people in selecting paint formulas for their customers. For the end user, the Portfolio has alpha-numeric paging, radiation monitor, business contact software, file transfers, check writing, chess, adventures, medical applications, finance, FORTH, PowerBasic, flight planning, hard drives, databases, spell checkers, industrial machine controllers, investment tracking, data acquisition, fuel industry management, communications, time-billing software and much more. The Portfolio is used in the industries of security, financial, medical, aviation, trucking, education, journalism, military, navigation (plane and boat), cinema, logging and many more. The Portfolio is supported by two upscale newsletters and by a dedicated forum on CompuServe that boasts of over 800 downloads for the Portfolio. I hope you can see why I may differ with calling the Portfolio nothing more than a PIM. In addition to the errors I discovered within just three paragraphs of text, there is no description of the strongest features of the Portfolio while the competitors are described. The Portfolio offers a favored QWERTY keyboard. Many users brag of how they can touch type using it. The screen is easy to read for most users since the characters are large and well defined. The case is durable and we receive many letters of how the machine survived drops off cars, balconies and even logs (by loggers). For novice users, every Portfolio sold in the U.S. includes a File Manager application which permits users to access DOS commands with easy-to-use menus. There may be advantages and disadvantages to all the palmtop choices consumers may select. The Portfolio may be the lowest priced, but it is also often the most desirable. In the arena of Palmtops, I may be one of the most seasoned. The Portfolio was the first of its kind introduced in September 1989 and I was with it almost all that time. I am keenly aware of the marketplace, the trends and the most popular applications. I wish someone from your magazine contacted me to obtain information before going to press. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of assistance in the future. Sincerely, Donald A. Thomas, Jr. Portfolio Marketing Manager CompuServe: 75300,1267 cc: Mr. Arthur Leyenberger Members of APORTFOLIO forum of CompuServe ======================================================================= PORTFOLIO -> 8-BIT CONNECTION In order to connect your 8-bit to the new PORTFOLIO computer, you have to know three things; 1. You have to have an RS232 interface connected to your 8-bit; the 850, P:R: CONNECTION, or MIO devices all work well for the purpose. 2. You will need a null modem cable. This is a cable which connects two computers without the need for modems (cutting out the middle man, so to speak). 3. You will need to make the null modem cable (or have a friend do it if you subscribe to the ancient Code of the Programmer); "Hey, I don't do that, it's a hardware problem!" ////////// PART ONE: THE PROBLEM .......... The PORTFOLIO has file transfer capability... through the parallel interface. I don't know of any 8-bit aplication to redirect communication software into the parallel port, so ignore the File Transfer section in the SETUP application. The RS232 ports on 8-bit computer interfaces are not compatable with "standard" RS232 DB-9 cables, (having been developed a few years before IBM stuck their foot in the PC door); pinouts are as shown below. 8-bit STANDARD 1 DTR 1 CD 2 CD 2 RD 3 TD 3 TD 4 RD 4 DTR 5 GND 5 GND 6 DSR 6 DSR 7 RTS 7 RTS 8 CTS 8 CTS 9 (none) 9 RI Fortunately, PORTFOLIO's Serial Interface does conform to this standard, so that modems and IBM AT cables can be used with it. One other problem; the diagrams in the Serial Interface manual are wired wrong. If you intend to make your own standard cables, refer to this service for the file detailing proper connections. (NOTE: this file may be found in the ST sections of this service; for CIS, GO ATARIPRO; for GEnie, type ST.) ////////// PART TWO: THE SOLUTION ......... Well, Part One ought to have scared the willies out of all but the most determined Solder-Jockies, so we can now proceed with our interface. 1. Get two (2) DB-9 "D" style connectors; one Male, one Female. (NOTE: if you don't want to go through the hassles of soldering, pick up the Radio Shack crimp-style connectors [CAT #276-1427 & 276-1428, respectively]; with these connectors, all you do is insert the wires and crimp the pins closed.) 2. You will also need hoods for your connections; I used the metalized hoods [276-1513] for my cable, as they offer the shielding ability of metal with the light weight of plastic. 3. For the cable, I recommend [278-775] double-shielded cable, especially for the MIO user; the PBI bus is flat-out full of RFI, and the chance of data corruption from that monster makes the extra cost worthwile. ==== Connections are as follows; 8-bit (MALE) PORTFOLIO (FEMALE) +--1 DTR 4 DTR--+ +--2 CD 6 DSR--+ +--6 DSR 1 CD (N/C) 5 GND-------------5 GND 3 TD--------------2 RD 4 RD--------------3 TD +--7 RTS 7 RTS--+ +--8 CTS 8 CTS--+ 9 (N/C) 9 RI (N/C) Cable shield attached to PF hood ONLY. Double check your connections before connecting to either computer. To test your interface, connect the cables to their respective interfaces and fire up your favorite 8-bit term software (I've used 850 EXPRESS! and BOBTERM with equal results), and set the terminal for 300 baud, half duplex, ATARI. The ATARI mode will be important once you start binary file transfer. For PORTFOLIO, go to the RS232 option in the SETUP menu, and set 300 baud, no parity, 1 stop bit, 8 data bits, and initialize. Force the TERM mode on your 8-bit. At the c> prompt, enter: COPY CON AUX Type something in to your Portfolio, press ENTER: your message from PORTFOLIO should echo on your 8-bit monitor. If not, check the term program settings, connections, and cable pinouts. Congratulations! You now have a handheld computer that "talks" with it's older brother. The advantages? You can use your full-screen 8-bit for communications and D/L to your palmtop. You can fill your Portfolio with programs without having to borrow somebody's IBM. And, best of all, you can compute respectfully during the day, and _still_ blast the bloody bejeezus out of ZYBEX at night. ======================================================================= eof=:-)* THE PORTFOLIO CONNECTION: The Software ACKNOWLEGEMENT: The following programs have been thoughtfully provided by Mr. Jim Strauss and uploaded to the major computer services as ShareWare. Thanks Jim; check's in the mail. //////////PART ONE: THE PROBLEM So, you are the proud new owner of the latest Atari _wunderkind_ PORTFOLIO. You're going to use it as your portable terminal... work on that major report during lunch, or figure out why the heck the Widgies Division has lost money for the fourth straight quarter while stuck in traffic... so you decide to get the RS232 Serial Interface... you really don't need the Parallel Interface because all the printers you have at work and home use the serial interface. You get the machine home, break out the docs,... and find out that the Serial Interface has _NO_ software for file transfer, and worse, the file transfer program in the SETUP section uses... the parallel interface? Someone seemed to be unclear on the concept out there in Atariland... //////////PART TWO: THE SOLUTION No, don't send nasty mail to the Mayor of Atariland... he never reads the stuff anyway. For those of you with 8-bit Ataris (the vererable 800, 800XL, or the XE machines), I've left another file in the 8-bit section of this service; to access it, just go to the File Transfer option of the 8-bit section and use the keywords MIO, 850, or PORTFOLIO; this little file details how to make a null modem cable for the 8-bit computers to "talk" with the PORTFOLIO. Other computer users may find this file useful, as it has the pinouts and correct wire connections for the PFSI (Portfolio Serial Interface); just adapt the 850 end for your own make of computer (IBMers, all you guys need is a regular AT null modem cable with a DB25-DB9 adaptor). THAT was the easy part; getting software in to the PF through the PFSI is the REAL bear. So be warned: this project requires a great deal of patience... a GREAT deal of patience. Those who fish as a hobby will feel right at home with this project; those with CLASS A-1 volcanic tempers with nanosecond attention levels had better skip this project altogether and pick up the Parallel Interface. For those of you still with us... into the abyss. //////////PART THREE: SOFTWARE NEEDED You will need the following software, available on this or any major computer service or User Group. A. A terminal software program for your "host" computer that allows text file transfers without CRC or return checksum bytes from the receiving computer. 8-bitters; EXPRESS or BOBTERM work equally well for this. B. CHKSUM.COM: a program for the PF that gives you a checksum of the bytes from a PF program. THIS PROGRAM IS NECESSARY FOR THE RETENTION OF YOUR SANITY. C. HEXBIN.COM: a program that converts hexadecimal text into binary bytes - REQUIRED. D. TXMM2.HEX: a PF terminal ShareWare program supporting Xmodem and Text Transfers, written in hexadecimal text. NOTE: DO NOT D/L TXMM2.COM unless you are going to D/L the program into your PF via a Parallel Interface (PFPI); the reasons are given in the text below. NOTE: Be sure to capture the description header for these programs, as these headers provide the CHKSUM number for each program. 1. Enter the CHKSUM.COM program into the PF: A. Type COPY AUX CHKSUM.COM into the PF. DO _NOT_ PRESS <CR>! B. Set your Host computer to Send Text. NOTE: Do not set your terminal program for ASCII translation. Use the setting for communication between two "like" computer types; IBM-IBM, C64-C64, MAC-MAC. Otherwise the file will be corrupted (and the last thing we need around here is a corrupt file). C. Press <CR> on your PF before your host computer starts sending the file. D. After the file has been sent, press ^Z (Ctrl and Z together) on the PF, signalling the end of a file. This oddball transmission procedure is necessary because the TXMM2 program (in binary format) contains several ^Z bytes... which will cut your PF file copy procedure short (NOTE FOR THE NON-IBMers: ^Z is the IBM standard for closing a batch file using the COPY CON command. See what you learn on these files?) 2. Check the checksum for the CHKSUM program by typing CHKSUM CHKSUM.COM If the computer locks up, use the WARMSTART procedure (Ctrl-Alt-Del); if it does not reboot, then use the RESET switch on the bottom of the PF, DEL CHKSUM.COM, and go back to Step 1. If you get a number that does not jibe with the number given in the header description, you have two options; use the program, or DEL it and go back to Step 1. The former is considerably riskier, though. 3. Now that you have a working CHKSUM program, perform Steps 1 & 2 with the HEXBIN.COM program. 4. By now you should have two working programs; CHKSUM.COM and HEXBIN.COM. Perform Steps 1 & 2 again with the TXMM2.HEX program. 5. Type the command: HEXBIN TXMM2.HEX into the Portfolio. If the PF locks up, (that is, if you cannot type on the PF after about 10 minutes), reboot and DEL the TXMM2.HEX program as outlined in Step 2 and go back to Step 4. 6. If the PF has not locked up, you should see the c> prompt. Type the command HEXBIN RESULT.OUT into the Portfolio. If the checksum is that of TXMM2.COM, then type REN RESULT.OUT TXMM2.COM and congratulate yourself; you now have a palmtop terminal with Xmodem and Text Capture capabilities! //////////PART FOUR: Conclusion Congratulations; you have performed a task that would have driven the ancient philosophers nuts. Go have a nice warm bath, pamper yourself... you deserve it. After you have finished pampering yourself, make sure you copy all three .COM programs to your RAM card (save for it if you don't have one; it's as important as your host's floppy disks and a heck of a lot sturdier). You can DELete the TXMM2.HEX program from the PF c> drive. NOTE: make a back-up copy of the programs CHKSUM.COM, HEXBIN.COM, and TXMM2.HEX on your host computer's floppy disks; you never know when your PF may have a memory lapse or when a miscreant program may write over your PF programs, or when you may pass through a memory-scrambling EMI field (like a university experiment or when your 5-year-old decides to use the Bulk Tape Eraser on "daddy's new toy". With this new program, you can successfully U/L or D/L between your computers using Xmodem instead of T/E (Trial & Error). NEXT ISSUE: How I Broke Into NORAD Using My Portfolio; or, Tales From Folsom Prison. //////////APPENDIX: CHKSUM VALUES The following are the CHKSUM values for the three .COM programs: CHKSUM.COM 309A HEXBIN.COM 4080 TXMM2.COM FC6D Portfolio FAQ (Feb 26 1992) Portfolio Frequently Asked Questions, PORT.FAQ by BJ Gleason, Copyright (c) 1992 by BJ Gleason Send Updates, Comments and Suggestions to the author at: 75300,2517 Compuserve email@example.com Edition: February 26, 1992 ________________________________________________________________ Table of Contents PORTFOLIO_____________________________________________ 1. What is the Atari Portfolio? 2. How large should I set Drive C: to with the FDISK command? 3. Why does the screen flash when the computer is off? RAMCARDS_______________________________________________ 4. What size RAM cards are available? 5. Can I interface the RAMcards to other machines? 6. Can memory cards for the HP work on the Portfolio? 7. How often should the battery in the RAMcard be replaced? 8. How do I replace the batteries in the RAMcard with out losing the information? BATTERIES______________________________________________ 9. Can I use Nicads in the Portfolio? 10. Will the Parallel port and/or Serial port drain the batteries faster? COMPATIBILITY / BUGS____________________________________ 11. Will the Portfolio run IBM files? 12. What is the UPDATE program? 13. What are some of the Bugs in the Portfolio? 14. What are some of the Hardware Incompatibilities? 15. How do I reboot the Portfolio? INTERNAL APPLICATIONS__________________________________ 16. What ROM versions are available? 17. Can the ROM be upgraded? 18. Can I run MS/DOS 3.0 or later on the Portfolio? 19. How can I get a list of filenames when I want to load a 20. How can I find the developers names in the Portfolio? 21. Can Portfolio Applications run on a PC or a MAC? PROGRAMMING____________________________________________ 22. How can I make my programs smaller? 23. Is a Technical Manual Available for the Portfolio? 24. What languages are available for the Portfolio? 25. What PC Compilers can I use to develop programs? 26. Can Turbo Pascal 3.01A run on the Portfolio? PBASIC_________________________________________________ 27. How do I run a PBASIC program? 28. What is ALTR.COM? 29. Can I use PBASIC on the PC? 30. What are the differences between PowerBASIC and PBASIC? FILE TYPES_____________________________________________ 31. What do .ZIP and .ARC mean? 32. What is .PGC? 33. What is .PGX? 34. What is a .HOO file? 35. What is a .RUN file? DISK STORAGE___________________________________________ 36. Will the PDD1 or PDD2 from Radio Shack work on the 37. Can I attach a Hard Disk to the Portfolio? 38. When using the Flashdrive, the MD command lock up the 39. Can I hook an MS/DOS Compatible Disk Drive to the Port? 40. Did Xoterix release their hard disk unit for the Portfolio? FILE TRANSFERS_________________________________________ 41. How do I transfer files to and from the PC? 42. How do I transfer files to and from other machines? SOFTWARE SOURCES_______________________________________ 43. Where can I get programs for the Portfolio? 44. How do I get an account on Compuserve? 45. What is the Atari Portfolio Forum on Compuserve? 46. What is in the Atari Portfolio Libraries on Compuserve? EXPANDING MEMORY_______________________________________ 47. Can I increase the internal memory size of the Portfolio? APPLICATIONS___________________________________________ 48. Will WordPerfect Run on the Portfolio? 49. Is there a version of Tetris for the Portfolio? 50. What is a PREAD file? 51. Is there a program to capture the Portfolio Screen? 52. Can I do Animation on the Portfolio? SERIAL COMMUNICATIONS__________________________________ 53. How do I hook up a modem? MISCELLANEOUS__________________________________________ 54. What is the APB? 55. What is the Address of Atari? 56. Was that a Portfolio used in Terminator 2? 57. What is DIP? 58. What is the Address of DIP? 59. Is a keyboard cover available for the Portfolio? 60. What magazines/newsletters cover the Portfolio? 61. Who is Don Thomas? 62. What should I do if travelling Overseas with the Portfolio? 63. Can I put the Portfolio Through an X-RAY machine? 64. What do I do when the Portfolio dies? ________________________________________________________________ PORTFOLIO_____________________________________________ 1. What is the Atari Portfolio? The Portfolio is a "palmtop" personal computer that is very (but not completely) compatible with the IBM PC computer systems. The base unit, when folded, is about the size of a VHS tape. It unfolds to reveal a 40 characters by 8 lines screen and a 63 key keyboard. It comes with 128k of RAM, which is divided between memory and a RAMdisk. The Liquid Crystal Display screen is very easy to read, even in poor lighting, and has contrast adjustment built into the keyboard. The keyboard is arranged in the standard QWERTY fashion (like a typewriter), making it very easy to find the keys, but the spacing of the keys is a bit tight. The unit is powered by three AA batteries, which last about 100 hours. With the addition of the parallel interface you can upload and download files to another PC that has a parallel port. A serial port is also available. Aside from DOS 2.11, the Portfolio also has a simple ASCII text editor, a calculator, a diary with alarms, and an address book that can dial numbers on touch tone phones. Perhaps the most impressive built in application is a spreadsheet program that is compatible with Lotus 1-2-3. 2. How large should I set Drive C: to with the FDISK command? If the computer should ever crash, all the files on drive C are lost. Many users keep all their files on the RAMcard, and set the C drive to about 8k with the FDISK command. This will leave you about 100k of free memory for your applications. 3. Why does the screen flash when the computer is off? New users will occasionally notice the screen flash when the unit is turned off. The computer will turn itself on about every two minutes to check the alarms in the diary. RAMCARDS_______________________________________________ 4. What size RAM cards are available? In the United States: 32k, 64k, 128k Outside the US, there are Memory Modules. The are RAMcards with "boxes" on the ends. They stick out of the unit by about an inch. 256k, 512k, and 1Meg Memory Modules are available for the Portfolio from DIP systems in England. They work just like RAMCards, and measure 20*50*70mm. Contact DIP, 32 Frederick Sanger Road, Surrey Research Park, Guildford, United Kingdom, GU2 5XN. (0483) 301555. The prices are (in pounds) 256k 182.56, 512k 252.13, and 1Meg 373.87 and do not include shipping. 5. Can I interface the RAMcards to other machines? Circuit Cellar INK Magazine, Issue 18, January 1991, has an article entitled "An Interface for Portable Battery-Backed RAM". The article shows construction of an interface to read and write information from a Mitsubishi's Credit Card Memory. This is the same card that is used on the Portfolio. 6. Can memory cards for the HP work on the Portfolio? No. They are completely different, and not compatible. The same goes for the Poqet, PC-3000, and just about every other machine on the market. 7. How often should the battery in the RAMcard be replaced? The battery in a memory card lasts about one year. In order to make sure you replace the battery in time, write the replacement date on the card. You could also set the diary to alert you in about a year. 8. How do I replace the batteries in the RAMcard with out losing the information? Insert the RAMcard into the Portfolio, and turn the Portfolio ON. The Portfolio will power the RAMcard while the RAMcard battery is pulled out and replaced. Do not let the Portfolio power down automatically [after 2 minutes], or you will lose all the information. BATTERIES______________________________________________ 9. Can I use Nicads in the Portfolio? It is possible to use rechargeable batteries, on the portfolio, but be warned. The discharge drop-off on rechargeable batteries are much steeper than normal alkaline batteries, so you might not always see the LOW BATTERY warning. Keep everything on a RAMcard is you want to use rechargables. 10. Will the Parallel port and/or Serial port drain the batteries faster? Whenever using the serial or parallel port, you should always use the AC adapter. These ports require about as much power as the Portfolio and will quickly drain the batteries. COMPATIBILITY / BUGS____________________________________ 11. Will the Portfolio run IBM files? Because of the unique design of the Portfolio, not all programs designed for a PC will run it. There are a number of reasons. The most common is that a program directly address the hardware. Much of the Portfolio's hardware is slightly different and this will cause a conflict. There are some other differences, but I will leave these for a more detailed description in another column. For now, to make the Portfolio as compatible as possible with a PC, access the SETUP menu and under DISPLAY set EXTERNAL MODE to TRACKED, REFRESH to BOTH, and SPEED to FAST. Note however, that the FAST setting will use up your batteries quicker. 12. What is the UPDATE program? Atari has released an UPDATE program to fix some bugs in the Portfolio. The UPDATE program is available from several sources. You can get the program from Atari on the DOS Utility Card (HPC- 701 $89.85) or on the File Manager/Tutorial Card (HPC-704 $20.00). You can also download the program from the Portfolio areas on both GENIE and COMPUSERVE. It can also be found on Atari's own bulletin board (408-745-2191), but new users will have to wait two business days for validation. Once you have the program, place the UPDATE command in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file so that it is activated when you reboot your machine. 13. What are some of the Bugs in the Portfolio? If you try to load a zero length file into one of the built- in applications, the Port will lock up. Reboot the machine, delete the zero length file, and you should be ready to go. There is the "ShotGun" bug. When you power up the Portfolio, it will write a random byte to a certain memory location. If an application is loaded, this can mangle the data file. One way around is to exit any applications before the machine powers down, or enter the following lines in the CONFIG.SYS file: FILES=20 BUFFERS=32 The memory location will be inside the file buffer area, and will not affect the data files. The Portfolio will lock up if you try to load a file into the editor that ends with a <SPACE><RETURN>. The UPDATE program fixes this bug. 14. What are some of the Hardware Incompatibilities? One of the most obvious differences of the Portfolio is that it has a smaller screen that the PC. The Portfolio's screen is 8 lines by 40 characters. This can cause problems with programs expecting a larger screen. There are two possible ways around this: Rewrite the program (if you have access to the code), or change the Portfolio Screen mode via the Setup Menu. The Portfolio has three Screen modes: Normal, Static and Tracked. Normal is the 8 lines by 40 characters mode. In Static and Tracked, the 8 by 40 screen serves as a window to a virtual 25 by 80 screen. You can use the ALT arrow keys to scroll around on the screen. In tracked mode, the window automatically follows the cursor around on the screen. The second problem with the text screen is that while you can write directly to screen memory, it will not so up on the screen until a screen refresh is done. The text is copied to the LCD screen when a refresh is performed. In the Setup Menu are the Screen Refresh Options. The default is Normal: No refresh. You can also select a refresh based on the Timer, Keyboard Input, or Both. For programs that write directly to the screen, you should select both, but it is highly recommended that you change the program to operate in the No Refresh (normal) mode, since this is the default for the Portfolio. MEMORY The next most obvious problem with the Portfolio is the severe lack of memory. The standard Portfolio comes with 128k of memory, and at least 15k of that is reserved for MS/DOS and the RAMdisk. Care should be taken to keep programs as small as possible. A common problem is that some program automatically assume that there is at least 256k of memory available, and they just use it, instead of requesting it from the operating system. This will typically cause the system to crash. GRAPHICS When you switch the screen mode to graphics, you can draw on the screen using the standard ROM BIOS calls, but you can not write text to the graphics screen. The screen memory arranged different than a standard PC. The graphics memory is arranged as 30 bytes (240 bits) across and 64 lines down. Each pixel is either 1 (on), or 0 (off). Direct graphics screen writes suffer the same problem with the refresh as the text screen, but there is one further complication. You can not write text to the graphics screen. PowerBASIC and PBASIC both work about this problem by creating and printing their own character set, which will allow text and graphics on the same screen. TIMER On a standard PC, there is a timer tick that occurs 18.2 times a second in order to update the real time clock. On the Portfolio, this has been reduced to 1 tick per second in FAST mode, and 1 tick every 128 seconds in NORMAL mode. This reduction is to conserve battery power. The FAST more require much more power, and will drain the batteries sooner. Some programs count the timer ticks during initialization in order to determine the speed of the computer. If the code waits for 18 timer ticks, it will take 18 seconds in FAST mode, and over 36 minutes in NORMAL mode. If a program appears to lock up the machine, reboot, and try setting the speed to FAST, and run the program again. If possible, rewrite the program to use a predetermined number for the clock speed, instead of calculating it. PARALLEL AND SERIAL PORTS The detachable Parallel and Serial Port are at different addresses than a PC, and use a slightly different interrupt structure. This leads to a major incompatibilities with communications programs. Several communication programs are available from both commercial and public domain sources. EXTRAS On the plus side, the Portfolio has a number of built in options, such as drawing boxes, line editing, and menus (which are used in the built in applications), are available to the intrepid programmer. The technical manual describes these options in detail, but there are a few languages that allow you to access these special functions. Using these Portfolio Only features can reduce the size of your code, and make your program look and feel more like the built-in applications. 15. How do I reboot the Portfolio? When the Portfolio locks up, there are three ways to reboot the machine. First try the "three finger salute", <CTRL><ALT><DEL>. If this has no effect, turn the machine upside down, and above the Atari label, there is a hole. Use a paper clip to depress the switch in the hole. If the Portfolio still refuses to reboot, you will have to cold boot the machine. Remove the battery cover. Use a paper clip to depress the small metal tab. The cold reboot will take your Portfolio back to when you first got it. You will even have to tell it what language you want to use. Everything on drive C: will be lost. INTERNAL APPLICATIONS__________________________________ 16. What ROM versions are available? 1.056 First Version Released 1.072 Current Version 1.09 Not Released 17. Can the ROM be upgraded? No. 18. Can I run MS/DOS 3.0 or later on the Portfolio? No. The unit is MS/DOS 2.11 compatible in ROM. Due to the hardware differences, and memory limitations, other versions of DOS will not run on it. 19. How can I get a list of filenames when I want to load a files into an application? When a built-in application asks for a filename to load, type *<return> to display a list of files for that application. 20. How can I find the developers names in the Portfolio? To see the names of the people who developed the Atari Portfolio, follow these steps: From the editor, press <FN><F2> to get the help menu. Press <K> to select Keyboard Help. Finally press <ALT><[> to find out who created your machine. 21. Can Portfolio Applications run on a PC or a MAC? Yes. ComputerBooks, in their infinite wisdom, has imported them so that they are available to American users for only $69.95 for the PC version, and $89.95 for the Mac Version. The Mac version also includes a cable and software on a ROM card for file transfers. The program, called PC Applications or Pocket Mac, depending on your machine, is a complete implementation of the Portfolio software. You do not need to use any conversion programs, and the file transfer software is built right into it. It provides for a very nice and easy pocket-to-desktop linkage. The desktop versions also give you a larger view, since it can make use of the 80 characters by 25 line screens. It is so nice, that some Poqet computer users are using PC Applications on their machines instead of the Poqet's built-in applications! The address for ComputerBooks is 20351 Irvine Avenue, Suite 9, P.O. Box 9167, Newport Beach, CA 92658. Their phone number is 1-714-966-2023. PROGRAMMING____________________________________________ 22. How can I make my programs smaller? Disk space is a prime concern on the Portfolio. To make programs smaller, there are two utilities, LZEXE and PKLITE, which will compress programs to about 2/3's their original size. 23. Is a Technical Manual Available for the Portfolio? If you are an amateur or professional developer and want to develop programs that take advantage of the inner workings of the machine, there is a Technical Reference manual available from Atari for 60 dollars. Call Gail Johnson at (408)-745-2022 for more details. The manual includes emulation software for the PC. The cost is $60. 24. What languages are available for the Portfolio? BASIC There are two version of BASIC available for the Portfolio. The first is Atari's PowerBASIC compiler. This is a reasonable straight forward compiler. It allows for text and graphics on the same screen, but does not allow you to access the more interesting Portfolio Only features. The other is PBASIC version 4.9, the 'freeware' BASIC interpreter for the Portfolio is available in the APORTFOLIO forum on COMPUSERVE. PBASIC is an almost complete implementation, lacking only Random Access Files. To it's credit, PBASIC does allows easy access to the Portfolio Only features. FORTH Essex Marketing Services, (203) 651-8284, have developed a FORTH-83 compiler for the Portfolio. It has a kernel of just 8k, leaving a lot of room for programs and data. There are versions available for the Portfolio, a PC, and the HP95LX, allowing for easy development across platforms. A86 Eric J. Isaacson's A86 is not only one of the fastest assemblers, but it is one of the few assemblers that will run on the Portfolio. Version 3.12 has been tested on the Portfolio. Some earlier versions of this shareware assembler will cause the Portfolio to crash. TURBO PASCAL 3 Because of the timer design (as described before), Turbo Pascal 3.01A from Borland International will not run easily on the Portfolio. On Compuserve, in the APORTFOLIO forum, there is a document called PURBO.TXT that describes how to modify the compiler to run on the Portfolio. After making a simple modification to the compiler with DEBUG, you then set the DISPLAY to TRACKED and REFRESH to BOTH, and you are ready to run. You can edit, run and compile TP3 programs on the Portfolio. The compiled programs will also run on the PC, but the timing might be off, depending on the clock speed of the PC. 25. What PC Compilers can I use to develop programs? BORLAND TURBO C This compiler is widely used by many developer writing code for the Portfolio. To ensure compatibility, be sure to set DIRECTVIDEO to 0. There are a number of libraries under development to provide Portfolio Only support to the language. TURBO PASCAL 5.5 and 6 Turbo Pascal programs will run on the Portfolio, provided you don't use the CRT unit. The CRT unit tries to calculate the clock speed. There is a replacement available for the CRT unit, called The Portfolio Unit, available in the APORTFOLIO forum on Compuserve. This emulates a fair number of the functions in the CRT unit, and it also adds access to a number of Portfolio Only functions, such as Boxes, Sounds, and Menus. This unit will be examined in an upcoming issue of this column. PBASIC EDITOR The PBASIC interpreter will run on both the Portfolio and the PC. But since the PC does not have the Portfolio Only functions, some statements will generate errors. The PBASIC EDITOR, Version 2.0, takes care of that problem by providing Portfolio Emulation built into the editor. This allows for easy development of BASIC programs on and off the Portfolio. The editor is available on Compuserve. POWERBASIC The PowerBASIC compiler for the Portfolio will not run on the PC. You could use a standard editor to create the programs, and then transfer and compiler them on the Portfolio, or you can buy a copy of PowerBASIC from Spectra Publishing (the company that created PowerBASIC for the Portfolio), and develop programs on the PC as well. You must then transfer the source code to the Portfolio and recompile the program. A special PowerBASIC development kit for the PC is expected soon, which will allow PowerBASIC users to access the Portfolio Only functions. MICROSOFT QUICKBASIC Is not exactly the best programming environment for the Portfolio. Much of the generated code access hardware directly, causing problems on the Portfolio, and the executable programs tend to be very large even for the smallest programs. Still, with a little work, and setting REFRESH to BOTH, will allow you to run these programs on the Portfolio. 26. Can Turbo Pascal 3.01A run on the Portfolio? It will... it just takes an amazingly long time. When TP3 starts up, it tries to determine the clock speed of the computer. It does this by waiting for a couple of timer ticks. On a standard PC, these ticks are generated 18.2 times a second. On the Portfolio, these ticks occur about every 2 MINUTES! So TP3 sits and waits. On Compuserve, in the APORTFOLIO forum, there is a document called PURBO.TXT that describes how to modify TURBO PASCAL 3.01 to run on the Portfolio. After making a simple modification to the compiler with DEBUG, you then set the DISPLAY to TRACKED and REFRESH to BOTH, and you are ready to run. You can edit, run and compile TP3 programs on the Portfolio. The compiled programs will also run on the PC, but any the timing might be off, depending on the clock speed of the PC. PBASIC_________________________________________________ 27. How do I run a PBASIC program? PBASIC does not have an internal editor like GWBASIC. Create the BASIC program with the Portfolio's internal editor. You can then run the program with the command: PBASIC filename 28. What is ALTR.COM? ALTR is a TSR program for the Portfolio that will Automatically save the current file in the editor, exit the editor, and run PBASIC. PBASIC.EXE must be renamed to P.EXE to be used with this utility. 29. Can I use PBASIC on the PC? Yes, but you can not use any of the "Portfolio Only" features. The PBASIC Editor, a program to allow users on a PC to write PBASIC programs, has been upgraded to version 2.0. The major improvement is that the editor now provides emulation for those nifty "Portfolio Only" features. So you can now view PGC graphics, as well as Boxes, Sounds, and Menus on the PC. This should help speed up Portfolio software development. The PBASIC editor is available on Compuserve in the APORTFOLIO forum as PBE20.ZIP. 30. What are the differences between PowerBASIC and PBASIC? Lets take a look at the Pros and Cons for each: PowerBASIC Pros: More memory available Programs run faster Random Access files Supplied on ROM Card Interrupt Driven Serial Input/Output PowerBASIC Cons: Only runs on the Portfolio Debugging is harder Does not interact with the editor Does not make use of the internal Portfolio features Doesn't allow for Hex constants Cost $75+ PowerBASIC for the PC another $75+ PBASIC Pros: Runs on the PC and the Portfolio (and HP) Editor points to errors Allows Access to internal features (Menus, etc.) Importing from a .WKS file PGC graphics support with Animation Cost: Free Updated regularly PBASIC Cons: Requires about 70k of memory to run Slower than a Compiler Not 100% compatible with GWBASIC Transfer to Portfolio can be a minor problem Here are the additional functions and statements included with PowerBasic. Most of these command are to support the Random Access file. $COM $STACK CIRCLE CVD CVI CVS DEF FN END DEF DEFINT DEFSNG DEFDBL DEFSTR DO, LOOP EXECUTE EXIT FIELD GET GET$ LOC LOF LSET MKI$ MKS$ MKD$ OPEN COM PUT PUT$ RSET SEEK STRPTR STRSEG SUB END SUB TONE Here are the additional functions and statements that are included with PBASIC. ACOS ALARM ASIN BLOAD BOX BSAVE CHAIN CLICK CMODE COSH CWD$ DECR DEG DIAL DISPLAY DMS DOSVER ERRWIN EVAL FALSE FINDFILE$ FINDNEXT$ FILESIZE FIX FORMFEED GETDISPLAY GLOCATE GPRINT INCR INVERT LTRIM$ MENU MSD NUMFMT OFF PBVER PGLOAD PGSAVE PGSHOW PI PORT PRINTER PRTSC RAD RAND REFRESH REPEAT/UNTIL ROMVER RTRIM$ RUN SINH SHIFT SOUND SPACE$ STATUS STOP SWAP SYSTEM TANH TICK TIMER TRUE VCSRLIN VLOCATE VMOVE VPOS WAIT WKSREAD WKSREAD$ WKSTYPE WRITE WRITE# FILE TYPES_____________________________________________ 31. What do .ZIP and .ARC mean? If the filename ends in .ZIP or .ARC, that means that it is a compressed library containing several files. To extract the files, you will need the PKUNZIP or ARC programs. 32. What is .PGC? Don Messerli, of the Software Vineyard, has developed the .PGC (Portfolio Graphics Compressed) standard. This standard, along with his excellent program, PGSHOW, allows for 9 frames per second of animation. It is very impressive. PBASIC also supports the .PGC standard, and allows up to about 4 frames per second. 33. What is .PGX? This is a graphic animation file. Use PGFLIX to display the file. 34. What is a .HOO file? A .HOO file is a program designed to run from inside the Portfolio's internal editor. Press <F6> inside the editor to get a list of .HOO files. 35. What is a .RUN file? This is a program that can be run from the memory card, leaving all the memory free for your data. The programs are of a special format, and have been specially written for the Portfolio. You can not typically copy these files, since they have to be stored in consecutive sectors on the memory card. To copy a .RUN card, the quickest way is to reformat the target card, and then copy the .RUN file first. This will assure it is stored on the card correctly. To execute a .RUN program, use the command: RUN filename.RUN DISK STORAGE___________________________________________ 36. Will the PDD1 or PDD2 from Radio Shack work on the Portfolio? Yes. There are drivers in the for both units. The devices do not act as disk drives, but as mass storage devices. For the Model 100 computer, Radio Shack developed a 3.5 inch Portable Disk Drive (PDD) that could be plugged into a serial port. There are two models, the PDD1, which can hold 100k of data, and the PPD2 which can hold 200k. It is not very fast (about 1.9kbps), but it runs on batteries and is about the size of a box of 5.25 inch disks. The PPD1 is no longer available, but can often be found used at computer festivals. The PDD2 is still sold by Radio Shack and costs about $220. It often goes on sale for about $170. To use either PDD with the Portfolio, you will need the serial port, and a program to access the unit. PDD1.ZIP and PDD2.ZIP are both written by Brian C. Woodcox and are available in the APORTFOLIO forum on Compuserve. A driver for the PDD2 if available on a ROM card from John Feagans, Monterey Bay Whaling Company, 2681 N. Rodeo Gulch Road, Soquel, California, 95073, (408)-475-4290. The cost is seventy dollars ($70.00) for the drivers on a ROM card, or forty dollars ($40.00) for the programs on an MS/DOS compatible disk. The problem is that the disk formats are unique to the PDD. The drivers on Compuserve will also work on a PC, so you can read the disk via a serial port on the PC as well. TIP: If using disk formatted for the PDD units, be sure to mark on the labels "PDD" so you don't get them confused with other systems. 37. Can I attach a Hard Disk to the Portfolio? There is finally a hard disk unit available for the Portfolio. The BSE Company, 14701 Candeda Place, Tustin, CA 92680, (714)-832-4316, have developed the Flashdrive hard disk unit. The unit interfaces to the Portfolio via the Parallel Interface. The 20mb version sells for $499. 38. When using the Flashdrive, the MD command lock up the computer. Why? On some models of the Portfolio, there is a problem with the MKDIR (MD) command. The designers of the Portfolio never anticipated a harddrive connected to the unit. The MD command can not handle drives larger that 2mb. BSE had to create their on version of the MD command, called ATMD, to bypass this problem. It is included with the Portfolio driver. 39. Can I hook an MS/DOS Compatible Disk Drive to the Port? There are two approaches to get the Portfolio to read and write standard 720k format disks. The first is the Retriever, a serial operated, battery powered, IBM compatible, 3.5 inch disk drive for the Portfolio. The problem, however, is that it is currently available only in England from DIP systems (0483) 301555, and cost 350 pounds (about 600 dollars). Another approach is the via the HPIL interface. This interface allows connection to various HP devices, including a 3.5 inch disk drive. There is a driver to allow the HP disk drive to read and write the IBM format. Contact Interloop (408)-922-0520 for more information. You can supposedly put together all the parts for this unit for about 500 dollars. 40. Did Xoterix release their hard disk unit for the Portfolio? For those people holding their breath for the hard dive/memory expansion unit for Xoterix, bad news. According to the president of the company, the unit has been postponed indefinitely. They did not receive enough interest for them to put the unit into production. FILE TRANSFERS_________________________________________ 41. How do I transfer files to and from the PC? The Portfolio has built-in software to communicate with the printer port on a PC via the Smart Parallel Interface. The parallel interface comes with a command-line driven program called FT to perform file exchanges. The program is provided on 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 inch disk for a PC. The only real tricky part is the cable to go between the Portfolio and the PC. You need a "Male-to-Male DB25 all-lines straight through" cable. While it can be found in local stores (I bought one at Egghead Software), it would be easiest to obtain the cable from Atari (408) 443-8020. The Parallel File-Transfer Cable (HPC-406) costs $19.95. This approach to file transfer is reliable and easy, but not very fast. If you don't like the FT program that Atari supplies, there is a program on Compuserve in the APORTFOLIO library called FTMENU, which provides a "point-and-click" menu front-end to the FT program. Another approach to file transfer on a PC is Atari's PC Card Drive (HPC-301) which costs $99.95. This hardware card is plugged into the PC's expansion bus. At present there is no version for the PS/2 micro-channel bus. A small box is attached to the card, with a slot to insert a memory card. The software driver on the PC will now treat the memory card as if it was a regular disk drive on the PC. It is referred to as the next drive (typically D:) on your system. You can now use normal MS/DOS command to copy file to and from the memory card. This is more expensive, but is very fast. 42. How do I transfer files to and from other machines? File transfer to non-MS/DOS machine becomes a bit tougher. Typically, you can connect two machines via their serial ports (by using a null modem cable), and use serial communications programs on both sides to exchange files. This seems simple enough until you realize that the Portfolio does not have a serial communications program built into it. Another problem is that the Portfolio has a non-standard serial port, so regular communication programs for a PC, such as Procomm, will not work. Finally, you will have to have the Serial Interface for the Portfolio. On Compuserve, in the APORTFOLIO forum, there are two serial communication programs, XTERM by Jim Strauss, and ACOM by Charles Cook. But how do you get the a serial program onto the Portfolio via the serial port without having a serial program already on the Portfolio? Catch-22. Here are some solutions: 1. Get a friend to copy the program onto a memory card. 2. If you have no friends (who own a Portfolio), ask a local dealer. 3. Get the Parallel Port and access to a PC, and use FT to copy the serial program. 4. Buy the DOS Utilities ROM card (HPC-701) for $89.95 from Atari. It has the XTERM program on it. Once you get the serial program on a RAM card, put a copy of it on every memory card you have, as well as drive C:, just in case. The serial cable will have to have a Female DB9 on the Portfolio side, and the proper connection for your machine. For the Macintosh, you can order a serial cable from two sources: Atari, the Portfolio-Mac File Transfer Cable (HPC- 407) for $19.95, or Able Cables (415) 457-4028 for $20 postpaid. Atari also supplies a cable for the Atari-ST and other machines (Female DB9 to Female DB25) for $19.95, the Serial Null-Modem Cable (HPC-409). When transferring files on the Macintosh, be sure to disable the MacBinary option. A complete file-transfer package for the Macintosh is available from Computer Friends (503) 626-2291 for $189.00. This includes software on ROM for the Portfolio, software on disk for the Mac, and the serial cable. It does not include the serial port for the Portfolio. SOFTWARE SOURCES_______________________________________ 43. Where can I get programs for the Portfolio? ATARI BBS: 408-745-2191 FIDO BBS: 301-997-7204 Compuserve Genie Internet/Bitnet: ATARI.ARCHIVE.UMICH.EDU. 44. How do I get an account on Compuserve? If you are not a member of COMPUSERVE, you should be. The APORTFOLIO forum has perhaps the most complete collection of Public Domain, Freeware, and Shareware for the Portfolio. It is also an official Atari support site. Right now, new users you can sign up for free, and get a $15 usage credit. Call (800) 848-8199 and ask for operator 198. They will drop your Sign-Up kit in the mail to you. 45. What is the Atari Portfolio Forum on Compuserve? The Atari Portfolio Forum on Compuserve has been called one of the most pleasant forum on the system. Run by Master Sysop Ron Luks, and by Assistant sysops, Marty Mankins, Judy Hamner, and BJ Gleason, it strives to keep Portfolio users abreast with developments about the machine. It is also an Atari official support site, which means that company employees drop by on a regular basis. There are thirteen Message Sections Available in the Portfolio Forum. People who access the forum only for the libraries are missing out on a lot. The message area allow users to meet, and exchange a lot of information on this little machine. One user who checks into this forum everyday is Don Thomas - Marketing Manager for the Portfolio. He always has a lot to say to all the members. All you have to do is ask. Many of the authors who write the software available in the libraries are available for comments, suggestions and bug reports. The forum message areas include: Forum Business, Communications, Utilities, Entertainment, Editors/Word Proc, Database Functions, Applications, Programming, Mac-to-Portfolio, Peripherals, *WISH LIST*, News & Reviews, and Community Square. A number of programmers online were complaining that they were running out of ideas for new programs for the Portfolio. To help them out, the sysops of the forum added the *WISH LIST* area. This message area is being used by forum members to suggest new ideas for the programmers. From large to small, many users have been placing requests in this area, and then finding the program written just a few days, and sometimes, in just a few hours, later. This idea was so popular, it has been spreading to other forums as well. 46. What is in the Atari Portfolio Libraries on Compuserve? The most popular area in the forum has to be the Libraries. As of February 1, 1992, there are now over 650 files available for downloading. This is due, in large part, to the program marathoners [Don Messerli, David E. Stewart, and BJ Gleason], and all the rest of the members who have contributed over the years. The library areas are: Forum News, Communications, Utilities, Entertainment, Editors/Word Processing, Database Functions, Applications, Programming, Graphics, News & Reviews, Misc. Files. This sometimes can cause confusion to new users who want to find the latest program. Compuserve has recently introduced new library software to the forum, that allows you to look for files in all areas at once. For example, to browse all the libraries for all the files uploaded in the last 30 days, you can use the command: BRO LIB:ALL AGE:30 With over 650 it is almost impossible to even begin to describe what is available. Games of all kind, programming tools, as well as languages, hints, tips, and so much more. In order to keep abreast of all the activity, sysop Judy Hamner, writes a weekly Forum News report which is available in LIB 1. She summarizes the conversations going on in the message area, as well as listing all the files that had been upload in the previous week. It is highly recommend you read these summaries in order to keep up. To access the forum, log onto Compuserve and type: GO APORTFOLIO at any prompt. EXPANDING MEMORY_______________________________________ 47. Can I increase the internal memory size of the Portfolio? Yes. There are two approaches. There is a device available outside the US called Memory Expander+, which will increase the port's internal memory to 384k, and add a second RAMcard slot. It plug in like the Parallel Port. The other approach is Megabyte Computers in Texas will now upgrade the Portfolio to 512k of memory internally. The modification includes a six month warranty for the work. The cost is 299 dollars. For more information call, (817) 589-2950. Megabyte Computers in North Texas will upgrade the memory in the Portfolio from the standard 128k to a whopping 512k. To upgrade your system, you need to send you unit to Megabyte. The modification takes about 3 days, and then the unit is shipped back. You will then have 512k of memory in your unit. The first thing you will notice is that drive C: is now 128k! It can be reduced as low as 9k, or as high as 464k. While this greatly increases the sizes and types of programs you can run, it will have no effect on the internal applications: they are still limited to about 55k in size. The best part of this upgrade is that Megabyte Computers has just dropped the price of the upgrade from $350 to $299. If you cringe at someone opening up the Portfolio, you can buy a new Portfolio with 512k from Megabyte for $529. But you shouldn't worry too much since Megabyte is a factory- authorized Atari service center, an Atari Dealer, and that many employees of Atari have had this upgrade done. They also provide a six-month warranty on the upgrade. There is an external memory upgrade that will increase the Portfolio memory by 256k, but it is not available in the United States. It is a genuine Atari Memory Expander+, which also adds a second card drive, but it will not pass the strict FCC standards for radio frequency emissions, so it can not be sold in the US. Even if you travel overseas, or up to Canada to pick one up, you will find it to be more expensive than the internal upgrade. It also lengthens the Portfolio by an additional four inches, making the unit a bit long, and a little wobbly. APPLICATIONS___________________________________________ 48. Will WordPerfect Run on the Portfolio? Wordperfect Jr., designed for the IBM PC Jr., will work on the Portfolio. You can create and edit files up to about 20k. Wordperfect no longer sells the Jr. version, but it can often be found at computer festivals. 49. Is there a version of Tetris for the Portfolio? One of the most popular games for any computer system would have to be the now classic Tetris. The implementors of this game for the Portfolio got around the 40 characters by 8 lines screen limitation in an unique way. To play, you hold the computer sideways. There are two versions: The first was PRTRIS.ZIP, which was quickly followed by TETRAD.EXE and TETRAD.DOC. TETRAD is more advanced than PRTRIS, and allows for left and right handed play, but PRTRIS is about half the size of TETRAD. 50. What is a PREAD file? This package is designed to add a simple text viewer onto a document file. This will make the document executable, and can be read by typing in it's name. The file can then be compressed with PKLITE or LZEXE, with both do a great job on text, 50% to 80% or better. In general, the larger the file, the better the compression. You can create your document using any standard ASCII text editor. With the Portfolio, the built in editor is file. Set the word wrap ON for up to 39 characters. This viewer can not handle lines that will not on one line. Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and The Hunting of the Snark have all been converted and compressed using the PREAD technique, so you can easily take the these classics with you on the road for some light reading! 51. Is there a program to capture the Portfolio Screen? PGCAP is a program that will "capture" a screen image on the Portfolio and save it to a disk file. This Terminate and Stay Resident (TSR) program is requires less than 1k of memory, and is activated by pressing <ALT-S>. This will copy the contents of the screen to a file on your disk. Depending on the screen mode, the file extension will be .PGT if in text mode, or .PGF is the screen was displaying graphics. The main filenames will be "SCREENA", "SCREENB", etc. To allow you up to 26 screen per session. Once you have captured the screen images, you can PGCONV to convert them into a form that can be used by a desktop publishing package. PGCAP will import .PGC, .PGT, and .PGF files and export .PGC, .PGF, as well as .IMG (Gem) and .WPG (Wordperfect). Figure 1 is a image from the Portfolio that has been converted into an .IMG file. 52. Can I do Animation on the Portfolio? YES! Don Messerli, of the Software Vinyard, has been working furiously on an Animation Package for the Portfolio, and the results have been staggering. Depending on the complexity of the image, the package is able to display anywhere from 16 to 20 images per second on the Portfolio's LCD screen. To see the results of his labor, download PGFLIX, the animation package, and either DOMINOS.ZIP or HORSE.ZIP, the mini-movies. Mr. Messerli has also released a tool so that you can create your own animation, called MKPGX1. Finally, there is now a program that will create stand alone animation. SERIAL COMMUNICATIONS__________________________________ 53. How do I hook up a modem? To hook up a modem, you will need the serial port, cable, modem and a serial communication program. Normal communication packages will not run on the Port due to hardware incompatibilities in the serial port. There are two communication programs for the Portfolio. XTERM was the first program available, and is on the DOS Utilities Card from Atari, but ACOM is a better package. ACOM has all the features of XTERM, which include XMODEM file transfer protocol, but also provides remote execution of DOS commands, and a scrollback buffer for reviewing text that has scrolled of the screen. MISCELLANEOUS__________________________________________ 54. What is the APB? Atari has released the APB (Accessories, Peripherals Bulletin) for the Portfolio. This twenty page manual includes hints and tips, as well as listing third party vendor's hardware and software for the Portfolio. For a copy, see your dealer, or write to Atari, 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1302. 55. What is the Address of Atari? Atari, 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1302. 56. Was that a Portfolio used in Terminator 2? For those who haven't seen TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY, keep you eye open for the Portfolio. It plays a small but vital role in the movie. John Conners uses the Portfolio to break into a Money Machine and to get into the vault at Cyberdyne. 57. What is DIP? The Portfolio was developed by DIP systems in England. They have much more software and hardware devices available than in the United States. Contact them for more information. 58. What is the Address of DIP? DIP, 32 Frederick Sanger Road, Surrey Research Park, Guildford, United Kingdom, GU2 5XN. (0483) 301555. 59. Is a keyboard cover available for the Portfolio? A custom cover is available in clear or opaque and attaches via small adhesive strips. Call COMPUCOVER at (800)- 874-6391. 60. What magazines/newsletters cover the Portfolio? RE:PORT Each issue comes with a disk filled with source code for a wide number of utilities. Subscriptions are $50 a year for 6 issues, available from David Stewart at 1618 South Beech Court, Broken Arrow, OK 74012. Single issues are $10 each. ATARI USER AtariUser is a monthly Atari magazine, available by subscription for $20 a year. For more information on AtariUser, call 800-333-3567. ATARI EXPLORER Atari Explorer is a bi-monthly Atari Magazine, available by subscription for $14.95 a year. Order from Atari Explorer, 29-05 Broadway, Astoria NY 11106. TAKE IT WITH YOU A bi-monthly newsletter covering a wide variety of palmtop computer systems, including the Portfolio. $18 dollars a year. Perfection Applied, 454 West 1010 North, Orem, UT 84057. 61. Who is Don Thomas? Do you want to talk to the Official Marketing Director for the Atari Portfolio? Well, Don Thomas shows up on Compuserve in the APORTFOLIO forum everyday to chat with the users. He has a large number of tips, and provides a great amount of help to the users. His ID number is 75300,1267. 62. What should I do if travelling Overseas with the Portfolio? Since the portfolio costs a few hundred dollars, before travelling outside of the US, it would be a wise idea to stop by customs and register it. You can sometimes run into problems with customs when you return from overseas if you can't prove you bought the computer in the US. There is a Customs offices at all international airports. Ask for a "Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad" form. 63. Can I put the Portfolio Through an X-RAY machine? Yes. I have always run the Port through the x-ray machine. But be warned: most security people will want to look at it anyway, since they won't recognize it. When you show it to them, they will ask you to turn it on, so it's best not to have anything embarrassing on the screen. Many of them will be very interested in the machine and will probably want to know more about it. 64. What do I do when the Portfolio dies? Atari has a trade in program for dead Portfolio. At current, Atari will exchange an old Port for a New Port for $110 dollars. Overnight shipping is available, at extra cost. Contact Atari before sending the unit. And nothing could be complete without a report from MR BJ Gleason: =================================================================== PORTFOLIO USERS UPDATE ---------------------- by B.J. Gleason =================================================================== The following article is reprinted in the APORTFOLIO Forum by permission of AtariUser magazine and Quill Publishing. It MAY NOT be further reprinted without specific permission of Quill. AtariUser is a monthly Atari magazine, available by subscription for $20 a year. For more information on AtariUser, call 800-333-3567. Artisan Software (209) 239-1552 PO Box 849, Manteca, CA 95336 Software TransporT File Transfer 24.95 File exchange software for the Atari ST, STE or MEGA. Serial Port and cable required. Atari Direct Order (408)745-2367, (800)443-8020 1196 Borregas Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94087 Hardware Portfolio 299.95 Parallel Port 49.95 Serial Port 79.95 Leather Case 39.95 32k RAM Card 79.95 64k RAM Card 129.95 128k RAM Card 199.95 PC Card Drive 99.95 AC Adapter 9.95 Parallel Cable 19.95 Serial MAC Cable 19.95 Software File Manager 20.00 DOS Utilities 89.95 Finance 89.95 Hyperlist Soon Outliner designed for the Portfolio. Power BASIC Compiler Soon Full featured BASIC compiler from Robert Zale, author of PowerBASIC and Turbo BASIC. U.S. Traveller's Guide Soon A travel guide on ROM. Restaurants, shopping and more are listed for most major cities. Spell Checker Soon 100,000 words and word variations on a ROM Card. Chess Soon Bridge Baron Soon Wine Companion Soon Diet/Cholesterol Counter Soon Astrologer Soon Stock Tracker Soon Keep track of Stock Investments. Lotus Worksheets I & II Soon Math Library I & II Soon Statistics Library I & II Soon These six volumes are collections of new public domain and shareware. Each card will contain between 9 and 15 programs. Compuserve (800) 848-8199 x198 Software, Services APORTFOLIO Forum and Software Library. This is an official on-line Atari Support site. Computer Friends (503) 626-2291 14250 North West Science Park Drive, Portland, OR 97229 Software Message Mover-PC 189.00 Message Mover-MAC 189.00 These programs allows for file transfer between your desktop machine and the Portfolio via the Serial Port. Computerbooks (714) 966-2023 20351 Irvine Ave, Suite 9, PO Box 9167, Newport Beach, CA 92658 Software Pharmaceutical Database 129.95 Instant access to commonly prescribed drugs and dosages, instructions, warning, trade names and more. Physicians' Reference 89.95 Instant access to common questions and issues. DIP Systems (0483) 301555 32 Frederick Sanger Road, Surrey Research Park Guildford, Great Britain, GU2 5XN Fax: (0483) 301434 Software Scientific Calculator œ60.83 PF Applications on PC œ43.43 A version of the Portfolio's built-in software that can run on a PC. Pocket Mac œ60.83 File transfer software for the Macintosh. Pocket Communications œ43.43 Hardware Pocket PC Modem (1200) œ174.87 A 1200 baud modem that attaches to the Portfolio's expansion bus. Memory Expander (512k) œ156.48 Increase the Portfolio's memory to 636k, and add an extra card drive unit. Attaches to the expansion port. Extech Instruments (617) 890-7440 335 Bearhill Road, Waltham, MA 02154 Hardware Mini Serial Printer 249.00 24 or 40 column mini-printer. Connects to the serial port. Runs on batteries or AC. Interloop (408) 922-0520 706 Charcot Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131 Hardware HPIL Interface Adapter Call Interface the Portfolio to Hewlett-Packard peripheral devices. Connects to the expansion bus, and can control up to 23 devices. Megabyte Computers (817) 589-2950 909 Melbourne, Hurst, TX 76053 Hardware Internal 512k Upgrade 350.00 Internal memory upgrade to the Portfolio. Increase memory to 512k. Memory can be used for RAM disk or regular memory. Monterey Bay Whaling Company (408) 475-4290 2681 N. Rodeo Gulch Road, Soquel, California, 95073 Software Driver for PDD2 on MS/DOS disk 40.00 on ROM Card 70.00 Software driver for Radio Shacks' Disk Drive Unit. ONline Technology (216) 831-6160 23715 Mercantile Road, Suite 203, Beachwood, OH 44122 Software TIMEPAC-5 Call Record billable hours and expenses. Paragon Technology (800) 255-9411 P.O. Box 273511, Boca Raton, FL 33427 Software FX-3 DUAT Flight Program 79.95 Link to FAA certified weather briefings and flight plan filing. FX-4 Flight Planner 79.95 Full U.S. navigational database and provides detailed trip planning. Pulse Metric (800) 835-7815 10225 Barnes Canyon Road, Suite A100, San Diego, CA 92121 Hardware Dynapulse Monitor 299.00 Computerized blood pressure and pulse rate measuring system. Radio Shack (Local Stores) Hardware Portable Disk Drive 2 199.95 This serial disk drive, designed for the Model 100, can be used to provide 200k or disk storage for the Portfolio. Software Driver is required for usage: See the listing for Monterey Bay Whaling Company. TekNow! (800) 899-7276 1500 South Priest, Suite 101, Tempe, AZ 85281 Software SAMpage Pager Messenger 89.00 Interface the Portfolio to alphanumeric display pagers. XoteriX (818)888-7390 23106 Baltar St,West Hills,CA 91304 Hardware 512k RAM Expansion 299.00 (call) Expands RAM to 636k. Connects to the expansion bus. 20 Megabyte Hard Disk 899.00 (call) Includes 512k of memory and optional serial and parallel ports. Connects to the expansion bus, and adds about 3/4" to the thickness of the Portfolio. Software PBASE 99.99 General purpose rational database. Terminal+ 79.99 Serial communications package. Checkwriter 149.99 Keep track of your finances, credit cards, and checkbook. Timekeeper 99.99 Management for time based activities. Stocks Games 79.99 Simulate the stock market. What are you talking about? A Portfolio II ??? Read On: Portfolio's younger brother SHARP PC 3000 and PC 3100 ----------------------------------------------------- Many people ask if there ever will be released another so handy, useful, and favourite a palmtop like Portfolio. They often call this dream Portfolio II. The answer is that Portfolio II has been released, but has not been successful on the market. To explain the matter, do not let us forget that Atari Portfolio was not developed by Atari, but was only manufactured under lincence. The real developers were DIP (in England) who made the hardware and software. You can spot their logo after the cold boot on Portfolio. Portfolio has a lot of problems, like any palmtop, or any PC. Especially small RAM, small LCD and partial incompatibility and data loss on low batteries made DIP to go on developing what might be called Portfolio II. Then this product was finished it was again offered for licencing. Atari did not care to manufacture and sell this product. (I think it was a good decision.) Sharp company bought the licence and gave it the name SHARP PC 3000 and SHARP PC 3100. If you know Portfolio's good and bad sides, you can easily understand why SHARP PC 3x00 was mot successful. I think the reasons are: Too expensive (really extremely), very very short battery life span. Too big in size and too heavy. Data loss problems again, locking up of the machine. Incopatibility. Graphics not much supported. If you want to learn more about SHARP PC 3x000 to learn what Portfolio II would be like, go on reading..... ------------------ P C 3 0 0 0 and P C 3 1 0 0 ----------------------- 0. OUTLINE I. PC-3x00 PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS II. UNDOCUMENTED FEATURES III. REPORTED BUGS IV. BATTERIES, POWER, ETC. V. HARDWARE HACKING VI. MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS (+ ANSWERS) VII. MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS (still begging for answers) I. PC-3x00 PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS (or: What is it?) Size: 222 mm x 112 mm x 25 mm, 600 grams with batteries Power source: 3 'AA' alkaline cells, or 6.3 V AC adapter 80C88A processor, variable clock speed up to 10 MHz 128 KB ROM (BIOS & extended BIOS) 1 MB ROM (ROM-disk (C:), with MS-DOS Version 3.30 and utilities) 128 KB Static RAM (Video RAM and 77 K drive D:) 1 MB (PC-3000) or 2 MB (PC-3100) Pseudo-Static RAM, with variable split among DOS memory, Expanded Memory, and drive E: Fully CGA-compatible FSTN B/W LCD, 173 mm x 66 mm (640*200 graphics, 80*25 text), MDA emulation 1 Serial port, configurable as COM1 or COM2, 1 Parallel port. Both are IBM-PC compatible, but have non-standard connectors and require a conversion cable (included in some markets, optional in others). Expansion Bus connector (80-pin PC-like bus for optional floppy drive) Two PCMCIA Release 1 card ports. Software in ROM: o Laplink (can self-load to a host with just a null modem cable) o spreadsheet (OK, but no graphics, sluggish, and a pain to import to) o todo list o keyboard keystuffer (feeds 'learned' keystrokes to applications) o calendar/diary/scheduler/alarm thing o desk clock o calculator (very simple) o file viewer (like _more_) o a simple editor o PopUp, a TSR handler for most of the above o a good password protection o Built-in multilingual capability (7 languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Swedish). o Keyboard layout: Esc F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 F10 Ins Del Pause ` 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - = <-- Tab Q W E R T Y U I O P [ ] \ CpsLk A S D F G H J K L ; ' Enter Shift Z X C V B N M , . / Shift Crtl Alt Space Alt Ctrl ^ Fn <- \/ -> F11, F12, Screen contrast, Keyclick, SysReq, PrtSc, Setup, PopUp, NumLk, and ScrLk are Fn-shifted top-row keys. PgUp, PgDn, Home and End are Fn-shifted arrow keys at the bottom right of the keyboard. There is also and embedded numeric pad. The key spacing is about 3/4 full size. II. UNDOCUMENTED FEATURES: o Character set changes: When PopUp is installed, Fn-F6 will toggle between the normal (thick) character set and a thinner-lined set o Also when PopUp is installed, the clock is available by Fn-T (Time) and the calculator pops up with Fn-C o Boot Options: To avoid running D:\CONFIG.SYS and D:\AUTOEXEC.BAT on a boot (to recover from a problem in those files, for example), reboot by Ctrl-Alt-R-Del. That is, hold down the R key, as well as Ctrl-Alt-Del. The PC-3x00 will use CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT from drive C: instead. This will also rename D:\AUTOEXEC.BAT to D:\AUTOEXEC.BAD. It also puts you into the INSTALL program: just Esc out of it and your data will be intact. A cold boot (just like the very first start, or REBOOT /F) can be done by Ctrl-Alt-C-Del-B, all down in that order. (i.e. Hold the B key down within two seconds of the boot) o CPU speed: May be set to any speed from 1 to 10 MHz, except for 9 MHz. Just use SETUP /sn , with the speed for n. III. REPORTED BUGS: o Parallel port cable: The manual states that the parallel port conversion cable has pins 18 through 25 grounded, like a conventional PC. This is not true. Pins 18, 19, and 20 only are grounded. Pins 21 through 25 are not connected. This affects devices that depend on those grounds being available. There are two workarounds: 1. Get a RS232 breakout box and wire pins 18 through 25 together. 2. Wire pins 18 through 25 together on the cable's 25-pin connector. o Self-shutoff bug: If a key (*) is held down on the PC-3100 for exactly 20.0 seconds, the machine will shut itself off. It will require a reset to restart properly, with the consequent loss of drive E:. (* any key hit once and held, so if you hit ctrl-RtArrow, for example, and release the arrow, but hold ctrl, it won't do this) The truly ugly part: Sometimes the machine stays in this state, such that any method of powering off again will require a reset to restart. So even if you reload from a backup, you'll lose it all again next time you power down or time out. And again, and again... A WAY OUT: You have already lost drive E:, so issue a reset/c to perform a cold reset -- this will clear the condition. Note: reset /w, or its equivalent Ctrl-Alt-Del will NOT work. Reset /f (full reset) will also work, but that will wipe drive D:, so you might not want to do it. o The floppy seek is quite slow: many programs will time out on a long seek. Just retry the operation and it will be OK. o Similarly: the timeout delays in the Laplink program are hard-coded timing loops. When run on a fast desktop (>25 MHz 486) you will get timeout errors, or even complete failure. Switch your desktop to low speed if you can, or get a slow-down utility program. o The country or keyboard driver files are buggy: On Microsoft Works (and others), when country and KEYB are specified as USA, the right <ALT> key doesn't work to pop up the menus. If country and keyboard desigations are omitted from config.sys and autoexec.bat; everything works fine. Also reported, not verified: these files, (or the setup command) interfere with the serial port and cause many dropped characters to occur at 9600 Baud. There is some sort of conflict between the country and keyboard USA drivers and/or setup. IV. BATTERIES, POWER, ETC. o Why does my PC-3x00 eat batteries so much? A fresh set of alkaline batteries can be expected to last 10-15 hours, with the CPU, serial port, and high-power mode used sparingly. Some programs 'accidentally' force high-power mode, and will eat batteries. There is not much you can do about those, except use them little, or only on AC power. You can tell when a program is in high-power mode by listening for the change in pitch of the internal DC-DC convertor when you press a key. A normal change in pitch (from low-power to high-power) occurs when you press a key at the DOS prompt or in the PopUp program. If a similar change in pitch does not occur in your application program, it's a pretty safe bet the program is a power hog. Prime offenders are games and some editors, which tend to poll the keyboard rapidly. The PC-3x00 firmware is supposed to detect this activity and go into low-power mode anyway, but sometimes it gets fooled. If the unit is left in high-power mode with the serial port in use, the serial port hardware is left energized, waiting for a character to arrive and wake up the computer. This extra quiescent drain will flatten the batteries in two days. In general, to preserve battery life, use a 3 to 5 MHz CPU speed, low power mode, and use the serial port sparingly. Watch the CPU too: Leave the number crunching for a desktop machine. o Power Usage Summary: Low battery signal comes on about 3.2 V (New batteries are about 4.8 V) Continuous drain while OFF: 1.3 mA ( = about 6 weeks battery life) Standby (No program running, no keys pressed, but display on): 55 mA with popup, 58 mA with filem, 51 mA with DOS prompt. All independent of clock speed. Running, or key held down: 10 MHz: 220 mA, 3 MHz: 118 mA, 1 MHz: 86 mA Fast typing: (50 wpm or so) 10 MHz: 120 mA, 3 MHz: 100 mA, 1 MHz: 86 mA Running Laplink: 10 MHz: 330 mA, 5 MHz: 227 mA, 1 MHz: 150 mA Low power mode disabled: 10 MHz: 285 mA, 3 MHz: 180 mA, 1 MHz: 145 mA 'AA' alkalines are about 1000 mAh @ 100 mA, so you can expect 10 hours of use with heavy typing, or 20 hours just staring at text. You can probably expect less than 2 hours if you run Laplink continuously at 10 MHz. On AC power: at 6.0 volts input (Aux power kick in/out occurs at 5.0 volts) OFF: 4.8 mA Standby: 41 mA with popup, independent of clock speed Running Laplink: 10 MHz: 200 mA, 5 MHz: 140 mA With the AC adapter plugged in, there is less than one microamp drain on the batteries. The adapter can be plugged in with the power on - the automatic switchover is pretty robust. The AC power can even fail, and the machine will switch over to batteries automatically. o Can I use rechargeable batteries in my Sharp? Several people have reported success using NiCd cells instead of alkalines. NiCds have a discharge curve that is very steep at the end-of-charge, though, and you can expect very little warning of battery death. With alkaline cells installed, you will have about two days of power for data retention after the "Replace main batteries" message. When the NiCds die, they tend to have very little residual charge, and you may have only minutes to replace the cells. Carry a spare set and replace them at the first "Main batteries low" signal. Remember that the backup lithium cell will only preserve the contents of drive E: for three minutes after loss of the main battery, though drive D: will survive much longer. o Where and how is the battery voltage is sensed? Is the level at which these warnings are issued adjustable? The AA battery voltage is sensed by two comparators: one is set to generate an interrupt to give you the "Main battery low" message; the other is set to a lower voltage and generates the "Replace main battery" message. The voltages are set by a LM385 and a precision resistor ladder. The setpoints are 2.93 Volts and 2.50 Volts, and are not adjustable. Since this same voltage reference is used to derive the 5.0 Volts that is produced by the internal DC-DC convertor, it is extremely unlikely that it is can get out of whack: your machine would not work at all then. o Since four Nickel-Cadmium cells produce about the same voltage as three alkalines, can I use them instead? This will work, but is not recommended. Four sub-AA sized cells can fit in the same place as the three alkalines. They will produce 4.8 to 5.2 volts. This is high enough that the voltage boost circuit, which normally boosts the AA voltage up to 5 volts, might not operate (so you will not hear the normal 'hissing' sound). The battery current simply flows through a forward-biased diode (0.2 V) straight onto the 5 V power rail. There is no voltage regulator operating in this case! With that said: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MODIFY YOUR SHARP TO CHARGE FOUR NICADS INTERNALLY! The terminal voltage of four NiCds under charge can easily exceed six volts, near the absolute maximum ratings of some of the logic in the computer. o What are the power requirements for a home-brew AC adaptor? As stated on the back of the unit, and in the manual, it is 6.3VDC, 0.5A (or 1.0A, or 0.8A, depending on where you look) The unit itself (without floppy) never requires more than 0.3A. The voltage _must_ be fairly well regulated. See the file sharp.ac.adapter for more information. The supply must provide 6.0 volts to the plug +/- 0.5 volts. It also should maintain whatever voltage it does produce within 0.1 volts, despite changes in current drain from 50 to 200 mA. This is purely cosmetic: small variations in the voltage lead to screen flicker, so you want to minimize it. The series-pass regulator for the AC adapter input is a small surface-mount package, which is not heatsinked. There is almost no airflow near this part, so you shouldn't put more than about 6.5 volts into the thing: the internal regulator will be dissipating about 0.3 watts then. o Where can I get a connector for the AC adapter input jack? The file sharp.ac.adapter contains a description of how to build one if you are desperate. Apparently, Radio Shack has one now available though: the tag says: (thanks to whoever posted this on c.s.p) CM270.1575 ADAPTER PLUG PRICE 2.95 08073 V. HARDWARE HACKING: o How do I open my Sharp? o To get the back off and expose one side of the main board: - If you intend only to remove the back panel, take the backup battery out. The main batteries will (probably) keep all your data OK. If you intend a full disassembly, or plan to do anything but look around inside, remove the main batteries too and leave the cover off (Do a backup first!). - Remove the expansion, serial and parallel port covers. - Remove the two rear rubber feet and the two small black rubber plugs that are three centimeters further forward. - Remove the four screws you just exposed. - VERY carefully pry the top and bottom parts of case apart between the expansion port and the main battery compartment. If you break the plastic at this location, the backup battery contacts will be unreliable. - You can now take the back off, using the front of the case as a hinge. Watch out for the speaker wire and the adhesive tape on the expansion connector. The main board is now exposed. Much of the logic is on this side of the board, including memory, but the CPU, two big ASICS, and most of the power supply components are on the other side. o To get the main board out: - Be very sure you want to do this. Potential for accidental damage goes way up at this point! - Remove the two screws near the serial and parallel connectors. - Remove the two nuts near the front of the case. These are threaded onto plastic studs, so be careful. Also be careful not to scratch the PWB traces nearby. - There _may_ be two more screws, near the center of the main board to remove. There _are_ two more near the front of the board, but don't remove those unless you want to remove the PCMCIA card guides too. - You can flip the main board up. Be careful of the cables, the keyboard flex in particular. - After this, you are on your own. I've never had the need to go beyond this point, and my curiosity isn't that strong. o To get at the LCD: - Remove the two rubber plugs that are visible in the hinges when you use the computer. - Remove the exposed screws. - Gently pry the two case halves apart, starting near the hinges. - The LCD itself is apparently held in place by double-sided tape near the top of the display. I haven't verified this though. o What are the pin-outs for a home-brew FDD? Has anyone done this? Nobody has reported building an expansion chassis or floppy interface. In principle, it is straightforward, once you have the special connector. (Flash: The Macintosh Duo's seem to have the same type connector!) Pinouts are as follows: Looking into the connector, the numbers run from 1 to 40 right-to-left along the top, then 41 to 80 right-to-left along the bottom. Pin Name 1,9,41,76,80 GND 2,3,42,43 PACIN (expansion chassis aux 6.0 V power in?) 4, 5, 6 No Connection 7, 8 Expansion Chassis detect logic 10...29 EA0...EA19 30 AEN 31 ERDY (I/O CH RDY) 32...39 ED0...ED7 40 _IOC (I/O CH CK' (NMI)) 44 _EXPPE (Exp. chassis power enable) 45, 46 _EXPBV2, _EXPBV1 (Exp. chassis bat. voltages (digital)) 47, 48 KBC, KBD (ext. serial (PC/XT?) keyboard clock & data) 49, 50, 51 PACOUT (Unregulated output: AC adapter to exp. chassis) 52, 78 CPUPE (CPU power enable: goes low(!) when computer on) 53 ALE 54 TC 55 DACK2 56...60 IRQ3...7 61 ECLCK (5.00 ! MHz clock) 62 DACK0 63 DREQ1 64 DACK1 65 DREQ3 66 DACK3 67 _IR (IOR'?) 68 _IW (IOW'?) 69 _MR (MEMR'?) 70 _MW (MEMW'?) 71...74 TP1...TP4 -- apparently not used 75 DREQ2 77 IRQ2 79 RESET So, in general, it is a faithful IBM-PC/XT bus. Pins 10 - 40 map to A31 - A1, and pins 50 - 80 map to B31 - B1. Note the differences: 1. The power lines! (pins 50, 52, 76, 78) 2. The OSC (14.32 MHz) output is not present. 3. The CLCK output is 5.00 (instead of 4.77) MHz 4. I don't know, but I doubt the bus drivers in the PC-3x00 are capable of driving very much. I guess 20 cm of cable and 2-3 cards, tops. Apparently, the BIOS supports a hard disk (presumably a XT style interface). Anyone care to hack a Kittyhawk in? (Anyone care to _give_ me one, so I can try it?) How about a Private Eye interface? o Can I install memory chips to upgrade my 1 MB PC-3000 to 2 MB? According to the service manual, the only difference between the two models is the number of PS-RAM chips. To upgrade, you will need two 658512LTT-10 PSRAM ICs to solder on the main board at U21 and U22. The orientation of the new chips is the same as the two already there. You may also need a couple of bypass capacitors C58 & C59 (0.1 microFarad). A Toshiba 968512LL-10 is reportedly compatible. People have reported success doing this. See the archives at csd4.csd.uwm.edu:/pub/Portables/ for files describing how to do this. o If a PC3x00 is running off batteries then the desk clock shows only hours and minutes. If it is connected to a power supply then the clock shows also seconds. How do I determine whether the power supply is connected or not? The technical Reference Manual says: Call the extended BIOS service XBI (=7E (hex)) Get battery status: Parameters: AX=BAT_GETBATSTA (9302h) (hexadecimal) Returns: Current battery status Bit0=1 External power low Bit1=1 CCM A: battery low Bit2=1 CCM B: battery low Bit3=1 Floppy batteries flat Bit4=1 Floppy batteries low Bit5=1 Lithium battery flat Bit6=1 AA batteries flat Bit7=1 AA batteries low mov ax,0x9302 int 0x7E VI. MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS (+ ANSWERS) o What are the pinouts for the serial and parallel ports? These ones are actually in the manual; Appendix C. o There are two variable resistors on the PC3000 motherboard. What do they adjust? The one next to the backup lithium cell is actually a variable capacitor: it adjusts the base frequency for the real-time clock. The other one, toward the serial port, is a temperature compensation adjustment for the LCD contrast. WARNING: it appears (from the circuit diagram) that the if this potentiometer is set to one end of its travel, the 5 volt power rail is shorted to ground through a Zener diode. If the diagram is correct, then careless adjustment of this potentiometer may destroy the Zener diode (which is a temperature-compensating voltage reference for the LCD bias supply). o What is the button on the back, below the battery compartment? This is apparently for an expansion chassis. It is both a mechanical connection and an electrical 'presence' switch. In my unit, the switch contacts are covered with insulating tape, and Sharp Canada does not know of an expansion chassis, so I surmise it never got to exist. o Where can I get more information about the Sharp PC-3x00? The two main user communities (known to this editor) are the Palmtop forum on CompuServe, and the usenet/News group comp.sys.palmtops. (If anyone knows of any other active user communities, please let me know). There are also some files at the csd4.csd.uwm.edu ftp site. Technical information may be got from Sharp: The Sharp Service Manual contains hardware information, including IC & register descriptions, circuit diagrams and PWB layouts. It is available to Authorized Dealers. To get one, find an Authorized Sharp dealer, and ask them to order it for you. They probably won't know what it is, so ask for this part number: CODE: 00ZPC3000SM/E. It is about 80 pages and costs about C$15.00. There also is a document called the PC-3000/3100 Technical Reference Manual, but neither Sharp Canada (in Toronto) or Sharp USA (in New Jersey) seem to know how to obtain it. If anyone knows of a source of this manual, let me know so I can include it in future versions of this faq. VII. MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS (still begging for answers) I would _love_ to know if anyone has found a source for these serial, parallel, and expansion port connectors. It _is_ possible to hack one of these though: a thin (1/32 inch) double-sided PC board etched with the contacts (0.050 inch pitch) should do the trick just fine. Acknowledgements: Much thanks to Anders Danne, Eric Lindsay and James Hutchinson for their help tracking down information. (On three continents! Internet is great!) Thanks to Anthony Stieber (firstname.lastname@example.org) for providing a ftp home for this and other Sharp- and palmtop-related items. -- Paul Picot email@example.com * Imaging Research Laboratories * Robarts Research Institute * * University of Western Ontario * London, Ontario, Canada * Different Ways of Powering The Atari Portfolio: POWER4.100 file by R. V. Getsla 74405,1177 Last update: 17 MAY 85 Rev. 1.0 ----------------------------------------------- This file is to clear up a lot of things which have gone by on the message board, and to assemble it all in one place. Please add your input by leaving me a message if you know of something of use which I have not included. There have been quite a few questions about NiCd batteries and how to go about using them. They are pretty rugged cells, but a little care is necessary in their use. 1. Charging NiCd cells - care and feeding: Each cell has a recommended charging current. There are 2 types available. The 1st are known as "fast charge" and can take higher charging currents than the more common 2nd type. The cost is also higher for the fast charge type of cell. During charging, the cell generates heat proportional to the charging current. The rating of the cell is such that the cell does not get too hot and vaporise the electrolyte enough to lift the built in relief valve. The problem with lifting the relief valve is that liquid is lost and the cell loses capacity early in life. So, follow the charge rate recommended on the cell by the manufacturer. The usual charging current for fast charge cells is several hundred milliamperes, while the more common slow type charge at around 100 ma or so. The AA cells I use routinely are rated at 80 ma charge. The manufacturer will usually suggest a time for the charge in hours. My cells charge in 18 hours at 80 ma. If the cell is fully charged, and the charger does not reduce the charge current, it will result in heating the cell, but supposedly not enough to do any damage, thus, the manufacturers say you can leave them on charge all of the time. Not a good practice in my opinion. One of the causes of early death of NiCd cells is heat. Ideally, the charger should sense the cell voltage and reduce the rate of charge when the cell voltage says it is done. There are "smart" chargers out there, but the price is pretty steep. I built one, but I am handy with a soldering iron, and it wasn't easy, so I do not think putting a circuit up here is the way to go. Now, for other problems. NiCd cells are prone to a unique "memory" effect. This is what happens. The cell appears to lose capacity as it is used and recharged. The cell "remembers" how much you discharged it last time, and the more times you do it, the "harder" it remembers. So, if you always charge the cell after only a 50% charge, then eventually, it will remember, and only let you take 50% out! The cure for this effect is to run the cell "into the ground" so to speak, and then PROMPTLY recharge for the full charge rating of the cell. It will take a few times before the cell capacity is restored, and it will never get back to the 100% it had, but it will come close, and is better than buying a new cell. Another problem. Sometimes a cell will just NOT charge. You put it into the charger, and all it does is get warm. The problem here is internal shorts as a result of a crystal "tree" growing between the plates inside. There is no permanent fix for this, but there is a temporary one. There are several ways to "zap" the cell, and "blow the fuse" which is the crystals. The gist is to hit the cell for a very short time with a really high current, several amps for part of a second is usually enough. The easy way to do this and not risk exploding the cell is to hit up a surplus store and get some filter capacitors used for power supplies rated at about 50,000 micro farads or so, up to about 500,000. Observing correct polarity for the cap, hook it to a 6v lantern battery or equivalent. After a few seconds, disconnect the cap and hook the cap across the dead cell. Expect a spark as the leads touch and do not be alarmed. What you are doing is charging the capacitor from the battery, then shorting the power stored in the capacitor into the dead cell, hopefully blowing the crystal "fuse". Recharge the cap and try it again if the cell still measures zero volts. If the cell measures around a volt or better, you did it. Charge the cell in the usual manner, and use it. It will unfortunately die again if you do not keep the cell in almost constant use. Voltage considerations: The full charge voltage of a single cell is about 1.25 volts to 1.3 volts, a bit lower than an alkaline or carbon-zinc cell, so you have to take that into consideration in what you are doing. In the Model 100, it senses voltage of the battery pack and turns on the "low battery" LED at around 4.1 +/- 0.1 volts. The computer shuts down if battery voltage drops to 3.7 +/- 0.1 volts. During the shutdown process, RAM is protected. in other words, it does NOT hurt the Model 100 to run the batteries down until not only the LED is on, but the whole thing goes away as well! Turn the on/off switch off, replace the used batteries, turn it on, and you will see where it was when the power sense circuit did the equivalent of you turning the on/off switch to "off". The problem with replacing the 4 AA cells with NiCd cells is the initial lower voltage, even with a full charge in the NiCd cells, of around 5 volts. There are ways around this by adding a 5th cell internally to the Model 100, but I do not recommend this as it will VOID your warranty, and Radio Shack has been known to refuse to service equipment modified by anyone other than themselves. You have to weigh the risk for yourself. Personally, I would rather keep my Model 100 in an unmodified state so that if it ever needs fixing (heaven forbid) it will be fixable by RS, probably at some exorbitant (sp?) charge. Discharge characteristics: NiCd cells are somewhat unique in that they will hold output voltage well untill just before they are completely discharged. What this means to you is that the cell voltage will not drop off as rapidly as an alkaline cell, but when it does start to drop off rapidly, you will only have a few minutes of use before the cell is gone. The rate of drop off for my cells, measured experimentally, is a steady drop from 1.25 down to 1.1 over about 90% of the capacity. Then it drops to less than 1 volt in a matter of minutes and hits zero, or very close to it faster than my digital multimeter can keep up with. The moral of the story is that the voltage of the cell is not proportional to the state of charge and should NOT be used to determine when to do a charge, rather, rely on time used versus the capacity of the cell, or better yet, run 'em till they drop, and do an immediate recharge. This is the way to keep up the capacity of the cell and avoid the memory effect I discussed earlier. Periodically, more often is better, run the cells untill they can do no more, then charge for the recommended full charge at the rate given by the manufacturer. The cell will still "remember", but now it is "remember"ing that you took out 100%. Make sense? I hope so. On to bigger and better things. 2. Gel cells: information Gel cells are essentially like your car battery in that they are a lead-acid type of cell. The major differences are that they come in a smaller package, the electrolyte is "gelled" sort of like Jello, and the cells are not adversely affected by long idle times of many days without a recharge. The same care applies to charging gel cells as it does to NiCd cells. Overcharging them has the same result, subsequent heating and loss of electrolyte after full charge is reached. What is better, though, is that cell voltage is a fairly good indicator of the state of charge, the same way as it is in your car battery. The usual voltage is around 2.2 volts per cell. The voltage regulator in your car knows this, and reduces the charge rate put out by your generator to prevent boiling out the electrolyte. Think of the punishment you are putting your car battery through! You go to start your car, and that battery is called upon to deliver a few HUNDRED amps to the starter motor. Which, it does without too much complaint. Then your regulator senses the lower voltage, and jams current in as fast as the generator can put it out until the voltage is back up again. And, this goes on for YEARS! Now I do not recommend doing this type of thing with smaller gel cells, but the point is that they can take it and come back for more. Isn't it nice to know that there are thing like this that will forgive you? The only drawback is the weight. Lead is pretty heavy, after all. I use a 6v gel cell purchased at an electronics surplus place. Cost: $3.00 plus parts to plug it into the AC adapter connection. I use the AC adapter to charge it once a week or so, overnight. Actually, any adapter which puts out about 6v DC will do as long as the voltage is higher than the cell voltage. The AC adapter puts out a respectable 0.5 amps at about 7.5 volts. The other way to charge this type of cell is to use a regulated supply which has an adjustable voltage output. Set the voltage regulator to the full charge voltage, in my case, 6.6 volts, and it will start reducing the charge current as the voltage in the cell comes up to the full charge voltage. For the most part all automatically. Essentially, a "smart" car battery charger is doing the same to avoid overcharging in much the same manner. Gel cells are pretty rugged, but they can be hurt by overcharging. They can also deliver much the same current into a short as a car battery can, so beware! Discharging a gel cell, or any other type for that matter, into a short causes heating and subsequent vaporising of the electrolyte which raises internal cell pressure. If the relief valve in the cell fails, it can explode, big time! And take part of your body with it, and scatter acid all over your favorite computer hideout with all the bad things associated with corrosives!!! If a cell ever gets warm to the touch, it is about to do bad things. Adjust the charge current, or voltage so it is less. The idea is to have a few mils charge current when the gel cell is fully charged, about 5-10 is about all that is needed to keep the cell topped off and happy. 3. Portable power options: There are a number of ways that you can power your portable and not run your AA cells down. The easiest way is to make up a cable with a plug like the AC adapter on one end, and clip leads on the other. I did this and used the lantern battery in my flashlight at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Color code the clips so that the polarity and voltage is correct!!! The POSITIVE side of the battery goes to the OUTSIDE of the plug. The NEGATIVE side of the battery goes to the CENTER of the plug. The battery has to be at least 5 volts. A 6 volt lantern battery is just fine for this. Just plug it into the connector on the side where the AC adapter goes, and you have power to spare. There are devices commercially available that already do this using "D" cells in a holder, or rechargeable cells in a pack of some kind. The advantage is more power, but unfortunately, something else to carry around, which is why I used the battery in something I was already going to have along with me. Solar power: I have not tried this myself, but herewith is some info on solar cells and the Model 100. The current drain on your poor old AA cells at the worst case is about 150 milliamps. This occurs when driving the accoustic couplers. At all other times the drain is less, but it never drops to zero. That is why your Model 100 stays "alive" even when it is turned off. The only advice I have on this is that the cell rating must be larger than the worst case, and then it will work under most circumstances I can imagine, including a cloudy day. Silicon solar cells typically put out .45 volts per cell. Literally connect enough in series to get over 6 volts, get the polarity right and plug in your solar power the same way as I plugged in the lantern battery. Be careful of the cells, though, as most are built onto a glass substrate and are fragile. Put the cells behind the glass in a picture frame with a bit of rubber cement under each cell to hold it in place, and wa la! Put a rechargeable battery in parallel with the solar panel, and charge it at the same time, remember, the current rating of the cells will limit what you can actually do. If you do put a battery in parallel, you MUST put a diode in series with the panel to prevent damage to the solar cells from reverse power. The diode acts like a check valve in that it only allows current flow in one direction. You will have to add at least 1 more solar cell to the array to compensate for the voltage drop across the diode, which is typically around 0.5 volts when it is conducting. --------------------------------------------------------- | | | Model 100 battery solar panel | | | ----------------------------diode here------------------- Hopefully this diagram makes sense. CHECK POLARITY CAREFULLY!!!!! The Model 100 IS NOT protected against reverse polarity, and you will do your Model 100 in quicker than you can shake a stick!!!!! And it will be your fault, and you will have to pay RS an arm and a leg to fix it since it will be obvious to them how your machine died. All in all, there is one rule to remember on doing things, be careful. I have tried with this file to answer some of the questions which I have seen come up over and over again regarding the various options available on powering your portable computer from other than the internal batteries. Drop me a line and let me know of your experiences, and I will incorporate whatever I can into future revisions of this file, or maybe even another file all together. If you have any questions, let me know via the message board or by EMAIL. I am more than willing to help anyone over the rough spots. Ralph V. Getsla [74405,1177] And lastly The Atari Portfolio Bibliography: ATARI PORTFOLIO BIBLIOGRAPHY (26 November 1990) Walter Daniel CompuServe 75066,164 Here are a few articles and one book about the Atari Portfolio palmtop computer. If you know of any others, please leave me a message in the Atari Portfolio Forum on CompuServe (GO APORTFOLIO). In general, I will not include an article if it only briefly mentions the Portfolio. If there is sufficient interest, I will update this file from time to time. REVIEWS "A Good Thing in a Small Package?" Byte, August 1989, pp. 81-82 "$399 Atari Portfolio Takes on Hand-held Poqet PC," PC Magazine, December 26, 1989, p. 43 PALMTOPS (Portfolio, Sharp Wizard, Casio BOSS, etc.) "Small Wonders," PC World, December 1989, pp. 196-199 "Palmtops: Tiny Containers for All Your Desktop Data," PC Magazine, March 13, 1990, pp. 218-222 PC Week, November 5, 1990 issue? (canUt find this issue in the library!) GENERAL "THandyU Takes on a Whole New Meaning," CompuServe Magazine, August 1990, pp. 24-25 "Our Man in Moscow," Byte, August 1990, pp. 65-74 (in his column, Jerry Pournelle describes a reporterUs use of his Portfolio in Moscow) BOOK "The Complete Guide to the Atari Portfolio," Michael Mueller, Abacus, 1989 This paperback book (about $15) essentially covers the same material thatUs in the manual, but with a bit more depth and different examples. If you canUt find this in your local store, Abacus is at (616) 698-0330 with a toll-free order line of 1-800-451-4319. s 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.