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NEC PC820la

Owner: Tom Copper
Location: Roxboro, NC

Tom Copper's Comments:

In 1983 Kyoto Ceramics, Kyocera, started manufacture of a series of light weight battery powered computers based on a CMOS microprocessor called the 8Oc85. There were eight variations produced under four brand names. Seven were built by Kyocera, including the Tandy 100, and one by NEC, the PC820la/PC8300.

All eight variants shared certain features:

  • Powered by 4 AA batteries or an optional 6 volt AC adapter.
  • Screen display 40 characters wide and 8 lines long on an LCD screen.
  • Size of a 3 ring notebook.
  • Text Editor (TEXT), BASIC programming language (BASIC), and telecommunications (TELCOM) software permanently in ROM.
  • Ability to take programs on an optional ROM socket.
  • Full size keyboard.
  • Minimum of 8K RAM installed for programs and files. (Most had more)
  • Weight under 5 pounds.
  • Could save and load programs and data from a cassette recorder with a special cable.
  • Simple text based point and shoot interface. Sort of a text Macintosh.

In addition... the NEC PC8201a had:

  • 16K RAM installed, expandable to 2 banks of 32K each. (This one has 32K)
  • Internal 300 baud modem.
  • Redefinable screen character set.
  • Could take memory cartridges up to 128K in a special expansion slot.
  • Video monitor interface available.
  • Portable disk drive available.
  • Portable printer available.
  • Standard telephone connection for modem

The Kyocera KC85, Tandy 100/ 102/200 and Olivetti were all produced by Kyocera as the NEC PC820la/8300 were produced by NEC. Tandy had the best distribution network and probably the most common, where the NEC is seldom encountered, probably due to its limited production and availability.

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