I set out to document my work on the PC3100 (the 2Mb model) for, believe or not, the actual original developers of the PC3000 - DIP..! Yes, they were close to home and I had some good service from them. They were totally 'blown' when I told them what I had done with their baby and asked for full details.
At the time I was looking for help in getting my PC3100 to boot DOS 6.22 from my 2Mb SRAM card but, there is a format mismatch between the PC3k BIOS format and the necessary DOS 6.22 format. Perhaps formating the SRAM card on a DOS 6.x as a /SYS disk on a Laptop might solve the problem? Anyway, DIP desperately regretted SHARP not continuing investment in this machine as up until the end, they could sell every one they had. But, we users live on and these machines change hands at a fair rate - mainly because users try to run them with the minimum equipment spec and as we know, it can bite back!!
I have a very stable setup. Everything is backed up and safeguarded, and extra memory allows you to *instantly* reconfigure from a reset and, it is still small enough to be classed as Pocketable!
Windows 3 on the PC3000
I've successfully installed Windows 3.0 (running in real mode with a mouse) on my Sharp PC3100 palmtop. It's an insight to how things could be working with a GUI on the PC3000 and indeed the HP LX range. It actually runs very well considering...! The icons have to be carefully chosen as does the colour schemes. I have Word for Windows 1.1a running under this too! It runs a little sluggishly but does make use of the EMS so I give it as much as possible. It imports from later versions of Word without problem, saved as either Word for Win 1.x or 2 and using the WW2CNV.EXE convertor. They of course cross back the same OK. HTML pages and Excel Worksheet pages transfer as do many graphics. Only the cell shading patterns are unrecognised as WfW 1 does not have this facility, but there are add-ons for this.
I Have also got Excel 2.1 working similarly under this setup too. I can also just find enough memory to DLL between Winword and Excel, but it is tight. Still, even MS don't think it possible on anything lower than a 286!! All the DOS apps can be launched from Program Manager from icons and revert back when closed.
I set out to install Win 3.0 after I had installed a Sundisk 10Mb Flash card which I Stac'd to 20Mb. I have a 2Mb SRAM also for drivers etc. This allows me to release EMS from the E: ram drive and as I have the PC3100, I can Stac E: to get some of the lost storage back. Unfortunately Windows pre W95 does not provide for much memory management and even with a potential 2Mb of RAM (640 + 1340EMS) its not easy running in REAL mode. However this avenue hasn't been exhausted yet and I'm always hunting around for old Win 3.0 utils and FAQ files in some shareware libraries. Any suggestions here welcome!!!
I have a full installation which takes up about 6Mb but you can reduce this to a minimum of just 600K! -Windows on a floppy!!
I only really set out to investigate how useful it could be and didn't plan to use it for all of my everyday activities, but I tend to use it more now WfW 1.x is available. Although the screen is small, it can be navigated very quickly and easily with keyboard commands but you need a mouse for realistic control of Paintbrush. A mouse though then hogs Com 1, so a compromise if you want to use the modem with Terminal or Winfax 1.0 too.
I also am into MIDI and there are some MIDI apps that run OK, 'Midi100' being one - this is useful for remapping midi files and works well with my MT32 amoungst others.
Of course the Windows applet 'WRITE' is useful for creating, quick, semi formatted Win text and importing into Win 3.1x/95 and I have an ASCII app that works the same as Windows' Charmap. Overall it gave me an enormous thrill each time I loaded Windows up on my palmtop to see an emulation of a workplace desktop machine! I'm sure that there is much more that can be accomplished niw though, except for use of modern Compact Flash disks. Remember though, DOS has a 32Mb partition limit.
"Yeah, but what about WinCE/Palm etc" you might ask... Well, I paid £100 for my Palmtop late '94 nearly 3 years before WinCE limped onto the stage and have had the benefit of it for nearly 10 years... not a bad return!
Upper Memory Use
By using QRAM I can get a configuration that provides 704Kb of DOS. With this and sparing allocations of both Files and Buffers (say 5 & 10) I can get a reported 385Kb after both Win 3.0 and Program Manager are loaded. You can get 3Kb more by setting 0 file 1 Buffer(!!) and the system is not noticeably handicapped at this level!!. However a small shareware app called USE!UMBS (v.2) claims to utilise UMB on an XT chip PC but DOS 5.0+ needs to be running. You can boot DOS 5+ off the Sharp PC3000 floppy but not any floppy that runs from a port and needs drivers loaded first. Booting from an SRAM card is a potential option but there are some problems with the Sharp BIOS. Still to be thoroughly explored.
SCSI on the PC3000 (CD ROM and
An early active member of the PC3k mailing list reported success at establishing a SCSI connection so as to be able to read CD ROM drives primarily for use with hisMIDI setup. SCSI also allows greater use of the IOMEGA ZIP Drive. His setup was listed as: Adaptec - Trantor MiniSCSI Plus T348 (parallel-SCSI) Nec 3xp, CD ROM and Zip Drive. Full details are available in a FAQ on the PC3k FTP site. See below for details. There is a Driver offered commercially for the Iomega Zip drive but a demo which is limited in download file size is available.
MIDI on the PC3000
Yes you can MIDI sequence too. The Music Quest Note 1+ external MIDI interface is also reported to run off the parallel port. Cakewalk 4.0eDOS supports this and runs well on the PC3000.
WWW Browsers for the PC3000
Nettamer is the perfect partner for this machine. It WWW text browses and even a provides a small amount of forms capability so Yahoo and Altavista are useable. If you have a POP3 mail service then it will handle all your Email. Telnet, FTP and News are also handled very well. It is under constant development and the developer (David Colston) can be reached at:email@example.com
download the app from http://www.nettamer.net visit the newsgroup: alt.comp.shareware.nettamer
I have had a brief flirtation with a graphical DOS browser called Arachne. Coded by a Chezch developer, Michael Polak, it offers a graphical interface and use of built-in fonts. I found it to be memory hungry but did get connections on numerous instances. The code is not as tight as it could be and even later versions has bugs that were equally apparent when running on a fully spec'd Pentium laptop. Sadly, this type of browsing seems out of the realms of pre 286 DOS machines, although users of HP's 100 and 200 LX units can run WWW/LX. I had a conversation with the developers of this a while back and apparently any DOS machine can run this, but you need LXPIC and a further utility called PALRUN running also. This and more details are available from: http://www.palmtop.net
Compuserve on the PC3000
Cserve's DOSCim will run well. It can be customised to save disk space. I still use it for picking up my Email when abroad as Compuserve allow access from various international Hubs. You can also access a form of Telnet but sadly, can no longer access information from the numerous Forums due to their change of access in 2004.
FAXing on the PC3000
There are many DOS fax apps arround and some (like Procomm) can be frugal in their disk space resources. I use Bitfax 3.9 as it offers graphics capability. It can run from the DOS line and answer remotely and send to a schedule. Strangely enough, Windows 3.0 Terminal app works well for general comms duties and can be set to 19,200 bps. Connection to Compuserve is faster this way than through DOSCim. WinFax 1.0 runs too, but not always as you would expect - but then WinFax never does whatever version!!
Graphics on the PC3000
All this 'multimedia' is no good without viewing what you're downloading... Graphics Workshop is an excellent app to have around as it can convert to so many formats. It dithers so that you can view on the PC3000. It makes use of Disk space and EMS to complete intensive tasks. Not as quick as would be seen on a P5 but you get there in the end.... For a quick view, LXPIC works very well and is small enough -16k - to have residing on your machine permanently.
Word Processing on the PC3000
The well laid out keyboard of the PC3000 has stood it out from the HPs. So it is ideal for WP. I favour WordPerfect 5.1 as I used it extensively under a Xenix network (still do in fact!). Once you've grasped the codes it's fine and you can output to a wide range of printers. WP5.1 also has many hidden qualities such as graphics handling, borders, forms and a 123 compatible spreadsheet function. Spell and Thesaurus are good if you have the room. Also, nearly ALL WPs have a WP5.1 filter - Word 6x/7 especially and the files convert well (also Word for Windows see above).
External Devices and Connectivity
Appart from those I've mentioned, Parallel port Floppy Disk Drives are a must if you have limited access to a PC - as I had when I first got the PC3000. For DOS files and apps, floppies are still a good storage medium. However, I have on occasions used an extended floppy formatter - FDFormat - that returns 1.8Kb safely on a standard 1.44HD disk and have even Stac'd this higher and retained file integrity. Sensibly, 'Stacking' like this provides 2.7Mb for .exe/.com files but of course, much more with straight .txt files.
Being an avid ATARI ST user initially, I can even exchange files/data between the PC3000 using a Null (Laplink) modem cable and my ST via a useful ATARI app called 'Ghostlink'. Sluggish, but another method of getting data to the PC3000 should my external floppy fail.
Although Laplink is on ROM on the PC3000, some modern PCs have difficulty talking at the lower speeds of the PC3000. However, I do not have trouble with the PC3000 Laplink and a Pentium rated W95/98 laptop. You *must* ensure that MODE.COM is native in the root directory of the 'Remote' PC (the PC3000 being the 'Host') along with a copy of the PC3000's Laplink.exe file. Also, boot the W95 or other 'Remote' PC in MS DOS Mode, load Laplink on the PC3000 and then run 'laplink' on the connected 'Remote' PC and away you go.
Should this not work then MS Interlink grabbed from a later version of DOS works in 9 out of 10 cases with greater ease of setup once you know the score. A quick 'how to' .txt file is available on request.
A DOS shareware app called MACSEE will allow you to read and write Mac formatted disks - if you have the floppy drive of course.
The PC3k Mailing List/FTP Site
The list was received by members from all over the world and although long gone, there may still be archives avaialble to reference - so do a thorough GOOGLE!
Also check out and ask questions at the comp.sys.palmtops newsgroup. PC3000 users are still hanging around here (perhaps in the background more now though...!)
Sadly the old FTP site has now gone - it was at: ftp://hawk.psychol.ucl.ac.uk/pub/sharp-pc3k
All of the applications I have outlined here (save SCSI) I can have permanently loaded and ready to run on my PC3100. Use of PKzip and the real time .exe compression utility DIET help keep storage requirements to a minimum. I have about 4Mb spare for my workspace (with WfW 1.x cut-down Excel and Win 3.0 loaded too), a little overflow space on E: of about 900Kb and 200Kb on the unStack'd 2Mb SRAM card - for any future 'essential' drivers.
I have enjoyed customising my PC3100 and am proud of my system. A little careful investment has meant that I have been able to achieve a great deal and understand PC technology far better. In fact, the PC3100 was my very first PC - even the office at work was void of PC's opting for a XENIX network of all things right up to 1998!
More PC3000 facts... From: Mark Gardiner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Useful sources of shareware files are:
...and if you know the name or part of it but can't find it amongst the shareware sites, try searching the FTP sites from:
(I have some spares available for sale - MAY 2011)
SOME LINKS VOID NOW - But use of GOOGLE will
reveal many of the items mentioned here UPDATED MAY 2011