[Specs] [Compact Flash] [Mobile Phones] [Software] [Mailing-List] [Utilities] [Links]

Sven Utcke's Sharp PC-3100

The Sharp PC-3100 is the bigger cousin (2Mb instead of just 1Mb) of the PC-3000, a HPC from 1991.

[Specs] [Compact Flash] [Mobile Phones] [Software] [Mailing-List] [Utilities] [Links]


Size: 22cm x 11cm x 2.5cm (approx. 2/3 A5 footprint) at 480g.
Screen: 17cm x 6.6cm (7.2") supertwist LCD-display, CGA (640 x 200).
Keyboard: 14.7mm pitch (yes, this is small! Your keyboard at home is 19mm).
Processor: 80C88A at 10MHz, a low-power version of the 8088.
Memory: 2Mb combined system RAM and RAM-disk.
Bios: DIP 80C88A BIOS Version 1.010 from 1991

Two Type I slot (although a Type II card can be inserted. extracting it again is a different story though :-). Unfortunately only rel. 1.0, which doesn't support I/O (the standard, that is, not the slot, which well might...). This has so far been reported as supporting only up to 4Mb of SRAM (as tested by Bernd Birkenbach - has anybody seen bigger cards?) or up to 10Mb of flash-RAM from one particular series only: SunDisk (now Sandisk) SDP5, a 5V card, using a particular set of drivers from DIP. I tried this with a SunDisk SDP5B-6 card and indeed had no success.

However, I have succefully used a SDCFB-16-485 CompactFlash Card from SanDisk together with a noname CF to PCMCIA adaptor. I now have nearly 16MB of additional disk-space on this machine! See below for the actual steps involved.

[Specs] [Compact Flash] [Mobile Phones] [Software] [Mailing-List] [Utilities] [Links]

CompactFlash on the PC3100

Note: Not all CompactFlash-cards will work in the Sharp. In particular, I do not think that any 3.3V card could ever work. However, most 5V cards below 32MB should now work. I do not know if there are any dual-voltage cards, and if so, whether they would work, but I suspect they should.

  1. I installed the drivers out of sundrv.zip. Don't know whether this is actually necessary, but it is what I did.
  2. I got myself a CompactFlash to PCMCIA adapter. Mine is a noname one, made in Taiwan, no useful markings. I bought mine at Conrad, if you happen to be German. It is a tight fit, and can only be removed with the aid of a pair of pliers, but it does fit.
  3. I inserted the CF-card into the adapter.
  4. I rebooted. With the first card (8MB) the computer would report an invalid card in drive B while booting. This did not happen with the 16MB card. However, both cards could be formated and used just fine (and the computer would not report an invalid card once I formated it).
  5. I ran "sdisk b:"
  6. I ran "sformat b:"
  7. Success!

The CF-card is a SanDisk CompactFlash Memory Card. The blisters says something about SDCFB-16-485, and a second number, 80-56-00071-16. No further information as to voltage or linear/ata. My Linux machine identifies this as:

      Mar 27 19:21:54 ramallo kernel: hdc: SanDisk SDCFB-16, 15MB w/1kB Cache, CHS=490/2/32
      Mar 27 19:21:54 ramallo kernel: ide_cs: hdc: Vcc = 5.0, Vpp = 0.0

Contrast this with the output for some other card, which does not work:

      May 31 19:53:22 frieda kernel: hde: Hitachi CV 7.2.2, 7MB w/1kB Cache, CHS=246/2/32
      May 31 19:53:22 frieda kernel: ide_cs: hde: Vcc = 3.3, Vpp = 0.0

By now some others and I have tried some more cards:

Manufacturer Number Cap. Reseller Works
SanDisk - 8 Conrad sundrv
SanDisk SDCFB-16-485 16 Conrad 992615-43 sundrv
Canon FC-16M 16 - sundrv Made by Sandisk
SanDisk SDCFB-32-455 32 flashmemory.com sundrv (Chrismeister)
SanDisk SDCFB-32-485 32 Conrad 992640-43 sundrv
SanDisk SDCFB-32-829 32 - sundrv (James Deakins)
Okano Apacer CF32MB 32 - sundrv + dipssdp1.sys (Thomas Müller)
Lead Data032N12Y TAIWAN32 Jaycar Electronics sundrv + dipssdp1.sys (Glenn Sneddon)
SanDisk SDP3B - - no success (Mark Gardiner). PCMCIA
SanDisk SDP5B-6 6 - no success (broken card?). PCMCIA
Hitachi - 8 - no success (Thomas Müller)
Hitachi CV 7.2.2 8 - no success (3.3V)
Toshiba ATA Flash 10 - no success (Mark Gardiner)
Medion (HP) - 32 Aldi Nord Only use SUNDISK cards with SDISK
SanDisk SDCFB-48-485 48 Conrad Write Protect Error

I also tried SmartMedia, but was told by sdisk and sformat to only use sundisk-products. Nice touch :-) However, this message, at least, should disappear with Thomas Müller's modified driver described below. Anybody cares to give it a try?

05/2001: Thomas Müller has modified the driver dipssdp.sys to work with (at least some) non-SunDisk cards too. His modified flash-disk driver is named dipssdp1.sys and can be found here. In oder to install this you will also need the original drivers from sundrv.zip. Unpack the file sundrv.zip and run sinstall.bat. This will install the three files dipssdp.sys, sdisk.exe and sformat.exe. You then replace dipssdp.sys with Thomas Müller's modified driver (either rename his driver to dipssdp.sys, or change the config.sys). Once you have rebooted the computer you should be able to use most 5V CF-cards up to 32MB. You need to run

      sdisk a:
      sformat a:

(assuming that the card is in drive a:, the right hand drive - otherwise use b:) in order to prepare a card for use in the Sharp.

03/2001: There have been questions how to read and write the CF-cards outside the Sharp. With a Laptop running Linux, the following works:

  1. Insert the card into the PCMCIA-slot - something like the following should appear in /var/log/messages:
    Mar  5 22:32:22 ramallo cardmgr[595]: initializing socket 0
    Mar  5 22:32:22 ramallo cardmgr[595]: socket 0: ATA/IDE Fixed Disk
    Mar  5 22:32:22 ramallo cardmgr[595]: executing: 'insmod /lib/modules/2.0.36/pcmcia/ide_cs.o'
    Mar  5 22:32:23 ramallo kernel: hdc: SanDisk SDCFB-16, 15MB w/1kB Cache, CHS=490/2/32
    Mar  5 22:32:23 ramallo kernel: ide1 at 0x100-0x107,0x10e on irq 10
    Mar  5 22:32:23 ramallo kernel:  hdc: hdc1
    Mar  5 22:32:23 ramallo kernel: ide_cs: hdc: Vcc = 5.0, Vpp = 0.0
    Mar  5 22:32:23 ramallo cardmgr[595]: executing: './ide start hdc'
    Mar  5 22:32:24 ramallo kernel: VFS: Disk change detected on device 16:00
    Mar  5 22:32:24 ramallo kernel:  hdc: hdc1
    Mar  5 22:32:24 ramallo kernel: hdc: drive_cmd: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
    Mar  5 22:32:24 ramallo kernel: hdc: drive_cmd: error=0x04 { DriveStatusError }
    Mar  5 22:32:25 ramallo kernel: hdc: drive_cmd: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
    Mar  5 22:32:25 ramallo kernel: hdc: drive_cmd: error=0x04 { DriveStatusError }
    Anybody knows why the error-messages?
  2. Mount the disk as follows (you might need to be root to do so):
    mount /dev/hdc1 /mnt/
    Alternatively you could create an entry in /etc/fstab similar to the following (untested):
    /dev/hdc1  /cf  auto  noauto,user 0  0
    which would allow anybody to mount to /cf - provided the directory exists. It should even be possible to set up the aoutomounter to take care of this...
  3. Use just like any other mounted partition...
  4. Don't forget to umount after use.

I would be interested to know which cards worked successfully, so that I can improve on the table above. Please mail me the manufacturer, number, capacity and reseller of any card you tried, an whether it works with the normal driver, the modified driver or not at all.

[Specs] [Compact Flash] [Mobile Phones] [Software] [Mailing-List] [Utilities] [Links]

Mobile Phones and the PC3100

Ok, I'll admit it, this is probably a misnomer, as the only phone I tried is the Siemens S25. But that one works! So what did I do? First I connected the phone and the Sharp using a self-made cable. Instructions for these abound on the net, but basically there are just two different types of cables:

  1. A Sharp-powered, MAX232 based solution. Pavel Fejtek developed one such solution.
  2. A phone-powered, MAX3232 based solution. Daniel Hertrich gives one solution, Marc Rünger gives an even simpler one.

I used the former, as a friend provided it to me, but I believe that the latter would be preferable (so as not to reduce the scarce battery life of the sharp).

Next you need to make sure that the Sharp's serial port is switched on and that the Sharp is running full out (at 10MHz), and without power-save mode. I use PM.EXE to achive this, it is part of the archive 3000util.zip on the PC3K ftp-site.

Next you need software. I used nettamer for my first tries. The good thing about nettamer is that it is really an integrated environment, combining everything you need (email, ftp, telnet, even an HTML-browser, although this is ridiculously slow over a mobile phone, and with a machine as slow as the Sharp). The bad thing about it is that it does not include an ssh-client, which, together with email, is all I really need.

Nettamer is shareware, and although I believe that its author, David Colston, has all but abandoned it I still think you should register - I did. BTW, both the Palmtop as well as the XT-version work, but the colour defaults on the XT-version are hideous (I only say blinking!).

Next you need to configure your software. The parallel port is com1:, the speed has to be set to 19200Bit/s, and a good initialization-string for the phone is AT+CBST=71,0,1, which aparently switches the phone to 9600Bit/s ISDN. Even better might be


which loads the factory defaults (&F) and sets "On DTR ON to OFF" (&D2), which seems to be the factory-default anyway. Daniel Hertrich suggests ATB29 as init-string instead (which will set the connection to 9600Bit/s asynchronous V.110 ISDN) and ATDI as the dial-prefix (which makes an ISDN-call). If your communications-program asks you, you might also want to set 8 Data-Bits, No parity, 1 Stop-Bit.

Finally you need to set the phone to accept data-transmissions (I assume). I simply enabled everything in the phones menue 8-2...

Once all this is set up, all you need is an internet service provider. My phone contract is with O2 (formerly VIAG Interkom), so I'm currently using their service:

        Tel:      464638
        login:    go@mobil.de
        password: internet

However, there are almost certainly cheaper services around.

A final note: I found that for the connection to be at all reliable, at least 4 out of the 5 signal-strength indicators need to show --- with only 3 the connection terminates nearly immediately...

Further Information

[19. Mar 2002] Leo Arendsen mailed me pointer to the following links:
Sharp PC3000 controls Ericsson A1018s (in English)
Combination of the PC3000 with a GSM mobile phone.
Comparison chart of AT+C commands of GSM devices (in English)
Additional GSM-specific info for many different phones.
[21. Mar 2002] I tried dosppp (PPPD for DOS 0.6 beta) by Antonio Lopez Molero. However, this aparrently doesn't work with VIAG's own internet provider; the server requests <auth chap md5>, which the packet-driver apparently doesn't understand (NOTE: There is a different zip-file CHAPSUPP.ZIP in the distribution which apparently replaces the drivers by slightly bigger - between 3K and 6K - CHAP-enabled ones). So I used the following instead:
        Tel:      +494022619899
        login:    freesurf@internet-ortstarif.de
        password: xxl   
as found on the pages of Internet-Ortstarif (however, this then doesn't work with nettamer. Oh well...). I can then open a connection if I use the option "local" with epppd, rather than "modem" (as the connector between phone and computer does not have any of the necessary control lines). However, whether I can actually use this connection for anything usefull I haven't tried yet...

[later...] I also installed the Waterloo TCP Utilities, and tcpinfo and ping work.

[2. April 2002] Nagy Daniel was so nice to compile a new version (0.91) of SSHDOS which works with the PC3K too (although it still doesn't work with the Poqet PC Plus - mystery...). It's not exactly fast, but certainly useable - and that's probably more than could have been expected from a 10MHz 80C88 and a 9600bit/s modem. This sits on top of the Waterloo TCP/IP stack, so you need to install dosppp (or something similar) too.

Open questions

[Specs] [Compact Flash] [Mobile Phones] [Software] [Mailing-List] [Utilities] [Links]


under construction!

In this section I describe the software I use on (and, to a much lesser extend, also some little utilities I wrote for) the Sharp PC3100.

kbdtsr.com & kbdctl.exe
Granted, most software compatible with DOS 3.3 and the 8086 architecture will run on the Sharp PC3100, but many of them turn out to be power hogs (they are written in such a way that the Sharp's idle-detection fails). The above tool (the two progamms belong to each other) can help to remedy the situation.
Turbo C 2.01
I'm really a UNIX-man at heart. Sure, I used DOS in the late 80s and early 90s, and, after all, it is what is installed on the Sharp PC3100, but I would rather use UNIX. Well, there's no UNIX for the Sharp (discounting ELKS, which really isn't an option), but there are unix like tools. And one of them I hacked together myself, a man-lookalike.

given a command man xxx it looks into all the directories given in the environment variables %PATH% and %MANPATH% for a file named either xxx.man or xxx.doc and, if found, displays that file's contents using the %PAGER% spcified by that variable, or more if none was given.

In addition, I also wrote a couple of man-pages for some of the utilities that come with the Sharp. Here are the files:
addr.man diary.man off.man password.man reboot.man setup.man
or, if you would prefer everything wrapped into one:
And yes, you're right, man.man is currently missing (but try man.bat > man.man)...

[Specs] [Compact Flash] [Mobile Phones] [Software] [Mailing-List] [Utilities] [Links]


Since the original mailinglist seems to have died I have restarted a replacement mailing-lists. Send mail to
with a line similar to
subscribe sharp-pc3k your@address
in order to subscribe. Please note:
  1. Subscriptions to this list are managed by hand and might take a short while.
  2. I can not subscribe users of (at least) bigfoot.com, juno.com, or email.com. These providers have decided to ban mails from uni-hamburg.de, thereby stopping approx. 60000 staff and students from reaching you. They will not talk to me about this either, but mayby they might listen to you?
As of Oct. 21st, 1:00 PM EST there are 50 people subscribed to sharp-pc3k. An archive of both the mailinglist sharp-pc3k@kogs.informatik.uni-hamburg.de as well as the original mailinglist at sharp-pc3k@ucl.ac.uk can be found here.

[Specs] [Compact Flash] [Mobile Phones] [Software] [Mailing-List] [Utilities] [Links]


User Manual

Dutch Version

The Dutch division of Sharp gave Leo Arendsen permission to publish the Dutch User Manual for the Sharp PC 3000 on his site. He has put it up as PDF in 5 parts which were compressed using zip:
  1. 1captured.zip  (Dutch)
  2. 2captured.zip  (Dutch)
  3. 3captured.zip  (Dutch)
  4. 4captured.zip  (Dutch)
  5. 5captured.zip  (Dutch)
(also have a look at the links section for his page on the PC 3000 and the Ericsson A1018s mobile phone).

German Version

Danny Drabik has agreed to scan in the German User Manual. So far he has scanned in the first 6 Chapters. I originally intended to run these through LaTeX to produce proper pdf, but it's not clear when I'll find the time to actually do so, so for the time being you can download the fruit of his work as zipped text plus images.
  1. kapitel1.zip  (German)
  2. kapitel2.zip  (German)
  3. kapitel3.zip  (German)
  4. kapitel4.zip  (German)
  5. kapitel5.zip  (German)
  6. kapitel6.zip  (German)
  7. kapitel7.zip  (German) (new)16.12.02
  8. kapitel8.zip  (German) (new)16.12.02
  9. kapitel9.zip  (German) (new)16.12.02

English Version

Billy Joe Hemphill scanned in the English version of the manual, resulting in a 15MB PDF file (at 300DPI). He also ran everything through OCR, coming up to 6.5MB. Currently everything is in two files (one for the scanned, one for the ocr-version), but I'll split it up into individual pages once I find the time for that.
  1. pc3km-en.pdf (English) 15MB - this takes approx. 1 hour with a modem!
  2. pc3km-en-ocr.pdf.gz (English) 3.5MB OCR version, compressed with gzip (WinZIP can uncompress this).
  3. pc3km-en-ocr.pdf.bz2 (English) 3MB OCR version, compressed with bzip2.

Service Manual

Adam Roman has scanned in the service manual for the pc3k. Four different versions are currently available:

  1. pc3ksm.pdf.gz (English): This 43MB (!) file contains the entire service-manual as a series of high-resolution bitmaps. Only use with a sufficiently fast connection - this would take approximately two hours with a modem!
  2. pc3ksm.djvu (English): This 15MB file contains exactly the same as the PDF file above, but compressed using the vastly superior DjVu algorithm, a viewer for which can be downloaded at http://www.djvuzone.org/download for Windows, MacOS and Unix (source).
  3. pc3ksm??.png (English): 84 individual files, 10MB altogether, containing low resolution versions of the individual pages in Portable Network Graphic format.
  4. pc3ksms.pdf (English): This 16MB file containes all the png-files above put into one pdf-file.
  5. The same as above, but split into the individual chapters:
    1. Outline of the PC-3000 (English) (1.8MB)
    2. Disassembly and assembly (English) (0.2MB)
    3. System block diagram (English) (0.3MB)
    4. Hardware description (English) (2.5MB)
    5. LCD (English) (0.5MB)
    6. Power supply circuit (English) (0.7MB)
    7. Keyboard (English) (0.3MB)
    8. 3.5 inch FDD unit (CE-301F (English) (1MB)
    9. Description of LSI's (English) (2.2MB)
    10. Diagnostic (English) (0.4MB)
    11. Options (English) (0.2MB)
    12. Circuit Diagrams and PWB layout (English) (2.3MB)

If anybody has the time and opportunity to convert one or more pages to text (using OCR, or, of course, just plain typing :-) I am sure this would be more than welcome. Please contact me so that I can synchronise all such efforts. We could then provide people with a higher-quality pdf-file (created, e.g., using LaTeX - unless we find somebody who would manage this using Word) as well as an html-version.

Technical Reference Manual (new)16.12.02

Bernd Birkenbach has scanned in the Technical Reference Manual. This comes as a three-part PDF version (at 150DPI) - as always, conversion into text would be most welcome. He also created a much smaller DjVu-File at 300DPI - a viewer for DjVu-files can be downloaded at http://www.djvuzone.org/download for Windows, MacOS and Unix (source).

[Specs] [Compact Flash] [Mobile Phones] [Software] [Mailing-List] [Utilities] [Links]


Sites dedicated to the PC-3100 (or it's smaller cousin, the PC-3000)

The HIEROGLYPH Home Pages - PC3000 (in English)
This guy has done incredible things with his Sharp PC-3100, running Windows 3.0 with WinWord 1.1a and Excel 2.1 among other things, and using a 10Mb Sundisk flash card (although the sharp is reported to only support up to 2Mb), and even using SCSI
Sharp PC3100 Palmtop Computers Eric Lindsay (in English)
The Sharp PC-3100 is one of many palmtops Eric has owned, and he gives a rather extensive description of its pro's and con's. He also quotes a rumour that one could use a 5MB HP flashcard.
FTP area for Sharp PC-3x00 related files (in English)
Lots of usefull files and info, including the FAQ.
Smaller FTP-area for the PC3K (in English)
Some more files and info.
Smaller FTP-area for the PC3K (in English)
Some more files and info (mostly same as above).
The FAQ, converted to HTML by James Arthur.
Stewart Midwinter's Sharp PC-3k page (in English)
Pictures of the PC3k as well as a mini-FAQ and FAQ, links to other pages and a version of Minix for the PC3k!
Sharp PC3000 controls Ericsson A1018s (in English)
Combination of the PC3000 with a GSM mobile phone.
Underwood Distributing Co. (in English)
These apparently sell the Sharp PC 3000 for US$ 199.-- (which I find much to expensive).
Marketron Notebooksplus (in English)
These apparently sell the Sharp PC 3000 for US$ 119.-- (much more sensible, but in my opinion still too expensive).
Small but weird little PC3K web site
Small but weird little PC3K web site. (new)16.12.02

Sites that mention the PC-3100 (or it's smaller cousin, the PC-3000)

[Any Browser] [FrameFree] [Bobby approved] [Valid HTML 3.2!]

last modified: 16-Jan-2004
Sven Utcke