HP Palmtops 100LX / 200LX - Technical information

Archived 2013-12-08
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HP Palmtops 100LX / 200LX - Technical information

Contents of this page:

General information about the palmtop HP 200LX:

The palmtop Hewlett Packard 200LX is the successor of the very famous 95LX and 100LX palmtops. Project names at HP were "Cougar" for the 100LX and "Felix" for the 200LX.


The 100LX has been introduced in May 1993 with 1MB RAM, the 2MB version followed in February 1994.



The 100LX and 200LX machines have an Intel 80186 CPU, running at a speed of almost 7.91 MHz (upgradeable to 15,8 MHz), 640 kB System RAM, the remaining space on the internal RAM chips is used as a RAM disk. For all the possible memory configurations, see below.


The 100LX/200LX has a CGA compatible graphics adapter with 640 * 200 pixels, the screen has 4 different gray shades in CGA mode. Text mode is the standard 80*25 characters mode at either black and white or color, colors are mapped to the 4 gray shades, the way of mapping is adjustable.


They have a PCMCIA 2.0 type II slot, which can take memory or I/O cards, such as modern flash or compact flash cards up to several hundered Megabytes, modems or network cards. However, the maximum current draw allowed for a PCMCIA card is limited to 150mA at 5V, so many network cards and modems don´t work. The IBM Microdrive and comparable products (including the Iomega Clik) are also too power-hungry.


For communications, the palmtop has a wired serial port and an Infrared port. The wired port is a full-featured RS232-C port. The infrared port is not an IrDA port, but it is the good old HP-SIR. However, there are ways to make the IR port IrDA-compliant for several purposes. Read this page.


The palmtop runs on two AA cells, and you gan get up to about 35 hours of usage from two fresh Alkalines or Lithium AAs. If you prefer to use NiCads or NiMHs, the palmtop supports charging the cells when connected to an AC adapter. A backup battery (Lithium, CR2032) takes care of your data in case the main batteries fail.


Following software comes with 200LX in its ROM: MS-DOS 5.0, the usual PIM applications (but really good ones!), a file manager, Lotus 1-2-3 portable, Pocket Quicken, a scientific calculator, a simple word processor, a very powerful database application, a note taker, a few games, Laplink Remote Access, a terminal emulation....
The 100LX has basically the same software equipment, but older versions, and some programs are missing, e.g. Pocket Quicken.


And due to the MS-DOS compatibility, the 100LX/200LX is expandable by many, many MS-DOS programs. The biggest HP palmtop software archive is the S.U.P.E.R. archive on www.hp200lx.net.


Click here to view the HP 100LX FAQ page


Click here to view the HP 200LX FAQ page


Information and pictures of memory configurations of upgraded and stock 200LX machines

The HP 100LX and 200LX can have different memory configurations. The table below gives an overview of (almost) all possible configurations. Factory default means, that the machines are sold by HP with that configuration, upgraded means, that the machines can be upgraded by third parties to that configuration (Times2Tech or Rundel Datentechnik for example), no means that such a configuration is not possible and theoretically possible means, that no third party sells such an upgrade, but that it would be technically possible to create such a configuration.


Note that the total amount of memory is always shared between storage memory and system RAM. System RAM can be up to about 640 kB, which would for example result in 1.4 MB C: drive space on a 2 MB machine.


The upgrades from 32 MB up to 96 MB even create one or two more logical DOS drives on your palmtop, because in order to handle them, additional address lines must be used which are not used for RAM drives by default. The necessary lines from the CPU to the memory board are established by thin wires (see below) and a driver is loaded, which enables these address lines and lets you use the additional RAM as addidtional DOS drives. So, on most upgraded palmtops, the 32 / 64 MB drive has the drive letter F: (which can be swapped with C: by an additional little program). The 96 MB upgrade can result in either one or two additional drive(s), depending on the motherboard layout. In case of two additional drives, these are splitted into one 32 MB and one 64 MB drive.


Total memory Motherboard mem Doughterboard mem Daughterboard socket installed 100LX 200LX comments
1 MB 1 MB - never (?) factory default factory default -
2 MB 1 MB 1 MB yes factory default
or upgraded
factory default
or upgraded
this configuration (1MB+1MB) usually only serial numbers below SG60...
2 MB 2 MB - usually not no factory default this configuration (2MB on mainboard) usually only serial numbers above SG60...
3 MB 1 MB 2 MB yes theoretically possible upgraded -
3 MB 2 MB 1 MB yes no upgraded -
4 MB 2 MB 2 MB yes no factory default (only later models)
or upgraded
5 MB 1 MB 4 MB yes theoretically possible upgraded  
6 MB 2 MB 4 MB yes no upgraded  
8 MB removed 8 MB yes theoretically possible upgraded -
32 + 1 MB 1 MB 32 MB yes theoretically possible upgraded -
32 + 2 MB 2 MB 32 MB yes no upgraded -
64MB + 512kB 1 MB 64 MB yes theoretically possible upgraded One of the 2 512 kB chips on the motherboard has to be removed to get access to its address line.
64 + 2 MB 2 MB 64 MB yes no upgraded -
64 + 32 1 MB 96 MB yes theoretically possible theoretically possible The 2 512kB chips have to be removed from the motherboard to get access to the address lines.
96 + 2 MB 2 MB 96 MB yes no upgraded -

Factory-default RAM configurations

This is a 200LX motherboard with 1 MB RAM on-board and the socket for a memory daughter board:


This is a 200LX motherboard with 2 MB RAM on-board and the socket for a memory daughter board:


This is a 1 MB daughterboard from a 2MB 200LX (which has 1 MB on-board memory):


This is a 2MB daughterboard from a 4MB 200LX (which has 2MB on-board memory):


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