Basic programmable Sharp calculators were very popular from about 1982 till the beginning
of the nineties. To get an overview of the various models, just have a look at
www.pocketmuseum.com. This is the most complete collection of pocket computers I have ever seen
(some very exotic types are included).
Other museum sites are Taschencomputer on Homecomputermuseum.de (in german), Sharp Pocket Computer Museum (in german),
Computer-Archiv - Sharp (in german) and the Pocket Computer Museum
The Sharp calculators can be programmed in BASIC and, in
some cases, in low-level assembly language. Most of the calculators have a 11 pin link port,
some of them have an additional 15 pin serial port.
Each model has a different combination of capabilities,
memory capacity, programmability, and compatible peripherals.
As far as I know there is not a single vendors who still sells Sharp pocket computers (of the PC-xxxx series)
or accessoires for it. Former vendors were:
... link is broken
... this company sold some huge memory cards for the PC-E500. The memory cards match also to
the PC-1360, PC-1280 and others. With the PC-1280 I managed to address 128
of 256 kB as ramdisk, the PC-1360 was only able to address 32 kB, but it works
and I don't think that the original (smaller) memory cards are still available
... was offering link cable products for the PC-E500(S) and for older models. Looks like the company does no longer exist.
To get an overview of all the models, as said before; just have a look at the
www.pocketmuseum.com. For the IMHO best models I'll give a brief description here.
... was the top model of the 12XX series. It has a foldable design, 24x2 LCD display, low batt indicator, memory backup battery, the SC61860 CPU, a RAM extension slot which cooperates well with the cynox RAM cards and a powerful BASIC (extended BEEP, ARUN, GPRINT ...). Lucky if you get one!
... was the top model of the (very small, only two models) 13XX series. It has a LCD display with four lines, also the SC61860 CPU, two RAM extension slot which work with the cynox RAM cards, a 15 pin serial interface and also a powerful BASIC. This is the best models for graphic applications.
The PC-1403H is the big brother of the PC-1403, which has 32 kB instead of 8 kB. The 14XX series was an economic series. The PC-1403H is not the top model of this series, but the real top models with two line LCD display and RAM extension slots are rather rare. The PC-1403 has a 24 character LCD display, a faster CPU (SC61860) than the PC-1401/02, a group of scientific calculator keys and the ability to display small letters. A must-have, lightweight with much memory.
The classic one, a high end model. For a description go to Sharp PC-1500 computer (TRS-80 PC-2) resource page.
CHOOSING WHICH MODEL TO BUY
If you need a powerful calculator, just choose the PC-E500(S). It is fast and may be equipped with much RAM.
If you like a good,lightweight scientific calculator, look out for a PC-1403(H). Be aware that some models of the 14XX (and also the 12XX) series have four bit CPUs, which are not machine language programmable.
The PC-1360 would be the right choice if you like graphics applications.
To learn how to write programs for the Z80 CPU choose a PC-E220.
Most of my calculators I got from online auctions at www.ebay.com