Monday, October 02, 2017

RetroChallenge 2017/10: Part 2


An NEC PC-8401 Quick Guide Book for the Internet Archive

As we know from the previous blog entry, there was absolutely no documentation on the NEC PC-8401BM contained within the Internet Archive. Today I thought it might be a good idea to start addressing this situation.

PC-8401BM Manuals
I have in my possession the 4 Australian Manuals and the Quick Start Guide originally packaged with the PC-8401BM. The easiest of these to scan and make available to the Archive is the Quick Start Guide, this being the only book conveniently with a ring style binding. So naturally I've started here.

Being in a spiral binder the pages were easy to remove, this has allowed for quite a nice scan overall. The other manuals however are going to be slightly more of a challenge to pull clean copies from. So after an hour or so plus some cleaning up time, I'm happy to report the Quick Start Guide is now available to all those who seek it's wisdom.

I should say the Guide is mostly available, there are unfortunately 2 pages missing, pages 34 and 35. These pages should form the first part of the Calc-To-Go section in the book. Not the best of situations, still the rest of the book is complete and pretty much gives all the information the casual PC-8401BM user is likely to require.

I'm not quite sure on the best way to proceed in scanning the remaining books. All the manuals are in exceptional condition, as such I don't wish to ruin them by either pressing the books to firmly against the scanner and cracking the spines, or indeed by removing the spines. It certainly would be handy to have access to a book scanner. (If anybody out there is feeling generous, please send your best book scanner free of charge ASAP).

As a bonus, I thought I'd clean up one of the pull out / fold down sections of the Guide illustrating the many extended devices NEC produced to dock and otherwise attach to the PC-8401BM. These include Data Recorders, Disk Drives, RAM Cartridges and CRT / Monitor adapters. The product codes of all these items is conveniently listed. For those interested in acquiring computer extensions today, the NEC product codes it could well make Ebay and Craigslist searches a little easier (you could try NEC directly in some sort of vain last hope of course).

The PC-8401BM Connection of Peripherals fold out, because everybody loves a good diagram.

The Guide Book is now avaliable and indexed at the Internet Archive:

See RetroChallenge IntroPart 1Part_2Part 3Part 4, Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
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  1. Any chance you can at least take photos of the pages of those manuals? The information really isn't anywhere. The information itself is more important than the quality of the scans. So long as they are readable, it's a big step up from what's out there right now.

    1. Good point. Have a couple of German Manuals for the 8401 now as well, might become a holiday project, these manual are surprisingly content rich.