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1996 Brother Super PowerNote HD64180-based laptop

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    1996 Brother Super PowerNote HD64180-based laptop

    Anybody else have one of these? Brother had several models of the Super PowerNote: the PN-8500MDS, the PN-8510MDS, the PN-8700MDS with built-in modem and Bookman card slot, and the PN-8800FXB with modem, Bookman card slot, and infrared port. All have a 3.5" 1.44MB DOS-format floppy drive, a non-backlit monochrome 640x176 (80 column x 22 row) LCD, 64 KB of RAM with 32 KB usable, and a Hitachi HD64180 "Super Z80" processor running at 6 MHz.



    Amazingly, Brother still had the manual and software disk for it, at very reasonable prices ($5 for the manual and less than $2 for the disk, plus shipping). So now I have the "Turnabout" game (a Reversi clone) than the 8510 came with, but I'm still looking for the Tetris game that the 8700 and 8800 models came with, since Brother doesn't have the disk for those models, and the one web site which had it available for download years ago no longer exists.

    #2
    I used to have the PN-8700MDS model. It had a built-in spreadsheet but you had to insert a floppy disk with additional files in order to use it. The word processor was adequate, but the file size was limited to a paltry 22K if I remember correctly. In addition to Franklin Bookman cards, these models are also compatible with Brother's Word Processor floppy disk software from the time period including reference works like Random House Encyclopedia and Elements of Style, and other games in addition to Turnabout and Tetris. Unfortunately you couldn't transfer text between the word processor and the Franklin Bookcards/Disk Applications.

    It ran for about 6-8 hours on one battery charge (depending on floppy usage) and the batteries are super cheap NiCads.

    Since it's a Z80 machine, it seems like it could be made to run CP/M 2.2. From what I've read, it would need to be compiled specifically for the machine. I guess it's never been done because of the obscurity of Brother computers. It would be nice to be able to run early Infocom games and maybe Visicalc.

    They aren't popular and I wouldn't pay more than $30 bucks for a Bookman slot enabled one, maybe $15 for without it. The Brother DOS/GEOS GeoBooks laptops are worth more.

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      #3
      Originally posted by vwestlife View Post
      Anybody else have one of these? Brother had several models of the Super PowerNote: the PN-8500MDS, the PN-8510MDS, the PN-8700MDS with built-in modem and Bookman card slot, and the PN-8800FXB with modem, Bookman card slot, and infrared port. All have a 3.5" 1.44MB DOS-format floppy drive, a non-backlit monochrome 640x176 (80 column x 22 row) LCD, 64 KB of RAM with 32 KB usable, and a Hitachi HD64180 "Super Z80" processor running at 6 MHz.



      Amazingly, Brother still had the manual and software disk for it, at very reasonable prices ($5 for the manual and less than $2 for the disk, plus shipping). So now I have the "Turnabout" game (a Reversi clone) than the 8510 came with, but I'm still looking for the Tetris game that the 8700 and 8800 models came with, since Brother doesn't have the disk for those models, and the one web site which had it available for download years ago no longer exists.
      Hello,

      I am aware it has been a long time since you have posted this message but maybe it gets to you somehow. I recently purchased a Brother Power Note PN-8500MDS device. It really is a little marvel. It didn't have a battery pack and the floppy drive didn't read files. I disassembled and serviced its floppy drive and built a battery pack (I have used Eneloop 2000 mah batteries so the capacity has seen quite an increase), and now everything works.

      The floppy disk that came with it had no protective cover (magnetic area was exposed) but I was able to use 2 different computers and get all the files. So now I have the complete image; spreadsheets, letters, Turn-about game and The Tetris you have been looking for. I just don't know if I am allowed to post such image. Anyway, let me know and take care you all.

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        #4
        Originally posted by hedehede81 View Post
        So now I have the complete image; spreadsheets, letters, Turn-about game and The Tetris you have been looking for. I just don't know if I am allowed to post such image. Anyway, let me know and take care you all.
        Thanks for the offer, but I was able to obtain a copy of the disk myself, and made a video showing the Super PowerNote's games:

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          #5
          Great video!
          Mine is missing the owners manual, although I could find a close model online. You wouldn't have a PDF manual for it, would you?

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            #6
            Would you have any recommendation for the printer I can connect this to? I have an old dot-matrix printer which is fine for the office use, but it would be nice to have something portable, like the Canon BJ-30 or any other compatible unit.

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