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HP 200LX Frequently Asked Questions


1. Contents
2. How to get this FAQ
3. Disclaimer
4. Basics -- What are these HP Palmtops, anyway?
5. 1MB vs. 2MB vs. 4MB vs. 5MB vs. 6MB (vs. 8MB) models
6. Hardware and physical characteristics
7. DOS compatibility
8. Built-in Software
9. Add-on software
10. Programming the 200LX
11. Modems & Telecommunications
12. Connectivity to desktop computers and other devices
13. PCMCIA Cards
14. Batteries, Battery life, AC adapters, etc.
15. Obscure undocumented tips, tricks, and trivia
16. Common problems
17. For more info



2. How to get this FAQ

This particular faq is posted at http://coyote.accessnv.com/davidsa/hp/faq.htm. The text only version can be found at http://coyote.accessnv.com/davidsa/hp/faq.txt


3. Disclaimer

This file is the work of unpaid volunteers. It does not represent the official position of anybody, much less
anybody's employer. It is likely to be filled with errors. Mentioning a product or business does not constitute any sort of endorsement. If you act on any information in this file, any damages you suffer are just your tough luck.

This is not intended as a substitute for the 200LX manual. There are many more useful tidbits located in the manual than will ever be in this file, and the manual is likely to be more accurate.



4. Basics -- What are these HP Palmtops, anyway?

[Editor's note: the information pertaining to the 100LX is left in here because some people might still be interested in the details, or in buying a used palmtop. Though it is probably accurate, it is not being updated because of the lack of availability of 100LX palmtops...]

Q. What is the HP100LX?
Depending on your point of view, it's either an IBM PC-XT stuffed into a very tiny case with some Personal
Information Management (PIM) software and Lotus 1-2-3 built into ROM, or it's a high-end electronic
organizer that also runs MS-DOS software.

Q. What is the HP200LX?
It's the successor to the 100LX. It's essentially a 100LX with cosmetic changes and the addition of Pocket
Quicken, LapLink Remote, and some feature enhancements for the PIM applications in the ROM.

Q. What is the HP Omnigo 700LX?
It's basically a double-speed 200LX with a docking cradle for a Nokia GSM cellular phone, some LEDs on
the front, and some extra built-in communications software. It is only available in Europe and Asia/Pacific,
where the GSM standard is, well, standardized. As it comes into the U.S. HP may introduce the 700LX here, but, by that time, there may be a true successor to these products.

Q. Why would I want an outdated DOS palmtop when I could get a modern Windows CE machine?
The 200LX may be a few years old, but it is a far superior computing device than any Windows CE machine.
It's biggest strengths:
- Battery life (up to 2 months on a single pair of batteries)
- DOS compatibility (can run millions of programs written for desktop computers)
- High-resolution screen (fully CGA compatible, 640x200 [133% wider than most WinCE units])
- Better keyboard (separate numeric keypad; nice solid click and feel)
- Better PIM apps (built-in apps are unsurpassed for quality and ease of use)
- Pocket Quicken built in (keep track of your finances without any extra money)
- Better expansion support (see flash cards and other memory expansions as a drive, not just a folder)

Q. What's the difference between the 100LX and the 200LX?
Pocket Quicken from Intuit has been added to the 200LX. This is a limited version of the Quicken financial
management software sold for MS-DOS and Windows. It does not use the same file format as Quicken for
DOS or Windows. but if you buy the 200LX connectivity kit, you can share data with the full DOS or
Windows version of Quicken (Windows version through 3.0). (Like the 100LX, the 200LX can also run the
full version of Quicken for DOS outright.)
The DataComm application is faster in the 200LX. It can pretty much keep up with a 9600 or 14.4 modem.
The painfully slow DataComm application was a notorious deficiency in the 100LX, so this is a welcome fix.
The case has changed color, from the black 100LX to a slate grey color for the 200LX. The keyboard layout
has changed slightly, in order to give Pocket Quicken its own dedicated key. The labels on the keycaps have a slightly different, italic, look to them.
The default topcard (picture displayed when the machine is turned on, and the system manager is running, but no apps are yet activated) looks different.
There is an extra megabyte of ROM (3MB in the 200LX, vs 2MB in the 100LX). This is how they managed
to add the new built-in software to the 200LX without deleting any of the old 100LX features.
There is a power-on password feature.
Some extra goodies have been added to the d:\bin drive (in ROM). Hearts & Bones and Lair of the Squid are two games that are included. A hexadecimal calculator is also included.
LapLink Remote has replaced the redirector for use with the connectivity pack.
The appointment manager has a daily pop-up message reminding users of "to do's" and appointments.
The on-line help has been improved.
The phonebook can present phone and address details in "business-card" or the 100LX-style "form" format.

Q. What is the same between the 100LX and the 200LX?
Most things. Hardware is virtually identical, including size, batteries, AC adapter, serial port, PCMCIA port,
display, keyboard (except very minor changes to keyboard layout, and cosmetic changes to the labels on the keycaps), processor, RAM, availability of 1MB and 2MB versions, etc. DOS compatibility is unchanged;
both machines use MS-DOS 5.0 and CGA. Lotus is the same. All the same PIM apps are included, and they
can share data between the 100LX and 200LX, but the 200LX versions have a few enhancements here and
there.
Most software written for the 100LX will run on the 200LX. All vanilla DOS software should run exactly the
same. Most 100LX-specific software will probably run the same. One user reported that "about half" of the
features of 100Buddy worked unchanged. 100Buddy is probably the most 100LX-specific (least portable)
software available for the HP. (However, since 200Buddy has been out for years now, and is now on version 3.0, this is not really a problem.)

Q. What's the difference between the HP-100/200LX and HP-95LX?

The short answer is that the HP-100/200LX is faster, has better and more powerful software, much more
MS-DOS compatibility (full CGA compatiblity), fully standard serial port with hardware handshaking, longer
battery life, and has a PCMCIA Release 2.0 slot.

Q. Where's the best place to buy a 200LX? A RAM Card?
The answer changes too quickly to put into this FAQ. Netiquette suggestion: Read the board for a few days.
If the question hasn't been asked recently, call around to your local stores, call the dealers on hpdealer.txt, and post a note listing the best deal you found, asking if anyone can beat it. In other words, do a little homework yourself before asking the net for help. Consider giving your local dealer a chance to try and match or beat a mail-order price.
Several on-line dealers are also available, such as Shier Systems and Software, Notebook Supply
Warehouse, and others.
HP has recently discontinued the 1MB version of the 200LX, simultaneously coming out with a 4MB version
and lowering prices. Of course, actual selling prices vary, and they change too quickly to report in this FAQ.
When pricing memory cards, be aware that some manufacturers package disk compression software with
their cards, and some of these may advertise a 5MB card with compression software as a "10 MB" card. (or
"10 MB compressed", or "Up to 10MB", etc.) Quoted disk compression numbers tend to be optimistic,
especially if you're storing executables or compressed files. Be sure you do an "apples to apples" price
comparison between different vendors.

Q. How can I upgrade my 100LX to a 200LX?
You can't. However, Edu-Calc (http://www.educalc.com)may offer a trade-in.

Q. What upgrades are available for the 200LX?
Currently, there is a 4MB RAM upgrade (taking you to 5 or 6MB) and a double-speed (31MHz) clock
crystal upgrade. There is also a new 8MB upgrade (taking you to 8MB total). Larger RAM upgrades may
become available in the near future as well.



5. 2MB vs. 4MB vs. 5MB vs. 6MB (vs. 8MB) models

Q. Is the 4MB model worth the extra money over the 2MB Model?
The only difference is the extra two megabytes of internal "disk" storage on the C: drive. It may be cheaper to buy the 2MB model and invest the difference in a bigger PCMCIA flash or SRAM card. But if you want to keep the PCMCIA slot open for a PCMCIA modem or other device, you're stuck with internal storage only, and the extra megabyte may be worth the money. Given the relative ease of upgrading the memory on the 200LX these days, it is probably a good idea to go for the 2MB version anyway. If you opt to go with the 4MB version and later decide you want to upgrade to 6MB or 8MB, you'll end up losing 2MB (though some companies may offer a trade in).

Q. Does the 2MB (4MB, 6MB, 8MB) HP200LX have more system memory?
No, all models of the HP200LX are MS-DOS machines which are inherently limited to only 640KB of system
RAM. But several EMS (not XMS or high memory) drivers have been written; EMM200 is freeware, while
Times2Tech has an EMM driver for Times2Tech customers only.

Q. How do I upgrade the memory on a 200LX?
It may be possible to have HP upgrade you from a 2MB model to a 4MB model; however, this is probably
not the most cost-efficient method. Times2Tech and Notebook Supply Warehouse both offer third-party
memory upgrades which will take you from 2MB to 5MB (or 6MB on the newer models!) There is also an
upgrade from Times2Tech that will take you up to 8MB. However, this upgrade is considerably more
complicated than the 5/6MB upgrade and can only be done by sending in your palmtop for service. Note that any of these upgrades will void your warranty from HP; however, the third-party upgrades usually carry a warranty.


6. Hardware and physical characteristics

Q. How big is a 200LX?
Approx 16cm x 8.5cm x 2.5cm (6.25" x 3.3" x 1") closed, or about the size of a checkbook, only thicker. It
has a clamshell-style case.

Q. So tiny! Can I touch-type on it? Is the screen too small to read?
Touch typing is quite a trick. The keys are much closer together than normal adult human fingers. But the
keys have a positive click feel. Some people adapt quite well to them, others despise the 200LX keyboard.
The HP Palmtop Paper has published articles on methods to use when typing on the keyboard. The
information is also contained in Thaddeus Computing's book, PC in Your Pocket. Read these articles for
assistance.
[Editor's Note: I ran a typing speed test on my 200LX on October 10, 1997. The result: a whopping 73 words per minute, with an average word length of 4 characters. So it's not impossible to touch type on the 200LX with a lot of practice.]
If you really want to do a lot of typing on your 200LX and are willing to sacrifice a little in the size
department, you can now hook up a Newton keyboard. Shier Systems (http://www.shier.com) sells them for $129, including the customized cable and all necessary software.
The screen is very sharp and contrasty, but your eyes might not be. Try before you buy, especially if you
have trouble reading fine print in dim light. The print is quite small in 80x25 mode, but you can use special key combinations to zoom and pan around, displaying only a portion of the screen, magnified, on the 200LX physical screen. The screen does not have a backlight, and is easiest to read in bright light. Some users in Japan have managed to install electroluminescent panels to backlight their 200LX. There are rumors of companies in the U.S. working on backlight upgrades, but nothing is available as of this writing. However, there are numerous external lighting solutions.

Q. Where can I get a carrying case for a 200LX?
For a cheap padded case, look for one designed for a pocket 35mm camera, game machine, personal stereo, or calculator. For a fancy executive-style leather case, see ads in the Palmtop Paper, Edu-Calc, etc. One case that the 200LX fits quite nicely into is the nylon case for an HP 48G(X) calculator.


7. DOS compatibility

Q. Will it run <Random MS-DOS Software Package>?
The 200LX will run just about anything that will run on an IBM PC-XT with a CGA monitor. To give you an
idea of its compatibility, here's a partial output listing from MSD.EXE, Microsoft's diagnostic tool. Note that, although MSD seems to detect a bus mouse, parallel port, and game adapter, there is no physical hardware for these devices. This was run on a 1MB 100LX.

------------------- Summary Information-------------------

Computer: Phoenix/Phoenix, 80186

Memory: 636K
Video: CGA, Unknown
Network: No Network
OS Version: MS-DOS 5.00
Mouse: Bus Mouse
Other Adapters: Game Adapter
Disk Drives: A: B: C: D: E: F:
LPT Ports: 1
COM Ports: 1

----------------------- Computer--------------------------

Computer Name: Phoenix
BIOS Manufacturer: Phoenix
BIOS Version: Version 1.04 A
ROM BIOS Ver 2.14
BIOS Category: IBM PC/XT
BIOS ID Bytes: FB 00 04
BIOS Date: 08/19/93
Processor: 80186
Math Coprocessor: None
Keyboard: Non-Enhanced
Bus Type: ISA/XT/Classic Bus
DMA Controller: Yes
Cascaded IRQ: Yes
BIOS Data Segment: None


----------------------- Video -------------------------

Video Adapter Type: CGA
Manufacturer: Unknown
Model:
Display Type: CGA Monitor
Video Mode: 3
Number of Columns: 80
Number of Rows: 25
Video BIOS Version:
Video BIOS Date:
VESA Support Installed: No
Secondary Adapter: Hercules or Compatible

---------------------- OS Version -----------------------

Operating System: MS-DOS 5.00
Internal Revision: 00
OEM Serial Number: FFH
User Serial Number: 000000H
OEM Version String:
DOS Located in: ROM
Boot Drive: A:

-------------------- Disk Drives ---------------------

Drive Type Free Space Total Size
----- ------- ----------- ----------
[editor's note: PCMCIA card data removed]
C: RAM Disk 211K 346K
512 Bytes/Sector
D: RAM Disk 0K 501K
512 Bytes/Sector
[editor's note: D: is the ROM drive, containing built-in
software]
--------------------- COM Ports -----------------
COM1: COM2: COM3: COM4:
----- ----- ----- -----
Port Address 03F8H N/A N/A N/A
Baud Rate 57600
Parity None
Data Bits 8
Stop Bits 1
Carrier Detect (CD) Yes
Ring Indicator (RI) No
Data Set Ready (DSR) Yes
Clear To Send (CTS) Yes
UART Chip Used 8250

Q. Can I run Quicken for DOS on it?
Yes, users have reported success with DOS-based Quicken through version 8 (most recent Quicken version
available as of this writing). Recent versions may require more memory than is available under the system
manager, but it's easy enough to exit the system manager and run Quicken directly from the DOS prompt.
The "disable filer" trick may allow you to squeeze even the latest Quicken in under the system manager.
Some kind of extra storage (flash or SRAM card) will undoubtedly be necessary for recent versions of
Quicken, especially for the 1MB 200LX.
Of course, Pocket Quicken is built in to the 200LX, and it's available separately from Intuit for the 100LX.
It's System-Manager compliant, but some users still may prefer the full feature set of DOS Quicken.

Q. Can I run 4DOS on it?
Yes, but the advantages mostly occur outside the system manager. For swapping, usage of an EMM driver is recommended. Unfortunately, if you call DOS from the system manager, it will be the hard-wired
d:\dos\command.com.

Q. Can it do Windows?
Sorry, try an Omnibook or another larger laptop. Windows 3.1 requires a 286 or better. Windows 3.0 is
barely possible, but the 200LX doesn't really have the speed, processor architecture, display, or memory to
make it a very practical Windows machine.

Q. Why don't Intersvr, LapLink, Procomm, etc. work?
They do work, but not under the system manager. The System Manager slows down the serial port. It can
also interfere with console I/O. If you're having trouble running something under the System Manager, try
exiting completely (Menu- Application-Terminate all) and run the program from raw DOS.
If the program runs under raw DOS, you can probably get it to run under the system manager by putting an inverted exclamation point (keystroke Fn-Filer) into the comments field of the Application Manager. This effectively disables the System Manager and prevents switching to another application while the current application is running.


8. Built-in Software

Q. What software is built into the 200LX ROM?
MS-DOS 5.0, Lotus 1-2-3 release 2.4, an appointment manager (capable of waking the 200LX up and
sounding an alarm or running a program even when the machine is turned off), a calculator (similar to HP19B, capable of algebraic or RPN), a text editor, a phone book, a stopwatch/alarm clock, a world time database, a terminal emulator (but the 100LX version is too slow to use above 1200 baud, you'll want a different communications program for a fast modem), a general purpose database, a note taker, a file manager, a keyboard macro editor, and cc:Mail. Note that, although MS-DOS 5.0 is built into ROM, not all of the external commands (e.g QBASIC.EXE, EDIT.COM, ANSI.SYS) are included. These may be copied from a PC running MS-DOS 5.0 (There was some concern that copying files from a full copy of DOS 5.0 was illegal, but somebody on the HPLX mailing list said that the license for DOS you get with you 200LX covers the full copy-- in other words, you are allowed to have a copy of any DOS 5.0 files on your 200LX regardless of where they came from. This is not official from Microsoft, and it's probably a good idea to check it out before actually doing it).
The 200LX contains Pocket Quicken and LapLink Remote, in addition to the above.

Q. Does anybody actually use cc:Mail on the 200LX?
cc:Mail on the 200LX requires that you have access to a full cc:Mail Post Office set up for dial-up access,
and those don't seem to be very common. However, PALMTOP.COM offers dial-up access to a
cc:Mail-Internet gateway. People send you mail at username@palmtop.com and you can call up and
download it into cc:Mail. The cost is (currently) $9.00 a month. It is a long distance call, but they also offer an 800 number for those in the U.S. and Canada. The $9.00/month fee includes 20 minutes of 800 access; additional minutes are $0.30 apiece.
Qua!-LX is now available. If you have shell access, and UQWK, you can download QWK packets and
convert your mail and news into a cc:Mail format.

Q. What is the System Manager?
It's the core software under which all of the PIM applications run. It allows multitasking (suspending one
application to run another), keyboard macros, data transfer via a clipboard, and other nifty stuff. The alarm clock and appointment manager will only wake up if the system manager is active. Certain 3rd party
applications (*.EXM files) are "System Manager Compliant". Applications which are not system manager
compliant can still be run, either by exiting the system manager entirely, or by opening up a DOS shell under the system manager.

Q. How can I transfer data to/from the database manager?
Read the manual on the smart clip feature, or use the gdbio software (C source code included) available on eddie to import/export in comma delimited format.


9. Add-on software

Q. What's some good software?
The HP200LX is an almost completely compatible MS-DOS machine. Just about any MS-DOS software will
work if it: fits in available drive space, needs only what MS-DOS system RAM is available, needs only CGA
graphics, and runs in Intel x86 real mode.
Some HP-200LX specific software is at the URLs:
http://www.palmtop.net/super.html
ftp://eddie.mit.edu/distrib/hp95lx/hp100LX
ftp://ftp.cc.monash.edu.au/pub/palmtop

Q. What is 200Buddy?
It's a shareware program which lets you do lots of neat tricks, including make the filer automatically start an application based on a file's extension (e.g. click a .wk1 file to start 1-2-3), get a shifted value of a character by simply double-clicking the character, get battery voltage displayed in a status bar in the filer screen, reprogram the blue application keys, automatically capitalize letters in Memo, add password protection to the 200LX (registered users only, and not quite as useful as it was on the 100LX, but it does allow you to display a personalized "owner screen..."), display the world-time map with nighttime areas shaded (also registered users only), and lots of other shortcuts and tricks. The current version is 3.0b.

Q. What is VR?
Vertical Reader, a shareware program for reading ASCII text files while holding the 200LX with the hinge
vertical, like a book. VR has several attractive fonts available, and allows searching for regular expressions.
This shareware may be registered by merely sending a postcard to the author, or by donating $10.00 to
Project Gutenberg, an organization which makes public-domain documents and literature freely available in
ASCII text form.

Q. Can I use the 200LX as a remote control for my TV, VCR, stereo?
The shareware program REMCOM, originally developed for the HP95LX, works on the 200LX and turns it
into a universal learning remote control, using the infrared port. RC is a similar program which is also
reported to work. There may be other such programs developed for the 95LX which work on the 00LX.
Unfortunately, the 200LX has a fairly weak IR transmitter (weaker than the 95LX), so the range may be only a meter or two, less than the typical distance from couch to TV.

Q. Can I use the 200LX as a phone dialer?
The HP95LX had a D/A converter that could drive the speaker and produce touch tones fairly easily; sadly,
this feature was dropped in the 100/200LX. That converter is instead used to monitor battery charging.
However, there is a program, called ATDT, which uses some fancy tricks to get touch tones out of a standard PC-AT. It does work on the 200LX, and it's available on eddie.mit.edu in the hp95lx/unknown directory (ATDT01.ZIP). It is not integrated with the phone book application, it requires the video mode be set up different from standard (see the readme), and, depending on the phone you use it with, the 200LX speaker may not produce sufficient volume to reliably dial.
There is also a program called TT available, with source code, on eddie.mit.edu. TT comes ready-to-use, but if you have a C compiler and know how to use it, you can modify TT and integrate it into other programs.
Like ATDT, TT suffers from the limitations of the volume output from the 200LX speaker, and your success
with it depends on your patience, the sensitivity of your telephone's microphone, and the placement of the
200LX speaker near the microphone.

Q. Is there an EMS driver?
Yes, EMM200, available at S.U.P.E.R. It uses a paging file on C: and supports EMS 4.0 almost completely.
There are also other drivers, such as Times2Tech's TREMM, which is only available to Times2Tech
customers. (EMM200 may need tweaking to work with the newer 2MB 200LX.)


10. Programming the 200LX

Q. What programming languages are available?
Anything that'll run on a PC-XT, including various flavors of assembly, C, C++, Pascal, Basic, etc.
QBASIC.EXE is not included, but will run if it's copied from a MS-DOS 5.0 machine. Turbo C++ 1.0 works
quite well, as do Turbo Pascal and Turbo Assembler. (Turbo Assembler 5.0, the latest version, even runs on the palmtop-- although the linker requires a 286+, so you'll need a different linker...)
There are several ways to write "programs" with software in the 200LX ROM, depending on your definition
of a program. You have the keyboard macro application, Lotus 1-2-3, the calculator's solver application (finds roots of equations, among other things), DEBUG.EXE (from DOS), and the DOS batch file interpreter. The calculator's solver application can be used with Lotus to "backsolve", that is, adjust the value of one
independent cell of a spreadsheet to produce a desired result in another, calculated, cell.

Q. How can I get information on programming the internals of the HP?
Thaddeus Computing sells the SDK for $79.00, which includes a manual and software you'll need. You'll also need a C-compiler and an assembler. The examples and software are set up to use Microsoft C 6.0 and MASM.
The SDK software and manuals are also available on Thaddeus's 1997 CD Infobase, which sells for $99.00.
The PAL library is also available. These are C routines designed to allow you to emulate the "look and feel" of built-in and System Manager compliant applications on DOS programs. You then don't need the SDK or to learn how to program the 200LX specifically. Also, PAL provides many good features such as clipboard access.
Many of the HP's interrupts are documented in the interrupt list, maintained by Ralf Brown, available at
ftp://oak.oakland.edu/pub/msdos/info/interNNx.zip and elsewhere.
Of course, if you only want to program the HP as a DOS machine, without accessing any of the palmtop's
unique features, there are plenty of widely available books giving details on DOS programming.
If you need the file formats for the built-in applications, gdbio (on eddie) has C source code which should
provide a good starting point.


11. Modems & Telecommunications

Q. What's a good modem?
Just about any pocket modem or PCMCIA modem. A full-sized external modem will work fine too, but of
course it's not as portable. Specific features such as size, modulations and protocols supported, cellular phone support, power drain, and others vary considerably. Remember that, though your modem may be rated at a high speed, you probably won't be able to get more than 14.4 out of your palmtop unless you have a double-speed crystal. A good 28.8 PCMCIA modem with a double-speed 200LX will do nearly 28.8.

Q. Should I get a PCMCIA modem or an external one?
Advantages to PCMCIA -- Cleaner cable setup, uses same power supply as 200LX, smaller overall package,
better performance.
Advantages to external -- allows use of RAM card and modem simultaneously, doesn't drain 200LX batteries as rapidly.
While a pocket modem typically draws power from a battery or from an AC power supply, a PCMCIA modem
draws all power from the palmtop. Most PCMCIA modems are designed to work on larger machines with
plenty of battery power so most modems also consume as much or more power than the HP200LX. This drain can occur whether the modem is in use or not, consequently battery life is much shorter, as little as 15 minutes. Use of an AC adapter is usually recommended.
Since there's only one PCMCIA slot, it can either hold a modem or a SRAM/Flash card, but not both. So a
PCMCIA modem can only transfer data to and from the internal RAM drive of the machine.
Also, keep in mind that many 28.8 or faster modems will draw too much power for the palmtop, causing it to shut down immediately upon insertion. The PCMCIA slot can only supply 150mA max, so make sure your
modem will take less than this. Most 14.4 modems will work.

Q. What cable do I use for an external modem?
The HP cable will work, but you'll have to use a gender changer/null modem adapter. See the description of the connectivity pack elsewhere in this FAQ. Or you can make your own cable.

Q. Why is my modem so slow?
The 200LX does not suffer from the slow screen update bug on the built-in DataComm application like the
100LX does.
The reason the modem is slow is that the 200LX has only an 8250 UART, so you can't go too fast (9600-14.4) without getting errors.

Q. How can I read Usenet and mail offline with the 200LX?
There's almost nothing special about the 200LX in this regard, it's just like any other DOS PC. Check out the newsgroup alt.usenet.offline-reader. Their FAQ may be found at:
ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-group/alt.usenet.offline-reader
If you want to ask questions over there (AFTER reading their FAQ), just tell them that your HP is an IBM
PC-XT compatible running DOS 5.0 with CGA.
People have reported success using a UQWK/YARN combination to transfer mail and news via SOUP.
PNR, the Palmtop News Reader, is available specifically for the 200LX.

Q. What's a good fax program?
There are several good fax programs available that will run on MS-DOS with CGA. Your modem may have
come with one. Users have reported success with the following, but there are probably more.
SSFAXER: Shareware on eddie.mit.edu. Must register in order to receive faxes
BGFAX: Available at ftp://ftp.csn.net/Computech
There's a free demo package from TurboPower software that contains a small toolkit for sending and
receiving faxes. Can send faxes from PCX, TIF, TXT formats. But fax viewer software only supports VGA,
hence viewer won't run on palmtop. This package is actually a demo of their Pascal/C++ communications
toolkit. Available at ftp://rainbow.rmii.com/pub2/turbopower/faxdemo.exe
ACEFAX: No longer available since ACE went out of business.

Q. What sort of program should I use to get on the Internet?
There are several options here. Any standard DOS TSR PPP packet driver should work, and you can then
run any DOS Internet programs you want (such as Minuet).
For those preferring a more palmtop-savvy solution, try Nettamer. This shareware software does it all:
WWW, e-mail, news, etc. It has a palmtop-specific version.
For the ultimate in 200LX Internet solutions, get WWW/LX with Post/LX from D&A software. This software
will allow you to browse the web, send and receive e-mail, use newsgroups, ftp, and telnet. It's not cheap, though: $119.95 at last check. It's worth it, though.


12. Connectivity to desktop computers and other devices

Q. How do I connect the 200LX to a desktop PC?
A connectivity pack is available for the 200LX (F1021B, w/English docs, F1021C with multilingual docs). The 200LX connectivity pack includes software to integrate Pocket Quicken with Quicken for DOS or Windows, in addition to updated versions of the software in the 100LX connectivity pack. It generally runs about $129.
A "software-only" version of the 200LX connectivity pack is also available, for those users who already have cables and such from a 100LX.

Q. What if I don't want to buy the Connectivity Pack?
If you don't want to buy the connectivity pack, you may connect the palmtop and desktop with a serial cable and use your choice of DOS connectivity software. The interlnk/intersvr programs that come with DOS 6 work fine.
You may also take advantage of the built-in LapLink Remote software in the ROM. A brief sketch of how to
do this:

1. Add the following line to your AUTOEXEC.BAT on the palmtop before the "200" line.
CALL D:\BIN\LLRAS.BAT
Then reboot your palmtop.

2. Copy the following files from D:\BIN on the palmtop to a directory on the PC (use the built-in Datacomm application and a terminal emulator on the PC, or any other method you choose.)
LLRA.BAT
LLRA1.EXE
LLRA2.EXE
LLRA3.EXE
LLRA4.EXE
TSI.INI

3. Edit the TSI.INI file on your PC as follows:
In [general], change ComputerName= to something else (such as desktop)
In [Redirector], change Enabled= to Yes.

4. Edit the LLRA.BAT file on your PC, changing all file paths from D:\BIN to the PC directory you copied
them to in step 2.

5. With the PC and palmtop connected via serial cable, enter the AppMgr on the palmtop and start the
LapLink Remote Access program.

6. On the PC, change to the directory where you copied the LapLink files, and type "LLRA". In a few
seconds you should hear beeps from both the palmtop and the PC indicating that a connection has been made.

7. On the PC, type "LLRA /M" to display the drive mapping.

8. To unload LapLink from teh PC, type "LLRA /U".

Q. Where can I get just the HP200LX serial cable without the Connectivity Kit?
EduCALC, etc. HP sells it as part no. F1015A. The same cable is used for HP's calculators (it comes with an
adapter to fit their serial connector), so check the calculator section of a well-equipped store if you don't see the cable near the HP200LX display.

Q. Where do I get an adapter to use HP's serial cable with a modem, serial printer, Sun workstation, etc.?
HP sells a connector/adapter kit (HP F1023A). The HP serial cable ends in a female DB9 connection with a
null modem, so it's ready to plug directly into the standard DB9 serial connector found on most desktop PC's.
The adapter kit contains four adapters, which make the COMBINATION of HP serial cable + adapter look
like:
0) female DB9 with null modem (stock cable with no adapter)
1) male DB25 with null modem (for serial printer)
2) male DB25 without null modem (for modem or other devices)
3) female DB25 with null modem (for PC with DB25 serial port)
4) male DB9 without null modem (for modem or anything else you'd plug into your desktop's DB9 port).
Try the serial printer adapter to connect to a Sun workstation's DB25 port. Some other unix workstations are reported to use MacIntosh-style serial ports, and the MacIntosh serial cable will work with these. Similar adapters should be available at any well equipped computer/electronics store, or you can build your own. The adapter kit comes with the connectivity pack.

Q. What software can I use to transfer files if I don't get the Connectivity Pack?
You don't need anything beyond the software in ROM on the 200LX, as the datacom application supports
xmodem, ymodem, zmodem, and kermit. Zip (not the data compression package), MS-Kermit, LapLink,
Interlink, and other software works fine. See the minimal-software-list.

Q. Where can I get a compatible serial port connector?
EduCALC sells a cable with the appropriate connector at one end and bare wires at the other. For those who want to make a cable from scratch a contact and part numbers follow.
Digi-Key Corporation
701 Brooks Ave. South
P.O. Box 677
Thief River Falls, MN 56701-0677
800-344-4539 800-DIGI-KEY
218-681-6674
218-681-3380 fax
$25.00 minimum order or $5.00 handling charge

part# H2004-ND Hirose Electric Co., A3B series 10-pin dual-row, 2mm
connector (HP 200LX)
part# H9999-ND Hirose Electric Co., socket terminals, quantity 100
part# H2013-ND Hirose Electric Co., A4B series 4-pin, single-row, 2mm
connector (HP-48, HP-95LX)

If you already have the HP cable, it comes with an adapter to plug the 10-pin connector into a 4-pin HP95 or HP48.
One clever use of this adapter is use it as a mold to make a "bump" on Digi-Key 10-pin connector using 5-minute epoxy. This "bump" is not essential, but it will help prevent you from inserting the 10-pin connector upside-down.

Q. How can I connect the 200LX to an Apple Macintosh?
HP sells a serial cable to connect the 200LX directly to a Mac; it's part #F1016A. This handles the physical
link, reducing the problem to "How can I get a Mac to talk to a PC across a serial link?"
DataViz (1-800-733-0030) is a company which makes a product called MacLink Plus/HP Palmtop, which
handles file transfers, and converts the HP200LX application's files (memo, database, phonebook, etc.) to
popular Mac formats (Excel, MacWrite, Word, etc.). One current shortcoming is that the "Notes" section of
the 200LX Database/Phonebook programs is not supported in the Filemaker translation. But this is
reportedly being worked on.
MacLink Plus works with all the HP Palmtops (95/100/200). It includes the serial cable. File translations
include:
Memo to: MacWrite, MacWrite II, MS Word 4 & 5.x, MS Works, Mac WP 2&3, WriteNow 2, RTF.
Appt book to: Excel 2,3,4, Lotus WKS, MS Works SS 2,3, SYLK, Comma Separated, Tab Separated, Tab
Text
Phone book to: Address Book Plus, Dynodex 2,3, Excel 2,3,4, Filemaker Pro, Lotus WKS, SYLK, Comma
Separated, Tab Separated, Tab Text
Database to: FileMaker Pro, MS Works DB 2,3
Palmtop Lotus to: Excel 2,3,4, Lotus WKS, Ms Works SS 2,3, SYLK, Comma separateed, Tab Seeparated,
Tab Text.
Among other places, it's available directly from DataViz or from MacWarehouse (1-800-255-6227).
The best answers to generic PC/Mac connectivity are probably found outside this newsgroup (anyone know
where?), but here's a shot at some alternatives:
Most any terminal program on the 200LX (including the built-in DataComm) will handle simple file transfers via kermit, xmodem, etc.
MacLink Plus/PC is a commercial package made by DataViz which is intended for use on any
IBM-Compatible, and is reported to work on the 200LX, and allow easy file transfer. But see above for a
customized HP version that supports the HP apps.

Q. Intersvr complains about the E: drive when I start it. What can I do?
This is a stacker/interlink incompatibility. You could stop using stacker, but a less drastic solution is to get a copy of SUBST.EXE from a PC with MS-DOS 5.0 and include the statement "SUBST E: A:\somedir" in your AUTOEXEC.BAT. "somedir" refers to any existing directory on your A: drive.

Q. Can I run the Connectivity Pack under Windows 95?
Yes, but it's not for the faint of heart. Laplink really doesn't like Windows 95. You can still run the
Connectivity Pack applications okay, but the actual connectivity part suffers. Better to use the free Transfile utility available on HP's site.


13. PCMCIA Cards

Q. What's the difference between flash memory and SRAM?
SRAM is fast, expensive, requires battery back-up, doesn't take much power to use. Flash memory is
cheaper per megabyte, available in larger sizes, will hold data forever without power, very slow for writing (on the order of the speed of a floppy disk), requires significant power for writing, and will eventually wear out when written to many times (though some flash cards have a lifetime guarantee, and nobody has yet posted that their flash card wore out).
Both technologies have plenty of satisfied users.

Q. Will <Random PCMCIA Card> work in a 200LX?
Best answer: ask the vendor, and be sure you're allowed to return it if it doesn't work. Most vendors will
know if their cards are compatible with a machine as common as the 200LX.
Longer answer: The 200LX PCMCIA slot is PCMCIA 2.0 compatible, and able to accept type I or type II
cards. It supplies 5 or 12 volts. It can supply up to 150mA of current, and thus has trouble with certain cards which attempt to draw high current. Most modems, SRAM cards, and ATA (Sandisk-style) flash cards work fine. Most ethernet adapters and GPS receivers draw too much current to work. Intel-style flash cards (like the Newton uses) are not supported, but see next question.
Common confusion: PCMCIA _Type_ is always listed in roman numerals, and refers _only_ to the thickness
of the card. PCMCIA _Release_ is listed in arabic numerals, and refers to the version of the interface
specification.
If your card requires special drivers, it probably won't work unless it's designed specifically for the 200LX.
The Card and Socket Services drivers are not the version most special drivers require, and the controller in
the 200LX is not a standard Intel-compatible PCMCIA controller. Therefore, unless someone hacks out a
new driver, we're stuck with cards that are designed for the 200LX.
If a card draws too much current to work in the 200LX, using the AC adapter may allow you to keep the
palmtop ON while the card is in, but this could cause hardware problems, so it's not a good idea anyway.

Q. How can I use a Newton flash card in a 200LX?
This is not for the squeamish. HP does not support Intel-style flash cards on the 200LX, so if you have any
problems making it work, you're pretty much out of luck.
However, some users have reported varying degrees of success with them. They require that you obtain
MS-FLASH.SYS for normal use, and MEMCARD.EXE is required to format the card. These files are NOT
public domain, and not available at any ftp site. Some people have reportedly pirated them from an
Omnibook (probably illegal). If anyone knows of an official way of obtaining up-to-date versions of these
files, please tell the editor.
At least one user has reported that there is some incompatibility between the system manager (or at least the database apps) and MS-FLASH.SYS, such that the flash card could only be used in raw DOS mode outside of the system manager. Other users have reported that continually writing and moving files around on the card slowly consumes small amounts of disk space, which can only be recovered by backing the card up, reformatting, and restoring.
Note that this entire discussion is about Newton flash cards, not Newton SRAM cards. Several posters have been able to use Newton SRAM cards without difficulty.

Q. Help! My PC Card modem won't work!
To use a modem in your PCMCIA socket, you need to have D:\BIN\CIC100 /GEN 1 loaded. It is then
automatically configured as COM2.

Q. How can I use a PCMCIA ethernet adapter?
There is a special card (made by Silicom) that is designed specifically for the 200LX. If anyone has further
details on this, please let me know.
Most ethernet adapters draw more power than the palmtop can provide. The Socket Communications
ethernet adapter is reported to work. The Xircom ethernet adapter is reported to come close to working,
though there are problems getting the supplied drivers to work on the 200LX. This is related to the Card and Socket Services problem.

Q. Why would I want to use a PCMCIA ethernet adapter anyway?
Despite the small amount of storage, a palmtop network diagnostic tool is very useful. See
usenet:comp.dcom.lans.ethernet for details.

Q. Should I turn off the 200LX when I insert/remove a PCMCIA card?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: some sources say you cannot "hot swap" cards in the 200LX, and should turn it off. Others
say it doesn't matter. Generally, you can insert/remove a flash card without turning the machine off, because they don't draw a tremendous amount of power. Modems, however, will frequently draw so much power so suddenly upon insertion that, if the palmtop is on, it will drop the unit into "Backup Mode." Basically, this is the same as rebooting. Kiss any files you had open and unsaved goodbye. Therefore, it's probably a good idea to turn it off before inserting the cards, at least.


14. Batteries, Battery life, AC adapters, etc.

Q. What batteries does it use? How long do they last?
The 200LX uses 2 standard AA cells, either Alkaline or NiCad. It also uses a miniature lithium "button"
battery for memory backup when the main batteries fail. Battery lifetime varies a lot, based on how much you use the machine, what kind of PCMCIA card you use, how much you use the serial and IR ports, how good your batteries are, etc. As a rough guess, several users have reported needing to recharge their NiCad's approximately once a week, when running it a few hours a day with a flash card. Users have reported in excess of a month of regular usage from fresh lithium AA cells, down to an hour or less with a power-sucking PCMCIA modem and NiCads. The HP manual claims that "for typical use without the AC adapter, fresh Alkaline batteries should last from 2 to 8 weeks. Rechargable batteries ... will get less life ..." (p A-2 of 100LX manual).
Although the manual only recommends alkaline or NiCads, users have reported success with lithium AA
cells. Lithium cells have a much longer shelf life and running life than alkalines. Setting the machine up for
alkalines works for lithiums. Others have cautioned that inserting lithium cells backwards can permanently
damage the machine, and the discharge curve for lithiums is very steep, leaving little time between the first "low battery" warning and completely dead batteries.
The 200LX can charge installed NiCads by simply plugging in an AC adapter and selecting the option from
the setup application. No separate charger is needed.
Rechargable alkaline or NiMH batteries can be used, just like regular alkalines. However, to charge them,
you must take them out of the 200LX and put them in a charger specially designed for rechargable alkalines or NiMH batteries. (Note: newer NiMH batteries can be recharged right in the palmtop, with the type set to Nicad.)

Q. Why won't my NiCad batteries hold a charge anymore?
You probably use the AC adapter most of the time, and have NiCad charging enabled. There's plenty of
mythology, folklore, and an occasional fact or two regarding NiCad "memory effect", which won't be
repeated here. Suffice it to say that you can damage NiCad batteries by repeatedly overcharging them when they're already charged. The 200LX has two charge rates: for the first 6 hours after the adapter is plugged in, the batteries charge at a high rate (100mA), then charging switches to a low-current "trickle charge" (45mA). Each time you plug in the adapter the cycle repeats. If you plug the machine in each day at work, and again when you get home, you can kill the batteries fairly quickly.
Simple way to avoid trouble: if your NiCads have a full charge or close to it, and you want to use the AC
adapter, then disable charging. A slightly less conservative approach is to use 200Buddy or the shareware
BATSET program to limit the fast charge time to one minute, since trickle charging isn't likely to damage the batteries as quickly.
ABC/LX is a commercial battery monitoring program available from D&A Software.

Q. What kind of AC adapter does the 200LX use?
CAUTION: It's different from the 95LX! The 200LX uses 12VDC, negative tip, up to 750mA, approx 5.5mm
OD barrel-type connector.
HP recommends their part no F1011A, which is about the size of a credit card, except that it's an inch (2.5 cm) thick, with fold-away AC prongs. It will take any input voltage from 100 to 240 Volts, at 50/60 Hz, an
advantage for world travelers. Very nice adapter, but rather pricey ($25-$50 depending on where you get it.)
Radio Shack Cat no 273-1652B seems to work, and is probably cheaper. It's only rated at 500mA, so there
may be problems when using with high-current PCMCIA cards. It appears to work ok with flash cards while
charging NiCad's, though, and current measurements indicate that the 200LX draws much less than 500mA
with this adapter even when writing to a flash card, charging NiCads, and using the serial port
simultaneously.
Other compatible adapters are certainly available from various sources. The 200LX does not include an
adapter in the box.
If you find an adapter at Radio Shack or elsewhere that gives the required 12 volts, but the current output is higher than 750mA, you should be fine. This is because the current rating on an adapter is only the maximum current it can supply without melting down, causing a fire, etc. The palmtop will only draw what current it needs.


15. Obscure undocumented tips, tricks, and trivia

Q. What is xine?
It is a built-in file compression program (D:\BIN\XINE.COM). To use, type "XINE infile outfile". If infile
isn't compressed, xine will compress it to outfile. If infile is compressed, xine will expand it to outfile.
CAUTION: Don't specify infile and outfile as the same name, or you'll lose your data. Xine is not
documented, although it appears in all versions of the 200LX (including non-English versions).

Q. What is pushkeys?
Pushkeys is a program to run keyboard macros from a DOS batch file. It's in D:\BIN, but it has its hidden file bit set, so you must use "dir /a:h" to see it. Run it once with the /i argument, and it installs itself as a TSR. Run it again with the name of a .MAC file, and it run the 10 macros in sequence. Pushkeys is not
documented, and may be missing from some non US-English versions of the 200LX. It does appear in the
European-English 200LX, however. International users who don't have it built-in may be able to get a copy
from the Palmtop Paper.

Q. What is hexcalc?
It's a programmer's calculator that supports hex, octal, binary, and decimal. It's System manager compliant, and included in the 200LX ROM, but not automatically included in the system manager menu.

Q. What is ICN200LX.COM?
It's a simple icon editor in the 200LX ROM.

Q. What are the special characters I can use in the comments field of the Application Manager?
An inverted question mark (keystroke Fn-3) inhibits the "Press any key to exit from DOS ..." message after
finishing the application.
An inverted exclamation point (keystroke Fn-Filer) disables the system manager and prevents switching to
another application while the current application is running, giving the application total control of the console and serial port. This is needed to make certain DOS programs (intersvr, terminal emulators, etc.) work properly.
Neither special character is documented in the 100LX manual, though both appear in the 200LX manual
(they work the same on both machines).

Q. How can I customize the fields in the phone book? (e.g. add an e-mail address)
Close the phone book, open the database manager, select file/open and open the phone.pdb file (the file
formats are the same for the database manager and phone book, only the extension is changed). Now use
file/modify database to add/subtract/move fields to your heart's content, quit the database manager, and use the phone book.
Be aware that certain other software which reads phone book files expects the fields to be "vanilla", so don't use this trick (or at least back up your data and test it first) if you plan to transfer your phone book data to such software. The "Xlate/Merge" feature of the connectivity pack is one program which wants the files to be vanilla.

Q. How can I get the filer to run a program based on a file's type?
Create the file c:\_dat\filer.ini, containing file extensions and commands to run, as shown in this example:

[Launcher]
ICN=D:\BIN\ICN200.EXE %
ZIP=A:\BIN\PKUNZIP.EXE %

When you select a file and press ENTER, if the selected file has the extention ".ICN" the icon editor on drive D: is started and the file name (the `%' is replaced by the name of the selected file) is given as argument. If the selected file has the extention ".ZIP" it is automatically unzipped (assuming PKUNZIP lives on a:\bin).

Q. What's the "disable filer" trick?
As shipped by HP, the application manager always keeps the filer in memory, consuming approx 58K of
RAM. This is so that, if you run out of disk space while using an application, you can enter filer, delete some files, and save your work. The "disable filer" trick allows you to completely terminate the filer, and recover that 58K of RAM. This is undocumented, unsupported, and nobody at HP has recommended it, although several users have reported success with it. Nevertheless, please back up your disk before trying this. To disable the filer, do the following:
Activate the application manager (press {More}).
Move the filer to the first position, using F7.
Close the application manager.
Start DOS (cntl-123), and type the following: debug c:\_dat\appmgr.dat e 10a 01 w q
Start the application manager and move the filer back to its original position, if desired.

Now, you can close the filer by first opening it, highlighting it in the application manager and pressing F6, or by menu/application/close all. The filer's quit command will behave as before, just putting the filer to sleep, not recovering the RAM. If the filer is asleep, the application manager CANNOT close it. The filer must be open (awake) for the application manager to close it. If the filer has been completely terminated (not just put to sleep), it will take two presses of the filer key to open it up again.

Q. How do I prevent the 200LX from powering down while on batteries?
There are several utility programs to do this, but the following procedure will create a short assembler
program that should do the trick. Warning: back up your machine before running this, as a typing error might wreak all sorts of havoc.

The computer says: You type:

A:\JUNK> debug
- a 100
1970:0100 mov ah,46
1970:0102 mov bx,0000
1970:0105 int 15
1970:0107 int 20
1970:0109
- r cx
CX 0000
: 9
- n timeout.com
- w
Writing 00009 bytes
- quit

A:\JUNK>

Now, you've just created a short program, called timeout.com, that you can run to inhibit the automatic time-out feature. Re-booting will restore the default timeout limit, or you can create a corresponding "timein.com" program, by following the above procedure except change the second mov statement to "mov bx,0c9a", and change the n statement to "n timein.com". The number after the "mov bx," is a hexadecimal integer equal to 18 times the number of seconds desired for automatic power-down. 0433 corresponds to 1 minute, 0C9A means 3 minutes, 14FF means 5 minutes, 3EFD means 15 minutes, etc.

Again, back up your machine before running either of these programs, until you're confident the programs work correctly.

Q. What are the various ROM revisions?
(incomplete list of bugfixes/features, need help here)

***100LX ROM VERSIONS***
1.01a Original version. Some were EPROMs.
1.02a Infected by the HEU bug
1.03a HEU (sHift kEy bUg) fixed, speed up for carry-forward todos.
1.04a Last ROM version prior to 2MB Model. Currently shipping on
many 1MB models. Does not need FS.COM that comes on
the CPACK disk for the redirector.
1.05a Added support for 2MB
1.06a Most current. Some cc:Mail bugs fixed. Found on latest 2MB
units, and on some 1MB models.

At least one user reported a dramatic (2x) speedup in the calendar
app monthly view when updating from 1.02a to 1.04a.

***200LX ROM VERSIONS***
1.00a Present on at least one Japanese language version
1.01a Earlier 200LX ROM version.
1.02a Latest version of 200LX ROM. Present on most 2MB 200LX models
I've seen, including old and new 2MB versions.

Q. How do I determine which ROM version I have?

Reboot the machine (cntl-alt-del) and watch the screen.

Q. What is the Shift Key Bug (HEU)?
It is a bug that occurs on 100LX ROM versions 1.02a or less. Occasionally, the key that is pressed after the shift key is ignored and the next key pressed is capitalized. If you try to write "Shift Key Bug" it becomes "Hift Ey Ug". This problem is intermittent and not all users observe it.

Q. What information is encoded in the serial number?
The week it was manufactured. A serial number is of the form:
SGywwnnnnn Where y is the last digit of the year of manufacture, ww is the week of manufacture, and nnnnn is the individual serial number. Thus SG45101234 is the 1234th unit manufactured in the 51st week of 1994. The "SG" is the country of origin (apparently all are manufactured in Singapore).
It seems a similar scheme is used for many HP calculators.


16. Common problems

Q. Why can't I unzip this file?
This isn't really a 200LX question, but it's been asked frequently enough. PKZIP works the same on the
200LX as on any other MS-DOS machine. Chances are you don't have your file transfer software set up in
binary mode. If you're absolutely positive that the file was transferred in binary every step of the way, then maybe you have an old version of PKZIP. 2.04g is the most recent as of this writing.

Q. I can't turn it off while it's charging the batteries!
That's right. It needs to be awake to monitor and regulate the charging rate. LCD screens don't suffer
"burn-in" from continuous use (think about LCD watches), so it's really nothing to worry about.

Q. My unit makes a buzzing noise near the screen.
If your unit has been speed-upgraded, this noise occurs especially frequently when charging batteries or with a PC Card in the socket. It seems to be related to the screen driver circuitry on the motherboard. Unless your unit is draining batteries unusually quickly, it is nothing to worry about.

Q. My screen gets very light when I'm charging the batteries.
This is a problem with the design of the palmtop. There is a sensor which is supposed to sense the
temperature of the unit and adjust the display contrast accordingly. Unfortunately, when the batteries are
charging, a component on the motherboard near the temperature sensor warms up. Sensing the heat, the
temperature sensor is fooled into thinking that it needs to lower the contrast. There's not much that can be done about this. Fortunately, once the temperature returns to normal, so does the contrast.

Q. Help! My machine is stuck! What do I do?
The manual's "Getting Started" chapter contains some suggestions. Try the following, listed in order from
least likely to destroy data to most likely.
Reboot with ctrl-alt-del. If the machine starts to boot, but freezes up during the boot process, you have a
problem with something in your CONFIG.SYS and/or AUTOEXEC.BAT. Boot from the D: drive (press alt
during boot for menu) and use the memo editor to remove the offending line(s) from the startup files.
Press ctrl-shift-on. Ctrl-shift-on will ask if you want to destroy your C: drive, so be careful. It will also alter battery settings from the setup application (if you were using NiCads, for example).
Replace your AA batteries with fresh ones and try again. Replacing batteries while the machine is hung up
may destroy the data on your C: drive.
Remove PCMCIA card and all batteries, including backup battery, from the 200LX (but if you have a SRAM
card, leave its battery installed while the card is out of the 200LX!). Let the machine sit without power for
awhile, and reinstall fresh AA batteries BEFORE replacing the backup battery. This will, of course, erase
your C drive, reset the clock, and in general make the 200LX forget everything you ever taught it. Data on
the PCMCIA card should survive this process, unless you have a SRAM card with a dead battery. But
there's no guarantee that your PCMCIA card wasn't already trashed by whatever crashed your system.
If none of this works, your machine may need service. Try running diagnostics by pressing ESC-ON, and
following the menu if one comes up. Follow the instructions in the manual for obtaining service.

Any time any MS-DOS machine crashes hard enough to require a reboot, it's a good idea to run CHKDSK on all drives, to clean up the file systems and recover any clusters that may have been lost.

Q. How do I fix a loose hinge? A loose latch?
To fix a loose latch yourself, you can stuff something compressible behind the latch. Posters have
suggested rubber bands, surgical tubing, packaging foam, and other similar materials.
To fix the hinge yourself, pull off the right end cap (it should come straight off using no tools harsher
than a fingernail), and clean the center with a few drops of isopropyl alcohol. Alternatively, pull off the
left end cap and insert a rubber band in the vertical slot under the cap. Trim off excess and replace cap.
Be careful not to get the hinge too tight; see the next question.

Q. What is this "hinge-crack" I keep hearing about?
It seems that HP has been besieged by complaints of a loose hinge in recent years, and thus tightened
the hinge significantly. The right side of the screen is what has the actual friction clasp in it. Thus, on
the top of the unit, a millimeter or two above the round right hinge, a crack will often develop. It is
often very difficult to see in the early stages. HP has not officially recognized this problem and will
thus not repair it under warranty (it is the fault of the user, according to them; yeah, we opened the unit
too much, that's the ticket.) There are a few options: ignore it and hope it doesn't get any worse (it
may or may not), loosen up the hinge with some sort of oil (not recommended, and it would be highly
annoying anyway to have a floppy screen), superglue the crack (deforming the outside of the case),
stick the nameplate that goes in the bottom across it (might work), or try to superglue it from the inside
(probably the best option, if it works). For more information, and a picture showing you where to look
for the crack, please visit http://coyote.accessnv.com/davidsa/hp/crack.htm


17. For more info

Q. Where should I read and post articles concerning the HP200LX?
The Usenet newsgroup comp.sys.palmtops. The comp.sys.handhelds group is for calculators, not palmtops.
The commercial services include CompuServe HPHAND, America OnLine PDA section.
If your question concerns using DOS on the 200LX, perhaps one of the comp.os.msdos.* groups might be
appropriate. Just tell them the 200LX behaves like a PC-XT with CGA and 640K, running DOS 5.0.

Edited by David Sargeant