PC 1500 / PC 1500A










Sharp BASIC interpreter


65 keys, QWERTY calculator type with numeric key-pad


LH 5801 8-bit CMOS


1.3 MHz


PC-1500: 3.5 KB - PC-1500A: 8.5 KB


16 KB


1 line x 26 chars. (LCD screen)


7 x 156 pixels




One-channel Beeper, with frequency and duration controllable by BASIC statement


19.5 (W) x 8.6 (D) x 2.55 (H) cm / 375 g (with batteries)


Proprietary 60 pin expansion bus, 40 pin slot for memory and program modules




4 x AA 1.5V batteries, 50 hours run time (0.13W) - 6V DC external AC adaptor EA-150


CE-150 4-colour pen-plotter and cassette interface, various RAM modules (4 to 2x16 KB), various interfaces (RS-232, Centronics, video), Software modules: graphics, math, engineering etc.


PC-1500: 335℮, PC-1500A: $200


Sharp PC-1500a

PC-1500 / PC-1500A

After the successful PC-121x series, the PC-1500 was the second pocket computer released by Sharp, and their first one based on an 8 bit microprocessor. It might be contended that the PC-1500 was THE milestone in pocket computers. It was very popular among computer hobbyists, and it was used by many companies who equipped their field staff with this machine.

Why was this so? Actually, the technical specifications were not very

very impressive: its display was only two characters longer then its predecessor's, but at least it featured "one line graphics", i.e. it was a "gap-less" display with 7 x 156 pixels.

With 3.5 KB memory, the PC-1500 had not much more RAM available for BASIC (1850 bytes) than the PC-1211 (1424 steps). Moreover, it was quite bulky (25 mm thick, 375 g), though it might have been an advantage, as these batteries are cheap and easily replaceable.

Presumably, the most important advantage was the expandability of the system. Several RAM extensions (some even with battery back-up), program modules, a "docking station" with cassette interface and color plotter with full graphics capabilities accessible with BASIC, an external board with programmable function buttons, various interfaces etc. were available. Moreover, the PC-1500 was also programmable in machine code. Apart from that, nothing comparable was available from other manufacturers at that time. Later strongest competitor Casio had their FX-702P, and they were only about to release their PB-100, which had rather weak specifications.

The PC-1500 was released in late 1981 in Japan and early 1982 in the rest of the world. It was built around the LH 5801 8-bit CMOS processor, which ran at 1.3 MHz. The RAM consisted of three parts. The 1KB system RAM was made up by two TC5514 1k x 4bit chips, a legacy from the PC-121x series. This area was used for system memory and part of the fixed variables. User RAM was realized with a HM6116 2k x 8 bit chip, most of it available for BASIC (1850 Bytes). Additional 512 Bytes incorporated in the display driver chips were used for the rest of the fixed variables and the display buffer.

The RAM could be expanded by RAM modules in different sizes, the largest of which was 16KB (actually, there was also a 32KB module, which had two switchable 16KB pages, i.e. only 16KB could be used at a time). There was also a widely known method to build a self-made RAM expansion up to 32KB.

As with the PC-1211, there was a custom manufactured version of the PC-1500 built by Sharp for Tandy Radio Shack, called the
TRS-80 PC-2. Apart from a different keyboard layout, it was identical.

Two years later, the slightly expanded model PC-1500A was released (in Japan and maybe some other countries labeled as PC-1501). It was equipped with four HM6116 RAM chips, which made 5946 Bytes available for BASIC and an additional 1KB area for machine code only.