Solid as a Tank!

Solid as a Tank!

If you loved the Panasonic HHC (a.k.a. RL-H1400), you will love the Panasonic FH-2000. I personally do not own a Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Ltd. branded FH-2000, but rather a pretty rare Nixdorf Computer PC-05. Having a re-branded Panasonic pocket computer – well, we will address the pocket part of shortly – should not come as a surprise. Indeed, the HHC was designed to be re-branded (for example I have an Olympia branded HHC). Indeed, contrary to other pocket computers of the era (1982), these machines were designed upfront to run custom applications from ROMs (banking, insurance, field data collection, etc.). With the FH-2000 released in 1986, Panasonic pushed the HHC design one giant step further. Although the idea is the same, the device is now boxing in the heavyweight category. And yes, this is barely a pocket computer. I would say, it is almost a laptop built for the terrain with its super-hard plastic shell and its brushed aluminum face plate. Even the keyboard looks like a vandal-safe model ;-). As you may notice, the Nixdorf has a German layout. At the core of the beast, we can find an 80C88 processor as well as 256KB of RAM. Unfortunately, my system doesn’t have a BASIC or DOS ROM. Therefore, it only has the basic built-in calculator, clock/alarm, as well as support for serial communications. Note that the FH-2000 is not Y2K proof! If you have the chance to find one of these rarities, and if after enumerating the available RAM (you will have to be patient, it is paced at 4.77 MHz only), nothing is displayed, then try to remove all the ROMs (after checking the ALL ON/OFF switch on the back of the device and the contrast knob first ). The display is pretty wide (8 lines of 80 characters) and graphic (480 x 64 pixels) but lacks a backlight. Sure I understand that the battery life would have paid a high price for this feature, but once docked or powered by an adapter, it would have helped the readability. By the way, taking pictures of this puppy is a nightmare… In addition of the serial port, the FH-2000 has a massive expansion port – alike the HHC – used to connect to peripherals (printer, cradle, etc.). Overall, the FH-2000 is a tank. Now the question is: do you really need one?