1980s Vintage Computers

Hewlett-Packard Series 80 - Links

Here are some of the places on the web with useful or well put together info on the HP Series 80.

The Hewlett-Packard Virtual Museum has some excellent pictures of the HP-85 and the HP-86.

The best place to start learning about the HP series 80 is the Agilent overview, as this company used to be the part of HP that produced the series 80. Here are their pages that refer to series 80:

Series 80 Overview
Porting Series 80 Basic to HP & other Basic
LIF & LIF Translation Utilities Product Support Overview

Note there are a couple of typos in the above overview. The Centronics printer interface is part number 82949A, and the HP-85 Advanced Programming ROM is singular (but the HP-87 equivalent is a two-ROM set).

The HP Calculator Museum has a HP-85 / 87 page. They also have some HP manuals on CD. There are new articles added now and again, such as a description of LIF (List Interchange Format).

There are a couple of very good HP-85/87 emulators available:

Everett Kaser -HP-85 emulator
Olivier De Smet - HP Series 80 emulator

The Series 80.org page has some very useful downloads including HP-85 and 87 utilities, several user manuals, a brochure for the HP 9915, as well as some further ROM images. My thanks to vp for his help!

The HP Computer Museum in Australia has a massive collection of on-line manuals and programs to download. 

Jorge Amodio has reverse engineered the Programmable ROM module, and has produced a prototype. His future projects should be worth following!

Philip Freidin co-designed the EBTKS Series 80 module, which provides multiple features such as disk drive and ROM emulation.

The HP85disk and HPDisk projects by Mike Gore and Anders Gustafsson provide a small device that works as an HP-IB disk drive that can be connected to a Series 80 computer.

Here is the HP-85B user manual on the web - enjoy!

André Koppel has a lot of documents on his website including several rare manuals such as the HP-87 Assembler ROM manual, the HP-86B Service manual, and very unusually source code listings for the HP-87. 

The book Digital Retro by Gordon Laing summarises the design of 44 different computers including four pages on the HP-85.

There is good HP-85 page on Wikipedia, and also one on the DC100 tape.

The Hewlett-Packard Series 80 Configuration Guide is a ten-page leaflet issued in 1981 to show all the available options the owner could buy from HP.

Victor Toth's calculator site has a long piece on his HP-85 including some useful repair tips (this site is a recommended read).

Mike Davies has bought and sold many HP-85s, here are his buying tips.

Eric Bal's page contains a complete listing of the HP Series 80 Basic commands.

The HP-41 library contains scans of old copies of the 'HP Journal' and the 'Computer Journal of PPC'.  I strongly recommend the July 1980 Journal as this is dedicated to the HP-85, only problem is that it's around 19MB to download. Similarly the December 1982 Journal has an article on the HP-86 & HP-87XM, plus a full description of the 82900A CP/M System module. The PPC journal includes many program listings, but there is no index. So far I have found further articles on the CP/M module, critical of the software for not supporting the serial module.

Martin Cragg's Biblewitness site has several copies of the News 80 magazine, plus some Assembler code.

Datareign Ltd. have a nice HP-85 page, explaining its role in engineering labs.

Guillaume Tello has a great HP-86 page, including tips plus programs for transfering files to and from a PC, and for emulating a plotter.

More HP-85 photos by Nightfallcrew.

Clube Oldbits from Brazil has some excellent photographs of several computers, including the inside of an HP-85B.

The following have some good photos of the HP 85:

Oldcomputers.com  (from Internet Archive)
The Old Calculator Museum 
Silicium - a French site (archive copy)
Heca's Computer Museum

and these have the HP 86:

The Trailing Edge
Jim Forbes (well there used to be an HP-86 here but it's an interesting site anyway!)

A collection of old HP's photographed by Stan Sieler at VCF 4.0.

A company in NZ called Precision Microcircuits currently use HP-85s for driving some of their test equipment

The HP-9915 (the industrial version of the HP-85) was also bundled as the HP 5181A with a 1332A display unit. This uses the 98155A keyboard, which is also used on the HP 8451A spectrography machine.

The HP Series 80 machines did not come with built in floppy drives, these are a very useful add-on. There were a few different types of HP-IB drives made by HP, of these I would recommend the Amigo protocol drives such as the HP 82901M (a dual 5¼" drive) or 82902M (single drive). Both of these were very solidly built and have metal cases. Section C13 of the HP Series 100 FAQ lists some 3½" Amigo drives, I also have a 9121D which works fine with the Series 80. The following is a list of some more HP drives, please see the Series 80 Parts List section on drives to check compatibility. 

There is an Easter Egg in the HP Extended Mass Storage ROM.

There are several articles on the ClassicCmp cctalk, these are easily found with Google

Please join the groups.io group hpseries80, this site has a large library of Series 80 information and files.

The HP 9845 project created by Ansgar Kueckes is the home of HPDir and HPDrive - these allow a Windows PC with an HP-IB card to either connect to HP Series 80 machines and emulate a disk drive, or to contect a disk drive and transfer files between it and the PC. Disk images can then be transferred to a Series 80 emulator.

The hp-collection.org site has a full index of calculators and modules including HP-IL devices, but stops short of including the HP-85.

If you are have the time, please try running Kermit for the HP-86/87 and let me know how you get on!

HP series 80 home

This page was last revised on: 24/04/09