1980s Vintage Computers

Microwriter MW4


The Microwriter is a handheld computer that acts as a word processor. It displays a single line of text on a dot-matrix LCD display, which is a window the current document in memory.

The main feature is its chorded keyboard - this is used in the right hand, with the four fingers resting on the top four keys, and the thumb pressing the upper left button for some letters, or the lower left button (which is called the command key) to change text entry mode (eg for upper case) or pressed with other keys to enter editting or formatting commands.

The hand held unit is powered from a built-in rechargable battery, and it is recharged from a small mains transformer. There are two large connectors, one is used for serial input/output or a video display unit, the other is a system bus connector. There is also an audio socket to connect up a tape drive for backing up documents.


There are two main manuals for the MW4, a chatty introduction and a more detailed reference manual

New Users Guide - Book I (PDF - 17MB)
General Systems Manual - Book II (PDF - 11MB)

There were a series of A5 cards that provided handy tips for using the Microwriter.

Microwriting in Practice

Additional documents:

Advert for Microwriter
Microwriter schmatics by Tony Duell


The Microwriter needs a 8V to 12V DC power supply, fed via DC power plug of 5.0mm diameter and 2.5mm centre pin (pin is negative). A long reach plug is normally needed to provide a secure fit. This is not a common size, I found the 'BKL 72605' plug was suitable.

For the video adapter, the following lead is needed:

9-pin (female) 25-pin (male)
1 5
2 3
3+6+8 7
5 12






This page was last revised on: 6/11/22