Introduced in 1984, the Psion Organiser series defined the first generation of electronic organizers or PDAs (personal digital assistants). Even though these devices are now over 30 years old, the Psion Organiser scene is alive and well: with new hardware and software is still being developed by enthusiasts the world over.
One of those enthusiasts is [James Stanley], who designed and built a USB interface for the Psion Organiser II. Although a “CommsLink” module providing an RS-232 port was available back in the day, it’s become hard to find, inspiring [James] to design a completely new module based on an Arduino Nano. Hooking it up to the Psion’s data bus was a simple matter of wiring up the eight data lines to the Nano’s GPIO ports. A set of series resistors served to prevent bus contention without having to add glue logic.
Getting the software working was a bit more difficult: the Organiser’s native OPL programming language doesn’t allow the user to directly access the expansion port’s memory address, so [James] had to write a routine in HD6303 machine code to perform the read, then call that routine from OPL to display the result on the screen. Currently, the routine only supports reading data from the Arduino, but extending it to a bidirectional interface should be possible too.
Finally, [James] designed and 3D printed a neat enclosure for the Arduino-USB interface, which makes it look almost as sleek as the original CommsLink module. Perhaps with a bit of further development, this could turn into another way to connect old Psions to the internet. We’ve also featured a new type of Datapak to enhance the Organiser’s memory.
Thanks for the tip, [SaratogaJerry]!
4 thoughts on “Arduino Nano Adds USB Interface To The Psion Organiser II”
Is it just me or does adding massively more powerful hardware to much older hardware remind anyone of V’Ger from Star Trek 1?
Very interesting, I have one of the micro USB com ports and it works very well, even well enough to send two way data and with a heavy interface Computer side allow extremely limited web browsing.
Things like this seem to be the perfect application for an FPGA. You can get tiny, cheap ones now too that would be suitable for things like this.
They may not be as simple for most people to use but they are much much better for emulating hardware or “glueing” logic and devices together.
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