The US Robotics Pilot 5000 is the first successful PDA. Internals, modem, use with modern OS

    Once upon a time, in 1996, palms were called pilots, and US Robotics (like modems) released them. I managed to get their earliest PDA - US Robotics Pilot 5000 - with up to 1 MB of memory: yes, at that time handheld computers supported an upgrade (hi Google Project Ara) - it was possible to get an IR port and more memory, or for example a receiving module paging messages).

    Processor - Motorola Dragonball, operating at a frequency of 16 MHz. However, this was more than enough for any application: in PalmOS 1.0, correctly written applications were "always running" - and switching between them was almost instant. Monochrome screen with a resolution of 160x160 pixels and no backlight - ate a minimum of energy.

    Appearance and insides

    On the reverse side, behind the protective cover, there is an expansion module:

    Central processor board, in the lower right corner - RS232 level converter microcircuit: The

    reverse side of the processor board and display board. Directly on flexible printed circuit boards are crystals of LCD matrix drivers.

    Power Consumption and Handwriting

    According to the measurement results, in a dream, palm consumes 0.168mA, with the screen on - 17.4mA, with a maximum load - 43mA. Accordingly, with a set of 1200 mA batteries, the “standby” time is 297 days, the active work time (~ reading books) is 29 hours. Naturally, such a low consumption is possible due to the lack of backlight and a processor with a low frequency, the absence of any multimedia functions. Nevertheless, their main tasks were performed perfectly.

    Handwriting seems never to be forgotten. It has been 6 years already, as I did not write in Graffiti - and everyone remembers their hands. He entered the text in 36 seconds, on the on-screen keyboard - in 33 seconds. But I think after a little practice graffiti would be faster.


    It would be strange if the manufacturer of modems did not attach a modem to their device :-) We managed to find such a modem - in the store packaging. He has been waiting for us for 18 years.

    However, a catch was waiting for me - the batteries had run out over the years. Fortunately, the modem lay so that the electrolyte did not touch the electronics - and after washing and replacing the batteries, everything worked.

    The dial-up provider, which could have been called for a test in Moscow, could not be found from the first 5 attempts, I had to call right to Yekaterinburg. On the video connection at 3:40.

    Modem Insides:

    We connect palm as Linux terminal

    What would it be useful for now to adapt to? As we remember, Palm has a full-fledged RS232 port on the connector, which means you can try to use it as a terminal. After several attempts, I managed to find a terminal that runs under PalmOS 1.0 - ptelnet. Fortunately, the utility for installing programs on palm trees Pilot Install worked without problems with the Pilot 5000 under Windows 8.1 using the hardware COM port on the LGA2011 motherboard (yes, there are still such ones - you only need to buy a bracket with a connector ). I honestly prepared for a lot more problems.

    After installation - you can immediately send greetings from the palm tree to Putty:

    Next, turn on the RS232 terminal in Linux- and you can scare everyone with top photos on a palm tree. The maximum supported port speed is 115200.

    But with the terminal further, the scope of imagination is unlimited - you want hours in pseudographics, if you want - server monitoring and mail notifications.

    I hope this excursion into history was interesting, and recalled the good old days when 29 hours of battery life did not surprise anyone.

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