Philips Z80 micro computers

Philips is a very large electronics company that started life in Eindhoven, a city in the southern part of The Netherlands. Among the enormous range of products they sell were (of course) microcomputers. This page concentrates on the P2000 range, the Z80 based computers. This family has four lines that are incompatible with each other. They have in common that they were very solidly built, even after all these years they keep on working. I am using several P2000T's that have been switched on 24/7 since 1991.

P2000T, P2000M

Philips P2000M, Tandy Model 4p

The P2000T (cassette, 40 char video) / P2000M (disk, 80 char video). The P2000M is on the left in this picture. Keyboard, cassette drive and computer were all inside the bottom unit. The top unit had the monitor and two single sided 35 track disk drives. 48K RAM, 16K ROM in a cart so it was easy to change programs, micro cassette recorder that was operated by the computer so no fiddling with buttons, floppy drives optional, video 40x24 color (T, viewdata/teletext character set) or 80x24 monochrome (M). Started life as a dedicated word processor, BASIC cart added later. Also several other carts, like a simple database program, a disk BASIC, and a very advanced machine language assembler / debugger. Behind the cartridge slot was another slot on which the Z80 bus was available for hardware add-ons. There were several communications carts for this slot available, and the computer club also had several, like an eprom programmer and a parallel I/O cart for controlling external devices. There was a disk operating system (JWSDOS) that could work with the programs originally meant for cassette use only, and CP/M was available. This machine was the most common here in The Netherlands. They were the same internally but had different video. Most programs were interchangable. A CP/M card was available for it from the Philips computer club. Also a floppy disk controller for the T that was compatible with the internal one in the M. The computer club was very active and developed a lot of hardware add-ons, and software of course.

An extended technical description of the P2000T and M is available here.

P2000C

Philips P2000C

The P2000C luggable, the most advanced one, Z80 4Mhz, CP/M, even had a 8088 'CoPower' card available for it that could run MSDOS. A RAM disk card for CP/M was available too. CoPower card was also usable as a CP/M RAMdisk. You could attach an external hard disk via a SASI interface. It could read and write the disk formats from all the other members, and of a lot of other CP/M systems too. It had a 9 inch green display and two 800K 5.25i drives. 512x256 graphics standard. I have played Infocom CP/M and DOS games on this machine! Every Philips computer collector should have a P2000C, because it has a diskette conversion program that could read and write many of the formats of the Philips 8 bit operating systems, and Rainbow and Kaypro disks too.

P2500, P2000B

The P2000B/P2500, a CP/M disk system with 5.25i disks, monitor and disks in one cabinet like the P2000M, on top of a passive backplane cabinet like the Northstar with everything on cards. 8i floppy controller available. There was a slot on the front which could hold a ROM cart.

P3500

P3500

This was a multi-user MP/M system. 5.25 floppy and a hard disk. No keyboard or video in the main unit, only connections for terminals and serial printers on the box. Small but very heavy.

P5020, P5040, P5010

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The P5020/P5040 word processor system. The P5020 was a monster system, an all-in-one system with a 15 inch 36 line screen, two 5.25i drives next to the monitor, room for expansion cards. The entire thing stood on a big tilt/swivel pedestal. Heavy keyboard made of metal, no plastic exept for the keys.

Philips P5040

The P5040 seen on this picture was a more modern version, smaller and looking like a PC with separate monitor and all. There was an add-on machine, called the P5010, which was a keyboard with a single line LCD display and a cassette drive, which could be used to enter long texts. You then sent these texts serially to the P5020 or P5040 for the finishing touches.

I have software that runs on the P5020 and P5040 that claims it is made for the Philips Micom 3003, so that may have been an alternative name for these systems. Some bright minds in the Philips computer club made a new ROM and a memory expansion card for the P5010 so you could write Z80 machine code programs with it. Later there even was CP/M for the P5020/5040. Supercalc with 36 lines really was a treat.

Apart from the P5020 there was another computer that looked exactly like the P5020 but had a totally different machine inside. Floppys and screen were the same but the rest wasn't. It did not even have a Z80. They were called the 'Televerket' and were supposed to be some kind of communica- tions system for a Scandinavian PTT. I think it was also called P5900. The software for it was developed in Forth.

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