PSION Series 3/3a palmtop FAQ part 1/6

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Archive-name: psion-faq/part1
Version: $VER: Psion FAQ v2.6 (Jun 1997)
Posting-Frequency: monthly

                       Original author: Chris Wesley
                  Actual author & maintainer: Daniel Pfund
                                Jun97 - v2.6
   Welcome to the FAQ for the comp.sys.psion.* Usenet hierarchy. Find the
   contents table below. Questions and constructive comments are welcome.
   Send them to me at:
   IMPORTANT NOTE: this article does not contain any software infos on
   the Series 3c or the Siena. I will NOT include specific informations
   concerning these new machines (except hardware stuff). Maybe there
   will be a Series3c/Siena FAQ written by someone else in the future?
   -CHANGE-Indicates a change since last version
   - NEW! -Indicates an addition since last version

   part 1
          I. DISCLAIMER
          II. CREDITS
          III. COPYRIGHT
          IV. FAQ UPDATES
          1.1 What is the Psion Series 3/3a?
          1.2 Which model should I buy?
          -CHANGE-1.3 When will the "new" Psion come out?
          -CHANGE-1.4 What other machines does Psion make?
          1.5 What other palmtop alternatives are there?
   part 2
          - NEW! -1.6 Where can I purchase a Psion?
          1.7 How can I contact Psion?
          2.1 Hardware specifications
          2.2 What batteries does the Psion use?
          2.3 How long do the batteries last?
          2.4 How does the Psion measure the battery usage?
          2.5 How can I make my batteries last longer?
          2.6 Can I use an external power supply?
          2.7 Can I upgrade my Solid State Disk (SSD)?
          2.8 Can I upgrade my internal RAM?
          2.9 Can I change the keyboard?
          2.10 Can I use a big (normal) keyboard?
          2.11 How can I build a serial link?
          2.12 How can I build a parallel link?
          2.13 What is this "soap on a rope" thing?
          2.14 How do I print with my Psion?
          2.15 Can I take my Psion through an X-Ray machine?
          2.16 Can my Psion wipe out magnetic data?
          3.1 How do I reset my Psion?
          3.2 What is killing a process?
          3.3 How can I save what's on the screen?
          3.4 What is the soak test?
          3.5 How can I find a text in my memos with Agenda?
          3.6 How can I make the cursor bigger?
          3.7 How can I take out the "hum" when I record sounds?
          3.8 How safe is password protection?
          3.9 How can I change the icon of a program?
   part 3
          3.10 How can I permanently change the distance units in World?
          3.11 Why do some programs crash with an "Invalid arguments"
          3.12 Why is my Psion not switching itself off automatically
          3.13 How can I change the fonts in the system applications?
          3.14 Is Perl ported to the Psion?
          3.15 How do I undelete a file if I've accidentaly deleted it?
          3.16 How can I synchronize my desktop agenda with my Psion's?
          4.1 Known hardware problems & solutions
          4.2 Known software problems & solutions
          4.3 Other official Psion repair centres
          4.4 User groups
          4.5 Online services
          4.6 Bulletin boards (BBSes)
          4.7 Magazines
          4.8 "Anti-thief" tips
          4.9 Lost/stolen Psions
          5.1 Relevant FTP sites
          5.2 WWW internet sites
          5.3 Shareware for those without online access
   part 4
          6.1 With an IBM or clone
          6.2 With an Amiga
          -CHANGE-6.3 With a UNIX machine
          6.4 With a Macintosh
          6.5 With an Atari
          6.6 With an Acorn Archimedes or Risc PC
          6.7 With a serial modem
          6.8 With a PCMCIA modem
          6.9 With a packet radio TNC
          6.10 With a cellular phone
          6.11 Via the IrDA port (3c/Siena)
          6.12 Terminal emulation
          6.13 TCP/IP stack
   part 5
          7.1 Limitations & bugs
          7.2 Tips & tricks
          7.3 Changing permanently the keyboard mapping
          8.1 Overview of development possibilities
          8.2 OPL programming directly on the Psion
          8.3 OPL programming from a PC
          8.4 C Development on PC
          8.5 Advanced C Development on a PC
          8.6 Available books
          8.7 How to do various things: tips & tricks
          A.1 Applications
          A.2 Games
   part 6
          B.1 Business & Legal
          B.2 Education
          B.3 Drawing, Leisure & Guides
          B.4 Navigation
          B.5 Communications & Utilities
          B.6 Diet, Health & Safety
          B.7 Time Management
          B.8 Mapping & Surveying
          B.9 Databases
          B.10 Services
          B.11 Books & Accessories
   This article is provided "as is" without any express or implied
   warranties. While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy
   of the information contained in this article, neither the authors, the
   maintainer or the contributors will assume responsibility for errors
   or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information
   contained herein. This document is compiled in spare time for free,
   and I cannot resource thorough checking of all its contents. However,
   I am interested in making the FAQ as good as it can be, so your
   constructive feedback is welcome.
   This FAQ is not sponsored or endorsed by Psion PLC or any subsidary
   companies they may own in any way.
   This FAQ is *NOT* intended as a replacement of the User Guide which
   comes with each Psion. Be sure to read that first and - most important
   - please double read the manual and this FAQ before posting any
   questions to the comp.sys.psion.* hierarchy!
   To create this document Chris (the original FAQ author) reviewed the
   Newsgroup activity of the old comp.sys.psion (it has split on the 19th
   of June 1996) group over some months, used that to generate a list of
   Frequently Asked Questions, used THAT to generate a FAQ structure,
   then populated it with extracted wisdom from the news traffic. So a
   lot of information here is provided by the newsgroup contributors, who
   are too numerous to credit individually. (Chris said "I'm just the
   clerk that put it all in one place.") Special thanks go to Markus
   Illenseer, who owned the first (Series 3) FAQ - from which Chris also
   extracted useful information. Chris also thanked Clive D.W. Feather,
   Daniel Senie, Roger Burton-West, for extensive helpful comments on his
   preliminary FAQ. I would like to thank Mark Gould and Jason Savage for
   their precious help and comments. Other contributors are credited in
   the sections they provided special help in compiling.
   If you have a question which is not answered in the actual FAQ, please
   Email it to me (Daniel Pfund, see address at the top of this FAQ),
   otherwise if you want more information from one specific section of
   this FAQ, please try to contact the author of that section first. All
   the Email addresses of people mentioned in this FAQ are listed here
   for convenience (in alphabetical order):

        Andrew Baldwin
        Michael Baas  
        Daron M. Brewood
        Roger Burton-West
        Mark Chapman  
        Steve Clack   
        Nick Craig-Wood
        Alban Debeaupuis
        Mike Dolan    
        Tom Dolbilin  
        Paul DuBois   
        Clive D.W. Feather
        Mark Gould    
        Roman Habrat  
        Steve Hawtin  
        Jochen Hollmann
        Charlotte Holmquist
        Markus Illenseer
        Erik Johansen 
        Uwe Kallmeyer 
        Edwin Klement 
        Dan Ko        
        Philippe Lebreton
        Steve Litchfield
        Neil Masson   
        Roger Muggleton
        Blake Nancarrow
        Daniel Pfund  
        Angus Rae     
        Dan Ramage    
        Alan Roberts  
        Konstantin I. Saliy
        Jason Savage  
        Daniel Senie  
        Jochen Siegenthaler
        Bruce Stephens
        Toby Smith    
        Oliver Wagner 
        Lloyd Wasser  
        John A. Watson
        Chris Wesley  
        Walter Wright 

   If you happen to change addresses or know the new address of someone
   on this list, please Email it to me, thanks!
   I assert copyright on this document. I encourage you to distribute it
   widely, but only in its complete and original form and if you do not
   make any money out of it.
   For the time being, I (Daniel) am the keeper of the FAQ. If you have
   comments or suggestions, corrections, or you have some information you
   want to see added or a request that I find some new answers, please
   let me know. Please contact me via the Email address at the top of the
   FAQ, or if that address doesn't work anymore (will stop working around
   the 20th of October 1997), then contact me at: which
   (should) work all the time by forwarding me my mail to my current
   account. If all else fails, do a web search on my name or check out my
   current homepage for more info at: /
   You're reading it aren't you? SAVE it :-). This FAQ is part of the
   "official" news.answers FAQs and is posted monthly to
   comp.sys.psion.announce and cross-posted to comp.sys.palmtops,
   comp.answers, and news.answers. If you don't have reliable Usenet
   access, you can also retrieve the FAQ by:
          This article is archived at any site that archives
          News.answers' main archive is at, and this article
          is available there via anonymous ftp in the directory
          Other news.answers FAQ archives are:
          + in the anonymous ftp directory /pub/FAQ
          + in the anonymous ftp directory /pub/usenet (also
            available via mail server requests to, or
            via uunet's 1-900 anonymous UUCP phone number)
          + in the anonymous ftp directory pub/NEWS.ANSWERS
            (also accessible via mail server requests to
          You probably will find a location closer to you with the help
          of archie or some other search tool. Usually, the news.answers
          FAQs are held in a directory like
          "usenet/usenet-by-group/news.answers/" and you would be looking
          for the "psion-faq" subdirectory in there.
          You can use the mailserver at rtfm: send a message containing
          the lines "send usenet/news.answers/psion-faq/*" to receive all
          parts or send a message containing "help" and "index" to
 for more information on how to obtain
          seperate parts.
          There is a HTMLized version of this FAQ on my homepage at
 (Note that
          there is no "l" at the end of "htm", this is not a typo!)
          Please use this site for any reference from your own web pages
          because it is under my direct control and easily changeable. It
          contains links to all the Psion HTML FAQ mirrors available in
          the world as well as an archive file of both the text and the
          HTML versions of the FAQ for easy downloading and offline
          There are also numerous WWW sites archiving all the
          news.answers FAQs. My favorite site is in Oxford at:
   Please do NOT Email me or anybody else mentioned in this FAQ for the
   latest version. We simply cannot handle such matters effectively.
   If the date at the top of this FAQ is more than a couple months old,
   there is probably a new version available online.
   If you're interested to learn how I prepare this FAQ, you can check
   out my page about that at:
   I thought it might be useful to include a few words about using the
   comp.sys.psion.* newsgroup hierarchy. We get a steady trickle of
   transgressions and the ensuing admonishments. Maybe we can fix these
   before they happen in future. Egg-sucking grannies may skip this
   section. (Does that work outside the UK?)
    1. READ THE FRIENDLY MANUAL (RTFM) and then the FAQ before posting
       any questions! Remember that thes groups are here to help you out
       but only if the answer can't be found by yourself. Also remember
       that each time you're posting a question to the group, hundreds
       (if not thousands) of people will read your question. If the same
       questions come up again and again, people will just get bored and
       not answer anymore...
    2. DON'T BE RUDE. Obvious? Apparently not. Our newsgroup is an oasis
       of civilization in a sea of adolescent vitriol and worse. Let's
       keep it that way. Say it nicely or don't say it at all. If you
       need to be uncomfortably direct, do it in personal mail - don't
       post it.
    3. When responding to a post, most handlers will give you an edit pad
       with the original post inserted. Delete most of this, leaving only
       the part which will set the context for your reply. This is more
       effective communication, it cuts down on crud to scan through, and
       reduces phone bills for those that pay them.
    4. Official NETIQUETTE says you should not use the net for
       advertising, but the prevalent view here is that the current level
       of activity is useful without being obtrusive.
    5. Posting binaries is definitively not recommended in the
       comp.sys.psion.* usenet groups! There is a seperate Psion binaries
       group called comp.binaries.psion which is a moderated group. The
       moderator is Erik Johansen. If you wish to post to this group,
       either Email your binary directly to the news group's Email
       address: and it will arrive to the
       moderator or if your news program is configured correctly, post it
       directly to the group. You will receive a message in return
       usually in a laps of 2-3 days maximum to confirm your binary. It
       has been agreed that very large programs which are not Psion
       specific (ie: don't run directly on the Psion) should NOT be
       posted there but to the relevant computer group. But you should
       send a small message to the comp.binaries.psion group stating that
       you have just posted your program. It is also common practice to
       send a description of your binary; it helps to know if it's worth
       downloading it or not! Usually, this description has the same
       subject line but with part0(/x) suffix. All postings to this group
       have been archived and are indexed on the following FTP site:
    6. Consider whether you should be mailing or posting. PING-PONG
       personal dialogues may - or may not - be of interest to others. If
       not, please don't post.
    7. Post to the relevant newsgroup, and please don't cross-post!
       Here's a guide to help you:
          + comp.binaries.psion
            Used for ALL Psion binaries. Also used for large source code.
          + comp.sys.psion.announce
            Used for posting announcements about new programs/hardware;
            the FAQ is also posted to this group. This is a low volume
            group and it's moderated, that means that all postings must
            get approved first by the moderator (Michael L. Kaufman). If
            your news server does not send your post to the moderator
            (but they all do generally), you can send it yourself
            directly for approval at
          + comp.sys.psion.apps
            Used for posting questions/answers to all Psion related
            programs; frequented by all Psion programmers to get your
            feedback and ideas of course ;-)
          + comp.sys.psion.marketplace
            Used for selling/buying Psion articles
          + comp.sys.psion.misc
            Used for any subject which does not fall into one of the
            other categories...
          + comp.sys.psion.programmer
            Used for posting programming questions ( OPL / C / ... ), NOT
            Used for posting reviews about Psion programs/hardware. This
            group is also moderated by Michael L. Kaufman and again, if
            your news server is not set up correctly, you can also send
            your postings directly to him at

  1.1 What is the Psion Series 3/3a?
   I will describe the more advanced 3a here. Refer to the hardware
   section to see what you lose on the Series 3.
   The Psion Series 3 and 3a are palmtop computers. Though packaged as
   personal organisers, they are fully general, programmable, powerful
   computers. The quality of the built-in applications, coupled with the
   power saving hardware make Series 3's excellent personal organisers.
   The sophisticated operating system, the hardware, the built-in
   programming language, and the options to program in C and assembler
   make them excellent general-purpose computers, with the major benefits
   of compactness and battery endurance.
   Optional link facilities can connect the Series 3 to desktop machines,
   allowing data backup and access to the resources of the larger machine
   from the Series 3. Modems, fax modems, printers and other peripherals
   may also be connected via industry-standard serial and parallel
   The built-in applications include a database manager, a sophisticated
   word processor, time manager, world date/time and dialling codes
   database, calculator and spreadsheet. The latest models (1Mb and 2Mb
   RAM models) also include the spell checker/thesaurus and a patience
   game (solitaire card game). Many other applications are available
   commercially and from shareware outlets. More details in the last part
   of this FAQ.
   The built-in OPL programming system provides a structured BASIC-like
   programming language with access to all the features of the machine.
   This includes the ability to program polished Windows/Icons/Menus
   interfaces like those found in the built-in applications.
   The sound interface can record and playback digital sound. DTMF
   dialling tones can be created which allow the Series 3a to dial
   numbers directly through a telephone.
  1.2 Which model should I buy?
   This question is really a personal matter. I would definitively
   suggest getting a Series3a (and not 3) because of the greater screen
   resolution. As for which memory model, this depends entirely of your
   needs and what you plan on doing with your Psion. In general, the more
   memory the better (and keep in mind also that the 1/2Mb models offer
   the spell checker/thesaurus and solitaire game which you might need).
   If you're reading this, you probably have access to Psion
   free/shareware also. You will see that these programs will quickly
   fill up your memory ;-) so I would suggest to get the biggest model
   (2Mb). If on the other hand, money is tight and you don't plan on
   using much more than the Agenda and the built-in apps, then I think a
   512k is big enough for you. As you can see, there is no simple
   solution to this answer!
  1.3 When will the "new" Psion come out?
   Good question... next please!
   Joke apart, nobody really knows. So please folks, just stop asking!
   Before the 3c was announced, people didn't expect a new Psion until
   1997, but Psion was 3 months early (just in time for Christmas,
   The reason no one knew exactly is that Psion is quite relunctant to
   give such information simply because they've learned from the past
   (from Osborne computers to be more precise ;-) .
   Psion have formally announced that their will be new machines during
   the year 1997. By the time you read this, the new "Series 5" will
   probably be available as it has been rumoured to come out during June
   97. That will mean the end of this FAQ... as I'm sure the Series 5
   will be a must-have fantastic palmtop!
   People were hoping for Infrared comms (IrDa compliant), PCMCIA (most
   debated!), RISC (ARM 7100) 32bits, pen for navigation (but hopefully
   still a keyboard!), backlight ... You see that Psion have added most
   of these features into the 3c!
  1.4 What other machines does Psion make?
    1.4.1 WorkAbout
   This is the latest Psion machine. Very comparable to a Psion Series
   3a, it is more robust and has an A-Z keyboard for size reasons. One
   nice point: a back lit screen is present. Targeted at the vertical
   market, thus not so well known to the general public.
    1.4.2 Acorn Pocket Book (by Acorn)
   Re-badged Series 3a, aimed at education-related markets. Contains all
   the 3a applications, though named differently, plus a spell checker,
   thesaurus and a graph plotting application in a 2MB ROM. Password
   protection capability is removed. Costs about 20 GBP more than a 3a.
    1.4.3 Series 3
   The immediate predecessor to the Psion Series 3a is the Series 3. It
   is the same machine in size and concept, but is more limited in many
   respects. See the hardware comparison table in section 2a for a list
   of differences.
    1.4.4 Series 3c
   The immediate sucessor to the Psion Series3a; was launched 05Sep96
   (same time as the Siena). It has the following added features:
     * Infra Red connector for Psion to Psion or Psion to printer
     * RS232c internal connector for fast connections (upto 57k6)
     * Toggleable backlight screen (US model only?)
     * Data APP includes a table view and sort option
     * Agenda supports a month view (finally!)
     * Jotter application added
     * Calc application cosmetically changed
     * Sound editor included
     * Filer app (sort of File manager) with the much awaited "move"
       command ;-)
     * OVAL run time in ROM (for programmers)
     * Tips on startup a la MS
     * Optional add on synchronizers for Lotus Organizer and Schedule+
     * Optional self powered PC-CARD (PCMCIA) adapter
   But, it must also be noted that the 3c does NOT have the definitions
   in it's spelling checker/thesaurus application. Psion didn't have
   enough room in the ROM to keep them.
    1.4.5 Siena
   This is not really a palmtop computer, but should more be classified
   as a "PDA" (Personal Digital Assistant). It is basically the same as a
   3a but available only in 512k/1Mb RAM versions with a half-sized
   screen (240*160 pixels). It also includes Jotter but not Files nor
   Oval. Next to the top half of the screen you can find a numeric
   keypad. Unexpandable (no SSD slots built-in, but you can buy an SSD
   adapter); has built-in RS-232 port. See Psion's web site for more
    1.4.6 Organiser II series:
     * CM - available in 16K only, 16x2 screen, limited software
     * XP - available in 16K or 32K, 16x2 screen, limited software
       (database, OPL)
     * LZ - available in 32K or 64K (LZ64), 20x4 screen, introduced
       notepad (basic text processor), dialing codes database, on-screen
   There is an Organiser II homepage at
  1.5 What other palmtop alternatives are there? (by Jason Savage)
   See section 2.1 for the Psion Series 3 and 3a hardware specifications.
   Make: Apple
   Model: Newton MessagePad 120
          Model: ARM 610
          Speed: 20 Mhz
          Bit size: 32-bit
          Type: Monochrome, reflective LCD
          Pixel Screen size: 320 x 240
          Size: 1MB RAM (385K user data & 639K system) or 2MB RAM (1,361K
          user data & 687K system)
   Expansion slots
          Type: Type II PC-Card (PCMCIA 2.0)
          Number: 1
          Size (W x D x H): 10.16 x 20.32 x 2.9 cm (4.0" x 8.0" x 1.2")
          Weight: 480 grams (16 ounces)
   Power Requirements
          Batteries: 4 x AA (main) & 1 x CR2032 (backup)
          Battery Life (Approx): Up to 22 hours
          Provision for AC Adaptor: Yes
   Input/Output Ports
          Serial (max speed): Yes, RS-422 8-pin DIN (230,000 bps)
          Parallel: No
          Infrared: Yes, (38,400 bps)
          Other: Optional FAX modem
   Keyboard: Yes, Popup virtual keyboard (QWERTY, Numeric, & Phone pad)
   Included Applications:
          + Newton Intelligence (Handwriting Recognition, Object Oriented
            Database Programming language and Communications services)
          + Calendar (like Agenda)
          + NewtonMail (email client)
          + To-Do Lists (like Agenda)
          + Rolodex-like Address Book (like Data)
          + Digital Ink ScratchPad
          + Calculator (like Calc)
          + World Time Clock (like World)
          + Dictionary (13,000 words)
          + Notion List Manager (like Data)
   Make: Casio
   Model: Z-7000 (AKA: Zoomer, Tandy Z-PDA, AST GRiDPad 2390)
          Model: NEC V20
          Speed: 7.7Mhz
          Bit size: 16-bit
          Type: Monochrome reflective, touchscreen
          Pixel Screen size: 320 x 256
          Size: 1 Mb (384K user data & 640K system)
   Expansion slots
          Type: Type II PC-Card (PCMCIA 2.0)
          Number: 1
          Size (W x D x H): 10.76 x 17.62 x 2.6 cm (4.2" x 6.8" x 1")
          Weight: 430 grams (15.2 ounces)
   Power Requirements
          Batteries: 3 x AA (main) & 2 x CR2032 (backup)
          Battery Life (Approx): 100 hours (catalog: 90 hours)
          Provision for AC Adaptor: Yes
   Input/Output Ports
          Serial (max speed): Yes, 10-pin, (19,200 bps)
          Parallel: No
          Infrared: Yes, (9600, Casio)
          Other: Round telescoping pen
   Keyboard: Yes, Virtual Pop-up software QWERTY, A-Z or International
   Included Applications:
          + Date Book (like Agenda)
          + Address Book (like Data)
          + Note Book (Digital Ink Scratchpad & Document Manager with
          + Pocket Quicken (Financial Organiser)
          + America Online (Access software for the service provider of
            the same name)
          + Calculator (like Calc)
          + Forms Calculator
          + World Clock (like World)
          + Language Translator (26 languages & up 1000 words per
          + Games (Solitaire, Pyramid Solitaire & UKI)
          + File Manager
          + Consumer Information
          + U.S. Information
          + World Information
   Make: Hewlett Packard
   Model: 200LX
          Model: variable speed Hornet
          Speed: 7.91 MHz
          Bit size: 16-bit
          Type: CGA-compatible FTN liquid crystal
          Pixel Screen size: 640 x 200
          Size: 1 or 2MB of RAM
   Expansion slots
          Type: Type II PC-Card (PCMCIA 2.0)
          Number: 1
          Size (W x D x H): 16 x 8.64 x 2.54 cm (6.3" x 3.4" x 1")
          Weight: 312 grams (11 ounces)
   Power Requirements
          Batteries: 2xAA (main) & 1xCR2032 (backup)
          Battery Life (Approx): 80 hours
          Provision for AC Adaptor: Yes
   Input/Output Ports
          Serial (max speed): Yes, 9-wire (115K?)
          Parallel: No
          Infrared: Yes
          Other: No
   Keyboard: Yes, QWERTY
   Included Applications:
          + Pocket Quicken (Financial Organiser)
          + cc:Mail (E-mail client)
          + Data Communications (VT-100, ANSI & TTY emulation)
          + Lotus 1-2-3 r.2.4 (like Sheet)
          + Laplink (like Remote Link) for file transfers
          + Appointment Book (like Agenda)
          + Phone Book (like Data)
          + HP financial calculator (like Calc)
          + Memo editor with outliner (like Word)
          + Notetaker (like Notepad)
          + Database (like Data)
          + Filer (like File Manager)
          + Worldtime & Stopwatch (like World)
          + System Macros
          + Application Manager
          + Setup Utility
          See also the following WWW site for a more complete comparaison
          of Psion3a-HP200lx with over 170 articles:

   Make: Hewlett Packard
   Model: OmniGo 100 Organizer Plus
          Model: Intel 80C186 compatible
          Speed: 16 Mhz
          Bit size: 16-bit
          Type: FSTN LCD with Touchscreen
          Pixel Screen size: 240 x 240
          Size: 1MB RAM
   Expansion slots
          Type: Type II PC-Card (PCMCIA 1.0: SRAM memory cards no Flash
          or Modems)
          Number: 1
          Size (W x D x H): 15.3 x 9.5 x 2.6 cm (6" x 3.7" x 1")
          Weight: 329 grams (11.6 ounces)
   Power Requirements
          Batteries: 2 x AA (main) & 1 x CR2032 (backup)
          Battery Life (Approx): ?
          Provision for AC Adaptor: No
   Input/Output Ports
          Serial (max speed): Yes, 10-wire, (?)
          Parallel: No
          Infrared: No
          Other: Yes, Pen
   Keyboard: Yes, QWERTY (5 function keys)
   Included Applications:
          + Appointment book (like Agenda)
          + Phonebook (like Data)
          + Notepad (like Word)
          + Database (like Data)
          + Worldtime and stopwatch (like World)
          + Jotter (Digital Ink Scratchpad)
          + Geoworks Book Reader
          + Financial Tools
          + Spreadsheet (like Sheet)
          + Emulated HP 12C financial calculator (like Calc)
          + Graffiti handwriting system (handwriting recognition)
          + Transfer (like Remote Link)
          + Setup Utility (like Install)
          + Solitaire
   Make: Motorola
   Model: Envoy Communicator
          Model: Motorola Dragon 68349
          Speed: 16 Mhz
          Bit size: 32-bit
          Type: Reflective FSTN Touch Screen
          Pixel Screen size: 480 x 320
          Size: 1 MB
   Expansion slots
          Type: Type II PC-Card (PCMCIA 2.0) slots
          Number: 2
          Size (W x D x H): 14.8 x 19.2 x 2.9 cm (5.8" x 7.6" x 1.2")
          Weight: 770 grams (1.7 pounds)
   Power Requirements
          Batteries: Rechargeable Ni-Cad (main) & 1 x CR2032 (backup)
          Battery Life (Approx): 8 hours
          Provision for AC Adaptor: Yes, combined with Charger
   Input/Output Ports
          Serial (max speed): Yes, 14-pin MagicBus (38,400 bps)
          Parallel: Yes, MagicBus
          Infrared: Yes, FSK compliant
          Other: 2 round full length pens, 4800 bps send/receive radio
          packet modem, 9600 bps FAX send modem & 2400 bps data modem
   Keyboard: Optional, QWERTY
   Included Applications:
          + Date Book (like Agenda)
          + World Time Clock (like World)
          + Address Book (like Data)
          + Notebook (like Agenda To-Do List)
          + Calculator (like Calc)
          + America Online (connection software for the service provider
            of the same name)
          + AT&T PersonaLink (connection software for the service
            provider of the same name)
          + SmartWallet
   Make: Sharp
   Model: ZR-5000 & ZR-5000FX AKA: Zaurus K-PDA
          Model: Sharp Proprietary
          Speed: ?
          Bit size: 16-bit
          Type: DFSTN LCD, Touch screen (finger or stylus)
          Pixel Screen size: 320 x 240
          Size: 1MB RAM (750k user data & 250K system)
   Expansion slots
          Type: Type II PC-Card (PCMCIA 2.0)
          Number: 1
          Size (W x D x H): 17.0 x 10.0 x 2.54 cm (6.7" x 3.9" x 1.0")
          Weight: 385 grams (13.6 ounces approx.)
   Power Requirements
          Batteries: 2 x AA (main) & 1 x CR-2032 (backup)
          Battery Life (Approx): Up to 60 hours (~2 months)
          Provision for AC Adaptor: Yes
   Input/Output Ports
          Serial (max speed): Yes, 15-pin proprietary, (19,200 bps)
          Parallel: No
          Infrared: Yes, (IrDA & ASK Compliant)
          Other: Round pen & FAX modem with ZR-5000FX
   Keyboard: Yes, QWERTY configuration
   Included Applications:
          + Activities (like Agenda)
          + Contacts (like Data) limited to 3 files
          + Data Files (also like Data) limited to 3 files
          + Notes (Digital Ink Scratchpad)
          + Documents (like Word) with Spell Checker
          + Outline (like Outline mode in Word)
          + Home & World Clocks (like Time & World)
          + Calculator (like Calc)
          + Filer (Manages Printing, Faxing, Email & File transfers)
          + Messaging (E-mail client)
          + FAX/Sending (FAX client)
          + Terminal Mode (ASCII & VT-100 emulation)
   Make: USR
   Model: Pilot
   Specs thanks to David Richards at
          Model: Motorola 68328 "Dragonball"
          Speed: 16 MHz?
          Bit size: 16-bit
          Type: Monochrome, reflective LCD
          Pixel Screen size: 160 x 160
          Size: 512K ROM
          128K RAM (Pilot 1000), 512K (Pilot 5000), or 1Mb upgrade
   Expansion slots
          Type: Proprietary memory (replaces RAM)
          Number: 1
          Size (W x D x H): 3.2" x .7" x 4.7"
          Weight: 385 grams (5.7 ounces approx.)
   Power Requirements
          Batteries: 2 x AAA (main)
          Battery Life (Approx): 30 hours
          Provision for AC Adaptor: No
   Input/Output Ports
          Serial (max speed): Yes, Proprietary edge connector (57,600
          Parallel: No
          Infrared: No
   Keyboard: Yes, Popup virtual keyboard (QWERTY, Numeric, accent)
   Included Applications:
          + Date book
          + Address book
          + To Do List
          + Memo pad
          + Calculator
   End of part 1/6
   [Go to next part]
    All pages coming from /
    (and this is one of them!) are copyright 1996 Daniel Pfund.
 |\ |\  PSION specialists:
 | )|/  *--------------------------------------------*
 |/ | /

PSION Series 3/3a palmtop FAQ part 2/6

Archive-name: psion-faq/part2
Version: $VER: Psion FAQ v2.6
Posting-Frequency: monthly

part 2

   See part 1 for complete table of contents of this FAQ (including this
  1.6 Where can I purchase a Psion?
   Prices for 2Mb Psion are quoted for each when known, but you should
   contact vendors for latest prices, as they change quite a bit, and I
   don't track those changes here very often.
   Numbers marked "[US/CA only]" means that the number can only be called
   from the USA or Canada (sometimes both, sometimes only one). If no
   other number is specified, the person or company presumably does not
   want to deal with customers from elsewhere.
   Usually, you will get the best deal from a UK vendor (but keep in mind
   that you will also get a UK version!) If you travel to London, you can
   get a good deal at the "Duty Free" shops in the airports or by
   haggling in the Tottenham Court Road shops.
   Important note: these addresses have NOT been verified, so check
   before you intend to buy from one of them! Also, I am NOT listing any
   more vendors without web sites. For a (maybe) more up to date listing,
   you may want to check out the PDA Page homepage at: which lists the best sites which sell PDAs.
   Byson Computers [UK]
          Fax: +44 1635 874 022
   Clove Technology [UK]
          +44 1202 302 796
   Internet Shopping Network (usually have very cheap prices but actually
          restricted to the USA)

   New World Technologies
          110 Greene St, Suite 1100
          New York, NY 10012 USA
          Phone: 1 800 886 4967 [US/CA only] Will price match
          Phone: +1 212 941 4633
          Fax: +1 212 274 8527
          Email:, (GidNEW on AOL)

   NDS Distributing
          11875 Dublin Boulevard, Suite D-270
          Dublin, CA 94568 USA
          Phone: 1 800 425 7725 [US/CA only]
          Phone: +1 510 803 8790
          Fax: +1 510 803 8792

   Planet Pfund
          Daniel Pfund
          19, ch. Tirelonge
          CH-1213 Onex
          Phone / Fax: +41 (0)22 792 10 82
          Mobile: +41 079 350 60 64

   PSIOlogic GbR
          Matthias & Michael Baas
          Taunusstrasse 4
          D 63589 Linsengericht
          Phone: +49 (0)6051 470065
          Fax: +49 (0)6051 470066

   Official Psion distributors/importers:
   For an upto date list, you may like to take a look at Psion's web
          Avendia de Mayo 963,
          3rd Floor
          Buenos Aires
          Phone: +54 1345 4052
          Fax: +54 1345 3705
          Psitech Ltd
          Kangy Angy
          Phone: +61 4362 2014
          Email: or
   Belgium and Luxembourg
          Korte Winkelstraat 15,
          2000 Antwerpen
          Phone: +32 3 232 34 68
          Fax: +32 3 226 17 49
          BBS: +32 3 226 20 79
          Compulys Data Inc.
          Place Montreal Trust
          1800, Avenue McGill College, Bureau 2102
          Montreal (Quebec) H3A 3J6
          Phone: 1 800 361 0609 [US/CA only]
          Phone: +1 514 98 PSION [International]
          Fax: +1 514 987 9611
          Mobi Data Ltd
          Phone: +45 38 33 55 01
          Hand Held Systems
          Torikatu 6-A, 451000
          Phone: +35 8513 710 017
          Email: Pekka Aikas -
          Videocomputer Spa
          Via Antonelli 36
          Collegno (TO) 10093

          Nascorp Kuwait
          c/o Anwar Essa Al-Saleh Est.
          P.O. Box 4704
          Safat, Kuwait 13048
          Phone: +965 573 7684/5
          Fax: +965 571 6674
          Email: Essa Al-Saleh -
          Psion Nederland B.V.
          Avio Trade Park
          Zandsteen 52
          2132 MR Hoofddorp
          Phone: +31 20 446 9444
          Fax: +31 20 653 3427
          BBS: +31 20 653 1075
   New Zealand
          Pocket Solutions Ltd
          PO Box 44 070
          Lower Hutt
          Phone: +64 4 566 7808
          Fax: +64 4 569 6452
          Centum Informatyki Energetyki
          Phone: +48 22 625 22 83
          Fax: +48 22 693 32 6
          Comp 3 Lda
          Rua Augusto Gil 30 A/B
          1100 Lisbon
          Phone: +35 11 7972 259
          Fax: +35 11 7951 928
   Saudia Arabia
          P.O. Box 2951
          Jeddah 21461
          Phone: +966 2 667 6204 (Jeddah)
          Phone: +966 1 231 1785 (Riyadh)
          Email: Essa Al-Saleh -
   South Africa
          Psionet Distributor CC
          Phone: +27 21 683 1192
          Paresa SA
          c/ Balmes 113, ppal 1a
          08008 Barcelona
          Phone: +34 3451 6505
          Fax: +34 3451 6231
          Excom AG (Psion importer)
          Moosacherstrasse 6, Au
          8820 Wadenswil
          Phone: +41 1 782 21 11
          Fax: +41 1 781 13 61

  1.7 How can I contact Psion?
    1.7.1 World Headquarters
   UK Offices:
          1 Red Place
          London W1Y 3RE
          Phone: +44 990 134 224 Main desk
          +44 990 143 050 Sales & customer services
          Fax: +44 990 561 046

   UK Service centre:
          17-19 Bristol Road
          Middlesex UB6 8UP
          +44 181 575 9919
    1.7.2 USA (Psion Incorporated)
   Corporate Headquarters
          150 Baker Avenue
          Concord, MA 01742
          Phone: +1 800 54 PSION
          Phone: +1 508 371 0310
          Fax: +1 508 371 9611

   Midwest Office
          225 West Washington St., Suite 2242
          Chicago, IL 60606
          Phone: 1 312 419 5300
          Fax: 1 312 419 7142
   West Coast Office
          800 Airport Blvd. #417
          Burlingame, CA 94010
          Phone: 1 415 373 1234
    1.7.3 Germany
   Psion GmbH
          Daimlerstr. 16
          61352 Bad Homburg
          Phone: +49 6172 6630
          Fax: +49 6172 663100
          Fax-on-Demand: +49 6172 663179 (FaxAbruf)
          Mailbox (BBS): +49 6172 663170
          (Dacom GmbH is on +49 6172 9654-45, Hotline on -42)
          Email: (technical support)
          Email: (Sales)


  2.1 Hardware specifications
   All Psion machines are based around the "SIBO architecture", which was
   developed to meet common goals which span the SIBO range, including
   Series 3.
   Of paramount importance is low power usage. To this end CMOS circuits
   are used, the CPUs are static - meaning their clocks can be slowed
   down or stopped and restarted without impairing function, and the
   specially designed ASIC chips implement sophisticated power
   management, which always ensures that only those parts of the machine
   which are needed, are powered up. Power is provided by 2 AA batteries
   during normal operation. A Lithium backup battery, a CR1620, is
   provided which maintains memory during battery changes. A mains
   adaptor inlet is provided.
   A system clock runs independently of the CPU even when the machine is
   "off". This allows it to keep time and to wake the machine up when
   (for example) alarms expire.
   A six-pin outlet is provided, through which serial and parallel ports
   may be connected. This outlet has exactly the same signals as the two
   expansion ports (SSDs).
   A sound system implements beeps on the Series 3 through a low power
   piezo-electric element at two volumes. On the 3a there is a more
   sophisticated system employing bi-directional digital-to-analogue
   conversion, a conventional speaker, and a microphone, which together
   support the recording and playback of digitally-recorded sound.
   Digital sound data is compressed and expanded between 8 and 13 bits by
   hardware in an ASIC using the Alaw algorithm during recording and
   playback respectively, at a sample rate of 8KHz. This performance
   conforms to the ISDN standard for digital phone systems. A Series 3
   buzzer emulation is also available on the 3a.
   For both machines, there are two expansion ports, also called SSD
   drives, into which RAM or EPROM memory modules may be placed.
   The memory is split into two types: process and storage. Storage
   memory is only used for storing data. Process memory is the memory
   used by the processor. Programs run in this type of memory. Process
   memory is limited on all Psions to 512k maximum. There is no storage
   memory on Psions with 512k RAM or less. To be honest, this is a not a
   big problem, since the Psion implements a real good memory management
   and "windows" the memory needed for each application. In practice,
   this means that you can open several huge databases for example and
   only need 10k of memory for each one.
   In tabular form, the differences are summarised below:
      Item              Series 3                  Series 3a

     name               V30H (80C86 compatible)   V30H(80C86 compatible)
     Bitwidth           16                        16
     Speed              3.84 MHz                  7.68 MHz
     video mem access   8 bit - half speed        16 bit - full speed

     Type               Monochrome LCD            Monochrome LCD
     Physical size      97 x 39 mm approx         126 x 45 mm approx
     Display size       240x80                    480x160
     Display depth      2 - black/white           3 - black/grey/white

     Internal           128 or 256Kbyte           256Kb,512Kb,1Mb,2Mb
     Expansion          2 slots = 16Meg max       2 slots = 16 Meg max

     Size                  16.5 x 8.5 x 2.2 cm (6.5" x 3.3" x 0.9")
     Weight                      275 grams including batteries

     Output device      Piezo beeper              Loudspeaker
     Capability         variable pitched Beeps    Any sound
                        and DTMF [*]
     Digital system     NONE                      DAC/ADC 8/13 bits
     Sound recording    NONE                      8K samples per second
     Telephone dialler  DTMF capability           DTMF capability

   *Further sounds can be generated if a custom device driver is written

   PARALLEL PORT        Via optional link         Via optional link

   SERIAL PORT          Via optional link         Via optional link
     Software           Installed in link pod     In Psion 3a ROM
     Max speed          9600 baud                 19200 baud


   SYSTEM SHELL         Controls applications     Upgraded on Series 3a

   DATA                 Database application      Upgraded on Series 3a

   WORD                 Comprehensive document    Upgraded on Series 3a
                        processing system

   AGENDA               Personal management       Major upgrades on 3a

   TIME                 Clock and alarms manager  Upgraded on Series 3a

   WORLD                World info database       Cosmetic upgrade on 3a

   CALC                 Calculator                Calculator
                        Allowing OPL extension    Cosmetic upgrade on 3a

   SHEET  [*]           Spreadsheet application   Speadsheet application
                        available as add-on [*]   built-in

   *In  the  US,  and  latterly  in the UK, the "Series 3s" includes the
    spreadsheet as standard (not for 128k models)

   SPELL CHECKER/THESAURUS       add-on           Only on 1/2Mb models *

   PATIENCE GAME                 add-on           Only on 1/2Mb models *

   *Spell  checker/thesaurus  and  patience  game  are  apparently  only
    available on UK/US country specific 1/2Mb models (ie:  not available
    for french nor german models!)

   OPL                   Programming application  Series 3 compatibility
                                                  mode also available.

  2.2 What batteries does the Psion use?
   Normal power is provided by two AA (also known as LR6) batteries.
   Standby power is provided by a small Lithium backup battery, a CR1620,
   which maintains system data during main battery changes or failure.
  2.3 How long do the batteries last?
   It all actually depends on what type of batteries you use. Here are
   the advantages and disadvantages of the different battery types:
     * Alkalines. These are the "normal" batteries and work well.
     * Carbon/Zinc. These batteries are cheaper than alkalines but of
       course don't last as long. Might be interesting if you can get
       them really cheap and are ready to change batteries often.
     * NiCad rechargeables. These proivde less energy than conventional
       batteries (reports suggest maybe half) and they fade rapidly once
       their charge is nearly gone, but - they are rechargeable, and so
       offer a cost effective alternative. Note that NiCads are NOT
       recharging while the machine is powered by the adaptor.
     * Lithium AA batteries. They are 30% lighter than alkalines, and
       they last longer, but they are more expensive. Recommended if you
       really need long battery life and in extreme conditions. These
       batteries have a very long shelve life.
   The link causes high battery loadings, as does the sound system.
   Accessing the SSDs also increases power drain. Because of the static
   architecture, a busy CPU drains more power than a sleeping one, so
   compute-intensive tasks will burn power. For these reasons, it is
   difficult to quote battery performance exactly, but the table below
   summarises reports received on the net (for a 512k version).

                            Alkaline           NiCad           Lithium

  Running time (Hrs)         40-80              20              65-100
  Power  delivered (mAh)     1500               800           1600-2700
  Price each (UKP)           0.5                                 4.5
  Comment                                                    30% lighter

   1/2Mb models use more battery power since they use memory bank
   switching which is processor intensive.
   The backup battery typically lasts 15 months.
  2.4 How does the Psion measure the battery usage? (by Alan Roberts)
   Actually, the battery consumption is only estimated, there is no real
   voltage meter inside the Psion. The Psion knows the average battery
   consumption in each state (ie: xx mA when playing a WVE file; yy mA
   when writing on flash ... ) and keeps a record of the time spent in
   each state. When the voltage drops below a threshold, the "replace
   batteries" and "emptying batteries" display appear.
  2.5 How can I make my batteries last longer?
   The most important thing is to always turn the serial link OFF when
   you don't use it. This is the number one power eater on your Psion.
   Here are some other more or less obvious tips:
    1. Be sure to set the "auto power off" feature ON
    2. Turn the auto update list to OFF, set it to use the System button
    3. When you want tu update just one list, use delete and ESC. This is
       much quicker than pressing the System button (and should save
       battery power).
    4. Avoid switching on with the System button, as this would update
       all the lists.
    5. Let the applications open multiple files. Preferably set the
       preference to "Enter" instead of "Shift-Enter" as you often forget
       to press shift-enter. Saving and opening files uses more battery
       power than to leave the files open.
    6. Avoid playing long or loud sounds
    7. Set volume low
    8. Avoid saving many files to Flash SSD
    9. Avoid reformatting, particularly Flash SSD
   Thanks must go to Philippe Lebreton and Blake Nancarrow for these
   great tips.
  2.6 Can I use an external power supply?
   Yes, the Psion comes with a standard power outlet so you can use
   either the official Psion power supply or a general-purpose mains
   adaptor (which is cheaper). Negative polarity should be selected - ie
   the tip should be negative. The power supply should be able to deliver
   150mA at 9V. The Psion adaptor has an indentation around the outer
   conductor near the tip which facilitates snug fit for improved
   You can plug the external power supply in/out while the Psion is on.
   It will then immediately use the external power or batteries. The
   Psion also has an automatic turn off possibility. This is very useful
   if you often forget to turn it off! One of the choices for this auto
   turn off feature is "If no external power", so you can safely use it
   on external power and it will not turn itself off anymore until you
   unplug it again.
  2.7 Can I upgrade my Solid State Disk (SSD)?
   Flash SSDs are cheaper than RAM SSDs because the filesystem doesn't
   actually allow you to recover deleted space on them. Even if they're
   cheap compared to real RAMs, they're still quite expensive because
   they're not manufactered on a big scale (they're Psion proprietary).
   This tempted several people to accomplish upgrades. It has been
   successfully done, but I decided not to describe it here for several
    1. It wouldn't be fair to Psion PLC. Think about it: it would prive
       them of rightly owned money for their R&D and that wouldn't make
       us many friends, would it?
    2. The chips you need aren't easy to find.
    3. It is quite easy to do for a trained electronics technician, so
       that person wouldn't need any instructions anyway. If you don't
       have the expertise, don't even think about it!
   In the mean time, there has been a company that has specialised in
   making SSD upgrades: Exportech in London. You can contact them by
   email at:
  2.8 Can I upgrade my internal RAM?
   The big question when the 1/2Mb models came out: can I upgrade my 512k
   to a 2Mb model? Well, sorry, but the (short) answer is no. The new
   models use a new ROM to access the extra memory. Psion PLC does not
   offer upgrades for new models either. The best solution is to sell
   your old model and get a more recent one.
   In mid 1996, several companies have offered their services to upgrade
   512k models to 2Mb models. They will change the motherboard
   completely, so I suppose you'll have an exact 2Mb version with spell
   Try to contact the following company:
     * Broadway Management Services Ltd
       Room 1604, CLI Building
       313 Hennessy Road
       Wanchai , Hong Kong
       Price: about 303 USD!
   If you own a 128/256k or 1Mb model, upgrading it is just a matter of
   adding more RAM to it. Psion PLC or other official repair centres can
   do this for you, contact them about it. For info, Pinnock Organisers
   will upgrade your 256k Psion to a 512k model for 65 UKP.
   For the help of us all, Fionn Behrens has made a nice web page with
   details on how to upgrade your internal RAM with pictures and step by
   step instructions. You can find his pages at: /
   For the time being, process memory is limited to 512k on every model
   and you cannot add more whatever you do.
  2.9 Can I change the keyboard?
   A lot of people buy their Psions in the UK because of the huge price
   difference compared to their own country. This is not a problem in
   itself if you just remember that you will be getting the UK version,
   thus the UK keyboard, applications and manual. This also the reason
   why so many people would like to change the keys of their keyboards.
   For these people, there is no simple solution. The keyboard map is not
   just a file held in RAM, so basically, you're stuck with your
   keyboard, but there are workarounds to this:
    1. In many applications, you can enter special characters (for
       example foreign characters not found on the keyboard) by holding
       down control, then typing the three digits of the ASCII code for
       the character (ASCII code table on page 246 of the User Guide).
       This works for all characters in the range 32 to 255. Some lower
       codes are used for control purposes.
    2. There is also a quicker way to enter letters with accents, umlauts
       etc. CONTROL can be used with the number keys as a character
       modifier directive. For example, "2" is the "Add an Umlaut"
       command, so you can hold down CONTROL then press "2" and "o" to
       get a umlauted "o". Most numbers are chosen as convenient
       mnemonics: 2 has " above it - which looks like an Umlaut; 3 has \
       which simulates a grave accent but 4 has ~, which produces
       (oddly!) and acute accent, whereas 5 which has a ' produces a
       tilde! See the Character set section of the user guide for
    3. Use Tom Dolbilin's excellent Macro System package to assign a
       "macro" to a regular key, thus emulating another key.
    4. Use Konstantin I. Saliy's keyboard map program to remap the keys
       in a very efficient manner which works with all programs and only
       uses 10k of memory!
  2.10 Can I use a big (normal) keyboard?
   Yes, if you have Tom Dolbilin's Macro System installed, there is a
   macro called "BigKeys" which actually reads the serial port and sends
   the key to the HWIM application you're currently running.
   Unfortunately, it will not work with normal OPL applications. On the
   other hand, you will still need another computer to send the keys over
   the serial line, so it really isn't what people are looking for!
   Keith Baker has made a little interface for just a
   normal keyboard (without the need for another computer) connected to
   the Psion using the 3-Link interface . Note that it will not work with
   OPL applications either.
  2.11 How can I build a serial link? (by Konstantin I. Saliy)
   For the common mortal: you can't (we're talking about 3a 3-Links
   here). If you have the C/OPL SDK, there is a diagram of a TTL RS232
   interface... BUT the diagram is based around a Psion custom chip
   called "ASIC5". This chip converts the SIBO serial channel into
   standard RS232 signals and back. According to the documentation this
   chip is available from Psion for custom expansion development.
   Documentation also provides information about modification of example
   device for CMOS levels.
   But this device is a serial link only, not a real 3-Link. The 3-Link
   contains a ROM "SSD" with software. You can use the serial link
   instead of 3Link but some applications (I'm not sure, it's only my
   opinion) can check if disk C is present or even for disk C's serial
   number. Of course if an application uses only device drivers interface
   (VT100 emulators) it will work anyway.
   The SIBO Serial Protocol is also described in the SDK. Refer to it if
   you want know more about Psion expansion port.
   For the 3c, this is entirely different! The 3c serial cable is just
   that: a simple cable. Justin Buckland has been kind enough to send me
   the pinouts for such a cable. He will also sell such cables himself;
   you may like to contact him by email at or by
   telephone (+44 1223 570477) or simply check out his web site at:
   Justin found the parts from CPC (tel. +44 1772 654455). Connections
   for Psion 3c / Siena serial cable are:

 1  /___________\  15

 9-pin D socket:
   \  5 4 3 2 1  /
    \  9 8 7 6  /

9-pin:  Psion:  RS232:
1       nc      DCD     data carrier detect
2       12      RD      received data
3       8       TD      transmitted data
4       11      DTR     data terminal ready
5       1       SG      signal ground
6       13      DSR     data set ready
7       9       RTS     request to send (= DTE ready)
8       14      CTS     clear to send (= DCE ready)
9       10      RI      ring indicator

  2.12 How can I build a parallel link? (by Konstantin I. Saliy)
   If you have read the previous section, you can realize that a one-way
   parallel link is much easier to make for people who are familiar with
   digital logic. Two way parallel link is possible also: typical
   parallel link baud rate is 40K bytes/sec, and SIBO interface allows
   you 1.5M bit/sec, but you'll need a hardware buffer and PDD/LDD pair
   to receive data.
  2.13 What is this "soap on a rope" thing?
   The "soap on a rope" is simply another name for the 3-Link. It is
   named like that because of it's ressemblence with (guess what ;-) the
   well known soap on a rope.
  2.14 How do I print with my Psion?
   There are a number of ways you can print from your Psion
    1. Through the parallel link, connect your Psion directly to your
       printer but do not turn the link on in the system screen!
    2. Through PsiWin. See your PsiWin manual for instructions.
    3. Through the serial link - use the printer setup dialogues
       appropriately and do not turn the link on in the system screen!
    4. Use PRINT SETUP to select printing to a file called REM::C:\LPT1
       Run MCLINK on your PC, and activate the link from the Psion. Now
       all print requests will go through the link to the PC printer, and
       MCLINK is available for file transfers - better than MCPRINT. This
       solution also works with RCOM. On some PCs running Windows, it may
       be better to print to LPT1.PRN, which traverses through the
       DOS/Windows device drivers slightly differently. (by Daniel Senie)
    5. Use RFM (see elsewhere in the FAQ) to make Psion drives visible,
       then use a conventional PC tool to print files from the Psion.
  2.15 Can I take my Psion through an X-Ray machine?
   Yes you can without fear. Nowadays the airport's X-Ray machines are
   harmless to palmtop computers and diskettes (hopefully ;-). In any
   case, if you're really not assured, ask to pass it seperately.
  2.16 Can my Psion wipe out magnetic data?
   Yes it can! Be careful with the underside of your Psion because it is
   actually the speaker which contains a magnet whom is responsible for
   such problems. Credit cards and other magnetic data seem to be the
   easiest "victims" of the magnet. Check out the first page of your User
   Guide for Psion's own warning about this. You can try the paperclip
   test which consists of taking a pile of paperclips and placing the
   Psion on top of it. Lifting the Psion will typically take 5 paperclips
   with it!

  3.1 How do I reset my Psion?
   You should not normally need to reset your machine at all. See "What
   is killing a process?" to find out how to terminate misbehaving
   applications. Doing a RESET re-initializes the system's processes. It
   re-starts things as though it had just been powered up, and so will
   make many error conditions go away. Doing a reset will also remove any
   software patches you may have applied. These would need to be
   re-applied after each reset. A soft reset will also make you lose your
   user-defined groups and installed software icons (but the real
   software, ie: the program, should still be there).
   There are two kinds of resets:
     * A SOFT or WARM reset will restart processes and lose your time
       zone information, but leave the contents of the RAM disk, and
       environment variables intact. Do this by gently pushing something
       like a straightened paperclip into the small hole above the ESC/On
       key to do a "warm reset".
     * A HARD or COLD reset will completely re-initialize the whole
       machine, removing all memory contents. Complete instructions for
       performing this action are included in the "Troubleshooting"
       chapter of your "User Guide".
  3.2 What is killing a process?
   Killing a process is like closing an application but without letting
   it know. This will result in loss of data if the application didn't
   save it before being killed, so be warned! Usually, you can exit an
   application (from within it) with Psion -x (for english Psions) or
   Psion-Esc. If the application doesn't respond to keypresses anymore
   and nothing else works, you will have to kill it. For this, you can go
   to the system screen and press Psion-shift-k (for english Psions). You
   can also use other specific programs which allow killing of any
   process (Spy is one of them).
  3.3 How can I save what's on the screen?
   From any point, you can take a screen snapshot, by holding down shift,
   control, Psion, and S. The PIC file generated is placed in
  3.4 What is the soak test? (by Jason Savage)
   It has long been known in the computer and electronics industries that
   electrical components, for the most part, fail either shortly after
   they are first activated or after many years of service. Because of
   this fact the concept of the soak test or burn-in or life test was
   invented. Simply put, the machine (in this case a computer) is put
   through a repetitive testing loop for several hours (24 for the Psions
   to be more precise). This procedure would then filter out most of the
   bad batches and prevent them from reaching the hands of the general
   To activate the soak test on the Psion series 3, press (See warning at
   the beginning of this section) Control-Shift-Psion-K on the System
   screen. This procedure will cause a soft-reset of your Psion.
  3.5 How can I find a text in my memos with Agenda?
   Actually, you can't! Psion hasn't implemented this feature yet. What
   you can do, is use another program called "MemoFind" which will do
   just that. It's a freeware program from Psion available at usual FTP
  3.6 How can I make the cursor bigger?
   It may get difficult trying to find the cursor in Word for example.
   Unfortunately, there is no way to make it bigger. Some suggested
   solutions are to press shift-right (to highlight a character) or home
   (to find the cursor on the far left).
  3.7 How can I take out the "hum" when I record sounds?
   The hum (apparently a 60Hz sound) appears only when you record using
   battery power. It is probably due to the voltage converter inside your
   Psion (from 3V to higher). If you use the AC adapter, the hum
  3.8 How safe is password protection?
   See also "Data security with link connected" in next section.
   The Word password protection is not really good. It is known that it's
   possible to "crack" the password (but not find it) and see the clear
   text in a very short time (reported by Clive D.W.Feather in Dec94 and
   now included in his Psionics files). Obviously, you do need some
   programming skills to do it, but all in all, it is feasible, so be
   Also, never use a single letter password! This could be way too easily
   broken by brute force. It is recommended to have at least 6 characters
   and even better, a mix of letters and numbers.
   Another issue is power on password protection. Apparently, it is
   possible to bypass it somehow; no infos are given!. Just don't rely on
   it too much. Also, remember that if you keep some data on your SSD
   Disks, the potential thieve can still read those informations by
   simply transfering the disks into another Psion!
   The bottom line is that the password functions of the Psion are useful
   for keeping casual snoops from reading your data while you're off
   making a phone call, but if you're seriously worried about security
   then you shouldn't be keeping sensitive material on a handheld machine
   in the first place.
  3.9 How can I change the icon of a program? (by Matthew Powell)
    1. Install the application on the System screen in the usual way.
    2. Use the "create new list" command (Psion-E). Enter the same
       working directory and file extension as for the original
    3. The "create new list" dialog will allow you to specify a custom
       icon in exactly the same way as when creating a group.
    4. Enter a name for the new list.
   Once you've done this the application should have two lists on the
   System screen. Remove the one with the original icon.
   If you create a new list for Word, read this: The Word application
   maintains a different template (which holds the styles and default
   preferences) for each list. To carry on with the same template as you
   had before, you will need to make a copy of the file Default.wrt in
   the \WDR directory. The copy should have the same name as your list,
   with a .wrt extension. For example, if your new list was called
   "Notes", copy \WDR\Default.wrt to \WDR\Notes.wrt.
   Alternatively, use a program called NEWICON2.OPA which does just that!
   End of part 2/6
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    (and this is one of them!) are copyright 1996 Daniel Pfund.
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PSION Series 3/3a palmtop FAQ part 3/6

Archive-name: psion-faq/part3
Version: $VER: Psion FAQ v2.6
Posting-Frequency: monthly

part 3

   See part 1 for complete table of contents of this FAQ (including this
  3.10 How can I permanently change the distance units in World? (by Ian
   World takes its distance cue from the printer defaults set on the
   System screen (Psion-y on UK Psions). Set it to centimetres and World
   will use kilometres as default.
  3.11 Why do some programs crash with an "Invalid arguments" error?
   Some applications (mainly free/shareware) crash with an error message

    Invalid arguments

   This is due to changes in the UK default settings of either number
   formats (System menu) or time format (Time). You could try changing
   these but you're better off informing the programmer of the problem!
  3.12 Why is my Psion not switching itself off automatically anymore? (by
  Philippe Lebreton)
    1. Obvious: because you changed the "Auto switch off" to NO.
    2. You changed it to "If no external power" and you're using external
    3. The Series 3 will only switch off if no task is outpending (eg: a
       spreadsheet is calculating in the background).
    4. Some badly programmed programs do never stop performing a task. If
       you know which one it is, close it. If you don't, close them all.
    5. Some files are still running but you can't see them on the System
       screen. These are often IMG programs which might sub-application
       programs (ie: launched by another one) that you are not supposed
       to see. You can attempt to see them by cycling through the running
       processes with Shift-System. If you want to kill a process, you
       can use Shift-Psion-k. If you cannot find any suspect processes,
       then the process probably doesn't allow you to bring it to the
       foreground. The only way to find these is to use SPY from Psion
       and kill them from there. But beware, don't kill any SYS$xxxx
       processes as these are system processes and need to be running
       (otherwise your Psion would reset itself).
    6. If all else really fails, do a soft reset. All your files will
       still be there but your System screen needs to be re installed.
  3.13 How can I change the fonts in the system applications? (by Roman Habrat)
     "A time ago I sarched for a method for changing the fonts used by
     standard applications. I wanted to implement polish national
     characters in the fonts. No success. The only fonts one can replace
     are dialog/menu fonts, "screen corner message" font and some
     little, unimportant fonts used by i.e. clock. The other fonts are
     opened directly from ROM by the applications.
     I understand why. The Psion creators prepared methods to use other
     fonts by additional applications (by opening a user's own fonts).
     But user applications use also menus and dialogs. So there is
     wSetSystemFont() function to change font in them. And that's all.
     The creators did not foresee that one would want to change fonts in
     the built-in application.
     There is commercial solution for national characters problem (apart
     of changing the hardware ROM). It was implemented in Czech
     Republic, and now in Poland. Parts of operating system located in
     memory (RAM) are replaced, and new parts are added. All English
     system texts are replaced by Polish texts. The fonts are modified.
     Additional key combinations are interpreted. It works. But it uses
     170 KB of RAM (80 for OS, and 90 for resource files), so it is
     better for 1MB/2MB models."
  3.14 Is Perl ported to the Psion? (by Bruce Stephens)
     "The answer is no, because of memory limitations. Something
     Perl-like is surely practical, but I don't know of anything. Scheme
     exists though, in a rather limited (just about useless) form; see
     my "port" (more "compilation" really) of scm /"
  3.15 How do I undelete a file if I've accidentaly deleted it?
   If you've deleted your file from the internal RAM, then there's
   nothing you can do to get it back. If on the other hand you've deleted
   a file on a SSD, there's a chance of getting the info back. For flash
   disks, you can use Konstantin I. Saliy's "Undelete" shareware. For RAM
   SSDs, you'll have to phone Psion and send it in to them directly. Be
   sure not to use the RAM SSD anymore or the data may get overwriten!
  3.16 How can I synchronize my desktop agenda with my Psion's? (by Dr. Karl
   I tried the following approaches:
    1. PsiWin from Psion: It should convert Lotus Oganizer 2.1 files, but
       on my file (containing about 300 appointments and 200 To-do
       items), it crashes and even takes Windows 95 down with it.This
       might be related to some instabilities of Lotus Organizer files I
       had to cope with from time to time. Also, PsiWin is not of much
       use for my purposes since it is not able to synchronize the two
    2. Thomas Lansing (, Fax +49-203-372570) has
       written a Shareware Windows version of Agenda called Psioman.
       Although it is a very nice program, it does not reach the
       functionality of programs like Lotus Organizer and Microsoft
       Schedule. However, for people who do not have too large Agenda
       files, the program is a good way to keep things on the PC.
    3. Finally, I bought Agenda Link 2 written by John Whiting (Widget,
       +44-1438-815444). This program allows to transfer Agenda files to
       Lotus Organizer and Microsoft Schedule and back. Also, it allows
       synchronization, with definable ways to do it (which is the master
       file, automatic and manual). Apart from a few minor quirks, this
       program works very well and has solved my problem.

  4.1 Known hardware problems & solutions
    4.1.1 Battery warnings (see also below: "problems when opening the
   The contacts to the main batteries are poor in many machines. This
   causes the machine to report low battery power inappropriately, and
   may cause automatic switchoff. The fix is to ensure the contacts are
   clean, and making firm contact with the battery. Different battery
   brands can be slightly different sizes, so pick a larger one.
   Batteries with dimples in either contact are more prone to problems.
   You might consider kludging a fix by bending the contacts, or decide
   to return your machine for replacement. Note that when replacing dead
   batteries with NiCads, you may see the REPLACE warning for a few
   seconds after the new cells are inserted. This is normal, and will go
   away on its own.
   The backup battery may also have faulty contacts. Kathleen James
   suggested putting a little piece of paper between the battery and the
   contact on the top of it. Be sure not to obstruct the contact though!
   She said: I kept getting the message 'Replace Backup battery!' but
   never 'Backup battery is low'. Putting the paper in got rid of the
   message, and Battery Info says: Good.
    4.1.2 Problems when opening the machine
   Opening/closing the older Series 3's can cause (possibly intermittent)
   problems to the machine's power supply, which in turn can manifest
   several problems mentioned in this FAQ. The constant twisting of the
   lead connecting the main board to the battery contacts can cause
   damage. This problem is the most serious one and is know as the
   "dreaded battery lead problem". Psion will repair this in warranty.
   You can fix it yourself if your machine is out of warranty. Remove the
   screws behind the batteries. Sometime re-seating the two-pin connector
   will give a permanent fix, otherwise, if you're handy, replace the
   wires. This problem is the number one problem. If you've got a battery
   problem, check these wires first! It will most likely happen to all
   Psion Series 3a's after a more or less long period of time. It has
   happened to me personally after two and a half years. Apparently, the
   gentler you close your case, the longer the wires will last.
    4.1.3 Automatic dialling
   The built-in dialer is reported as variously as excellent, through
   unreliable to un-useable. Sometimes it will work on internal phone
   systems but not BT - sometimes vice versa. The recommendation for
   improving performance is to place the Series 3 on a flat non-resonant
   surface, and holding the phone just above it - not against it.
    4.1.4 Alarms replaced by odd beeps
   Not a bug, but a response by your machine to low battery power. When
   there is insufficient power to play the chosen alarm, it makes this
   noise which is designed to be loud but economical on power. Low
   available power can also be caused by poor battery connections or by
   the "dreaded battery lead problem" mentioned earlier.
    4.1.5 Alarms come in pairs
   Several people report that their machine can get into a mode whereby
   alarms sound - and need to be acknowledged - twice. This problem can
   be fixed by doing a soft reset or sometimes by exiting and restarting
    4.1.6 Display problems
   The Psion display flickers in bright sunlight - use an umbrella.
   The LCD display works in such a way that the reflected light is
   polarized. If you wear polarising sunglasses who plane of polarization
   is at odds with that of the Psion, you'll see a blank screen. Fix:
   Take your shades off, or get some which are not simple polarizing
   lenses. Ray-Bans, for example, do not polarize in a single plane.
   Some people have noticed problems with odd pixels, lines, rows or
   patches of pixels (usually in a corner - usually the lower right
   corner). These remain on (dark) all the time. In each case, there is
   no real fix but to return the machine for repair or replacement.
    4.1.7 An area of darker pixels appears in one corner of the LCD (by Nick
   This just seems to happen with ageing of the LCD. It doesn't appear to
   get any worse, and if you have your LCD replaced it is likely to
   happen again. It may be related to the stresses of the LCD in the case
   but this is unverified.
    4.1.8 Lifting button bar
   Older Series3's had problems with the button bar at the top of the
   keyboard, which has a tendency to lift off. Also, some often-used
   buttons could stop working. Replacement is the best option. Glue might
   help those with no warranty. See the manual for key presses which can
   in all cases duplicate the function of defunct buttons (Series 3
   For Series 3a owners, several programs are available to help you
   switch back to the System screen. The worst case is if you're stuck in
   the Time app since you cannot close it anymore. It has been found out
   by a 2 year old (sic!) that you can "emulate" the Sheet button with
   the key combination of "up cursor, down cursor and Esc". Yes, it seems
   strange but it works! This will either put you into an open Sheet file
   or bring you to the Sheet icon on the System screen. To go directly to
   the Sheet icon each time, press the Psion key at the same time as the
   above combination.
   Another such key combination has been reported by Timothy Giles: "up
   cursor, p key and Esc" will emulate the Calc button. Apparently, there
   is a pattern and this key sequence was found by studying the keyboard
   values of keys...
   Series 3a's with non functioning button bars may be due to some
   impact. Pat Egan at passed this nice
   tip to me (originally writen by Kevin Reilly and anotated in capitals
   by Pat): Kevin wrote:
     "I've had this problem twice now (I think it's caused by impact;
     has your machine been dropped recently?). The problem is caused by
     a ribbon cable becoming detached from the 'bottom' PCB - the one
     with the loudspeaker and SSD connectors. There are two solutions
     depending on your bravery and/or whether the warranty's expired.
    1. Send it to Psion for repair. I've not done this so I don't know
       about turnaround times or costs.
    2. The 'do it yourself' method. You won't need many tools (a smallish
       watchmakers' screwdriver is actually sufficient) but I'd suggest
       ESSD handling precautions should be taken if possible. Having said
       that I once did this repair in a hotel room in Boston so workshop
       conditions aren't essential :)
     If you're confident enough to have a go, here's the method:
     * Back up all the data, or copy everything to an SSD. If it's a RAM
       SSD make sure the battery's OK!
     * Remove all SSDs and batteries. Remove the four screws inside the
       battery compartment and remove it by unplugging the battery lead
     * Remove the two screws inside the SSD doors. You'll have to break
       the warranty seal to get to one of these
     * Open the Psion (take care not to damage the button bar which can
       become trapped by the keyboard cover).
     * Remove the keyboard cover (with the yellow legends on). This is
       the tricky bit. I've found by experience that the best way is to
       carefully lever the rear part up past the hinges, then lift it out
       towards you.
     * Remove the rubber membrane with the keys on it. Carefully. Drop
       all those little keys and you'll be there all night trying to
       remember what goes where :)
     * Lift the keyboard/PCB panel out, front edge first. This just
       'sits' on the connections beneath; lift it up about 40 degrees and
       slide it out towards you. You might have to press the comms port
       cover in with the screwdriver to release it.
     * Near the middle/front of the lower PCB there should be a BLUE
       ribbon cable going into a socket (it's the thinner of the two
       cables). This is the little baby which comes loose. PUSH THE
       RIBBON LOCKS ON THE CONNECTOR FORWARD. Carefully slide the cable
       into the connector then slide in the small plastic 'tabs'. These
       should lock the ribbon in place. It is these tabs which detach
       when the unit is dropped. I've been tempted to seal them with a
       drop of adhesive but I wonder if the next drop won't then split
       the ribbon cable
     * Reassembly is generally the reverse of disassembly, but take care
       when refitting the keyboard/PCB board; the serial connector is a
       very tight fit. Don't try to force it. It'll almost drop in when
       it's positioned correctly."
    4.1.9 Left hinge breaks
   This might be due to excessive wear and tear on the extension port
   (but unverified). It seems that it is a design flaw which Psion
   doesn't want to admit... whatever the case, there is no other solution
   than glue or replacement! Ali Manson (Psion Inc's Technical Manager)
   stated that this problem occured in about 1.5% of all returns they
   receive. So don't be scared off by the apparently huge number of
   people stating having had this problem in the news groups!
   A solution was posted by Charlotte Holmquist posted a solution to the
   newsgroup a while ago. Steve Hawtin commented the fix with his own
   version which also entailed detaching the icon bar completely. Here is
   the transcript with Steve's comments as they were posted:
     "You will need: mini-Philips screwdriver, xacto knife, drill, 1-2
     mm diameter square nail or small drill bit, 1-2 mm diameter spring
     wire, wire-cutters, pliers, tweezers (optional, depends on how big
     your paws are).
     Steve: I used a small screw, by trimming the head off I managed to
     get about 2mm of plain cylinder (for the hinge) with just the start
     of the thred to screw it into the plastic of the icon strip.
    1. Back up ALL information
    2. Make sure your back-up battery is healthy, preferably fresh (mine
       wasn't fresh but it lasted through the surgery)
       Steve: You really have three options here:
         1. Attempt to last out on the backup battery like Charlotte did
         2. Keep a mains adaptor plugged in
         3. Give up on trying to save the contents
       I went for the final one, this is because I wanted to detach the
       icon strip from the Psion rather than working with the Psion
    3. Remove battery cover
    4. Remove batteries
    5. Remove 4 small screws
    6. Remove battery holder -- it swings out to the left, looking at the
       psion from behind, battery holder on top
    7. The blue battery lead is attached to a socket on the main body,
       the leads run under a holder, protected by a rubber collar
    8. Carefully slip the collar from under the holder and use the
       tweezer (or your tiny fingers) to unplug the battery plug. Pull on
       the plug, not on the wires.
    9. Your psion now runs on the back-up battery.
   10. You will see how everything is put together. You will notice two
       springs on either end of the buttonbar.
   11. Slip the loops of the spring-wires off the plastic pegs.
   12. Lift the long arms of the spring-wires out of position on the
       button-bar to release it.
   13. Note that the button-bar still is attached by its lead to the main
       Steve: To detach the icon bar completely:
          + Remove the backup battery if you haven't already done so.
          + Open the two drive doors, you will see two screws (one is
            obscured by a warning about warranty, only remove it if you
            don't mind losing your warranty).
          + Tease out the two pins holding the screen to the main body.
          + Use a screwdriver to carefully lever the keyboard circuit
            board from the back of the case, note the two tabs next to
            where the icon bar used to be, these need to be gently pushed
            in during the levering. Make sure that the screwdriver does
            not touch the circuit board (use the metal shields to push
          + Once the back of the keyboard has lifted the two lugs at the
            front will slip out easily.
          + You can now see the connector on the main circuit board, push
            the two catches on either side until they are all the way
            out, the icon ribbon will now pull out easily.
       The icon strip is now completely detached from the rest of the
   14. You should now be able to manipulate the button-bar so that you
       can see the place where the plastic peg of the left hinge has
       broken off. You will also see where the peg fit into a hole in the
   15. Use a small drill to drill through the root of the peg, the spot
       where you will see that it broke off from. I didn't have a small
       enough drill so I used a small square nail in my drill machine.
       Steve: To reassemble follow the above steps in reverse order. The
       main "gotcha" is the pair of lugs at the front of the keyboard,
       make sure they are well in before pushing the back down. The 3a
       has some connectors between the back and the main circuit board
       (the 3 just had wires) these seem to always just snap into place.
   16. Cut approximately 2 cm of the wire and bend it at a right angle in
       the middle.
   17. Trim one end so that approximately 1-1.5 mm will reach into the
       case of the psion when you've slipped it through the hole you made
       in the arm of the button-bar.
   18. Trim the other so that it slips down to the edge of the button
       bar, in the slot where the arm of the spring normally rests. I had
       to trim a bit of the plastic (approx. 0,2 mm) in the ridge to make
       my wire fit. After trimming the wire will be approximately 5 mm.
   19. Slip your new peg through the hole you made, into the case. Place
       the other arm in the slot where the wire-spring rests.
   20. Replace the spring-wires. First the long arms, then slip the loops
       onto their peg.
   21. The beauty of it all is that the left spring now keeps your new
       peg in place: No glue needed.
   22. Enjoy!"
     As I said before, I won't accept responsibility for any damage
     caused by trying out my tip. Just because it's worked for me, it
     doesn't need to work for you. If you are unused to using your hands
     or careless or impatient or simply have bad luck you can cause
     Steve: This goes double for actually delving inside the main box!
    4.1.10 Key marks on display
   This is a quite common problem when the Psion is new. The upper and
   lower body of the case are a little too tight so when you open it
   again, you see some key marks on the screen. Apparently it also has
   something to do with the "oilness" of your fingers... To fix this,
   either put something between the two or clean the screen with a soft
   From Philippe Lebreton:
     "It is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY to clean the marks on the display
     regularly (or I'm a very strange guy), it appears that the
     "oilness" can be "acidness", at least in my case. Because the marks
     on the S3a where much much less visible than they where on the S3,
     I did not bother to clean them, and my screen is now permanently
     marked (I can feel the dent with my nail)."
   From Jochen Hollmann:
     "Some (greenish) displays have a protection film on the surface,
     which makes these displays thicker than other (grayish) displays.
     To test if this is the case, remove the gray frame with the printed
     Psion logo on it carefully from the inner side. This frame is
     actually glued on the display itself. You should be able to sense
     the film. (It was mounted about 2mm from the outer boundary of my
     display.) When removed, put the frame back to the old place.
     You should wait as long as possible before you remove the
     protection film, because you can do it only once in the lifetime of
     your display."
    4.1.11 Keys rubbing off
   Unfortunately this was quite common with some older Series 3 and 3a.
   Actually there seem to be several different keyboard types, so it is
   not predictable if it will happen to you or not. There is no simple
   solution to this problem. If your Psion is not in warranty anymore,
   you can contact Psion PLC which offer a "cosmetic upgrade".
   Blake Nancarrow suggests placing a piece of clear ("Magic") tape on
   the key(s). He finds that the tape wears out after 1 to 2 months.
   Some other people suggested to use some nail polish to protect the
   keys. I have done this myself and it works quite good! The polish
   wears off after some months.
  4.2 Known software problems & solutions
    4.2.1 World phone numbers wrong
   Apparently, a number of the country codes are wrong. You can fix this
   by editing the country information as required, though there is a
   limited number of slots available in the database. Also note that a
   complete change in area codes was done in the UK during 1994/5. See
   the Phoneday program at the IC or on CIX for details and a suite of
   programs to fix your databases.
    4.2.2 Area codes causing problems
   The Psion will dial all of the number you select. In some countries,
   (not the UK) dialling the area code for a local call causes problems.
   Psion's recommended fix is to have two entries for the party -
   specifying the number both with and without the area code.
    4.2.3 Data security with link connected
   If you have the link switched on, then files can be copied from your
   machine even when it is password protected. Be sure to turn the link
   off to remove this possibility. Note also that the link can turn the
   Psion on when it is off, and will transfer data even as the password
   screen is being presented.
    4.2.4 Security affected by the Macro System
   Users of Tom Dolbilin's Macro System should be aware that macro key
   presses work even on a password-protected Series 3.
    4.2.5 Word hangs on "busy" when saving a text file forever
   This is a quite annoying bug which has still not been resolved by
   Psion. Actually, it is a limitation: the first paragraph should not be
   bigger than 512 characters. Either start your file with a CR or make a
   small paragraph ;-)
    4.2.6 Size limits of inbuilt programs
   The Psion Series 3(a) have a limited memory for each process they run
   of 64Kb. This means that the program and it's data must always stay
   below this limit. Usually you don't need to worry about this, but some
   people have found out about it the hard way: they couldn't save their
   document anymore. There is no way around this except to split your big
   document into smaller ones. Be extra careful with the Agenda program,
   make sure you regularly delete/tidy and compress it to regain space.
   The Agenda files don't have to be under 64k themselves, but it is the
   entries' index which must stay within this limit. It is quite possible
   to have an Agenda file consisting of long memos but few entries; hence
   the file could run into hundreds of k in size without a problem.
    4.2.7 Shell panics - exit 130 (from Konstantin I. Saliy)
   If you press home (Psion-left) in an empty directory, you will cause a
   shell panic (and lose all your icon information, beware!). This is
   because "home" moves to the first file and not directory entry. It was
   found up to v3.4F (3c).
    4.2.8 Bug in world application (from Konstantin I. Saliy)
   It doesn't allow you to enter 0 (zero) as the first digit of an area
    4.2.9 Bug when using proportional fonts with the OPL editor
   The program editor does not work correctly if you set the font to
   proportional. Be sure to always leave it monospaced!
    4.2.10 PostScript printing not putting a "%!PS" in the file
   This is a problem with the PostScript INI file in the Psion's ROM. You
   need to copy that file into your \WDR directory and then add the
   "%!PS" yourself. The Psion will then use your edited INI file instead
   of the ROM's.
    4.2.11 Searching fault in Word Application (from Mark Chapman)
   When Psion Word does a search, it breaks the text up into 256
   character chunks. When doing a forward search the chunks start at the
   current cursor position, and at the start of each following paragraph.
   When doing backward searches the chunks start at the current cursor
   position and at the end of each preceding paragraph. If the word you
   are searching for straddles the join between 2 adjacent chunks, the
   search fails!
   This can easily be demonstrated by entering a paragraph of text which
   is over 256 characters long, positioning the cursor at the start, and
   then searching for the word which includes the 256th and 257th
   A few ideas which reduce (but not eliminate) the problem.
    1. Keep search strings as short as possible
    2. Do two searches, one in forward direction from the start of the
       document, and the other in the reverse direction from the end of
       the document. It's far less likely that a word will be n * 256
       characters from the start of a paragraph, as well as i * 256
       characters from the end, where i and n are integers. (About 0.1%
       failure rate with an 8 character search string, which is probably
    3. Keep paragraphs short (difficult to keep under 256 characters!)
   It shouldn't crop up in the OPL editor, (where global search and
   replace is often used to change variable names), because there's
   usually a return character at the end if each line, and each line will
   be <256 characters?
   Basic message is don't rely on global search and replace to work
   properly in Word app.
    4.2.12 Comms app crashes when you try to end a script that has already
    ended (from Jochen Siegenthaler)
   Bug still found on the 3c!
  4.3 Other official Psion repair centres
   Pinnock Organiser Service (POS)
          Paul Pinnock
          143 Streatham High Road
          Streatham, London SW16
          Phone: +44 181 677 9246
          Vodafone: +44 831 194985
   Paul has moved (on the same street), but I lost his new address! I
   believe the phone above will redirect you to his new one though.
   Paul is an ex Psion employee and does an excellent job (reading the
   good reports he always gets on the net and compuserve).
   Fa. Harlander
          Mr. Peter Hodac
          Altmannsdorferstr. 92
          A-1120 Vienna
   Peter also offers a 512 KB upgrade to a full 2MB machine by changing
   the motherboard as well as the troublesome flexible link Kabel between
   the bottom and the screen. Price around 500 USD, turnaround time 2
   working days.
  4.4 User groups
   Club Series 3 [France & International]
          Contact Alban Debeaupuis for more infos or write to:
          Club Series 3
          6 rue de Fecamp
          75012 Paris
          Phone: +33 1 40 04 92 19
          Fax: +33 1 43 07 25 96

   Club Series 3 Suisse Romand [Switzerland's french speaking part]
          You can contact me directly (Daniel) by Email or write to:
          Andre Robert
          rte de la Maladiere 4
          1022 Chavannes
          Phone: +41 21 691 89 62
   PEAT - Psion Enthusiasts Association of Toronto [Canada]
          E-mail Blake Nancarrow ( for more info
          or call him directly at (416) 535-1899 extension 3.
   PSILOG [Switzerland]
          Fluelastrasse 47
          8047 Zurich
          Phone: +41 1 401 12 12
          Fax: +41 1 401 08 15
   Psion Friends Vienna
          Responsable: BorisMichaelv. Luhovoy
          Online support and private lessons at the owners workplace/home
          (50 USD/hour)
   Psion Users Group Netherlands (Psion gebruikersvereniging Nederland)
          Postbox 82
          8700 AB Bolsward
          The Netherlands
          Fax/BBS: +31 515 574188 (upto & including 28K8, 8N1 24H)
          Sysop: Alex Brandsma
  4.5 Online services
   See also "Connecting your Psion" elsewhere for information on how to
   connect your Psion with modems.
    4.5.1 Internet
   There is a Usenet newsgroup hierarchy called comp.sys.psion.* in which
   even Psion employees lurk around (see first part for details of the
   newsgroups). There is also the comp.binaries.psion group for binaries.
   Before posting, it is considered good practice to read the messages
   and get the "feel" of the group for a while (apart from thoroughly
   reading through this FAQ ;-)
   The comp.sys.psion.* groups are entirely archived at the IC FTP site
   in the packages/psion/comp.sys.psion.*/ directories. The
   comp.binaries.psion group is archived at the moderator's direct FTP
   site: and at the IC FTP site
   in the packages/psion/comp.binaries.psion directory.
    4.5.2 CIX
   Psion is also on CIX. Check the Palmtop A forum. There is an offline
   reader for the 3a (only) called "ReadCIX"
    4.5.3 Compuserve
   There is a Psion discussion forum called the palmtop a forum. You can
   access it by typing GO PALMTOPA. There is also an offline reader for
   the 3a/c (only) called "ReadCIS".
    4.5.4 AOL
   There is a Psion discussion forum that you can access with GO PSION.
    4.5.5 Microsoft Network
   Who has experience here?
  4.6 Bulletin boards (BBSes)
   All numbers are given in ITU format. To dial numbers outside your
   country, replace the + by your international code. To dial numbers
   inside your country, replace + and the country code by your national
   dialling code. For example: UK: for "+", dial "00", except for "+44"
   dial "0". US: for "+", dial "011", except for "+1" dial "1". Note that
   the Psion 3a at least knows how to do this. (Clive D.W. Feather)
     * Crystal Tower +44 817 598 244 [UK]
     * Dacom BBS +44 1908 260 435 [UK]
       Sysop: Andrew Morrow
       Notes: Psion Dacom, updates for PCMCIA Gold Cards
       Location: Milton Keynes, UK
     * Ellis BBS +33 1 43 33 15 47 [France]
     * Excom BBS +41 1 781 4225 [Switzerland]
     * Flightpath +44 181 759 3332 or +44 181 759 6664 [UK]
     * Metcom BBS +44 1442 257 527 [UK]
     * Pacific BBS +44 1430 431 145 [UK]
     * Psychotic Mouse +44 149 475 8998 [UK]
       Sysop: John Portwin
       Time: 9am-4pm GMT
     * Psion BBS +44 175 289 4422 [UK]
     * Psion GmbH BBS +49 6172 969350 [Germany]
       Sysop: Matthias Hlscher
       Notes: Series3/3a software, PCMCIA Gold Card updates
       Location: Bad Homburg
     * The User Group +44 1752 894 422 [UK]
       Sysop: Adam Taylor
       Notes: Privately run, but Psion UK have an account there
     * Datalink BBS +44 1202 660 838 [UK] (closed down for some months)
     * Skywaves BBS +44 1202 523 842 [UK] temporary replacement for
       Sysop: Francis Creese
     * ??? +32 3 226 20 79 [Belgium]
  4.7 Magazines
    4.7.1 Palmtop
   This is an excellent publication entirely devoted to the Psion. It is
   called (quite rightly IMHO): "PALMTOP - The journal for today's Psion
   user". It is an independant magazine in the B5 format running 108
   pages (minimum) bimonthly. It is run by two people full time. Only
   available by subscription, credit cards accepted. For more info email
   Steve Clack at or check out their web site at:
    4.7.2 Handheld Systems (previously PDA Developers)
   As the title says, this is a magazine clearly devoted to developers on
   Personnal Digital Assistants (PDAs). This is a general denomination
   and covers a wide range of machines, amongst which the Psion (although
   this could be arguable...). It can get quite technical at times but
   always very instructive with loads of examples and source code. Only
   problem: being an american magazine & Psion not being too well known
   over there, it tends to get quite thin on Psion articles. Published
   bimonthly. For more info, contact:
   Handheld Systems
          293 Corbett Avenue
          San Francisco, CA 94114
          Phone: +1 415 621 4252
          Fax: +1 415 621 4922

    4.7.3 Mobilis: The Mobile Computing Lifestyle Magazine (by Jason Savage)
   This on-line webzine found on the World-Wide Web is devoted mainly to
   all palmtops and PDAs currently on the market including the beloved
   Psion series 3. Like PDA Developers, the Psion specific articles are
   sparse but having Steve Clack on staff as the European Correspodent
   and Psion Editor should ensure a steady flow of articles and best of
   all the magazine is free. (Well almost free. You still have to pay
   your service provider for connection time while you read it on-line).
   Mobilis can be reached at: /
  4.8 "Anti-thief" tips
   There's nothing you can do against your Psion being stolen... on the
   other hand, you can increase your chances of finding it again. It has
   been suggested to put a warning message of the like "$$$ REWARD if
   found - useless without password $$$" in the owner info. Not strictly
   true, but you never know. If you don't want to type a password each
   time you use your Psion, you should get PasOn from Andrew Lord. This
   excellent utility turns the password feature on at the time you set
   (usually in the night) and only asks for the password the first time
   you use your Psion the next day.
  4.9 Lost/stolen Psions
   Mark Avey has set up an independant worldwide service to keep track of
   lost or stolen Psions' serial numbers. It is available on the web at: /
   You can register your lost/stolen freely. Be sure to also check the
   pages first if you intend to buy a Psion from an unknown person.

  5.1 Relevant FTP sites
     * Imperial College /
       Administrator: Lee McLoughlin
       Location: London UK
       Upload policy: you have to get a password from Lee first.
       Note: Lee is extremely busy, so don't expect an answer for a long
       time :-(
       Mirror for the USA at:
     * Frontiernet
       Administrator: Fric
       Location: Rochester, NY, USA
       Upload policy: put your soft in the incoming directory.
       Note: doesn't seem to be maintained anymore. If anyone has news
       from Fric, please pass them on to me!
     * New World Technologies
       Location: NYC, NY, USA
       Upload policy: put your soft in the submit directory.
       Mirror: Micro Hensa site in UK ( ?)
     * Mirror site /
       Mirrors all of the above sites, extremely useful!
       Location: Berlin, Germany
       Upload policy: no uploads here; upload on mirrored sites.
  5.2 WWW internet sites
   A lot of personal Psion pages (as opposed to the official Psion page)
   have appeared on the World Wide Web and the number seems to be growing
   from day to day! I don't want to start a huge list here but you will
   find most pages by either doing a web search on the word "Psion" or by
   navigating the "Psioneers Web Ring" which you can find on my pages at: /
   One site of great interest to programmers are the ever changing
   Psionic files which document most OS Services (INTs) at: /
   I also maintain a list of Psion programmers on the web with direct
   links to their homepages. You can find all (hopefully!) programmers
   homepage URLs linked at:
  5.3 Shareware for those without online access
   Steve Litchfield runs a shareware library in the UK:
          Shareware for the Series 3 and Series 3a
          SAE for catalogue to:
          22 Grays Crescent,
          RG5 3EN,
          Phone: +44 1734 265081

   From Steve himself:
     "3-Lib tries to be *the* clearing-house for new PD & shareware!
     Authors can send programs in to me and I'll act as the definitive
     source for others to get new versions etc from, in addition to
     uploading to Compuserve, CIX, and sending floppies of new stuff to
     src.doc and some BBS systems etc. Although set up originally for
     people who have no access to modems, PCs etc, 3-Lib can be useful
     for those who are on the net and would like large amounts of
     shareware on floppy disk very cheaply!"
   Alternatively, you can send him 4 HD (1.44Mb) disks and 11 UKP with a
   return envelope (and stamp/IRC) to receive the best of the library.
   End of part 3/6
   [Go to previous part]
   [Go to the index]
   [Go to next part]
    All pages coming from /
    (and this is one of them!) are copyright 1996 Daniel Pfund.
 |\ |\  PSION specialists:
 | )|/  *--------------------------------------------*
 |/ | /

PSION Series 3/3a palmtop FAQ part 4/6

Archive-name: psion-faq/part4
Version: $VER: Psion FAQ v2.6
Posting-Frequency: monthly

part 4

   See part 1 for complete table of contents of this FAQ (including this

  6.1 With an IBM or clone
    6.1.1 PsiWin (by Mark Gould)
   PsiWin is a package for PCs running Microsoft Windows (in all its
   current incarnations - 3.1, 3.11, for Workgroups, NT and 95). It
   allows the Psion 3a (or 3 - although this is slightly more limited) to
   be connected to the PC and for the filesystem of the Psion to be
   manipulated in exactly the same way as in Windows File Manager.
   Drag-and-drop copying is possible, as well as conversion of files
   between Psion app formats and Windows program formats (Agenda
   conversion is only possible from the 3a format). It is also possible
   for 3a users to use the True-Type fonts resident on the Windows
   machine when printing. Finally, there is a Windows version of Psion's
   built-in Database application. PsiWin normally comes with the PC
   3-Link. What if I don't have Windows?
   The standard software for connecting to DOS machines, RCOM, is
   included with PsiWin. There may also be some RCOM packages available
   in stores for those who don't want to buy PsiWin at all. See later for
   other platforms. What if I already have a 3-Link cable?
   It is possible to buy PsiWin without also purchasing the 3link. It
   should be available in stores, but if all else fails, contact Psion
   directly. If you bought your 3-Link cable just before PsiWin came out,
   you might even be entitled to a free copy (contact Psion)! What conversions will PsiWin do?
   The following file types are currently supported:
   Psion Agenda conversions to and from:
          Lotus Organizer v.1.0
          Act! v.2.0
          Schedule Plus
   Psion Data conversions to and from:
          dBase III and IV
          Lotus Organizer 1.0
          Comma separated values
          Tab separated text
   Psion PIC format to and from:
          Windows RGB Bitmap
   Psion Record (.WVE) to and from:
          Windows sound (.WAV)
   Psion Sheet to and from:
          Quattro Pro for Windows
          Works for Windows spreadsheet
          Lotus 123 (.WK1 and .WK3)
          Excel 4.0 and 5.0
   Psion Word to and from:
          Text (Windows ANSI and codepage 850)
          Rich Text Format
          Word Perfect 5.1, 5.2 and 6.0
          Works for Windows WP 3.0
          Word for Windows 2.0 and 6.0
          Ami Pro 3.0
        I can't run the Psion Manager - it produces a General Protection
      Fault. What's the matter with it?
   Early PsiWin boxes did not indicate that the minimum requirement to
   run PsiWin was 4Mb RAM. Attempting to run it on a machine with less
   than this will cause a GPF. The boxes now give the correct
   Alternatively, it may be the case that you are not running Windows in
   enhanced mode. This is necessary. Some laptops don't run Windows in
   enhanced mode by default. In order to enable enhanced mode, type "win
   /3" at the DOS prompt. Why is there no conversion for Schedule+ in Windows NT?
   Because Psion have not written it yet. Why is there no conversion for Schedule v.7?
   Because Microsoft have not released its format yet. How do I convert Psion files to a format which is not supported
      by PsiWin?
   PsiWin is designed to allow third-party developers to write their own
   translators for integration into the package. There is a program
   called available on CIX for this purpose. It will be made
   available more generally soon. Why is there no Windows version of the Agenda?
   Perhaps the most requested addition to the PsiWin package is a Windows
   version of the Agenda, for those who do not have a diary program on
   their PCs (or who do not trust the conversion process). Psion say they
   decided not to include such a program for a variety of reasons. The
   justification for including the Windows Database Manager was that
   people could take advantage of the larger keyboard and screen of their
   PCs to enter large amounts of data. This was not thought to be an
   issue for Agenda users. Simply, Psion had to make a number of choices,
   and in their judgment a Windows Agenda was a lower priority than other
   From Matthew Powell,
   RS Components (tel. 01536 201234 in the UK) used to advertise an
   Agenda program "compatible with the Psion" for Windows. They included
   a screenshot and it looked pretty horrible. Anyone who has access to
   their catalogue could look for it - it was on the same page as the
   Psions. Why can't I access the PC drives from the Psion?
   This is a problem for those who use the option in Agenda to tidy to a
   file on a remote PC (amongst others). The answer is hidden away in the
   help file, which says the following:
     If you want to access PC drives from your Psion (they will appear,
     in dialogs, with "REM::" before their drive letter), edit the
     PSIONPRC.INI file in your "Windows" directory, and remove the "-x"
     from the end of the following line:
     engine=prcenwin.exe -x
  I'm having difficulty printing from my Psion through Psion
      Print. What's wrong with it?
   On some setups using early versions of PsiWin, it wasn't possible to
   print to certain network printers, or just the first page of a
   document was printed. Psion released a file to fix this called, which is available on CIX and Compuserve as well as at
   the site maintained by the moderator of comp.binaries.psion
   ( ). This site has the file as
   it was posted to comp.binaries.psion, in five parts. Frontiernet also
   has a copy of this file in the pub/psion/addon directory. Why can't I reconnect to the Psion once I have disconnected it?
      (by Angus Rae)
   I posted a comment about a problem I was having with PsiWin locking up
   my machine. I had originally blamed it on my video card (it's a
   Diamond Stealth 32, and the usual mantra is "if it's named after an
   aircraft or a snake it's probably causing the crash") but after
   WinLink3 gave me the same problems I started wondering, and
   remembering some problems I was having with Trumpet Winsock a while
   back. So, a quick trawl through Microsoft's Knowledge Base revealed
   that the serial port drivers for Windows for Workgroups have a few
   little problems. (A few big problems IMHO, but your mileage may vary.)
   It seems to apply to machines with higher specification 16550 UARTs on
   local buses. I have 16550AF UARTs on a VESA local bus. There is a fix;
   replace the file SERIAL.386 with a different version. I believe, but
   don't quote me on this, that the version from Windows 3.1 would do,
   but the file WG1001.EXE in the Microsoft SoftLib has a copy which
   works, which you can get to from If you do a
   search in the Windows Knowledge base for WG1001 and appnote you can
   get the full info. My conversions from Agenda to Lotus Organiser cause an
      Application error. What is wrong?
   It has been suggested that one source of such problems is an out of
   date copy of a file called ctl3dv2.dll. A nice man at Psion has
   suggested the following approach:
   Currently we sneak a bonus copy of ctl3dv2.dll onto disk 1,
   uncompressed, for just this scenario, but it's not on all versions. If
   you don't have it, then I guess the best thing is to close all Windows
   apps, rename your current ctl3dv2.dll out of the way, then reinstall
   PsiWin and see if that solves it.
   If it doesn't, then I'm afraid it's going to come down to some fairly
   standard testing to narrow it down to:
     * what if you use different date ranges or entry types on the
       "Convert what" dialog (though it sounds unlikely to me)
     * do Database conversions work (as they use a similar "convert what"
     * do your Organizer and Lotus INI files look OK in \windows
     * does it happen with nothing else running in Windows
     * can you change anything about the setup (eg try it on another PC)
   If none of these work, then check the answer to question I have another problem with PsiWin
   Many problems with PsiWin are caused by having 32-bit file access
   enabled. Try disabling this (in the Control Panel, Enhanced, Virtual
   Memory). If the problem recurs, try asking in comp.sys.psion.apps (or
   Psion Technical Support). Serial port tip (from Mike Dolan)
   Under the Lose95 Control Panel, check the COM port settings. Ensure
   that if you have 16550 FIFO buffers, the receive buffers are set to
   maximum, and the transmit buffers are set to minimum.
    6.1.2 MCLink
   MCLINK was the software which comes with Psion's 3-Link cable. It runs
   on the host PC (at the DOS prompt) or Mac to provide data transfer
   capability. When MCLINK is running on the PC/Mac, the Series 3 can see
   host drives as remote drives, and can access the data on them.
   Similarly the command interface in the MCLINK program can be used to
   access or copy data to/from the Series3. MCLINK can also be used to
   print Series 3 data by copying it to REM::C:\LPT1. MCLINK works under
   OS/2 and under the DOS emulator with Linux (Free Unix on PC). It had
   reliability problems under Windows for Workgroups 3.11. It supports
   only COM1 and COM2 ports.
    6.1.3 SLink
   SLINK is a cut-down version of MCLINK, provided by Psion. It may work
   in non-standard configurations where MCLINK will not. Since it is
   smaller, it may cure space problems.
    6.1.4 RCom
   Was Psion's replacement for MCLINK. It is available at the IC archive.
   It provides all the capability of MCLINK and adds a range of other
   features, including handling of Rich Text format files; backup,
   compress and equalize functions, a large range of DOS-like commands,
   from which scripts can be generated, and a Windows interface. Though
   it's documentation claims that RCOM is "more like a network
   connection", this is not yet a reasonable claim. When RCOM is running,
   the host machine can only see the Series 3 via the RCOM interface.
    6.1.5 RFM
   RFM is also available from the archive (RFM110); it is in beta
   release. RFM installs a TSR on the host PC; a small process is also
   run on the Series 3. When set up, the system makes the Series 3 drives
   look completely like PC drives, and vice versa. PC file management
   tools can be used with great convenience to manipulate files on both
   machines transparently. RFM cannot be installed or removed under
   Windows, but will run under Windows. RFM will lock your machine up
   occassionally; in this case, turn the link off at the Series 3. Rest
   the PC after the link icon disappears from the Series 3, or you may
   need to reset both machines.
   From Roman Habrat: It is possible to install, use and uninstall RFM
   under Windows. Two things need to be done:
     * use DOS SETVER ("setver rfm.exe 6.20") to set the DOS version
       number reported to RFM (required for Win 95 only since it uses DOS
     * prevent RFM from detecting Windows (For Win95: check the option
       in:DOS session Properties ->

         -> Program ->
           -> Advanced ->
             -> "Prevent MS-DOS-based program from detecting Windows")

  6.2 With an Amiga
   For a long time, Amiga users had to resort to using the X/Y-Modem
   protocols to transfer files back and forth with their Psions... that
   was before Oliver Wagner gratified us with his great program:
   AmigaNCP. To be able to use this program, you will need the PC version
   of the cable (3-Link) which connects to your standard RS232 serial
   port of your Amiga. You cannot buy the PC 3-Link without the PC
   software anymore (PsiWin) but you can use an Acorn 3-Link cable which
   is exactly the same and should cost less than the PC version.
   AmigaNCP fully implements Psion's NCP protocol and thus allows you to
   see your Psion as a remote drive of your Amiga and vice versa! File
   transfers are now as easy as drag and drop. The program also contains
   a simple text transfer mode which allows you to directly convert Psion
   ASCII files to Amiga/UNIX type; it supports multi-serial cards and
   needs WB 2.0+. AmigaNCP is shareware and available from the IC FTP
   site or any Aminet site in the comm/misc directory. There is also a
   WWW site devoted to AmigaNCP where you can always get the latest
   version and read more about it: /
   This is definitively a must for all Amiga users!
    6.2.1 Graphics support on the Amiga
   There is a progam called "ViewPic" (by Marko Schuster) written in GFA
   basic and available on any Aminet site. It supports black and grey and
   even works with the stone age WB 1.3! Doesn't support multiple
   pictures in a single file.
  6.3 With a UNIX machine (by Edwin Klement)
   Using the Psion's 3-Link cable data transfer between a Psion and a
   UNIX workstation can be provided in several ways. One way is to use
   NFS capabilities to mount the Psion only to the workstation, where it
   is attached to via the serial cable. This is an easy way to capture
   filesystem operations (e.g, change directory, list contents of
   directory, move and copy files) in a program. All the UNIX commands
   can be used on the PSION file system. Supported architectures are
   SunOS 4.1.3, HPUX 9/10, Linux, AIX 3.2, Solaris 2.3/2.4/2.5, and SGI
   IRIX 5.3/6.2. The software you need to run in order to mount the PSION
   via NFS can be found in several PSION archives or look for the latest
   "p3nfs" version directly on it's home site: /
   There is another proprietary program for Sun workstations that allows
   transfer of files and a limited number of file operations over the
   serial cable. It uses a proprietary protocol and has a command line
   interface. There is a facility for automatically filtering files, a
   backup utility and a mechanism for supporting scripts to automate
   frequently used operations. This program called "suncom" was written
   by Tim Graves at This program is provided AS
   IS, no warranty of ANY kind is provided either by Tim Graves or Sun
   David MacKay has written an article concerning
   his experience with hooking a psion up to a workstation. It's located
  6.4 With a Macintosh (information taken from Paul DuBois' WWW site, see last
  question for address)
   You will need the Mac version of the 3-Link cable. This is almost the
   same as the PC version, only the plug which goes into your Mac
   changes; you can even make an adapter yourself if you already have the
   PC version. For the software, you need "Psion Link" or "MCLink" for
   Macintosh. Both come with the Mac 3-Link cable.
    6.4.1 Psion Link
   Psion Link allows you to see Psion disks from the Macintosh and
   transfer files between machines using drag and drop. (You do this
   within Psion Link's windows; the Psion doesn't appear as a volume on
   the desktop.) It runs on any Macintosh with System 6.0 or later.
    6.4.2 MCLink
   MCLink allows you to see Macintosh disks from the Psion, so that they
   become, in effect, part of the Psion file system. You use Psion file
   operations to access Macintosh files. MCLink is described in the "3
   Link (RS232)" manual. There are also some documentation files on the
   MCLink disk. The current version is 1.41F. MCLink runs on Macintoshes
   with System 6.0 or later. (Some earlier versions, e.g., 1.20, do not
   run under System 7.)
    6.4.3 Choosing and Using a Macintosh Port
   There are two kinds of serial ports on a Macintosh, distinguished by
   the icons with which they are labeled:
     * A phone handset icon indicates a modem (or phone) port.
     * A printer icon indicates a printer (or AppleTalk) port.
   Some Macintoshes have a combined modem/printer port (e.g., Duos, and
   the 500 and 5300 series of PowerBooks). Such ports are labeled with
   both icons.
   Both Psion Link or MCLink allow you to select which port you want. If
   you have a combination modem/printer port, you need to tell Psion Link
   or MCLink to use the modem port, not the printer port.
   To establish successful communications, the Macintosh port you want to
   use must not be in use by something else - make sure you're not
   running any software that wants to control that port; especially make
   sure AppleTalk is off if you use the printer port!
    6.4.4 Connecting
     * Make sure the Psion is turned off and plug in the 3Link cable. The
       cable connectors on the ends of the Macintosh adapter are similar,
       but if you look closely you'll see that they're different. The end
       with the "crossbar" inside the connector goes into the 3Link pod;
       the other end goes into your Macintosh.
     * Turn on the Psion and enable the link (Psion-L from the System
     * Launch the Macintosh communications application (Psion Link or
       MCLink). Psion Link plays a chime when a connection is
       established. If you hear a short "plink" sound, the connection
       failed. MCLink doesn't make any sound but its status window says
       "Link Established" when it detects a connection.
     * Perform whatever data transfer you have in mind.
     * Quit the Macintosh communications application.
     * Disable the link from the Psion System screen.
     * Turn the Psion off and unplug the 3Link cable.
   If you do the steps in some other order, you may get an unresponsive
   machine. For instance, if you plug the link cable into your printer
   port, enable the link on the Psion, and then turn off AppleTalk on
   your Macintosh, you may have to reboot the Macintosh before Psion Link
   or MCLink will establish a connection properly.
    6.4.5 What file conversions do Psion Link and MCLink do?
   Essentially none.
   Psion Link recognizes certain files as "text" if their names end with
   any of a given set of suffixes (e.g., ".txt"). For such files it
   converts line ending characters to whatever is appropriate for the
   destination machine (CRLF for Psion, CR for Macintosh).
   In general, to transfer a file between Psion and Macintosh
   applications, the file must be saved in a format understood on both
   machines (RTF for Word is an example).
   An exception though: recent versions of GraphicConverter (shareware)
   will open and convert Psion PIC files. It's available from the usual
   Mac shareware sites (info-mac and its mirrors, for example).
    6.4.6 Other questions
   You can find more info on the web at:
  6.5 With an Atari (by Daron Brewood)
    6.5.1 General.
   The Psion palmtop computers can be connected to all Atari ST
   compatable computers ; from the Atari 520ST to the TT and Falcon
    6.5.2 Linkage Hardware Required.
   The 3-Link (PC) serial lead will be needed to connect the Psion's
   serial port to the 25-pin serial connector on the back of the Atari
   machine. No other additional hardware is needed.
    6.5.3 Port Speed.
   It should be noted that the basic unmodified ST computer can only
   handle baud rates of 9600bps, wheras the STe/TT/Falcon computers can
   communicate at the Psion's maximum speed of 19200bps.
    6.5.4 Software available for interfacing the two computers.
   There are two main packages designed to interface the Atari computers
   to the Psion series 3/3a, these are: S3-ST v2.00 by Keith Baines.
   An extract from his documentation file can be found below:
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                         S3-ST Version 2.00

                 File Transfer and Utilities Program

        Copyright (c) Keith Baines, March 1993 - August 1995

S3-ST provides a graphical file-manager with features familiar from
the Atari GEM desktop. You can use it to:

  -   Copy files from the Atari to the Psion and vice-versa;

  -   Make regular full and incremental backups of your Psion;

  -   View files on either machine in a scrollable window on the
      Atari screen;

  -   Print files on either machine using a printer connected to the
      Atari's printer port;

  -   Delete files on either machine;

  -   Create new folders (or sub-directories) on either machine.

S3-ST uses a small companion program, STCOMMS.OPA, which can be
installed as an application on the Series 3 or 3a. (The Series 3a
version uses the enhanced facilities of that model.) The Psion
3-Link(PC) hardware is required.

In addition, the package includes DBFVIEW, a Desk Accessory for the
Atari (there is also a normal program version), which can be used to
browse through files created with the Series 3/3a Data application
and to copy information from them via the GEM clipboard.  For
example it can be used to copy names and addresses into a word
processor document on your ST.
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

   Keith can be contacted at the following address: Keith Baines, 8
   Lumley Court, Denmark Avenue, London, SW19 4HQ, UK TRAFIC version 2.2 - (c)1995, Club Psion Series 3
   This program is keyware and will not allow files to be copied across
   machines without the software first being activated by a user key. The
   interface seems very much like 'Kobold' and '2in1' on the Atari's.
   I can say little about it's features due to the documentation provided
   with it being written in French. However the authors can be contacted
   via the Club Series 3 (see "User Groups") attn: Laurent PLOMB.
      6.5.5 Support for the Psion machines in the Atari world.
   Network ST (NeST), the worlds largest fidonet(tm) technology network
   in the world (for Atarians) supports the Psion via:
     * An Internet gateway to the COMP.SYS.PSION.* newsgroups via the
       U.COMP.SYS.PSION.* message echo.
     * An Internet gateway to the COMP.BINARIES.PSION newsgroup via the
       U.COMP.BINARIES.PSION message echo.
     * Support within the N.MISC.PALMTOPS message echo.
     * Distribution of files into the Atari file networks via the
       90.SUP.PSION file echo.
     * Archive storage of Psion files (available by ftn file request
       only) at 90:90/0.0@nest.ftn.
   For further information concerning NeST (Network ST) please contact
   Daron Brewood via:
     * Email: NeST: 90:100/106.0@nest.ftn
     * CIX: dbrewood
     * InterNet:
     * SnailMail: Daron M. Brewood, 7 Crescent Road, Portwood, Stockport,
       Cheshire, SK1 2QG.
    6.5.6 Graphics Support on the Atari.
   There is no current program on the Atari computers which can create or
   view .PIC files from the Psion, but there is a program to use to
   convert true colour JPG, and 256 colour GIF files, into .GIF's that
   take little space on the Psion. This is GEM-View by Dieter Fiebelkorn,
   and is highly recommended as it will quickly dither any picture
   through at it, and if steinberb dithering is used the end result is a
   very small 2-30k .GIF file, that will convert perfectly on the Psion
   to give a minimum sized clear picture. Very useful if you wish to
   carry family photo's round with you on the Psion, or to carry round
   proof graphic outlays.
  6.6 With an Acorn Archimedes or Risc PC (by Nick Craig-Wood)
    6.6.1 ALink from Acorn
   This is a package including the equivalent of the 3-Link for Acorn
   machines, the A-Link and some software to run on the Acorn.
   The software runs as a filing system on the Acorn machine and allows
   you to use the Psion just as if it was a (rather slow) hard disc. It
   does not allow the Psion to look at the Acorn drives though.
   It comes with a set of conversion applications for Spreadsheet, Data
   and Word files into native Acorn and generic (eg CSV) formate.
    6.6.2 PC programs
   All of the available PC programs can be used under the hardware or
   software PC emulators provided you can run the correct version of
   Windows or DOS that these programs rely on.
   Note that the A-Link has a slightly different wiring to the 3-Link.
   The A-Link will work fine with the PC software, and plugged into a PC,
   but the 3-Link will not work with the Acorn software. All that is
   different is the wiring from the 'soap' to the 9-way D-Type connector.
    6.6.3 3Link-Acorn cable (by Toby Smith)
   Cable wiring for 3link to Acorn (make up of Alink cable).
        PC Connector        Acorn connector
        (9pin male)          (9pin female)
        DCD 1 (not used)         1--|
        RxD 2--------------------2  |
        TxD 3--------------------3  |
        DTR 4--------------------4--|
        GND 5--------------------5
        DSR 6-----\ /------------6
        RTS 7------X-------------7
        CTS 8-----/ \------------8
        RT  9 (not used)         9

        (8 and 6 swapped, 1 & 4 connected at Acorn end)
        (With thanks to Jonathan Allin of Acorn)

   No conversion is needed for using an A-Link on a PC (apparently)
  6.7 With a serial modem
   Psion provide 3FAX, which is a hardware and software add-on offering
   FAX capability and a data modem operating at 2400 baud.
   A separate shareware fax program has been released by Walter Wright
   which should work with all class 2/2.0 fax-modems; see the
   "programmers on the web reference table" for Walter's URL.
   The 3-Link cable/software offers a standard serial interface through
   which standard modems can be connected, transferring (serially) up to
   the Series 3a limit of 19.2K (9.6K for the Series3).
   Keep in mind that if you want to use a modem with a higher speed than
   the serial limit (19k2), you might get buffer overflows. No one has
   reported any experiences yet. If you got such a system working, I
   would like to hear from you (and I'm sure the others as well ;-) .
   Paraphrasing John Wodehouse:
   The Serial 3link cable is a null modem connection, with a male 25 way
   end. To work with a modem, you need to "un-null" the modem wires, so
   you have a straight through link. The wiring of the plug is below.
   Note that pin 8 is not just "in the air", but connected to pin 6.
   Choose plugs with whatever gender you need.

                           2 ------------- 3
                           3 ------------- 2
                           4 ------------- 5
                           5 ------------- 4
                           6 -+----------- 20
                           8 -+
                          20 -----------+- 6
                                        +- 8
                           7 ------------- 7

   The harder part is correctly configuring the modem; each modem is
   different. You need to configure the modem and the Series 3/3a to
   handshake on RTS/CTS. I do not use Xon and Xoff for flow control with
   the modem; these characters are passed through to whatever is
   connected to the modem. Using this configuration, I can consistently
   operate the link at full speed with no problems.
   Also of interest, Klaus notes: The Psion Modem
   Adapter (cable), Partnumber 055856, is wired like this:

     Pin name    Pin number    Direction          DB-25
                  Mini-Din     Series3 - Other
      DCD             1        <-------------     8
      RD              2        <-------------     3
      TD              3        ------------->     2
      DTR             4        ------------->     20
      SG              5        --------------     7
      DSR             6        <-------------     6
      RTS             7        ------------->     4
      CTS             8        <-------------     5
      RI              9        <-------------     22
      FG            shield     --------------     1

   The Mini-Din connector pins are numbered as follows (as viewed from
   the wire side):

        9   8        7
        6   5   4   3
             2   1

   To help you get online easier, Steve Litchfield has written an article
   that's available on his web site as:
  6.8 With a PCMCIA modem
   TeleAdapt, a UK company, has released the "Modulette" hardware add-on.
   This equipment plugs in on one side to the 3-Link cable and offers on
   the other side a regular PCMCIA socket for any standard PCMCIA modem.
   The "Modulette" is also available from PSIOlogic in Germany; contact
   Michael Baas at or check out their web site at for more information.
   Psion has also released a self powered PCMCIA modem adapter. Check out
   their web site for more details.
  6.9 With a packet radio TNC
   If you want to work packet radio mobile/remote, your Psion will be
   just great because of it's small size. Adding a TNC (Terminal Node
   Controller) is just like adding a modem actually (that's what TNCs are
   in the first place!), so make the "un-null" cable first (as described
   in the modem section). Be sure to have a full cable with the CTS/RTS
   lines and set XFLOW OFF on your TNC as you should prefer ably use
   these hardware lines instead of software XON/XOFF codes. As for a
   specific packet program, you're in luck: Roger Muggleton (G0HZK@GB7WIR
   on packet) made a nice program called Pocket Packet. The program is
   available from the usual FTP sites or directly from Roger's homepage
   (see WWW section). Now if someone could just write a little BayCom
   driver program...which I personally doubt is feasible but you may
   never know!
   For more information concerning packet radio and amateur radio in
   general, I would recommend you the* Usenet
  6.10 With a cellular phone
   Psion have released the "Telenote" program and cable which allows you
   to send and receive SMS messages with a Nokia 21xx cellular phone.
   Al Sutton is also working on a SMS program interfacing with the Psion,
   see the WWW section for a link to his home page on the web for more
   If you want to use your cellular phone as a modem or a fax modem, you
   need to get the data expander and PC card for it from Nokia directly.
   Except of course if your mobile phone has an inbuilt modem! You should
   then be able to directly connect it with your Psion.
  6.11 Via the IrDA port (3c/Siena)
   Pete Bentley has kindly made an IrDA FAQ and it's available on his
   homepage at:
   Note: IrDA transfers are only possible with the 3c/Siena computers.
  6.12 Terminal emulation
   The 3-link cable software includes a dumb terminal emulation. VT100
   emulators are also available. There are some at the IC archive:
     * VT100 emulator from Psion GmbH
     * VT100 emulator from Widget
   (these are crippled versions of commercial products).
   Nfsc is a fully-capable VT220 terminal emulator for the Psion released
   under the GNU general public license. It supports all modem speeds and
   Psion font sizes. One drawback is that there is no scripting language.
   A simple work-around is to set your modem so that it doesn't hang up
   when the DTR line is off. You can then use the robust scripting of
   Script (built into the CommsLink) to automate dialing and loging in,
   then simply exit and launch Nfsc. Contact Benjamin Teitelbaum
   ( for more information. Nfsc is available at:
   There are also free/shareware/commercial alternatives: FreeVT (File: or PComm (commercial; Psion)
  6.13 TCP/IP stack
   The official Psion TCP/IP stack is under way and will be released with
   PsiMail Internet. No definitive dates have been set, but it seems most
   probable to appear mid 1997.
   End of part 4/6
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