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Zenith ZF-171-42

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There is a type of computers known as lunchbox computers. As the name implies, they looked out very much like a lunchbox that workers use to have to their job. But Zenith was not first. It was developed by the company Vadem Inc., and offered to the company Osborne, which manufactured it and called it for the Osborne Encore. Later the company Morrow made an OEM version, which they called the Morrow Pivot. After that the company Zenith manufactured their OEM version, which they called the Zenith ZF-171-42.

To be an early portable computer, it is very small, even though it was battery powered. Battery operating was among the first on an IBM-compatible. However, it is not a built-in electricity unit. Charging the battery, or network management occurred with an AC adapter.

Unlike most other portables from that time, it had 5,25" floppies, not the usual 3½". If you wanted, you could replace one disk drive to a hard disk of 10 MB. This copy has a hard disk on one of the disk drive slots.

ZF-171-42 was also among the first portable computers with LCD display that was backlit. Since the Zenith version came slightly later than the others, it had expanded the number of lines, from the first 12-lines of the early Morrow computers, then the 16 lines of the Osborne computers to 25 lines of the Zenith computers.

Under the row of function keys, you can see four special keys with different symbols. When you pressed one of them, you launched a small program from ROM. The handset launched a communication program, the clock launched a calendar, the floppy booted the system and the calculator launched, of course, a little spreadsheet.

Is there any errors? e-mail and correct me!



Former owner: Magnus Wassborg, Spånga

Technical data

Year 1985
Origin USA
Manufacturer Zenith
Name ZF-171-42
CPU Intel 80C88
Speed 4,77 Mhz
RAM 512 KB up to 640 KB
I/O ports Modem, paralell (RS232), serial, expansion bus
Text modes 80 x 25
Graphic modes Max 640 x 200
Colours Monochrome
Sound Beep
Built in media 2 x 360 KB floppy, or floppy and hard disk 10 MB, modem
Power supply Battery or external AC-adapter