The DAK Catalog

Initially the EPSON PX-8 was not a big seller, leading to many of many of being sold on to a reseller. One of these was the DAK Industries catalog. The EPSON PX-8 they sold as part of lrage package of hardware and software. They even went so far as to write their own software for the system, and include it on a custom made ROM capsule.

During the 1980s DAK Industries was selling imported and often off brand or overstock electronics., thru both a print catalog, and magazine ads. One of DAK’s early products was audio tape and one their early ads is a creative attempt to get people to try their tapes, by selling a popular Bone Fone portable AM radio at cheap price, but bundled with their cassette tapes. Techmoan has made an excellent video on a version of the Bone Fone. DAK used a particular wordy and first person style in their ads and catalog, that made them an interesting read and memorable to a young me. The style was not unique to DAK, it was initially popularized by copywriter Joe Sugarman, who wrote books and held seminars on the topic, who DAK’s founder attended. Joe Sugarman is also known for writing the ads for those BluBlocker sunglasses people wear sometimes.

An early DAK ad from the February 1982 issue of Popular Science.

In the winter of 1987, years after it’s release DAK featured the EPSON PX-8 on the cover of their catalog, along with 3 pages of mostly text on the EPSON PX-8. DAK was liquidating these systems at $699, for the system and excessive amount of accessories. They included the following:

  • The EPSON PX-8 itself
  • 64k RAM Disk / 300 baud modem multi unit
  • 300 baud acoustic coupler modem (yes 2 modems!)
  • Near letter quality printer
  • Portable WordStar, Calc, and scheduler software ROMs
  • A custom software ROM.
  • Cables to connect it all

Additionally they sold the external floppy drive, and additional software ROMs. See the full catalog pages below.

DAK went so far as to make a custom software ROM to help sell the system. This ROM included the follow programs with descriptions that were found in the user manual:

DAKComm (or DAK Communications) is a communications software program specifically written for the Geneva. It supports terminal emulation, file transfer, log file capability and other features found in most communications software. This program was written by me, Courtney Harris.

DAKType is a program that will allow you to type thru to your printer. This feature is nice to have in the event that you need to type an envelope or a short letter and do not want to use WordStar. I also wrote this program.

WSP (WordStar Patch) is a program included for the DAK customers who received the Seikosha printer model No. SP100-AP. This program performs a patch to WordStar so that it may function properly with the SP1000-AP printer. If you received the Seikosha SP-1000AS printer, you need not be concerned with this program. If you plan on using another printer with the Geneva and Wordstar, you’ll need to run this program. It was written by Bob Diaz of Epson Corporation.

BATTERY This is a nice little utility that will display the Geneva’s approximate battery voltage. A very helpful feature should you be unable to get the Geneva to its A.C. adapter. Of course, if the Geneva’s battery dies, this program may not run too well. This is another Bob Diaz creation.

Description of the software on the DAK ROM

The DAK Communications software is lightweight and very basic, one major quirk seems to be it has no way of remembering your serial port settings, or any kind of phone book. But it’s would get users started and the default 300 baud was not a problem with the included 300 baud modems. It did support XMODEM for file transfer, unlike the EPSON file transfer utility which used a proprietary protocol.

DAK was not the only company to try and liquidate the EPSON PX-8, a company called Start Technology of Aurora, CO listed EPSON PX-8s and some parts and accessories on their web site starting in 2003 and finally selling out of their supply in mid 2012. Also some EPSON PX-8s may have been sold thru Home Shopping TV channels as well.

There is a small collection of DAK catalogs on the Internet Archive for your perusal.

I don’t think my PX-8 came from DAK given the lack of accessories it came with.


First Video

Here it is the first video on the EPSON PX-8


EPSON PX-8 terminfo

Found this terminfo definition on the Level 29 BBS, and I though I would post it to the web to make it easier for others who are looking for this to find it.

Message #3836
Subject:     Re: Epson PX-8 terminfo/termcap?
From:        simmo1010
Date:        2019-09-13 02:26:52
Connection:  ASCII telnet at 1200 bps
Replying to: simmo1010, message #3824

After a bit of experimentation I manged to create my own terminfo definition
file that seems to do the job. I thought I would post it just in case anyone
else runs into the same problem in the future.

It doesn't look like the regular definitions as I decided to use octal
character codes rather than the more usual control codes, but it works for me.
I am sure there are those with way more experience on this BBS who could do a
better job ...

epsonPX8|Epson PX-8, OTbs, am, cols#80, lines#7, OTnl=\n, bel=^G, clear=^L,
cr=\r, cub1=\035, cud1=\037, cuf1=\034, cup=\E=%p1%{32}%+%c%p2%{32}%+%c,
cuu1=\036, home=\013, ind=\n, kcub1=\035, kcud1=\037, kcuf1=\034, kcuu1=\036,
el=\ET, kbs=^H,




It works

The PX-8 I bought was described as “Turns on wont type or respond”, so I was expecting to have do some work on it. After taking a quick physical overview, and checking the voltage of the power adapter. I powered the system on for the first time, it was as described.

After that I started to look though the documentation that was included with the laptop, and found a short booklet that described the initial reset procedure. This is recommend when using the laptop for the first time and after connecting the battery. There is a reset button located in the ROM capsule compartment. Pressing this button brought the laptop back to life.

That was easy, now it’s time to start exploring what the system can do and the weird but somewhat familiar world of the CP/M operating system.


New project, an Epson PX-8 Laptop

While browsing the ebay store of you-tuber Resale Rabbit, I found this laptop, an Epson PX-8 “Geneva” while the not the first laptop, is still one of the early examples of a laptop computer. The Epson HX-20 is regarded as the first laptop is close relative of this laptop. This laptop was listed in non working condition, described as:

Turns on wont type or respond

Which to me indicates it is not completely dead, only partially dead, and it will need some work to get working again. Hopefully it is something that can be fixed. But I will have to wait until I receive it to begin that process. But this should be fun project to complete while under a stay at home order. Look for future blog and video posts on this system.

This being an older system there are detailed technical/service manuals available. In addition to manuals included with system a collection of scanned manuals are available online at

Resale Rabbit talks about the laptop while getting it ready for shipping

This system has Z80 and runs the CP/M operating system from ROM. One of the more unique features of these early Epson laptops is the microcassette drive for storing data and programs. The tape deck can also be set to output sound to the built in speaker, and external line out jack, which can be used for making sure data is recorded on the tape, but it may also be possible to programmatically output voice and/or music stored on the tape. Additionally there are sockets for 2 ROM modules which can contain application software. These are standard ROM ICs in a custom carrier, and are designed to be swapped by the user. Application software was sold on these ROM chips for users to install. Interfaces are provided for connecting floppy drives, serial printers, an acoustic coupler modem, barcode scanner, audio output, and a single analog input.

What am I going to do with this anyway…

  • Get the hardware working
  • Clean up the case, if wanted and/or needed retrobrite the case
  • Burn some custom eproms with software
  • Build a compact linux or other embedded system to serve as a modem and floppy disk emulator.
  • Call up a BBS
  • Take it to Vintage Computer Federation event
  • Use as a cyberpunk hacker deck, possibly in conjunction with Kali Linux.
  • Take it and use it at the local coffee shop.