Panasonic JR-100

Anything to do with New Zealand Classic or Vintage Computing not covered in the other forums

Panasonic JR-100

Postby Murray on Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:40 pm

My very first computer was a Panasonic JR-100, sort of a cross between a ZX-81 and a Spectrum. If you're not familiar with this home computer then you can read more at http://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=320 (I contributed images and info to this page). I've still got my old JR-100 and it's in pretty good condition (the box is a little bit worn and the manuals are also worn with all the use I them to while learning to program).

A year ago I was approached by someone working on the MESS (Multi Emulator Super System) project. They wanted to emulate the JR-100 and managed to track me down as an owner of this old computer. He wanted me to provide a dump of the ROM for the emulator. After much playing around I managed to hook the JR-100's cassette port up to the sound card in my PC and record a save file of the ROM. I then used some software I found to convert the WAV file into binary that could be used by the emulator.

The emulator mostly works, although the last time I looked at it the keyboard mapping wasn't the greatest and could be improved upon.

Does anyone else have a JR-100? Are they considered to be fairly rare? I once mentioned it on the Retro Gamer magazine forums and nobody there had ever heard of it. From what I understand they were only ever sold in Japan and New Zealand (maybe Australia?) The JR-200 was more widely sold in the USA.
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Re: Panasonic JR-100

Postby YetiSeti on Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:59 pm

I would be the other person who has one. It would indeed be very rare and I haven't been able to find other examples still around in NZ (well, no other NZ collector who has listed their computers on old-computers.com lists one, but then again, it's not listed as a valid option in their Panasonic range of computers).

My one was purchased off trademe about five years ago and one of my early purchased computers when I starting collecting. I liked the colours. It might have been a bargain if it weren't from another then Dunedin collector also bidding. Odd-bod computers just that short time ago never attracted much interest and I was only bidding because I thought it looked really cool. I tried to inquire into the computer's history and use but unfortunately I purchased it from a dealer who couldn't provide any further information.

Aside from trying it out and photographing it all, it sits undeservedly, but perhaps better for its condition, forever in the tiny box it came it for efficient storage in my room. It reminds me of the Lambda 8300 ZX81 clone ( http://www.interface1.net/zx/clones/lambda.html ) of which I have seen just one on trademe also (can't remember who bought that), and the ever popular Dick Smith VZ-200.

I have just the computer, power supply and manuals for it.

Tezza could probably point you better towards the Bits & Bytes issue with a review of the computer. Of about the five or so issues of B&B magazines I have, funnily I have that issue somewhere.

The JR-100 fits into that obscure category of computers which you'd have to spam boards to build awareness of it for it to appreciate in dollar value (at a higher rate than compounding bank interest would be nice).
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Re: Panasonic JR-100

Postby YetiSeti on Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:09 pm

Ah, I see, it's under National. Drats my password (with post old-computer being hacked supplied postfix) doesn't work any more.
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Re: Panasonic JR-100

Postby Murray on Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:09 am

Thanks for your comments, YetiSeti!

I used to have the Bits & Bytes issue with the review of the JR-100 that you mentioned, but that was thrown out long ago. I found the scanned issue here though and it bought back lots of memories.

My father used to work for Fisher & Paykel and in those days F&P owned (or had a tight relationship with) MEC, who were the Panasonic people in NZ. One Christmas (maybe 1982?) everyone at F&P were offered cheap JR-100's and so my father bought one as a Christmas present for us. He also managed to get his hands on a cassette tape of games (no doubt copied because the instructions were just photocopied pages and there was no branding on the cassette tape). I think all of the games were created by Hudson Soft from Japan.

Other than the one games tape there was no other commercially produced software available in NZ that I'm aware of.

My cousin bought a JR-100 too and I advertised in a few computer magazines for any other owners to contact me. We started the JR-100 User's Group and would regularly share games that we'd written ourselves. I think the most we ever had was about 6 members. I used to put together a newsletter with game reviews, programming articles, etc. It was around this time that I taught myself 6800 assembler so I could speed up my games, but because there was no assembler for the JR-100 I had to hand-assemble my code into machine code and then use a BASIC program to POKE my code into memory.

I wrote a few articles on programming the JR-100 for a local magazine called Computer Input. You can see covers at http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~atari/segamags.html (need to scroll down past the Sega magazines). On the cover for the March 1985 issue you can just make out that it says "JR100" (second from bottom) on the list of articles. I think I still have all my copies of Computer Input somewhere. I once visited the publisher's office in Takapuna and spoke to the editor and he was very keen for me to keep providing them with material but it wasn't long after that that they went under and I never received anything from them.
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Re: Panasonic JR-100

Postby tezza on Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:13 am

YetiSeti wrote:Tezza could probably point you better towards the Bits & Bytes issue with a review of the computer. Of about the five or so issues of B&B magazines I have, funnily I have that issue somewhere.


Yep. it's in the issue at the URL below:
http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/bit ... sue2.2.htm
Tez (Terry Stewart) (Administrator)
Collection: http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/col ... /index.htm
Projects and Articles: http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/index.htm
Twitter: @classiccomputNZ | YouTube: Terry Stewart
Trade Me: tezza5
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