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Portable communication terminal

The PX2000 was a versatile pocket terminal, introduced around 1985 by Text Lite in Amsterdam (Netherlands), as the successor to the PX-1000. The device was intended for on-the-road word processing, calculations and communication, and allowed encrypted messages to be sent over standard telephone lines, using a built-in acoustic coupler. In The Netherlands, the PX-2000 was sold by Philips whilst in the rest of the world it was marketed under the TEXT TELL brand name.
The image on the right shows a typical PX-2000 unit with its cream coloured case, ready for use (i.e. with the lid open). The lid contains an 8 x 80 character display, making it suitable for advanced word processing, spreadsheet and terminal applications.

The PX-2000 contains a word processor, calculator, spreadsheet and full data and text encryption/decryption facilities. Furthermore it contains terminal emulations for DEC VT52, VT100, TTY and VIDEOTEXT, allowing it to be used with a variety of services.
PX-2000 courtesy Cees Jansen [1]

A full-duplex modem is available through the acoustic coupler at the rear of the PX-2000. The coupler can be detached from the device, so that it can be used easily with any telephone handset (see below). The modem sends data at 300, 600 or 1200 baud, whilst receiving simultaneously at 75 baud. The latter is used for the VIDEOTEXT terminal emulation mode. The data format is 8N1 (8 data bits, no parity and 1 stop bit).

The PX-2000 and its firmware were fully developed by Text Lite BV in Amsterdam (Netherlands), but were built by Seiko (EPSON) in Japan. The device is backwards compatible with the older PX-1000, in which case it uses simplex communication at 300, 600 or 1200 baud 7E2 (7 databits, even parity and 2 stop bits). This mode is called PX-1000 text mode [B]. When communicating with another device, the PX-2000 will detect the required protocol from the header of the first data packet. If necessary, it will automatically fall back to PX-1000 compatible simplex mode.
PX-2000 packaging Inside the packaging The PX-2000 in its storage wallet Taking the PX-2000 out of its wallet PX-2000 open Close-up of the keyboard of the PX-2000 Reverse side of the PX-2000 Taking the acoustic coupler out

The PX-2000 measures approx. 25.5 x 11 x 3.5 cm and is housed in a cream plastic enclosure that consists of two halves: the actual computer with its 55 button keyboard, and a hinged top lid that contains an 80 character x 8 lines single colour LCD screen. A yellow seperate SEND button is located to the left of the top lid. It can even be accessed when the top lid is closed.

The keyboard can be accessed by opening the top lid. The unit is switched on by setting the ON/OFF switch (at the right side) to the ON position and pressing the yellow ON/STOP button at the top right. The device is fully menu-driven. Special function can be accessed by using the red function key in combination with any of the normal keys. This corresponds to the functions that are printed above each key. The cursor control keys are a bit darker than the other ones.
Different versions
Two different versions of the PX-2000 were available. They each served a different communication standard, so that a suitable version was available for each country in the world, depending on the local telehone network. The following versions are known:
  • PX-2000, version 1
    This version is compatible with CCITT V23 and BELL 202 standards. It supports both C-Mail and VIDEOTEXT emulation (1200/75 baud).

  • PX-2000, version 2
    This version is compatible with CCITT V21 and V22 standard, as well as BELL 103 and 212 standards. This version can not send and receive messages from the Text Lite C-Mail system which requires the V23 standard (version 1). Furthermore, VIDOTEXT terminal emulation is not available in this version (as it also required the V23 standard).

The PX-2000 contains a flexible modem with an external acoustic coupler. The modem can be used in simplex, half-duplex or full duplex mode. In full-duplex mode it can only be used as a VIDEOTEXT terminal, which was common in those days. It allowed outgoing data to be sent at 75 baud, whilst receiving at 1200 baud. In The Netherlands, VIDEOTEXT was known as VIDITEL.
The acoustic coupler can be detached from the rear of the terminal, and stays connected via a short cable with a 3mm jack connector. It has a microphone and speaker, that are separated by two telescopic arms that can be extended to match the size of the telephone's handset.

Furthermore, the microphone and the speaker are spring-loaded so that they will automatically be positioned at the correct angle. Coupler and handset are usually kept together by means of the supplied rubber clip. If it is missing, a rubber band can be used instead.
Acoustic coupler attached to the handset

Reverse side of the PX-2000 Unlocking the acoustic coupler Taking the acoustic coupler out The acoustic coupler separated from thePX-2000 PX-2000 and acoustic coupler Acoustic coupler attached to the handset Serial port and audio connector Serial port and audio connector

Serial port
The PX-2000 has a fully implemented asynchronous RS232-compatible serial port, which is available at the right side in the form of a mini-DIN connector (see the rightmost images above). It allows speeds of 75, 150, 300, 600, 1200, 2400, 9600, 19200 and 38400 baud, offering hardware handshaking (RTS/CTS) or software handshaking (XON/XOFF). Baud rate, handshaking and data format are all user configurable and split baudrate (75/1200) is supported for VIDITEL.
Memory card
Each PX-2000 terminal has an exchangeable memory module which can be accessed from the rear. After unlocking it, it can be shifted sideways and removed. A row of gold-plated slide contacts, mate with a similar set of contacts at the base of the terminal. External memory card with a capacity of 8KB, 16KB or 24KB were available.

The memory card contained static RAM, which was retained by a small backup battery on the card. It could be replaced whilst the card was inserted in the terminal.
Memory card

Removing the memory card Memory card PX-2000 and memory card Close-up of the memory card, showing a small compartment for the backup battery.

Master reset
When the device is not responding properly whilst the batteries are fully loaded, it might be necessary to issue a Master Reset. This is done by holding down both shift keys and then briefly pressing the ON/STOP key. The device should then show the current firmware version number.

  • 8 lines x 80 characters variable contrast LCD
  • Exchangeable 8K, 16K or 24K memory module
  • Simplex, half-duplex or full-duplex modem
  • Fold-out acoustic coupler
  • RS232 compatible serial communications port
  • Real-time clock with alarm
  • Fully secure data encrypt/decrypt system
  • Spreadsheet and calculator facilities
  • Rechargeable battery pack
Terminal emulations
  • DEC VT-52 terminal emulation
  • VT-100 terminal emulation
  • VIDEOTEXT terminal emulation
  • TTY terminal emulation
Supported services
  • Viditel (videotext)
  • DataNet-1
  • Telenet
  • Telecom Gold
  • Prestel (videotext)
  • Transpac
  • PSS
  • Dialcom
  • Memocom
  • Datex-P
  • Telepac
Telephone standards
  • CCITT V21
  • CCITT V22
  • CCITT V23
  • BELL 202
  • BELL 103
  • BELL 212
The PX-2000 is capable of sending and receiving serial (RS232) data at speeds up to 1200 baud full-duplex. At the right hand side is the serial socket (i.e. the frontmost socket) that can be used for connecting a computer, an external modem, a printer, etc. The 6-pin mini-DIN socket, holds data-in and data-out signals and ground (GND), plus hardware handshake lines (RTS and CTS). A 12V DC output is available for powering an external device or interface. Pin-out is as follows:

Serial port (looking into the socket)

The power (charge) socket of the PX-2000 is located at the left side, just below the SEND button. It accepts a small power plug, which a DC voltage of 12V for powering the unit and/or charging the internal 6V battery. Please note that the +12V should be connected to the ring.

Power connector (+12V at ring, GND at center pin)

The PX-2000 also has an AUDIO input and output, which are available on a 3.5 mm jack stereo socket, loated at the right side of the unit. It can be used for connecting a tape recorder and allows data to be stored on an audio tape recorder and load it back later.

Audio input and output (3.5 mm jack)

Opening the case of a PX-2000 can be a real pain. First of all, four small screws have to be removed from the bottom, two of which are located under the acoustic coupler. Once these screws have been removed, the top and bottom case shells can be separated, but four internal plastic clips at the front will keep the two halfs together. Use a small sharp screwdriver to find the clips and wiggle it in between the case halves, in order to unlock the clip. The latter will most likely break off, but this should not be a problem.

Only 5 ICs are visible. At the top left is the Hitachi HD6303X processor with an 27C256 EPROM to its left. This EPROM contains the firmware of the unit. At the bottom center is a Fujitsu MB62H168 CMOS Gate Array, with 900 gates. Just above the gate array is a RICOH RP5C15 real time clock.

At the top center is a flex strip that connects the PCB to the LCD screen. To the right of the flex strip is a Texas Instruments TXC3105 of which no datasheet has been found yet. It is probably a power supervisor. The big black rectangular block at the top right, marked PX-2000, is a custom-designed circuit block, much like the custom module in the PX-1000.
Firmware versions
  • COPYRIGHT 1985 WEST-TEC PX2000 Version E
  • COPYRIGHT 1987 WEST-TEC Version G 29
  1. Text Lite BV, Text Lite PX 2000 Pocket Terminal
    Full-colour leaflet (English), 2 pages.

  2. Philips Usfa BV, Text Lite PX-2000 Communication Terminal, Instruction Manual
    User Manual (English), 84 pages, A5 size, B/W.

  3. PX-2000 Warranty Card
    Orignal Warry Card (blank).

  4. Hitachi Semiconductor, HD6303X datasheet
    Date unknown. Retrieved February 2014.

  5. Fujitsu Component Ltd., MB62Hxxx datasheet
    Date unknown. Retrieved February 2014.

  6. RICOH Company Ltd., RP5C15 datasheet
    June 1995. Retrieved February 2014.

  1. Cees Jansen (former cryptographer at Philips Usfa/Crypto)
    Interview at Crypto Museum, August 2011.

  2. Hugo Krop, Personal correspondence and interview
    Crypto Museum, 25 August 2013, 15 December 2013.

Further information

PX-2000 seen from the front
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Copyright 2009-2013, Paul Reuvers & Marc Simons. Last changed: Sunday, 16 February 2014 - 16:29 CET
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