Refurbished HP-85


I've been casually looking for a good-condition HP-85 for my collection for some years. Not too seriously-- I'm mainly into the scientific handhelds, but I've got all of those, and have picked up a 9815, 9826, and HP-46 along the way.

This auction on the auction site describes a "professionally refurbished" HP-85. The company, LA Tech Renewal, claims to have replaced the CRT, installed a new QIC tape drive, repainted the case with epoxy paint, and all in all gone to a lot of trouble to bring this device back as close to "as new" condition as possible.

Looks like a dream machine, really.

So: any advice from the membership? Has anyone dealt with these folks before? The Buy It Now price is admittedly high, but there's at least one other non-refurb 85 available that's even higher.


Very interesting, David! But yes, a bit high for MY tastes. :-)

That said, do you think you might come down to HHC this year in San Diego? Lots of fun things this year and would be good to see you again.

Had MacPaint 2.0 open just last week for fun. ;-)


Any HHC sponsors for the 34s team? :)


Hm. Maybe I should-- it's been years, after all! When is the get-together this year?

(And I'm impressed that you're still running a Mac that can handle MacPaint; they took the 68K emulator out of the OS back with Leopard, I believe...)

Edited: 17 Apr 2011, 12:25 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


Give me a shout through the forum email.

HHC 2011 web page


LA Tech Renewal and the owner Larry Atherton are AOK in my book. First came across them when buying a ROM langage board for my HP 9826. Subsequently, Atherton refurbished a DC100 tape drive for my HP 9825. I wrote about the experience here:


The QIC and the Dead

Edited: 16 Apr 2011, 4:13 p.m.


LA Tech Renewal and the owner Larry Atherton are AOK in my book. First came across them when buying a ROM langage board for my HP 9826. Subsequently, Atherton refurbished a DC100 tape drive for my HP 9825. I wrote about the experience here:


The QIC and the Dead

Good to know. I'm very tempted...


Might be a "new old stock" QIC tape drive, but there's no such thing as a "new" QIC tape drive that will work in an HP-85.


It's not a new QIC drive, if you read the article, Atherton refurbishes the old drive and mills the rails to take new QIC cartridge tapes.



I bought a refurbished drive from Atherton for my HP-85, and I received the standard applications and math pacs in brand new tapes. I had the service manual to perform all the changes.

It has worked flawlessly since. It was a pleasure to deal with him!


I have a HP-85A that I hand picked from several units that is in need of re-furbish. I am sure we can work a deal if you want to refurbish yourself. Let me know


Hm. How functional is the unit you have? I've repaired the tape readers before (heat-shrink tubing around the drive wheel in my 9825 has worked for about 15 years now), but wouldn't be able to do any electronics...


Well, the keyboard will need to be cleaned good. The printer will need new belts and of course the tape drive will need the gummy wheel replaced. The case is slightly yellowed but was picked from five units to be the least yellow. The CRT is probably original but does still work.Shoot me a private e-mail and I can get some pictures to you.


I am really, really glad I don't have room for that :-)
Fantastic looking, and I'm sure it would be a blast to play with.


Yeah...I used to work at the KA Computer Store in Dallas, Texas, in the late 1970s. We sold HP-85s (as well as Apple ][s and Ataris). I used to love playing with the 85s but could never have afforded one then.

Frankly the Apple and Atari computers of the time were both cheaper and more capable than the 85, as long as you didn't need the 85's connectivity. But there was just something about it...


The HP-85 was my first personal computer. I bought it in December 1980 and added the matrix ROM, more memory, and the advanced programming ROM. I was able to write cool programs that did matrix manipulation very easily (you can find similar program for the HP-71B and its math ROM on my web site).

The thing that bugged me was the data cartridge. It was slow. I considered adding a disk drive but when I looked at the cost (it cost more than an Apple ][+), I decided to sell the HP-85 (and its accessories and applications) and buy an Apple ][+. I ended up with THREE disk drives for the Apple. It was a wonderful computer. I had VisiCalc and other VISI programs. I also ran UCSD Pascal (learning Pascal was awesome), and eventually added a CP/M board.

I finally sold the Apple for the then new CP/M machine and eventually getting an IBM XT (with an 15 MB hard drive), ushering me in the world of DOS.

I still long for the HP-85. Space is what makes me shy away from buying a refurbished machine. That's why I enjoy the HP-85 emulator.


Edited: 18 Apr 2011, 2:36 p.m.


My first computer was an HP-85 also and still own it. It was purchased at EduCalc, sits in storage in near perfect condition with no case discoloration. I bought one of the big HP cases to store it. At this point I think it has more upside potential than the US dollar, so will keep it.


The HP-85 was my first personal computer. I bought it in December 1980

I didn't even know they were available in Iraq...


I bought my HP-85 in the US.


I bought my HP-85 in the US.

I was joshing; I recall you saying you came over in the 70's when we had falafels at the 2006 HHC in San Jose.

(At least I think that's what you said. It was 5 years ago...)


FWIW, I did buy the 85. I expect to be quite happy with it...


Cool! Post a review when you get it!


I shall!


In other news, I picked up a boatload of 85 stuff for $45 at TAS. 7(!) ROM drawers (yes, I know I can only use one) full of ROMs, two 16K memory carts (ditto), a modem (300 baud!), and a serial and BCD interface.

Obviously I can't use all of this stuff. Anyone else here with an 85 that might want some, lemme know, and you can have it for cost of shipping.

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