We have as part of a mechanical calibration facility, a Taylor-Hobson Talyvel for checking flatness of surface tables. This incorporates a Hewlett Packard HP85 microcomputer with magnetic tapes containing measurement results and application software.

The HP85 dates from approximately 1982 and although it has been reliable to date, we do not expect it to last much longer. The application software dates from 1986 and was licensed by Taylor Hobson.

We are interested to know if we can extract the measurement data from the original tapes and use it on an up to date format. Also, is it feasible to transfer/reproduce the application software to a PC based system to allow more flexible use and backup facilities.

Any other suggestions would also be welcomed.


Duncan Philip

Cegelec Ltd.


Hi Duncan,

In 1981/2 I used an HP-85 as the controller in a gauge to measure the dimensions of gaps in order to make wedges used in the assembly of the toroid magnets in the JET nuclear fusion research reactor near Cambridge, UK.

If I remember correctly, the HP-85 uses HP-BASIC which is like normal BASIC but with extensions for handling extra input-output.

To recover programs you could:

1/ use the in-built printer to list the program and then pass the roll of thermal paper through an OCR scanner,

2/ See if you can re-direct the listing through the HPIB connector on the back (I think it has one) and collect it with another HPIB bus instrument,

3/ See if HP or anyone else can help direct you to a company which can recover your tapes to a new format media. A quick search on Google found:
http://www.vogon.co.uk/ and
although I don't actually know if they support HP-85 tapes - you'll have to contact them - good luck.

Hope this helps. Regards, Edwin.


There is a binary program file GETSAV.BPGM that allows you to SAVE a program as ASCII. Conversely, the GET command allows you to read in an ASCII file and convert it to a BASIC program (as if the instructions were typed on the keyboard).

HP was forced to release this program because of a silly restriction in the Series 80 BASIC system whereby if a program contained even one instruction from a missing ROM module, the system would refuse to load the *entire* program. So the user had no means of working around the inoperable instruction, except by retyping the entire program. By using SAVE and then GET, the program lines containing the unsupported commands were converted into comments.

The HP-85 with the Mass Storage ROM and the 9121 floppy disk drive can create floppies that are readable by standard PCs running the HP LIFUTIL application.

As I have all the above equipment, I have offered Duncan to assist in the xfer of the programs and data from the HP-85 tapes to PC floppies.

Best Regards



See this article, it may help you.


Best Regards


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