HP 86 Questions


I know a few of you have the HP86 out there so I hope someone can help out.

I have come across an HP86, but it does not have a monitor. What can these things plug into? Any standard monitor or TV or what?

Also, what do you think is a fair price to offer for this. This is in a garage sale and the lady really does not know what it's worth. I don't want to take advantage of her and would like to offer a fair price.

The other thing I don't know is if this thing really even works. When we turned it on, the power light came on, but that is all I know at this point.



Use any old video composite monitor (60Hz refresh, 15Khz bandwidth).
The HP monitor is in fact a Zenith one (same look).

I have more infos at home.



So it has a yellow RCA jack on the back of the unit? I didn't check the unit out well enough. So I should be able to connect it to a modern TV then?


I don't think you can connect it to a TV. It's not the right impedance ( 75 Ohm, or High) and the scan rate isn't the same.



The scan rate IS the same as NTSC video. (Maybe not exact, but close enough.)


There is an RCA phono socket on the back of the 86 above the HPIB connector. It's not yellow (that convention came in much later), but it is normal RS170-like composite video that you should be able to feed into the composite input (not RF, of course) of a US TV. At least in the 86B (the model with 128K RAM) the video output buffer is designed to drive a 75 Ohm load (that's clear from the schematic) and I have no reason to doubt that also applies to the 86.

I doubt that the 86's video output meets broadcast video standards, but it's close enough to work with all the composite monitors I have.

When you switch on you'll have a fairly long wait (even longer on an 86B) while it checks memory, etc. Then you get a cursor at the top left corner, and can start typing BASIC.


The HP monitor is in fact a Zenith one (same look).

Sure about that? I have one sitting next to an NEC from the same era, and they look identical other than the logo. Or perhaps Zenith OEM'd the NEC monitor as well?


The monitor which I got with my 86Bs is certainly an NEC chassis. They may have used Zenith monitors as well, of course (FWIW, the monitor in the original IBM PortablePC luggable is a Zenith).


You can even connect it to your PC monitor if your computer has a video card with composite input. See eBay auction 5110814933.

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