Technical Reference
Memory Usage
Filing System
System Timing
System Board
Power Supply Board
Interface Slots
Low Level
Comms Link
Psion Link
Utility System
LZ Passwords
System Services

Technical Reference Manual










Internally the Organiser consists of two circuit boards. The system board holds all the digital electronics and has integral interfaces to the display and keyboard. The power supply board controls power regulation and distribution to the system and also carries connectors to the I/O slots and buzzer. The two boards are connected together by a 27 way strip connector.

This section describes the system board hardware, and the following two sections complete the Organiser hardware description.

The System board is a CMOS 8 bit computer including the following:

  • 8 bit HD6303X processor running at 0.912 MHz
  • 32 kbyte ROM containing system code
  • 8-96 kbyte static ram option slots
  • dot matrix LCD and driver ICs
  • ')"; onMouseout="hideddrivetip()"> PCB pads and interface for 36 key keyboard
  • real time clock running from 32768 Hz crystal
  • 27 way connector to PSU board for external I/O, power and power control

The board has been engineered to minimise space and power requirements. Small size is achieved through the extensive use of surface-mounted components and by design of a semi-custom IC to perform control functions. Low power is achieved by the use of CMOS circuitry throughout and by taking advantage of the special power saving modes of the processor.


This section describes the circuit in general terms, and specific areas are covered in more detail later.

There are 8 positions for ICs on the board, some of which are optional to provide different memory configurations. All ICs are CMOS with low power standby modes, and all are surface-mounted.

IC1 is the HD6303XFP microprocessor in an 80-pin flat package. This is an 8 bit processor derived from the 6800 family, with standard 8 bit data and 16 bit address busses. In addition it has three 8 bit I/O ports inbuilt. An oscillator provides an input frequency of 3.6864 MHz, which is divided by four internally to an operating frequency of 0.9216 MHz. Processor startup and shutdown are controlled by the STBY_B and RES_B signals from the control IC.

IC2 and IC3 control the LCD display. The HD44780 (IC2) is the master driver with inbuilt character-generator ROM and display data RAM. On the LZ, it was replaced by a customised 66780 chip. The LCD is accessed in the processor memory-map, decoded by the EOUT signal from the control IC. IC3 is a slave driver to extend display width to 16 (20) characters. The LCD plate is mounted to the board through conductive rubber connector strips. The display has either two rows of 16 characters (models CM, XP) or four rows of 20 characters, with each character as an 8 by 5 dot matrix.

IC4 is a semi-custom IC to supervise circuit operation. It's main functions are:

  • To decode and select devices in the processor memory-map. Address lines A6-A15 are input and are used together with the processor E clock to decode memory device blocks (CS1_B to CS6_B), the LCD driver (to the EOUT signal) and internal control latches. Internal latches are used to control a variety of functions including processor startup and shutdown, polling the keyboard, clock output to the processor NMI interrupt, the buzzer ALARM signal and the PULSE signal to the power supply.
  • To provide the real-time clock facility there is a 32768 Hz oscillator circuit. This is divided down in two stages. The first stage provides a 1 Hz output which is normally switched to the processor NMI input to update the clock when the processor is on. When the Organiser is off, the second stage is used to record elapsed time since switch-off, and when the Organiser is next switched on the processor reads the elapsed time to re-synchronise its time registers. The Organiser is automatically switched on if the second stage divider times-out, after an interval of 34 minutes 8 seconds.
  • To control processor startup and shutdown sequences. Startup is initiated by either a rising edge at the AC input or by timeout of the second stage counter. The ON_B signal to the power supply immediately goes low to switch on supply rail regulators. After a time delay to allow power rails to settle, the processor is started by sequencing the STBY_B and RES_B signals. Shutdown is initiated by the processor itself, by accessing a control latch. STBY_B and RES_B are immediately brought low, and the ON_B signal set high.
  • To poll the keyboard. The keyboard is arranged as a 7 by 5 switch matrix. The seven outputs K1-K7 are open-drain, and to poll the matrix they are set low one at a time, with the rest floating. At each step the processor reads the inputs KBD1-KBD5 via port 5, detecting a key pressed if an input is low. The processor controls the K1-K7 outputs via control latches within the control IC. The AC key is separate to the matrix, being input directly to the IC4 AC input and to a separate bit of the processor port 5. The keyboard switches are ')"; onMouseout="hideddrivetip()"> PCB pads underneath the Organiser keys. When a key is pressed a conductive rubber pad shorts the key contacts.

The control IC is reset on "cold start" i.e. when power is first applied to the board.

Power to the board is supplied through the VCC1, VCC2 and V_LCD rails from the power supply. VCC1 is always present and powers all circuit ICs except the LCD drivers. Power consumption is typically 30 microamp when the Organiser is off, mainly due to the real-time clock oscillator. RAM data in both the processor and external RAM devices are retained in this mode. When the Organiser is on (ON_B low) the VCC2 and V_LCD rails are switched on to power the LCD drivers. Contrast adjustment is achieved by adjusting the V_LCD voltage. Power consumption in this state can be 20 milliamp with the processor running code, reducing to 4 milliamp when the processor is set into its "sleep" mode. Capacitors C6-C8 decouple the VCC1 rail.


The HD6303XFP processor is a member of the 6301-6303 family (which are CMOS parts derived from the 6800 series). This member is a ROMless part with a full 64k external memory-map, 1 MHz maximum operating speed and mounted in an 80 pin flat package.


The processor has five operating states: standby, reset, active, halt and sleep. The Organiser does not use halt mode, and reset is only used during the switch-on sequence as a transition between standby and active. The three remaining states are used in the following way:

  1. Standby mode:
    When the Organiser is powered but is switched off, the processor is in this state (with the SBY_B and RES_B pins both low). The processor is inactive with all port pins tri-state and the oscillator shut down. In this state the power consumption of the processor is negligible, and the internal RAM is retained.
  2. Active mode:
    When the Organiser is switched on, the processor is put into Reset mode (SBY_B high and RES_B low) for 30 to 60 millisecs to allow the oscillator and E clock to start up, and is then set into Active mode (SBY_B and RES_B high). The memory busses are made active and the processor starts running code. The I/O ports remain set as inputs until initialised by the software. In active mode the processor is in control of the whole circuit. To return to Standby mode (Organiser off) the processor accesses a switch-off address in its memory-map. This triggers an "ON/OFF" latch in the control IC which immediately sets SBY_B and RES_B low.
  3. Sleep mode:
    This is used to reduce power consumption when the processor is active, and is entirely under software control.


Processor ports 1,3,4 and 7 control the memory-map. Ports 1 and 4 form the 16 bit address bus A0-A15, port 3 the 8 bit data bus D0-D7, and port 7 supplies the control lines R_B, W_B and R/W_B. External access cycles are decoded and synchronised with the E clock by the control IC.

The memory map is assigned in four address areas:

  • $8000-$FFFF are assigned to external ROM devices.
    8,16 or 32 kbyte may be present, filled from the top down.
    Later models (multilingual XP, LZ) have 64k of ROM. The ROM from $8000 to $BFFF is bank-switched in 3 banks of 16k and the ROM from $C000 to $FFFF is fixed.
  • $0400-$7FFF are assigned to external RAM.
    8,16 or 31 kbyte may be present, filled from $2000 up except for the 31 kbyte option which is from $0400 up.
    The LZ64 has 63k. The RAM from $4000 to $7FFF is bank switched in 3 banks of 16k and the RAM below $4000 is fixed.
    The POS350 has 95k. No technical information for the memory layout is available, but most likely the RAM from $4000 to $7FFF is bank switched in 5 banks of 16k and the RAM below $4000 is fixed.
  • $0100-$03FF are assigned to external I/O devices including the LCD and latches in the control IC.
  • $0000-$00FF are reserved for internal processor RAM and registers.

External devices are described further in the following sections.



System software is carried on the board in the form of ROM (strictly speaking they are One-time programmable CMOS ')"; onMouseout="hideddrivetip()"> EPROM devices). Four options are catered for:

  • 8 kbytes at addresses $E000-$FFFF
  • 16 Kbytes at addresses $C000-$FFFF
  • 32 Kbytes at addresses $8000-$FFFF
  • 64 Kbytes: 3 banks of 16 Kbytes at addresses $8000-BFFF and 16 Kbytes at address $C000-FFFF.

Note that in all options the processor restart and interrupt addresses at the top of the memory-map are included in the ROM area.

The ROMs used are byte-wide CMOS devices in 28 pin flat packages, with access times of 250 ns or better. The types used are:

  • 27C64FP with 8 kbyte capacity
  • 27C256FP with 32 kbyte capacity
  • the LZ may use other chips (no info available)

ROMs installed are powered at all times, and have a typical power consumption in standby mode (with the CS_B pin high) of 1 microamp.


As with the ROM above, there are different options for RAM in the memory map:

  • 8 Kbytes at addresses $2000-$3FFF
  • 16 Kbytes at addresses $2000-$5FFF
  • 31 Kbytes at addresses $0400-$7FFF
  • 63 Kbytes: 3 banks of 16 Kbytes at address $4000 to $7FFF and 15k at address $0400-$4000
  • 95 Kbytes: No technical information for the memory layout is available, but most likely the RAM is organised like the 63 kbyte option except that there are 5 banks of 16k.

Note that address $2000 is used by the system for the start of system variables by all options.

The RAMs used are byte-wide CMOS devices in 28 pin flat packages, with access times of 250 Ns or better. The types used are:

  • 6264LFP with 8 kbyte capacity
  • 62256LFP with 32 kbyte capacity
  • the LZ may use other chips (no info available)

RAMS installed are powered at all times, and hence retain their data when the Organiser is off. In the standby mode their power consumption is typically 2 microamp.

For the more than 16 kbyte options, a bigger chip is used but the bottom 1 kbyte ($0000-$03FF) is never accessed.

In addition to the RAM devices above, their are two other areas of RAM on the board and common to all options:

  • The processor includes 192 bytes of RAM at addresses $0040-$00FF, and this is also retained when the Organiser is off.
  • The LCD driver has its own RAM for display data. This is not in the processor memory map and is not retained when the Organiser is off. However UDGs (user defined graphics) are retained by the OS from version 2.6 on.


The six memory selection signals from the control IC (CS1_B to CS6_B) are mapped to the following memory areas:

  • CS1_B $8000-$FFFF (32k)
  • CS2_B $E000-$FFFF (8k)
  • CS3_B $C000-$DFFF (8k)
  • CS4_B $4000-$5FFF (8k)
  • CS5_B $2000-$3FFF (8k)
  • CS6_B $0400-$7FFF (31k)

They are normally high, and go to their active-low state when the relevant memory area is addressed by the processor. These six outputs cover all ROM/RAM options, and a maximum of four can be used at any time.

Note that the links options below are valid for models CM,XP and LA only (they may also be valid for the models LZ and LZ64 but there is no technical information available).

Links L1-L8 on the board are used to match the correct signals to the available memory options. They are arranged as four pairs: L1-L2, L3-L4, L5-L6, and L7-L8. Of each pair only one should be fitted, with the other left open-circuit

If a 32 kbyte ROM is fitted in IC5 then links L1 and L4 should be fitted. L1 routes CS1_B to the ROM to decode it in the $8000-$FFFF range. L4 makes the A14 address line available to the ROM.

If an 8 kbyte ROM is fitted in IC5 then links L2 and L3 should be fitted. L2 routes CS2_B to the ROM to decode it in the $E000-$FFFF range. L3 pulls the ROM pin 27 high since A14 is not required.

If a 32 kbyte RAM is used in IC8 then L6 should be fitted, to route the CS6_B signal to the RAM and decode it in the $0400-$7FFF range.

If an 8 kbyte RAM is used in IC8 then L5 should be fitted to route the CS5_B signal to the RAM and decode it in the $2000-$3FFF range.

Links L7 and L8 set the state of the control IC CTRL input. L7 is normally fitted, and in this case the CS1_B to CS6_B outputs are internally gated with the processor E clock so that they are active only when the E clock is high. If L8 is fitted the decode outputs are dependent on the address lines only.


The bank-switching is carried out by accessing the following addresses (reading or writing):

  • $360 - Reset ROM/RAM to bank 0
  • $3E0 - Select next ROM bank
  • $3A0 - Select next RAM bank

Note that the operating system may switch ROM banks when any system service is called and during interrupts.



The previous sections have covered memory areas $0000-$0100 (processor internal functions) and $0400-$FFFF (memory devices). The area between these ($0100-$03FF) is used to decode the LCD and latches within the control IC. The control IC decodes these from its address inputs A6-A15, and since A0-A5 are not available each function must span addresses in blocks of 64 bytes or multiples of this. The functions and their address ranges are:

$0100-$017F not used
$0180-$01BF LCD ENABLE
$0200-$023F PULSE ENABLE
$0280-$02BF ALARM SET
$0380-$03BF NMI ENABLE

The LCD ENABLE function is a simple decoding one which is output to the EOUT signal on pin 39. This is normally low, and is set high when any address in the range is selected. The LCD is covered further in section LCD display. All the other functions listed perform actions within the control IC which are address-controlled, latched events. Address-controlled means that any processor access to an address within the range will cause the event, irrespective of whether it is a read or write access or of data on the data bus. Once an access has occurred, the affected latch remains in the state set until a further access alters it. If a latch is set, then further accesses to set it will have no effect and a reset access is required to change its state.


The PULSE output is a control signal to the power supply board, used in generating the voltages necessary to program datapacks. It is controlled by an internal PULSE latch. When set, the PULSE signal is enabled and a 32 kHz square-wave signal of between 40-60 percent duty cycle is output to the PULSE output pin. When reset, the output is disabled and is low. The latch is automatically reset when the Organiser is off.

Caution should be used when accessing the PULSE latch, as damage could occur to the power supply if it is left enabled for too long. PULSE is only used by the Organiser during datapack programming, and in a strictly controlled loop using the READY signal as a feedback input. In this loop, PULSE is disabled as soon as the READY input goes high. This is discussed further in the power supply section.


The ALARM signal is a direct output from the ALARM latch. It is used to drive the piezoelectric buzzer element mounted from the power supply board.

When the ALARM latch is set, the output signal goes high and the voltage is applied across the buzzer element. When reset, the signal is removed. ALARM may be left in either state, but the buzzer only produces sound at transitions between the two states. To produce a tone, the software must access the ALARM set and reset functions alternately to produce the frequency required.

The alarm signal is also used as an interlock in the power supply circuit, to allow datapack programming voltages to be applied to the packs. This is described further in the power supply section.


The real-time clock and keyboard poll are both functions dealt with by the control IC. Although at first sight they are completely independent functions, they are linked together in the control IC since the keyboard poll outputs K1-K7 are part of the clock divider chain. For this reason they are described together in this section.


The clock divider chain is implemented in the control IC as a 27 bit binary counter split into two stages:

Stage 1 is a 15 bit free-running binary counter clocked by the 32768 Hz oscillator input. Each cycle of the clock increments the counter, and when all bits are high the next cycle resets them all to low. In other terms, each bit of the counter alternates high and low at a frequency of one half the previous bit. Hence the last bit, bit 15, oscillates at a frequency of 1 Hz.

Three of the bits of this stage may appear at output pins:

  • Bit 0 (32768 Hz) is gated with the PULSE latch, and when PULSE is enabled appears at the output pin.
  • Bit 5 (1024 Hz) is gated with the processor RES_B output, and when the processor is active (RES_B high), appears at the OSC output.
  • Bit 15 (1 Hz) is gated with the NMI latch, and when enabled appears at the NMI output to interrupt the processor every second. When NMI is disabled, the 1 Hz signal is gated internally to clock the stage 2 counter.

Stage 2 is a 12 bit binary counter which may be clocked from one of two sources: either from the 1 Hz signal if NMI is disabled, or by a processor access to the COUNTER CLOCK area of its memory-map. In addition this stage may be reset by an access to the COUNTER RESET function. Eight of the twelve bits of this stage appear at the output pins. Bits 1-7 appear as the keyboard poll outputs K1-K7 respectively. Since they are open-drain outputs they are pulled low when the counter bits are low, and float when the counter bits are high. Bit 12 appears as the ACOUT signal, and when high internally sets the ON/OFF latch to start a switch-on sequence.

With the two stages linked together (i.e. with NMI disabled), the last bit (ACOUT) would have a cycle time of 68 mins 16 secs if left as a free-running counter. In practice the counter is never left to free run, and if started from a reset condition is interrupted after half a cycle (34 mins 8 sec) when it switches the Organiser on.


The date and time are kept and updated by the processor in its internal RAM. When the Organiser is on, it is normally receiving an NMI interrupt every second, and so can update the time on a second by second basis. Clearly when the Organiser is off this cannot be done, and in this case the stage 2 counter is used instead to keep track of elapsed time since the Organiser was switched off.

To explain this process, imagine that the clock is set exactly with the processor running and receiving NMI interrupts every second. The time is incremented immediately following each interrupt. When the Organiser switches off it follows the following sequence:

  1. Wait for NMI and increment clock
  2. Access COUNTER RESET address to reset the stage 2 counter
  3. Access SWITCH OFF address. This automatically disables the NMI output and switches the 1 Hz signal to start clocking the stage 2 counter.

The next and subsequent 1 Hz cycles will increment the stage 2 counter, and this will continue for 34 mins 8 secs until the last bit (ACOUT) is set high. This starts the switch-on sequence to restart the processor. When running, the processor enables the NMI latch to start updating the clock directly every second. It also reads the state of the ACOUT signal, and because it is high it knows the clock is 34 minutes 8 seconds slow, and adds this to its time registers. Hence the time and date are accurate again and being updated every second.

This explains the general mechanism of keeping time when the processor is off, using the stage 2 counter. A few other details need clarifying to explain the system fully:

  1. On switch on, the test on the ACOUT signal determines the reason for the processor to be started. If ACOUT is high then a counter timeout has occurred as indicated above. In this case the processor will update its time registers as described and immediately switch off again. When left off, the Organiser keeps time by automatically switching on every 34 min 8 sec, updating the time and switching off again.
  2. If ACOUT is low when the processor starts, then a counter timeout is not responsible (i.e. the AC key or the external AC input must have been activated). In this case the same startup procedure is followed, but the processor does not immediately know how much elapsed time to add to bring its clock registers up to date (i.e. how long since the Organiser was switched off). To find out, it repeatedly accesses the COUNTER CLOCK address until the ACOUT signal goes high. The number of clock cycles required effectively gives the number of seconds until the next counter timeout was due. This can be subtracted from 34 min 8 sec to give the elapsed time since switch off, and this time is added to the time registers.
  3. If the Organiser is about to switch off and an alarm has been set within the next 34 min 8 sec, it can pre-load the stage 2 counter instead of resetting it just before switch-off. To do this it first RESETs the counter and then clocks it using the COUNTER CLOCK address. Each clock will reduce the time to the next counter timeout by one second.
  4. The stage 2 counter is normally used to keep track of elapsed time when the Organiser is off, but the same mechanism can also be used when the processor is running. This is sometimes done when running time-critical code where NMI interrupts would be unacceptable.
  5. Two adjustments are required to make the descriptions above fully accurate. Firstly, in any sequence where time-keeping is switched from direct NMI interrupt to stage 2 counter and back again, one second is gained and must be adjusted for in the software. This is a result of the hardware mechanism used to switch the 1 Hz signal between NMI and the counter. Secondly, during the switch-on sequence following a counter timeout (ACOUT high), an extra clock cycle to the counter may have occurred between the initiation cycle and the time that the processor switches to NMI interrupt. To detect if this has happened, the processor clocks the counter through (as after an AC press) until ACOUT switches


The AC key at the keyboard top left is a special case since it is used to switch the Organiser on. As such it is the only key on the keyboard whose function cannot be totally software defined. The AC key switches the AC signal on the board, and is input both to the control IC AC input and to the processor port 5 bit 7. It is normally low, and is pulled high on pressing the key. Pressing AC when the Organiser is off will set the ON/OFF latch in the control IC and start a switch-on sequence. When the processor is running, it polls this key by reading port 5 bit 7 (1=AC pressed, 0=AC not pressed). The external AC input from the Organiser top slot is in parallel with the AC key. This is used to switch the Organiser on from an external input, but it is disabled whenever the ON/OFF latch is set and so cannot be polled.

The other 35 keys on the keyboard are arranged as a 7 by 5 switch matrix. They are polled using the K1-K7 outputs from the control IC and the KBD1-KBD5 inputs to the processor port 5. The inputs are normally high, and are pulled low when a key is pressed and the relevant output is set low. The keys are arranged in the following way:

To poll the matrix, the processor first resets the stage 2 counter. All outputs K1-K7 will now be pulled low and all rows of the matrix accessed simultaneously; i.e. if any key is pressed then one of the port 5 inputs will be pulled low. Conversely, if all inputs are high then no keys are pressed and no further polling is required. If a key press is detected at this stage then the processor polls each row of keys in turn to isolate which key is responsible.

To do this it accesses the COUNTER CLOCK address until the K7 output is low but K1-K6 are all floating. The first row of the matrix above are now accessed, and depression of the D,J,P,V or S keys is detected if a low is present at the corresponding bit of port 5. To poll the next row, more COUNTER CLOCK accesses are required until the K6 output is low with K7 and K1-K5 floating. This process is repeated 7 times until all rows have been read.

Because this process uses the stage 2 counter, the keyboard can only be polled when the NMI latch is set to directly interrupt the processor.


The following paragraphs describes the operation of the two-line models:

The Organiser display is 32 characters arranged in two lines of 16 characters each. In this configuration the HD44780 display driver provides the 16 common lines and the display is driven with a 1/16 duty cycle. The two display lines are each 7 dots tall plus a separate cursor line. Each character is 5 dots wide and so 80 segment lines are required. The first 40 of these (left half of the display) are provided by the HD44780, and the rest by the HD44100 slave driver.

The display on the LZ and LZ64 uses the same LCD drivers as on the standard Organiser but is arranged as 4 lines by 20 characters and the HD44780 was replaced by a customised HD66780 chip to allow for a customized character set.

The display is accessed by the processor in the memory area $0180-$01BF as described above. The two registers are selected by the A0 address line, so even addresses in this range access the Instruction Register, odd ones the Data Register. The 8 bit mode is used to transfer data to the processor, and this must be selected when the drivers are initialised.

The display drivers and LCD plate are powered by the VCC2 and V_LCD rails from the power supply board. These are switched off whenever the Organiser is off, and so the LCD must be initialised at each processor startup. The intermediate voltages required are provided by the resistor chain R1-R5. Contrast adjustment is controlled by the thumbwheel on the power supply board, by adjusting the V_LCD voltage between limits of +0.6 and -3 volts. Power required is typically 2 milliamp from VCC2 and 0.5 milliamp from V_LCD.