Datasheet legend
Ab/c: Fractions calculation
AC: Alternating current
BaseN: Number base calculations
Card: Magnetic card storage
Cmem: Continuous memory
Cond: Conditional execution
Const: Scientific constants
Cplx: Complex number arithmetic
DC: Direct current
Eqlib: Equation library
Exp: Exponential/logarithmic functions
Fin: Financial functions
Grph: Graphing capability
Hyp: Hyperbolic functions
Ind: Indirect addressing
Intg: Numerical integration
Jump: Unconditional jump (GOTO)
Lbl: Program labels
LCD: Liquid Crystal Display
LED: Light-Emitting Diode
Li-ion: Lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Lreg: Linear regression (2-variable statistics)
mA: Milliamperes of current
Mtrx: Matrix support
NiCd: Nickel-Cadmium rechargeable battery
NiMH: Nickel-metal-hydrite rechargeable battery
Prnt: Printer
RTC: Real-time clock
Sdev: Standard deviation (1-variable statistics)
Solv: Equation solver
Subr: Subroutine call capability
Symb: Symbolic computing
Tape: Magnetic tape storage
Trig: Trigonometric functions
Units: Unit conversions
VAC: Volts AC
VDC: Volts DC
Years of production:   Display type:  16-segment alphanumeric
New price:  
Display color:  red
    Display technology:  LED
Size:  4"×6.5"×1" Display size:  16 characters
Weight:  12 oz
    Entry method:  N/A
Batteries:  4×"AA" built-in NiCd
Advanced functions:  N/A
External power:  6VDC adapter
Memory functions:  N/A
I/O:  Cartridge port
    Programming model:  N/A
Precision:  N/A Program functions:  N/A
Memories:  N/A
Program display:  N/A
Program memory:  N/A
Program editing:  N/A
Chipset:  N/A Forensic result:  N/A

lk3000.jpg (26967 bytes)

A pocket computer made by the German company Nixdorf, the LK-3000 is a curious beast. For starters, it's not really a computer at all! What it is... well, it's a case containing a display, a keyboard, associated control and decoding circuitry, batteries, a power plug, and a cartridge port... but no processor, no memory, and zero functionality unless a cartridge is inserted.

The cartridge, in turn, may contain a processor, memory, and other components... for instance, even a backup battery to keep continuous CMOS memory powered when the device is turned off or the cartridge is removed.

The construction of the LK-3000 is very fragile. The custom cartridge connector can bend or break easily, especially if it has been subjected to corrosion. This is why my first LK-3000, which I acquired over almost decade ago, was never in good enough shape to be properly tested, despite my best efforts to repair it.

But now (summer 2012) I am the proud recipient of another LK-3000, courtesy of a repeat donor (thank you!) This LK-3000 has all its connectors intact, and now I am able to experiment with this curious beast.

Not that there is much to experiment with. I only have two cartridges: a French-English translator cartridge and an "Electronic Notebook". This latter cartridge is not working properly; no doubt its internal battery went kaput years ago, but because the cartridge is sealed, I see no easy way to open it for repair.

The language cartridge, on the other hand, works well. Surprisingly, a few words that I retrieved are misspelled. Could it be due to aging/bit retention of old ROM chips? If so, this is the first time I'm seeing such gradual degradation in decades-old ROM chips. Or perhaps the original programming was sloppy? I don't know, but I do know the the French word chien is not translated into English as dob, nor is a jour a daw...

I know about a 4-function calculator cartridge; I don't know if a programmable calculator/pocket computer module was ever sold for the LK-3000. Would be nice... in that case, I could add this curious machine to the list of programmable calculators. But I doubt it... I think they were targeting a different market.