Sharp MZ-800 Upgrades

The Sharp MZ-800, the successor to the Sharp MZ-700, rectifies many of the shortcomings of earlier models and brings in MZ-80B technology to what was basically a personal computer. This saw the machine being used more in business and wasnt so widely adopted in the personal market, perhaps because of a plethora of more advanced machines arriving at the time.

The machine looks very similar to the MZ-700, albeit more of an ugly duckling due to the addition of an internal dock for 2 expansion cards. Its design goals were to maintain full compatibility with the MZ-700 and as such maintains all of the MZ-700 ports, expansion options and compatibility with the large pool of MZ-700 software. In addition it added Much needed features, namely: 64K RAM, 16K Pixel mapped colour graphics, dedicated sound generator IC, 80 column display etc. The additional hardware opened up the use of CP/M, more advanced music and games and the ability to port MZ-80B programs.

Looking at e-bay and comparative sites such as Gumtree, the Sharp MZ-800 is still available, albeit, like the Sharp MZ-80A, not as frequently for sale.

This section of my projects portfolio is dedicated to the Sharp MZ-800. A lot of my earlier projects were to rectify shortcomings of the MZ-80A/MZ-700 such as 80 column display and pixel graphics, features which the MZ-800 already has, so I havent as yet spent much time upgrading this machine. The tranZPUter SW, as found in the Sharp MZ-80A is fully compatible at the hardware level and just requires some software updates to better interact with the MZ-800 features. This section currently focuses on the tranZPUter SW and the software updates.

The projects werent developed for commercial purposes, more a learning and refresher course of my past skills. I wasnt lucky enough to own an MZ-800 at the time they were sold but I have obtained a good example (actually the 2nd one) which I fully renovated and which all these developments are based on.

All the projects follow a simple rule, 'No permanent physical changes' - from my perspective, antiques shouldnt be destroyed and any changes should be reversible to restore the machine to original factory state. In saying that, enhancements to make the computer more useable are always welcome, hence these projects, enhancements without consequence.

The following diagram outlines the upgrade path available for the Sharp MZ-800.

Upgrade Road Map

At the time of writing, the MZ-800 developments are limited to the tranZPUter SW which was originally developed for the Sharp MZ-80A which is a tried and tested design. It fully functions in the MZ-800 and is reliable and as such, offers greater processing speed, more memory, SD card and a more advanced monitor.

Unlike the Sharp MZ-80A upgrades, only the later tranZPUter SW board works with the MZ-800 due to space restrictions. In terms of software, the MZ-800 uses enhanced versions of the MZ-80A developments, so a good mix of technologies such as Assembler (Z80, ARM), C/C++ and VHDL programming languages.

Please see the relevant section in the index on the left for board details and the above map on which boards can be combined together. At the time of writing, only 1 board is available, the tranZPUter SW, but this will increase over time.


Where I have used or based any component on a 3rd parties design I have included the original authors copyright notice within the headers or given due credit. All 3rd party software, to my knowledge and research, is open source and freely useable, if there is found to be any component with licensing restrictions, it will be removed from this repository and a suitable link/config provided.


This design, hardware and software, is licensed under the GNU Public Licence v3.

The Gnu Public License v3

The source and binary files in this project marked as GPL v3 are free software: you can redistribute it and-or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

The source files are distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see