The Dynalogic Hyperion is an example of an early transportable IBM-PC compatible computer. In fact, it may qualify as the first machine of that class, beating Compaq to market by about two months.

The Hyperion has a beautiful design, weighs only 21 pounds (according to my possibly-innacurate bathroom scale), and features a crisp built-in 7-inch amber display. The processor is a 4.77MHz 8088, the machine features an impressive memory of 256KB, and the display can run software designed for monochrome or CGA.

Image: Hyperion

Dynalogic was owned by Bytec, and my units are identified by the string "COPYRIGHT (c) 1983 BYTEC MANAGEMENT CORPORATION" in the ROM. The best dates that I have found so far show that the Hyperion was introduced in June 1982, but didn't start shipping until January 1983. Compaq introduced its Portable PC in November 1982, and started shipping units in March 1983.

Perhaps I should call the Hyperion an "MS-DOS machine" rather than an IBM-PC compatible, because it won't run 100% of IBM-PC software. For example, the Hyperion fails the famous Flight Simulator test, which hangs after it displays the control panel and asks for the display type. Also, various pieces of software that I've used to check the system specifications have failed in odd ways, usually corrupting the screen or not displaying correct data in the proper fields (including garbled strings). It seems as though the display adapter and the BIOS both have significant differences from the IBM-PC.

I now have two Dynalogic Hyperions in my collection, and on one of the two, MS-DOS 3.2 hangs the machine after a "DIR" command. MS-DOS 5.0 and PC-DOS versions 1.10 and 2.10 seem to work fine on both machines.

The Hyperion's keyboard slides in under the computer and gently locks into place automatically. The handle on the machine isn't a carrying handle like on Osbornes or Kaypros, instead it is just like the handle on an old Macintosh. I understand that the machine originally came with a leather carrying case, which had a proper carrying handle on it.

Image: Hyperion with the keyboard in its garage

The knobs on the front, between the screen and the disk drive, are for brightness (top) and contrast (bottom). The bright amber light is the power button.

The Hyperion's display can show resolutions of 320x200, 640x200, 320x250 and 640x250. It is interesting to note that the Hyperion has a built-in screen blanker, with 3 minute timer, to prevent burn-in.

Image: Closed disk drive door

The disk drive doors on the Hyperion are fairly unique. The user pushes on the door to release the latch, and the door pops up.

Both drives are DSDD 360K 5¼-inch.

Image: Open disk drive door

There are a number of ports and connectors on the back of the Hyperion. There is an RCA video connector which delivers a monochrome signal (shades of grey on a colour monitor). There is a 25-pin male parallel connector. There is a 25-pin female serial connector.

Image: A 50-pin connector on the back of the Hyperion

There is one strange 50-pin D-style connector on the back of the Hyperion as well, which according to Doug (Yowza) Salot, is for an external memory expansion. This port has also been used to connect external hard drive units to Hyperions.

There are also three phone-jack style connectors on the back. These are all related to the internal 300 baud modem in the Hyperion. Two of the three connectors will mate with a normal telephone extension cable, and these are the "phone" and "line" connections. The third is thinner, and houses four wires just as the other connectors do. Apparently it connects to an optional accoustic coupler.

There are also two knockout panels that are missing from one of my machines. They appear to be intended for additional ports, as they are directly above the serial and 50-pin connectors and match their sizes.

The Dynalogic Hyperion is listed in a fifty-computer survey in the April 1983 issue of Computing Now! magazine, with a price of $4895 Canadian. The manufacturer is listed as Dynalogic Info-Tech, Ottawa. According to Charles MacDonald, who knew a member of the Dynalogic Customer Support staff, the headquarters were actually located on Collonade Road in Nepean, Ontario (which is right next to Ottawa).

[Inside the Hyperion] [Hyperion DOS] [The Commodore Connection]

[Hrothgar's Cool Old Junk Page] 1999-08-22