Psion 7Book and WiFi

A couple of nights ago I found on eBay a Psion Series 7 ROM upgrade chip for the bargain price of £45 + P&P.

Psion netBook ROM

This piece of silicon magic instantly upgrades the Psion Series 7 to a Psion netBook, giving more memory, unlocking a faster processor speed (upped from 132.71 MHz to 191.692 MHz), and allowing Ethernet and WiFi connection.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the eBay seller was none other than regular View from the Potting Shed blog commentator Nigel Alefounder. I also ordered a Cisco Aironet 340 series 11 Mbps Wireless LAN adapter from him.

They arrived this morning, and my Series 7 is now proudly rebranded as a so-called “7Book”. The upgrade was simple: a complete power down (including backup battery), remove the Series 7 ROM, insert the netBook ROM, power back up (backup battery first, main battery, and then power cable), insert the Compact Flash card containing the latest netBook OS image file (R158), and switch on.

The Cisco WiFi card took a little more work, and I’ve still not managed to get it to connect to our wireless network, and from what I’ve just read on Silverster’s EPOC FAQ site I never will.

It appears that some versions of the Series 7 / 7Book do not provide enough current to the PCMCIA port; the slot into which the WiFi card plugs. I discovered on the PDA Street forum that the current of the PCMCIA port on the Psion 7 = 300mA, and on the netBook = 750mA. The Cisco Aironet 340 series seemingly runs at 580 mA which would explain why it doesn’t work on my 7Book.

I’ve ordered a Proxim (Lucent) Orinoco Silver for £8.75 from eBay, which I’m hoping will work; its current is a much more efficient — and, more crucially, 7Book-capable — 285 mA. One advantage of the Orinoco over the Cisco is that it supports 64bit WEP encryption (improved security), and you can also use the built-in NetStatRF application (which scans for available wireless networks, but is only compatible with Lucent WaveLAN / Orinoco cards).

WiFi for Psion is nearly at Potting Shed HQ, but I’ll just have to wait a little longer.

UPDATE: I’ve just discovered that the Orinoco Silver supports 64bit encryption, while the Orinoco Gold supports 128bit. I’ve ordered the Silver; my Wireless Access Point currently uses 128bit encryption. D’oh!

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

8 thoughts on “Psion 7Book and WiFi”

  1. Hi Rev,

    Love your site, have you got a copy of the R158 netbook image?
    I’m trying to make a 7book, but The Tek site doesn’t seem to have the link any more.



    1. From what I recall it was great. I had both WiFi cards that worked with the Series 7/netBook hybrid (the so-called 7Book) and both worked perfectly. I used to love sitting in bed with my Psion checking and writing emails or chatting with friends on MSN Messenger.

      1. Just realised you replied!
        Appreciated. I nostalgically purchased a netBook earlier this year with the hope of getting it online.
        I’m likely to follow in your footsteps in purchasing one of the Orinoco’s you mention.

  2. I am similarly experiencing the nostalgia of these machines, and am currently seeking a solution to get my netBook online. I just received an Orinoco Gold card for the wifi, but have yet to be able to successfully configure it. I am running an emulator on a dropbox, and my hope is to be able to log in to my notes and start to sync my emulated Psion from the cloud, and push a CF back and forth until I get it all on the same sheet of data. Then I would like to be able to generate my notes from the Netbook, and onto say.. Icloud notes or some other way to just copy the writing off of either the emulator or hard device. My writing is trapped in a time capsule and it’s time to set it free. Thank you for keeping this blog alive all these years, and I am curious to see your thoughts on the World Computers Gemini and soon to be Cosmo Communicator sporting the 5MX Keyboard and similar PDA suite…



  3. Hi, I’ve no idea if this page is still active, but during a clearout I found my Psion Series 7 and Psion Netbook

    I wondered if anyone had solved connecting either to wifi (or, evn bluetooth). I have a range of old PC Cards to try, but wondered if any of your experiments worked and with what hardware

    Lovely to find your site. Psion products were always my favourite and still are, if only I could get connectivity without resorting to Serial ports

  4. The problem with WiFi cards is that they only accept WEP encryption, that is now obsolete.
    So how to connect my Netbook to Internet ?

    1. Hi Gilbert, that is a good point. Could you use an old wireless access point (WAP) that supports WEP? Back when I was first getting into networking, my set up included a cable broadband modem which had a single LAN port. Into that I plugged a 4-port network switch. Into that I plugged a couple of PCs plus a wireless access point. Those were the days when your broadband router didn’t automatically come with wireless and multiple LAN ports. The WAP I had supported WEP and it was to that that I connected my Psion netBook (well, 7Book) from my bed or the lounge! There must be a plethora of compatible WEPs still available secondhand.

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