One weakness of the Sharp CE-150 printer unit is the non-removal Ni-Cd batteries. After 20 – 30 years now since their release they begin to leak. The battery acid (potassium hydroxide, a base, actually) will sooner or later destroy the circuit board and anything else inside the printer. At that point the batteries are usually already dead and connecting a Sharp PC leads to “Error 78”, “Error 80”, or “Check 6″…

Sharp CE-150 Repair 3

Sharp CE-150 Repair 2

In case of such damages I usually use vinegar to clean up the case. Just put the case and any corroded parts (even if they are metallic) into a vinegar-water-mixture for a few minutes.

In case of circuit boards I’m using simple tap water and a brush to carefully remove the corrosion. Most parts on such a board can handle such a treatment. In this case I avoided getting water onto the relays and the ribbon cable. Afterwards drying the board is important, a regular hair dryer (or a temperature controlled hot air gun) will do.

Sharp CE-150 Repair 4

I’ve made a short video tutorial on how to open, check, and if necessary repair a Sharp CE-150 printer unit which is used in combination with Sharp PC-1500 / PC-1500A / PC-1600 pocket computers:

One final remark: the printer will run fine even without the batteries. These batteries were used to provide the 1 – 1.4 A peak current to drive the printer solenoid and motors. The old power supply that was shipped with the CE-150 only provides about 500 mA. You can attach a newer one that is able to provide sufficient current without problems (9 V, negative pole is in the center).

Sharp CE-150 Repair 5

Sharp CE 150 Printer (PC 1500) Vintage Hardware Repair

20 thoughts on “Sharp CE 150 Printer (PC 1500) Vintage Hardware Repair

    • I’m working on a post about the pens. There are sources where you can buy similar pens, but I’m currently running tests on refilled ones. So stay tuned… — Kai

      • Interestingly I found a source in the CA US. The pens are the same as the ones for an Atari plotter (also the Commodore plotter). Best Electronics-ca sells them. They are all Atari 1020 plotter pens – they sell the Color sets and just Black pens (4 per set). They are quite cheap ($3) per set even if you have the minimum order and have to pay extra for the translation (to $). They also seem to have a lot of stock. The pens arrived in less than a week to the UK.

  1. Hi Kai,
    I replaced the 5 batteries and the PC-1500A still starts with “Check 6”. By pressing the ON-button, you can feel, see and hear the carriage wants to start. But it doesn’t. Doing LPRINT something, “Error 78” follows. (Using an external PS isn’t possible at the moment.) Do you have any ideas?
    Best regards

      • Umh, right. But please first check the batteries! If they are leaking charging them would be the least I would do… — Kai

  2. Thank you very much for this article…

    Now my ce150 is working again…

    I’ve a sharp pc2500, without damage from battery leackage…
    I’ve removed the battery because is in bad condition.
    Anyone know if I can use the same techinque for try to revive it ?
    Does anyone know the voltage I should use ?

  3. i have a sharps pc1600 it has been in the case for 20 yrs just came to look at it put in new batteries however the keyboard does not want to work have tried both simple and hard restart and get arrow but not able to typ e

    any suggestions would be helpful thanks mike

  4. I played a lot with these when I was a kid. Recently i found mine back. But after almost more than 30 years I don’t remember how to use it anymore. Someone who can give me some basic explanation: how can I print what I’ve typed?

  5. Removing the batteries from the CE-150 and using a stronger power suplly does the job – as long as you are in reach of electricity. The independency and freedom of usage however, is somewhat lost.
    Does anyone hence know how to replace the batteries? I mean, which NI-CD – or potentially NI-MH and/of LiI replacements – could be used and where to order it?
    Any helpful response is highly appreciated.
    Best regards,

  6. I just acquired an old one from Ebay (as-is) that looked to be in pretty good condition. When I tried powering it up, the pen holder moved to the left, then tried rotating, but with no movement. After a bit, I got the Check 6 error. So I cracked it open, and was fortunate enough to find that the old NiCad battery hadn’t leaked, but I figured it was probably dead. I replaced the battery pack, and left it to charge overnight, but still the same error. I then got a stronger AC adapter (1300 mA), but still no dice. Anyone have any ideas what still may be wrong? Otherwise the unit looks to be in good condition.

    • Discovered the problem. Turns out there are two little gears that control the x and y feed of the pen carrier and they often crack. Luckily Shapeways can make replacement gears.

  7. Thank you for taking the time to make the video and explanation, you’ve saved my plotter. Especially good are the disassembly tips.



  8. I bought a Radio Shack PC-2 today, it needs some love. Using batteries results in a blurry, dim screen. Taking out the 8 screws and opening it reveals a lot of corrosion on the ground connection coming from the battery box. Also the battery terminals inside the battery box are corroded. I think I can clean those with a little Coke, worse is that the AC adapter jack has some rust inside. Have you cleaned such jacks or replaced them before? If I can find a pin compatible replacement I can solder it in but I’d prefer to just clean it. Any advice would be appreciated.

    PS. I apologize if I should not be asking such questions via your comments section.

    Thanks Kai.


    • Hi Kevin,

      I’m not sure how good the phosphoric or citric acid in Coke removes corrosion – I’ve had good results with acetic acid (vinegar) in various concentrations.

      I haven’t had a rusty power connector before, but it is a pretty standard barrel jack connector (5.5 x 2.1 mm IMHO). I wouldn’t bother cleaning up – just replace it if you can.

      Best regards, Kai

  9. Once the batteries are removed, do I need to reconnect or solder anything to the positive and negative points where the battery’s wire were connected to the board?
    Thanks for all the great information!!!

    • Hi Leo, no, I usually desolder the internal battery pack. As a quick fix (usually one of the first things when receiving a PC-1500) I simply snip off the two cables. Make sure that the power supply is capable of handling the current peaks of the solenoids.

      Best regards,

  10. Hello
    A just purchased my first Pc1500 only to find it doesn’t work.
    I have been told that while the PC was connected to the 150, it was attached to a power cable and hasn’t worked since.

    With batteries in, and reset pressed there is a flicker on the screen but fades away.

    Any ideas what to check and possible components to replace?

    Thanks in advance.

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