My trusty Psion 5mx recently gave up the ghost. It suffered the infamous cracked video cable that causes horizontal lines across the screen unless you almost close the case, where the picture springs back to life.

I actually bought a replacement video cable, but my soldering skills weren’t up to the job. I didn’t tend to take my Psion with me anyway, as it’s a bit bulky, so I wondered whether I could just set up an emulator on my PC. I only really used two apps anyway: Contacts (built-in) for names and addresses and CodeSafe for passwords.

Symbian produced an EPOC emulator, but setting it up to get CodeSafe to work was a little bit tricky. Here’s what I did:

  • Download the emulator by going to the Psion Teklogix download page and downloading Symbian OS V5 OPL SDK.

  • Install the OPL SDK, which includes the emulator.

  • If you’ve got a backup of your Psion, copy it to C:\Epoc32\Wins\C</tt>, but take care not to overwrite the OPX files in C:\Epoc32\Wins\C\System\Opx. OPX files are extensions to the OPL programming language, and are written in C++ and compiled for a specific platform. The OPX files on your Psion will not work on the emulator.

  • CodeSafe needs a third-party OPX called cliptext.opx. This was developed by EMCC, but doesn’t seem to be downloadable from their website any longer. You can download it from here instead.

  • Extract the file cliptews.sis to anywhere under C:\Epoc32\Wins\C</tt>.

  • Start the Psion emulator (should be under Start, All Programs, Epoc Software). In the emulator, naviagate to the directory where your saved cliptews.sis and run it.

  • This should install cliptext.opx in C:\Epoc32\Wins\C\System\Opx on your Windows machine. Make this read-only.

  • I had to follow a similar procedure to install the latest version of CodeSafe into the emulator. I think I was using an old version of CodeSafe, which wasn’t compatible with the latest cliptext.

  • I also updated the other OPX files in C:\Epoc32\Wins\C\System\Opx with Windows versions (these are generally built with debugging turned on, and are larger than the native EPOC versions). There are a whole load of these on the Symbian website. You might not need to do this, but I had overwritten the C:\Epoc32\Wins\C\System\Opx directory with the copy from my Psion backup, so it seemed like a good idea to refresh these.

  • The important final stage is to run the release build of the emulator, not the debug build. The debug build, which is linked to from the Start menu entries, crashes whenever you close one of CodeSafe’s dialogue boxes (e.g. cancelling viewing a password or closing the program). The release build works OK though. I suspect it might be that the debug build throws an assertion due to a perceived memory leak, but that’s just a guess. Either way, add a shortcut to C:\Epoc32\Release\Wins\Rel\EPOC.exe to your Start menu and use this.