Greetings from Wiltshire

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mark71
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Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by mark71 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:59 pm

Hi All

Just to introduce myself on these forums, I have been working abroad for the last 8 years in China as a Design Engineer for a Automotive company, now working for a American one. After coming back to the UK, with with the extra time on my hands working from home, i have been getting out my collection of retro hardware. My history i started with a ZX81 back in 1981 aged 10, then the parents bought me my first Acorn which was a Electron of which i still have. This was upgraded with a Plus 1, Plus 3 various Slogger cartridges and Roms, I have a Projects Expansons Sound Expansion which still works with the orginal letter from them apologising for the delay in the late 80's for sending to me.

Back then, showing my age here half century next year, doing Computer studies at school the goal of the lesson for us was first once the teacher of which we had 2, both women had decided it was going to be on the BBC's. This was located in the Computer Room the other side of the School, was to sprint as hard as you could to get to the front of the queue to get the one with the disk drive on!, all the machines were on the Econet which ate up memory, i think the server was using a 10mb Winchester, was to try during the lesson was to get games to run, we would do the course work on our machines at home!. One of our class was a bit of a assembly whizz and wrote a program to simulate the login process and then save the login and password to his account then log the user in without them knowing. It was fun for a while having teacher access :), they where struggling a bit keeping up with us, they did cotton on to the program and state that if they caught us we would be in trouble... The good ol days :)... The whizz also had a Eprom programmer and we copied a few Roms at the time...

Moving on i then bought, once i started work was a A3000 when they first came out, then moving onto a A420/1, A5000, and a RiscPC, of those the only one i dont have is the A3000 as traded it in at Beebug for the A420/1. Unfortunatly the A5000 and RiscPc have caught the battery corrosion issue as leaked onto the motherboards, hope to resurrect them soon. Currently working on the A420/1 cleaning it up, battery's leaked but not soldered to motherboard so should be ok, not sure of the issues with the A305/310/420's with common faults like the beebs and caps's....

Also just got a Master working after the Cap's went pop.. thanks retro clinic btw. In the collection i have 4 Electrons at the moment just bought one off of Ebay to convert as a USB keyboard to use for work but it works ok!, so loathed to convert it. Also bought my school mates BBC Micro some years back and has some unique homemade boards in looks like a sideways ram board, issue 7 board picture below, will recap it before switching it on!, as the master went pop and smoke :). In the collection all 4 Electrons work, i have 3 Spectrums but only one works the Acorns seem to be better made with better components, the Spectrums seem to me anyway to suffer more, these where given to me over the years.

Always been interested in computers, have many raspberry pi's too, 3D printer, work in CAD all because of those first computers i had many years ago, taught us much about how things work, which the modern generation i don't think have these core skills, planning on getting my 2 year old son programming as soon as possible, and my 4 year old daughter likes to play hopper and blitzkrieg on the electron :).

Mark
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flaxcottage
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by flaxcottage » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:37 pm

Welcome, Mark. :D

That is quite a history you have there. BITD I was one of the enemy stopping 'liitle oiks' like you doing what you did. :lol: Luckily I was a lot better and craftier than my students and managed to lock down the computers pretty well on our network! It didn't stop them trying though.
- John

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tricky
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by tricky » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:12 pm

Welcome, nice collection, shame about the battery damage.

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Multiwizard
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by Multiwizard » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:18 pm

Hi Mark,

welcome to this great Forum... :D


Greetings from my little Dutch Atomic Attic, Wim... :-)

Kazzie
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by Kazzie » Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:12 am

That's a nice home-made wire-wrap job on that Sideways RAM board in the Beeb. :)
BBC Model B 32k issue 7, Sidewise ROM board with 16K RAM
Archimedes 420/1 upgraded to 4MB RAM, ZIDEFS with 512MB CF card
Acorn System 1 home-made replica

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daveejhitchins
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by daveejhitchins » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:43 am

Welcome to the Forum, mark71 . . . Enjoy . . .

4 Electrons =D>

Dave H :D
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ARA III, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

Kazzie
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by Kazzie » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:15 am

daveejhitchins wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:43 am
4 Electrons =D>
Good point. Perhaps we should change Mark's username to Beryllium? ;)
BBC Model B 32k issue 7, Sidewise ROM board with 16K RAM
Archimedes 420/1 upgraded to 4MB RAM, ZIDEFS with 512MB CF card
Acorn System 1 home-made replica

mark71
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by mark71 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:16 pm

flaxcottage wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:37 pm
Welcome, Mark. :D

That is quite a history you have there. BITD I was one of the enemy stopping 'liitle oiks' like you doing what you did. :lol: Luckily I was a lot better and craftier than my students and managed to lock down the computers pretty well on our network! It didn't stop them trying though.
It was fun in those days, it was a teacher who helped me get into it more, back in 82 there was only 2 who had computers in the class, me and another and he lent us magazines to read, then it exploded and every one had one, so the machine wars started the rich kids had the beebs and the others had speccy's and commodores..... having a Elk was what got me into computers, even built a robot of sorts using the printer port on the Plus 1 and a ULN2803A to drive the motors. Still have my Electron User Mags up in the loft........

Mark

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davidb
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by davidb » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:00 pm

Welcome! :D
mark71 wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:59 pm
In the collection i have 4 Electrons at the moment just bought one off of Ebay to convert as a USB keyboard to use for work but it works ok!, so loathed to convert it.
Don't do it! [-X Write a program to send keypresses over the cassette port, use a microcontroller to pretend to be a USB keyboard, and send the keypresses through that. There's a project there, I think... :-k

I did some experiments with the cassette port that included writing a program to output key presses as bytes over the cassette port, so that might be something to build on. The code is available here.

mark71
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by mark71 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:19 pm

davidb wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:00 pm
Welcome! :D
mark71 wrote:
Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:59 pm
In the collection i have 4 Electrons at the moment just bought one off of Ebay to convert as a USB keyboard to use for work but it works ok!, so loathed to convert it.
Don't do it! [-X Write a program to send keypresses over the cassette port, use a microcontroller to pretend to be a USB keyboard, and send the keypresses through that. There's a project there, I think... :-k

I did some experiments with the cassette port that included writing a program to output key presses as bytes over the cassette port, so that might be something to build on. The code is available here.
Hi Dave

Interesting idea to use the cassette port, was just thinking back to the days using the printer port to drive the robot, wondered if i could connect it to a arduino or pi to capture key presses....

Been sorting out the A420/1 today, cleaned up the mess from the battery box and sorting it out ready to fire up to see if it still works, need to make up a lead for the video 9 pin to scart.

The master is working apart from 3 keys, tomorrow to take the beeb apart and re-cap the PSU.

Mark

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davidb
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by davidb » Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:48 am

mark71 wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:19 pm
Interesting idea to use the cassette port, was just thinking back to the days using the printer port to drive the robot, wondered if i could connect it to a arduino or pi to capture key presses....
With the printer port, just redirecting the VDU output should just work and would probably be easier to decode:

Code: Select all

10 ON ERROR VDU 3
20 VDU 2
30 *FX 6,0
40 REPEAT
50 PRINT CHR$(GET);
60 UNTIL FALSE
The Electron will be displaying things on the screen as well, so that's nice for debugging. :)

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janvb
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Re: Greetings from Wiltshire

Post by janvb » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:24 pm

Welcome :D

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