How many 8bit beeb basic machines

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mr-macrisc
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How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by mr-macrisc » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:45 am

Just a wonder here.

Amstrad always claim 3 million cpc sales of CPC’s but that’s all cpc models not just 464. That’s said I reckon equivalent for acorn would be bbc, master & electron as they were all of same series of acorn machines with same OS and language (if it weren’t for bbc designation then they likely would be seen as diff levels if same range)

Anyway....

Elk we seem to say 50k+
Master and compact 300,000+
BBC Micro (stuck on this one as see 1 to 2 mil mentioned depends where ya look. Have we concluded an approximate total for micros if all versions.
What about the bt merlin inter flora thing?
Any other random 8bit machines?
Motherboards used in other companies projects?

Don’t think we can but just wondered how close we could get acorn to cpc figure if 3 million (and or evidence the 3 million figure is inflated). Amstrad must have done well in some markets acorn never got cos I knew of 1 cpc in wild but 5 elks, lots of speccy and c64’s and even a couple of BBC’s

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1024MAK
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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:31 pm

I suspect the answer is unlikely to be resolved, as the actual number of units sold will only have been known by the respective companies. What was left of Amstrad was sold to Sky. Acorn was was wound up. So even trying to trace the records is going to be hard work. And I suspect the documentation giving details has either been destroyed or archived. The chances of us finding factual information on this are very, very slim.

You could sift through the reported sales figures as listed in the magazines of the time, entering them into a spreadsheet. Then compare these to the serial number information. That may be able to give you some very appropriate numbers.

The other thing to take into account is that the CPC range was sold widely in Europe, a large market that Acorn did not really have much success in. There were Spanish (I’ve got a Spanish CPC6128) and German (marketed by Schneider) models for example.

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by Ramtop » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:37 pm

I strongly suspect the Acorn machines came very close or beat the Amstrad CPCs in the UK at least. Amstrad did a major amount of business in France and Spain, somewhere around 60% of their sales if I recall correctly. That's why Amstrad managed to ride out the 1984 UK market crash that did for Sinclair and Acorn, because sales on the continent were still rising at that point.
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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by scruss » Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:43 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:31 pm
I suspect the answer is unlikely to be resolved, as the actual number of units sold will only have been known by the respective companies. … The chances of us finding factual information on this are very, very slim.
Yes. The best we might do is a German tank problem analysis on serial numbers. And then handwaving ensues.

Manufacturers sometimes inflate sales numbers. For instance, there were somewhere between 10–30 million C64s made. Everyone who worked for Commodore states the largest number as gospel. The largest number I've seen backed up by serial number statistics is around 18 million.

You could add the tiny number of Cambridge Z88s to the total since they ran Richard Russell's Z80 BBC BASIC …

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by tom_seddon » Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:22 pm

There's a serial number thread here, with production estimates: viewtopic.php?t=4321

Doesn't include the Z88 though!

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by mr-macrisc » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:06 pm

Yeah I knew there was serial number thread. Did a separate thread as thought may get some insight on cpc as well.

Yeah know they did ok in France and Spain (lots said Germany too but ask a German and they all go nope never really saw or knew someone with one. C64 took Germany big style even Lidl did a version.

But then acorn did have aus, nz and some German Dutch and Nordic markets. Maybe not huge but enough for magazines and user groups and products in languages for those markets to be produced.

There is no doubt in U.K. acorn beat amstrad for numbers but wondered how close it was world wide. Sugar himself quotes 3million cpc’s but whether that’s exact or close enough it could be rounded up as history goes along.

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:28 pm

Careful, the Amstrad NC100 Notepad and the NC200 Notebook both had the Z80 version of BBC BASIC... :mrgreen:

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:54 pm

mr-macrisc wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:06 pm
...(lots said Germany too but ask a German and they all go nope never really saw or knew someone with one.
Amstrad did not have a distribution network in Germany, so did a deal with Schneider. So until 1988, you would not find any Amstrad CPC machines, but you would find Schneider CPC machines. When the Schneider ended the arrangement, Amstrad attempted to market the CPC under their own name but were not very successful. This website shows a Schneider CPC machine.

I have no idea on how many CPC machines that were sold under the Schneider name, or if Amstrad’s sale figures include or exclude these sales.

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by Ramtop » Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:46 pm

scruss wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 3:43 pm
Manufacturers sometimes inflate sales numbers. For instance, there were somewhere between 10–30 million C64s made. Everyone who worked for Commodore states the largest number as gospel. The largest number I've seen backed up by serial number statistics is around 18 million.
Commodore's record keeping was notoriously awful, so no real chance of ever knowing the real number I suppose. Plus, a large number of C64s were built by C= UK and C= West Germany, and Commodore US wouldn't necessarily have known the exact numbers involved. I recall reading many years ago a quote from someone who worked at MOS (wish I could remember their name, but it was 25-ish years ago) that their sales data showed circa 30m VIC-II chips of all types had been made. If that's accurate, allowing for spares and the C128 VIC-II version (5.5m C128 sales stated on wikipedia, but I don't believe that for a second - it would put the C128 on par with the Spectrum for sales) then 18m would seem a bit low, 23-25m C64s and C64Cs would be plausible.
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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by mr-macrisc » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:29 pm

Think commadore themselves quoted anywhere from 10-30mil but it seemed to settle to 30mil. Think highest set seen indicated 18-19million but yeah I reckon into low 20’s 22-23 seems more than reasonable as a good estimate

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:46 pm

With respect to 8 bitters in Germany, you may find this post interesting...

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by Richard Russell » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:36 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:28 pm
Careful, the Amstrad NC100 Notepad and the NC200 Notebook both had the Z80 version of BBC BASIC.
Indeed. In fact I've found the entire thread confusing, because the subject line includes the phrase "beeb basic" (which I assume refers to BBC BASIC) yet until now only Acorn machines have been mentioned. Not only do the NC100/150/200 Amstrad Notepads qualify as '8-bit BBC BASIC machines' but, perhaps even more significantly, so does the Sinclair / Cambridge Computer Z88. I don't know how many Z88s were sold, but it had a cult following and even today there is a core of active enthusiasts to rival those of the BBC Micro.

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by mr-macrisc » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:01 pm

Sorry for confusion thought it was clear I was trying to see if acorn machines of bbc era could possibly have pipped all cpc type machines.

Guess it’s close

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by SarahWalker » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:59 pm

FWIW, the serial number thread has estimates of ~350k for Electron, ~260k for Master 128 and ~40k for Master Compact, which I think are reasonably accurate. BBC A/B numbers are less certain, but look to be sub-1 million, probably in the area of 700-800k. B+ is even less clear but is almost certainly sub-100k, and probably sub-50k, which leaves the Acorn 8-bit machines some way short of the ~3 million CPC number.

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by 1024MAK » Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:59 pm

mr-macrisc wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:01 pm
Sorry for confusion thought it was clear I was trying to see if acorn machines of bbc era could possibly have pipped all cpc type machines.
So you mean Acorn manufactured BBC A, BBC B, BBC B+, the Master range and the Electron. Are you including the Acorn business machines that were based on the same 8 bit technology such as the Acorn Cambridge Workstation?

If you search Chris Acorns you will see that various main boards were used in various other specialist systems (e.g. network equipment). Main boards have also been found in juke boxes and industrial control systems. But I’m not sure these should be included and for most of them, the number of units sold is not going to be high anyway...

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by tricky » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:38 pm

I wonder if the number of PSUs that Acorn bought could be found or something else hopefully unique to the beeb?

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by mr-macrisc » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:54 pm

May as well include ABM as it was a repackaged bbc micro but don’t think they made enough numbers to make any odds.

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by 1024MAK » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:55 pm

tricky wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:38 pm
I wonder if the number of PSUs that Acorn bought could be found or something else hopefully unique to the beeb?
Again, this could be difficult...

The switch mode PSUs (SMPSU) used in most BBC A, BBC B, B+, Electrons (the internal SMPSU) and some Master machines were made by ASTEC. They also made the TV modulators. I don’t know who made the Acorn branded SMPSUs that can be found in some machines (mostly Masters I believe).

But ASTEC (Astec International ltd) look to have been bought by Emerson. Then later spun off as part of Artesyn... So after all this time, trying to find sales records for SMPSUs or modulators to Acorn is unlikely to succeed.

This is the information I have found...

Google reports:
Astec International ltd
Company

Description
Founded: 1973
Parent organizations: Artesyn North America, Inc, Astec International Holdings ltd, AIH, Inc
Subsidiaries: Astec Electronics Company, Astec Electronics (Luoding) Co Ltd, Astec Agencies ltd, Astec Power Inc, Astec Custom Power (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Astec Nanjing Design Engineering Co, [the list continues, but is not relevant].

A book listing various companies, it mentions ASTEC

https://www.eetimes.com/astec-now-subsi ... rganizes/#

https://www.artesyn.com/latest-news/rel ... r-business

https://www.artesyn.com/about-us/company-profile

https://www.artesyn.com/solutions/consumer

A link to a data sheet that includes some U.K. telephone numbers, but I doubt the U.K. office still exists...

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by mr-macrisc » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:56 pm

Would have been convinced A/B would have been over million but maybe not.

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Re: How many 8bit beeb basic machines

Post by Richard Russell » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:17 pm

mr-macrisc wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:56 pm
Would have been convinced A/B would have been over million but maybe not.
I think some quoted figures are likely to be exaggerated. It's possible I have some accurate numbers, at least for the first few years, in my boxes of BBC Micro Progress Meeting memos (the BBC were particularly interested in numbers sold because they determined how much we got paid by Acorn!) but I'm not volunteering to search through them and they probably wouldn't help in determining a total.

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