Wanted: Acorn machine

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acorn
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Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by acorn » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:49 pm

Hi!

I am finally visiting the UK next week and would very much like to bring back a beeb with me, assuming I can find a good one. Up until now, I’ve only had the chance to use all kinds of emulators, which aren’t really the real thing… and I fear all the customs brouhaha will kick in sooner than later if things go on like this… Our salary is literally a fraction of what it could be :), so I am looking on the affordable side. Actually, I don’t think there is even a single beeb in Hungary (perhaps aside from Kecske Bak’s, whom already left I presume). Though we do have plenty of enterprises and speccy clones...

Therefore I would like to ask for your advice on what to go for. I will stay in the Portsmouth/Southsea area for about a week and I think I would prefer to have the transaction in person.

I’ve found an issue 4 model B:

https://www.freeads.co.uk/uk/buy-sell/c ... rking/view

Although it powers on, I am unsure if I can use this as is: I’ve read about some PSU issues that need to be dealt with, which isn’t mentioned in the ad. And the cables may also be a source of worries. Not to mention loading programs. I’d love to see acorn lisp, bcpl, elite and philosophers quest in real. It only has to be an acorn, I am not looking exclusively at model B-s, though one might argue that those are the classic ones. An atom, master or an amiga style acorn would do just as well, if it fits in a carryon bag.

Also, would it be rather worth it to go for an issue 7? I would hate to bring it back and have reliability issues with heat etc.

Any recommendations welcome.

Thanks for your kind help!
Last edited by acorn on Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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DutchAcorn
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by DutchAcorn » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:30 pm

acorn wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:49 pm
I’ve found an issue 4 model B:

https://www.freeads.co.uk/uk/buy-sell/c ... rking/view

Although it powers on, I am unsure if I can use this as is: I’ve read about some PSU issues that need to be dealt with, which isn’t mentioned in the ad. And the cables may also be a source of worries. Not to mention loading programs. I’d love to see acorn lisp, elite and philosophers quest in real.
I wouldn’t worry about the psu caps. It’s an easy fix and it is not likely to damage the computer when they pop.
acorn wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:49 pm

Also, would it be rather worth it to go for an issue 7? I would hate to bring it back and have reliability issues with heat etc.
Nah, issue 4 is fine. Just watch out for the heatsink on the video processor. The thermal paste will have dried out. Not only is the heatsink then less effective, it is likely to come loose during transport.
acorn wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:49 pm
amiga style acorn
Careful! Some people can be sensitive about a comparison with “other computers” of the same era. :-$ 8-[ :lol:
Paul

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tricky
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by tricky » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:28 pm

Model B is probably the cheapest least expensive "beeb", but it is a little large for carry on (doesn't play PoP).
A master compact is about the smallest beeb, but also the most expensive and a bit less compatible that the others.

Adding an MMC is a few pounds if you do it yourself, although I would recommend buying one from sirmorris and getting an EPROM with it if you don't have the facility to DIY.
The GOTEK is more compatible if the beeb you get has a disk interface and the DataCentre has the most features.

You can add 32K sideways RAM by following the online guides for less than £10 and it can be done without cutting tracks or soldering if you aren't comfortable with that. This should allow you to try other languages which usually came on ROM (as long as they aren't protected).

If you have a SCART TV, preferably a CRT, you may also want to get an RGB to SCART lead; although modern TVs can play up.
I mod my beebs to send the sound out through an earphone jack which I mount in the vent at the back. As I make my own SCART leads, I add a jack to allow the audio to be sent via the SCART.

The cheapest option is probably the Electron "Elk", and can have most of the beeb add-ons, but I don't really know much about it or the Archimedes range.

EDIT: Thanks danielj for clarifying below, when I read my draft, It didn't seem misleading, but it does now!
PS ATOM is also not a beeb, but is expensive (and predates the beeb) and similar but different to an Elk (ducks for cover).
Last edited by tricky on Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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danielj
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by danielj » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:38 pm

tricky wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:28 pm
The cheapest option is probably the Electron "Elk", and can have most of the beeb add-ons, but I don't really know much about it or the Archimedes range.
The elk is "BBC Like" but it really is its own machine - with expansions it can do many similar things, but the hardware is fundamentally different as everything's done by a ULA, and that, coupled with the memory arrangement, means anything running from RAM is slow and you can't pull off the same programming tricks as the beeb can. That's not to say it's not a good machine, it's just no beeb! :)

d.

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BigEd
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by BigEd » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:09 pm

So you need one of each really...

... but for playing with Basic programming either would do.
amiga style acorn
That would an Archimedes 3000 series, I think - I'm not familiar with them, but I'd be surprised if they were cheap. A very different kind of machine, again unless you're working in Basic and not stretching the machine much.

acorn
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by acorn » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:13 am

Hi!

Thanks for all the nice and useful advice! This is the warmest and most knowledgable community of all, the reason why I lurk here so often and would like to get a machine in the first place. I don’t even know where to begin… so I won’t worry about the caps (maybe it will do PoP after all, perhaps with a backport? :) and pay attention to the heatsink if it will have one. Indeed, I was thinking about the Archimedes A3x series and the Electron. The naming is confusing on purpose...

I’ll probably go for the least expensive kit, hoping somebody will desperately want to get rid of something at a garage sale. I’ll try to make an SD reader and write an eprom with an arduino MEEPROMMER. Probably the model B has the most headroom for the price, including the PiTubeDirect for another day. Although it is big in size, it would be amazing to see 32016 running PANOS and Cambridge Lisp. But I guess there is no easy way to emulate the disks needed for it with MMFS and MMB_Utils (or prepare a disk image with an emulator?) or to delegate some Datacenter roles to the rpi.

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BigEd
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by BigEd » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:07 am

MMFS is fine for all Pi second processor purposes! It's a bit awkward to deal with ADFS images but if you get some usefully pre-stuffed images from someone here you're all good.

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BigEd
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by BigEd » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:53 pm

Did you manage to find a machine?

acorn
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by acorn » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:12 pm

Unfortunately he said no. I don’t think he really wanted to pass the machine on anyway, because he actually increased the price and still has it (actually two). Other ads I found were way out of my means. :-( But thanks for asking! :-)
Last edited by acorn on Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BigEd
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by BigEd » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:40 pm

Are you still in the UK? I'd hope there was a way to get a machine to you before you take off...

acorn
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Re: Wanted: Acorn machine

Post by acorn » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:24 am

BigEd wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:40 pm
Are you still in the UK? I'd hope there was a way to get a machine to you before you take off...
Wow. That is very kind of you! Unluckily I just left in the beginning of the week. I appreciate very much your intent! Its part of what makes this place special...

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