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8-Bit Software

The BBC and Master Computer Public Domain Library


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Thanks to Ken Hewson for this photo and info: A "FIT" (Final Inspection Tester) this is one of the two pieces of Acorn Computers Ltd test equipment which are specifically designed for the BBC Microcomputer for testing purposes. The FIT will carry out a "Final Inspection Test" on a complete BBC Micro and check all functions of the main board are working, including a full soak test
Thanks to Ben Ryves for this
Electron Birthday Cake!

Thanks to Peter Clements for the photos. This is his website. The BBC is a model. There is a £1 coin next to it to give an idea of the scale. The chess set was painstakingly made by drawing the characters from the game and making moulds.

Thanks to Matt Cocker for these photos. A couple of garments bought at a 'Micro User' show
Headset. This is a telephone headset I made up from an old telephone
Master Motherboard controlling a jukebox 1
Master Motherboard controlling a jukebox 2
Master Motherboard controlling a jukebox 3
Master Motherboard controlling a jukebox 4
Thanks to Marc Bramham for this picture. Info from Marc: As I'm sure you are aware, the A-Level system has just changed. As a result, my college has just bought brand new textbooks, not just new editions of old ones, but ones that were written last year. On looking through my new physics book, I came across the little piccy I've attached and I was quite surprised, it really is amazing the number of BBCs still in common use! Hope you like it!
Obviously BBCs are still in use on the railways
ROM extraction tool. A really neat way to bend all the legs on a chip!
Self adhesive replacement BBC B keyboard and back covers
A big box of tapes
Thanks to Michael Foot for this photo of a BBC Car Shade. Info from Michael:
I've had this car shade for years. It's been well used, as you can see. I got it from Acorn New Zealand at one of their shows. I suspect these were only available in New Zealand.
Thanks to Matthew Pye for this. His info: I have found the enclosed picture on P16 of 'Waves and Our Universe' (printed 2001), the picture shows an experiment to 'find how velocity varies with time' while the trolly is oscillating between two springs

Thanks to P.Hardwick for these photos
Function Key Strip Covers. Here are three function key strip covers. The top two are from a BBC B, the lower is the cover from a BBC B+. If no one has swapped the covers, this is a quick way of telling a BBC B and a BBC B+ apart.
User Port Extension
Acorn Speech Upgrade

Voxbox Electron speech synthesis unit. Thanks to Ebay seller Mark for these photos. I am afraid they are a bit blurred though
Thanks to Lee at Vintage Computers for this 16K RAM chip

Thanks to Alex Taylor for these photos. Info by Alex: Hope these photos are ok, my digital camera is a bit crap, but not bad for �30 new. They are: Cumana setup - Electron, plus 1, interface, drive and original disk. Note plus 1 - modified by previous owner to take a 9-pin joystick. Cumana board - interface board. Battery removed since it was damaging the board - it's in the foreground of the picture. Ap3 board - the PRES Advanced plus 3 interface from the rear, with the cover removed.
Thanks to Richard Perrins for this photo of the Master DOS+ discs and manual
 Mugshot. My pride and joy. Given to me by none other than Steve Hanson of Superior Software. Superior Software is still in business, selling a good collection of BBC games. With discounts for 8BS members by the way 
Logic 3 Learn Basic on the Electron package. Thanks to Rich Hall for this photo
Curious item made by W.D. Interfaces of Leeds. It appears to allow you to connect a Sinclair ZX Printer to a BBC Micro. Comes with the interface box and tape containing the Driver Routine and a Demo Program. Thanks to eBay user kevanh for this

Linear Graphics Plotmate A4SM Multipen Plotter Draws on paper what you can see on screen. It has both an RS232 serial and a Centronics parallel interface, and when you use any graphics mode on your Beeb you need only issue a simple command first and the output video stream then goes not only to the video circuitry of the Beeb (and hence to the screen) but also to the plotter. The resolution of the plotter is much higher than the screen, and is the same for all graphics modes. A very jaggy mode 2 screen for example will be reproduced with almost smooth lines on the plotter. It has an integrated intelligent keypad (at top right in photo) that allows you a degree of manual control over the machine. MULTIPEN attachment that significantly improves its user friendliness that can be seen at left of the plotting area. A special ROM has been added to the plotter to control the attachment. The attachment is preloaded with pens, and the plotter then obeys all BBC colour commands and swaps pens automatically without further intervention

Plotmate A3M 10 colour pen Plotter. Thanks to Colin Schiffman for these photos and the following info:
This is a Plotmate A3M flatbed pen plotter produced by Linear Graphics. It was originally set up for use with BBC microcomputers but has settings to allow language selection (BBC VDU, Graphtec / watanabe, sweet P, Direct & Expansion. It takes up to A3 size paper and is fitted with a ten pen holder which allows automatic colour changing. There is a set of pens for use with the automatic holder (one is dry but there are duplicates). There are also 3 different pen holders to allow different type / size of pens to be used in single pen mode. man There is a set of switches on the rear which allow for setting of different baud rates, word lengths, language and interface (serial or centronics). The only software I have is a set of 5.25� discs for the BBC master range but I have had it working from an old Amstrad 1512 many years ago. The plotter has a self test in-built and the result can be seen in the picture. There are 3 plastic magnetic strips to keep paper in place. It operates from standard 13 amp 240v socket. The overall size of the unit is 47cm x 54cm x 18cm. It weighs approx 14Kg
Penman 3 pen Plotter. Thanks to Alan for the photos
Bytronic DC motor controller deisgned for the BBC Micro but it can be used on any other system with an 8 bit port including a PC. It contains a powerful geared DC motor with rotary optical position encoder, PWM motor drive, Sync generator, Data aquisition, Power supply. The unit can be used as a trainer or R+D tool for developing servo or robotic applications. It is supplied with full documentation. Thanks to the eBay seller for this photo and information

Thanks Ian Wolstenholme for sending these pictures of a BBC that controls the Bradford City Hall clock bells. Thanks to Steve Watson who took the photos and provided the following info:

The story around the Beeb is an interesting one. Back the in 1980s, our clock engineer built an interface for the user port to control 13 bells located in the City Hall clock tower. Using some very rudimentary programming, he managed to play tunes quite successfully. Following his retirement a couple of years ago, I "inherited" the project on the basis that I was one of the remaining bodies who could remember anything about how it all worked, and I have a background in music and electronics. We have been trying to work with the local university to set up a final year electrical engineering project to come up with a replacement for the whole arrangement, but it seems to be proving difficult. In the meantime, I have reverse engineered all the original BBC basic programmes to extract the musical content and created a library of over 300 MIDI files. For the time being, I have installed a modem on the BBC so I can remote control the rig and feed "commands" down the line from a VB6 programme running on a PC that does the hard work of decoding the MIDI files (sorry - not very BBC pure I know). For information, the user port interface controls a series of 50volt ex GPO relays that in turn switch compressed air solenoids that fire pneumatic pistons. These pistons pull steel cables that run via a mass of pullies upwards to the very top of the tower that finally pull a clapper onto each bell. The BBC actually lives in a locked wooden cupboard at the top of the bell tower with little to protect it from the elements, but amazingly it seem to have developed its own micro climate and the mean time between failures is brilliant. We have a few spares (especially PSU components) to keep the thing going, but they really are tough little buggers.

Thanks to Steve Hanson of Superior Software for this T shirt

Thanks to the visitor to the CG Expo UK 2004 for the photos of these badges
Progressive Establisment Testing System for the BBC computer is a fault diagonostic equipment board that enables you to run tests on the various systems and interfaces on the BBC computer, most of the tests seem to run from the onboard rom. Thanks tot the ebay seller for this photo and info
BBC Final Test and Inspection board including Econet test box. Thanks tot the ebay seller for this photo and info
Electron paperweight. Thanks to the eBay seller for this picture
Conect 121 B lathe controlled by a BBC. Thanks to the eBay seller for this phot. I am sorry, I have forgotten your ID. If you see this, please let me know
I think this badge was on eBay
Some ROMS attempt a write to themselves to verify that they're not images loaded to writable SRAM. This little module by Vine Micros makes the SRAM write protect switchable, thereby allowing data or images of legitimately owned ROMS to be soft loaded as required. The module simply presses over a chip on the motherboard, and replaces a couple of links. Thanks to the eBay seller for this photo

Thanks to Gren Owen for these photos of a Gas Meter apparatus that was in a lot of schools apparently
A Masterglass

Red Box security. Thanks to Paul Collins for these photos and info. Front and Back (single folded page) of the Red Box home security package. I don't have an original selling price for this kit but it was probably around the �100 mark. Nice to see a self-contained piece of alarm kit that you could place anywhere - wonder if there's still a market? The Warranty.Jpg is interesting in that the original company name, address and telephone # is covered over but holding up to the light, it reads: Electronic Fulfilment Services Ltd Chesterton Mill, French's Road Cambridge CB4 3NP The tele # can still be made out.

Red Leader is the primary device that requires a Beeb, Spectrum or C64 to be connected. The manual does indicate that several other computers (8-bit vintage) can be used but it fails to mention them.

The Beeb connects via the RS423 connector, the Speccy via the Tape In/Out connectors and the C64 via the DataSette port. I don't have either of the above so maybe one of your readers could help here. The Red Leader box has a 7-pin DIN socket and looking at the back of the main board, all seven lines are used.

There's a ROM onboard this unit that downloads itself to the relative micro and places the user in Red Basic which is a front-end for the entire system. Once programmed, the micro is disconnected and the routines/program in Red Leader (battery-backed-up) runs the system unaided - Fantastic idea even 20 years ago!

Two manuals came with Red Leader:

Red Boxes User Guide - Basically a setup guide and basic Red Basic instructions
Red Boxes Project Manual - More on the level of the Advanced User Guide for the Beeb covering the wealth of Basic instructions, FN's, Commands and ideas.

Red One is a simple 13A relay switching device that's told what to do by Red Leader

Red Two is a simple PIR sensor

Red Five was generally bought with a couple of Red Twos and was a stand-alone alarm system.

A simple project would be to install a Red One and a Red Two say at the entrance to your house and program Red Leader to activate Red One (to turn the main hallway light on) if Red Two detected a human presence. Yeah, boring but interesting.

If one looks at the inside images, you'll notice that every device has a reset button for whatever reason and note also that every device also has its own preset unique network Id. This is printed on the back so that Red Leader can talk individually to each unit. Remember also that all communication is done through the ring-mains - 'Look Mum, no wires', well, none that you can see anyway.