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Apricot, Research Machines, etc., British computers in general

SpidersWeb

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
2,697
Location
New Zealand
I have an Apricot Xi. I like it.

You can carry the keyboard, base unit, and screen with two hands. The keyboard attaches underneath, and the base unit has a handle. Monitor is light and has a recess for a single hand.
The LCD system on the keyboard is neat - which you can make it display anything you want (default is to display the time and date) and the calculator function lets you 'paste' the result in to DOS.
Graphics in the start-up screen is a nice touch, as is the RTC battery (and I guess the RTC?) being in the keyboard.

Hard drive was easily managed, Apricot version doesn't mess around with partitions - you just format it. It also doesn't mess around with harddrives being made "C:" - A: is the drive on the left, B: is the drive on the right - even if you have the hard drive installed.

Just really impressed by it, while it's not very expandable or a gaming machine, for the market it was intended for it feels very focused and well designed.

Sadly I think that's my only British PC. Most of the units where people got creative died out quite quick :(
 

tipc

Banned
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Messages
2,760
Location
Principality of Xeon W-2140B the Great State of Ce
the relevant question is can happiness be found apart from venerable British computers? Should I not honor products of the motherland??

oh I'm also looking for an RM Nimbus. There allegedly is one on hold for me in the UK somewhere, but I haven't discussed it much w/the owner.
 

llunved

New Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2015
Messages
2
I have an RM 380Z, newly acquired. It will probably take a long time to get in running. A lottery win would help.
 

mR_Slug

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
874
Location
UK
Some systems I've had are:
RM Nimbus PC-386's, 4 of them
These I got from a school. MCA bus 386SX pizza-box systems. Interesting little machines unfortunately proprietary-everything. Had a hard disk interface resembling the PS/2 model 55 but incompatible. Never really did much with them, and sold them for peanuts years ago. I still have some pic's of them if anyone's interested.

Various Amstrads, most memorable were the PC-1512 and 1640. Poorly built, but good-enough for what they were. Also the PCW-8256 and a PCW-9?? with those weird 3" FDD's. 1640 was my first color computer, had some good fun with that, but ended up sitting in the corner and
eventually sold. Would have kept it but it needed the monitor to operate, so took up too much space.

An apricot something?, black, had a monitor that had power supplied to it via the DB-9 port! A: was C: and C: was A: and i was always confused. Interesting system, but someone needed the keyboard from it, so it sat around unused. I think i scrapped it actually. Sorry, was 2002 though.

Were Viglen UK? Parents had one, first time I learned the term proprietary. Elonex, made some nice systems, were they UK?

Acorn/BBC, not PC's. Owned a few but always nonfunctional, or missing parts.

Seems to be a bit of a trend there. Interesting and sometimes inventive, but also odd, and difficult to repair/upgrade. None had a metal case and were often cheaply made. Probably why they all disappeared.
 

stephen_usher

Member
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
14
I've currently been fixing a "barn find" F1, an F2 which got sent to me bouncing around in a box with no padding via Parcel Farce and a recently acquired FP (Portable).

Amazingly, after cleaning off the rotted leaf litter (and changing out the RIFA smoke generators in the power supply) the F1 started right up, though the floppy drive was too far gone (rusty) but that tried to work too.

The F Series machines are about 90% TTL logic chips, plus standard 4164 or 41256 memory plus 8086, Z80SIO and an unusual Western Digital floppy controller (designed for 8" drives) and use early 600RPM 3.5" drives. The F2 uses JVC 600 RPM drives of which there's no reference material or mention on the Internet at all.

I've recently designed and built a 768KB RAM upgrade board (plus output for the RGBI video to a ZX Spectrum 128K compatible socket) for the machines, though it won't fit in the FP as I foolishly went outside of the dimensions specified by ACT for upgrade boards. My next project will be a hard disk emulation, so that a file on an SD card can look to the system like the original 10MB drive.
 

Caluser2000

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2010
Messages
4,583
Location
New Zealand
I always want an Acorn RiscPC when they where first released ,but a bit costly for me at the time. Now I have a few of them as well as aan A4000, upgrade A410 and an A3000. All for less than the cost of a single RiscPC. Also have most of the x86 cpu co-processor cards for the RiscPCs along with lots of spares and software. A dream come true really.

The thread I created about them https://forum.vcfed.org/index.php?threads/what-have-i-done.23881/
 
Last edited:

stephen_usher

Member
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
14
I always want an Acorn RiscPC when they where first released ,but a bit costly for me at the time. Now I have a few of them as well as aan A4000, upgrade A410 and an A3000. All for less than the cost of a single RiscPC. Also have most of the x86 cpu co-processor cards for the RiscPCs along with lots of spares and software. A dream come true really.

The thread I created about them https://forum.vcfed.org/index.php?threads/what-have-i-done.23881/
I've an A4000. I think that of all the Acorn ARM machines it must be the most limited in terms of expandability.

It can only take a mini-podule, it can't have a second floppy drive, it maxes out at 4MB of RAM and the ARM250 isn't quick and can't be upgraded and the IDE interface is so dumbed down that you can basically only use the original hard disk size/geometry. (You can overclock the CPU if you install faster RAM, as long as you don't want to use certain graphics modes.)
 

alan6502

New Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2015
Messages
3
Location
UK
I have an RM 380Z, newly acquired. It will probably take a long time to get in running. A lottery win would help.
can i ask where you got it? I had one as a kid and have been looking out for one on and off for the last 20 years.
 
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