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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 14th Jul 2008, 5:48 pm   #101
Peter.N.
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

I had and in fact still do have a 'Wang' laptop. Must have been one of the first, it has an LCD screen a built in thermal printer and a hard disc, but is only DOS! I has with it two different floppy drives and several other bits and pieces. I only ever used it for packet radio.It wieghs a ton and looks almost indestructable - I have never seen another one.

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Old 14th Jul 2008, 11:26 pm   #102
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

If I still had my first computer I could live in it! I call it my computer, but actually it belonged to my employer (Elliott Automation). The Elliott 803 had 8K of 39 bit core memory, and an add time of 576 microseconds! Divides could take milliseconds!
It was a bit serial machine having only a single bit aritmetic unit. A magneto-striction delay line was used to pump bits around a nickel wire spiral. The bits were shifted out of a register and as they came out the end they were processed bit by bit with the other operand to produce the result back in the register.
Programming was in machine code using relative addressing and the coded paper tapes were fed into a programme with the imaginitive name of T2. We also used Autocode which was the nearest thing to a high level language. I still have the manuals and some other documents.
It also kept you warm!
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Old 17th Jul 2008, 11:34 pm   #103
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Computers, eh?

The first one I remember was at a relative's house, which he built from a kit. The details are very sketchy, but I recall that it was programmed in binary using a set of toggle switches. I don't remember any sort of display, but he did spend about an hour programming it which resulted in a beepy melody from the thing. He then had a Rair "Black Box", and a little Epson portable unit with an LCD screen and micro-cassette unit built in. I must find out if he still has it. Anyway, by this point I obviously wanted a computer of my own, even though I wasn't sure exactly why.

So I bought a ZX81 off a schoolfriend's brother, early 1982 I think. It had a JRS 16K RAM pack which was fairly stable, and came with a load of games - all very early copies, like Hewson's Puckman with a purple card printed inlay, QS Defenda and Scramble without any text on the front, 3D Monster Maze on JK Greye rather than New Generation, etc.

I kept it for a year or so, picking up a ZX Printer along the way which lasted about 5 months. Sadly I don't have it anymore, as I sold it on to buy a 16K Spectrum. I then had a VIC=20, Atari 800XL, and finally got a C64 on which I started programming machine code. This led to a short lived period of commercial game writing. I bought an Amiga 500 for the express purpose of using it as a cross assembler... an expensive option!

Most of those original machines either vanished or broke, apart from the Atari which I still have, although I've not switched it on for 15 years. I've since acquired quite a lot of other machines which occasionally get dragged out - a few C64s, a BBC B, two QLs (very unservicable), a Camputers Lynx (again looking rather u/s), an Electron, a Spectrum +2, a Mac LCIII and a couple of Acorn Archies. Most of them have yet to be tried out, but one day I'll make enough room to set a couple up at least.
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Old 22nd Jul 2008, 10:14 pm   #104
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Sinclair ZX Spectrum Plus, with (free?) Sinclair mini thermal printer and black-and-white portable TV (the tiny one with Polaroid battery). Yes, I still have it all... boxed, too!
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Old 10th Aug 2008, 10:36 am   #105
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First was a BBC B,to which i fitted a Solidisk Sideways Ram,had a Pace twin floppy and Shinwa printer,was in a group of 5 BBC owners and between us we never wanted for software or help,it came to an end when the Amiga was released and several switched to it, including myself. Big mistake as i came to detest the machine,from that it was a used Sinclair,ok except for the keyyboard,then Atari ST, i liked that,untill one day it just died on me. First introduction to the PC then with a Commadore complete setup of monitor and base unit, i was hooked,on to build my own then,after that a Mesh PC,which i updated over the 5 years i had it,my daughter has it now and its still fast enough. switched to Dell with home PC and laptop. I am though a bit bored with ther PC thesedays and have gone back to my roots,getting together again for some fun with a good old BBC...and enjoying its simplicity,bit like me really !!!!
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Old 4th Sep 2008, 11:58 pm   #106
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Hi all,my first computer was a BBC B micro which i had around 1984 that lasted me a good few years and despite all the home brew add ons/interfaces i never blew it up!! and i still have it in the loft!!.....Then i got an Atari st which i upgraded into a seperate lighthouse desktop case and added a graphics coprocessor unit.....then i got a Tandon 286 pc with a 20MB hard drive running MSDOS!......i then upgraded that with a maths coprocessor,ega! graphics and another massive hard drive of 40MB!!
Since then i have had several pc's and i now have 3 dual processor systems in a rack case (2 of them running Kubuntu Linux) and an Atari Falcon dsp system also in a rack case which is for sale in the classified section!!
I am also "playing" again with a BBC which i bought recently at a boot sale,i dont want to touch my original BBc for nostalgic reasons!!
Pete
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Old 7th Sep 2008, 6:25 am   #107
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Hi, my 1st computer was a SC/MP (Simple Cost-effective MicroProcessor) by National Semiconductor which I had purchased in 1976. It has 512 bytes of ROM and 256 bytes of RAM and was connected via a current loop to a mechanical ASR33 Teletypewriter which was the console to operate the SC/MP computer. It was a kit that had to be assembled. I wrote a Random Morse Code Practice program to fit into 252 bytes of RAM, 4 bytes of the 256 byte RAM was used by the KITBUG operating system. I had one byte of RAM left over. The KITBUG operating system was programmed into the 512 bytes of ROM. To load a program into the SC/MP computer you had to type in each machine code instruction via the K/Board or via the paper tape reader that was on the ASR33 Teletypewriter console.

The following URL shows a later version which didn't need the expensive ASR33 Teletypewriter.

http://www.old-computers.com/museum/...sp?st=1&c=1147

I still have the SC/MP with the original user manuals etc and a copy of the Random Morse Code Practice Program. But I no longer have the ASR33 Teletypewriter.

Regards,

Roderick Wall.
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Old 15th Sep 2008, 12:58 am   #108
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

A ZX80 with an enormous 1Kb of RAM! Quickly upgraded to a ZX81 complete with 64K ram pack (who would ever need that much memory ) Still got the ZX81 safely stored somewhere lol
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Old 27th Sep 2008, 8:54 pm   #109
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

First 'computer' I programmed was Olivetti Programma 101 (I think that is what it was called). This was in the sixth form in early 1970's. Nowadays this would be regarded as a programmable calculator. It took up a whole desktop, and printed programs and results on a till roll! I used it to process some experimental results for my chemistry teacher, Mr Hamilton, who was doing a part-time PhD.

Computers I have owned (*=I still have it,**=I still use it):
*BBC model B
Amstrad PCW8512 (CP/M and Locoscript)
Amstrad PC (I forget the model number, but it ran DOS and GEM, and had 5.25" floppies)
**Compaq Prolinear 4/33S (now has 'pentium' upgrade, runs DOS/Win 3.1)
**Dell Inspiron 2500 (Win ME - I'm typing this on it)
**Dell Inspiron 6400 (Win XP - I decided to avoid Vista)

At work I used to program PDP-11s in the 1980's and early 90's - this is by far my favourite machine. Much nicer instruction set than the nasty Intel stuff which eventually took over the world.
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 12:03 pm   #110
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Not mine exactly, but my 82 year old father was involved with the Atlas computer at Chilton from its very beginning up until the early 1970's. http://www.chilton-computing.org.uk/...e/acl/p003.htm
In its day it was regarded as an extremely powerful machine. As a small boy I sometimes accompanied him to work and still have vivid memories of the place, especially the machine room and the tape deck/teleprinter room. We still have quite a lot of paperwork at home, and up in the loft are a few circuit boards. Don't think we still have any of the old punchcards though, I also used to play with them when I was small, there were always plenty of of old ones that could be bought home, likewise the punched paper tape rolls. These used to be mainly bright pink or yellow!

Regards

Philip
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 12:14 pm   #111
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

A Compukit UK101, built it, got it working, could'nt think of anything to do with it! Never got into programming. I'm fairly certain it's still in the loft.
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Old 30th Sep 2008, 2:24 pm   #112
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Originally Posted by dallaslaff View Post
A Compukit UK101, built it, got it working, could'nt think of anything to do with it! Never got into programming. I'm fairly certain it's still in the loft.
Hi mate,i would love a compukit for my computer collection....if you want to re-home it please let me know!!
Many thanks...Pete
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Old 9th Oct 2008, 7:13 pm   #113
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

The first computer that we owned was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2 (James Bond Action Pack), in around Christmas 1989 if memory serves correct (I was about nine back then!). It came with a light gun, James Bond related stuff, and also a free copy of Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles by Konami.

Me and my brother spent many a Saturday morning playing Sinclair User demo tapes on it and also getting to grips with BASIC programming. It certainly made us both very interested in computing in general, even if it was a little frustrating at times when a program failed to run

Unfortunately it got sidelined in around 1994 when we got hold of a Super Nintendo, and then eventually the machine (along with around 150+ tapes) was sold in 1997 to secure funds for the new Nintendo 64 console.
I kind of regret selling it as it had so many childhood memories attached to it, but I might pick one up off eBay again, just to relive those good ol' days!
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Old 11th Oct 2008, 4:14 pm   #114
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

First computer, like so many people here, ZX81.........Don't touch that RAM pack!

First computers worked on, Datapoint 2200 with a full 16k of RAM and had twin tape decks so operators could do key-to-tape work..........Boy when they went up it was real fire and brinstone!!!!! Proper flames, none of that pussy fuse blowing
You had to have a real death wish to switch them on after repair
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Old 11th Oct 2008, 7:01 pm   #115
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first computer was a Sinclair ZX80 back in 1980.
What a pile of s**t! I don't honestly know why I had it. It was a Christmas present from my parents and I never really wanted it as I was more interested in radio stuff. I was encouraged to get into computers by a family friend but I could never see the fascination.
My Dad bought himself a BBC B in 1983. I have it in my attic now and when I clear it out, it will be destined for thr council tip. I think my Dad hoped that I would take an interest in his BBC B but I deliberately ignored it as I was 16 and I was discovering girls and I got my amateur radio license at that time.
Didn't bother again until 1999.
PCs are useful now but back in the 1980's they were pretty useless in my opinion.
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Old 11th Oct 2008, 7:58 pm   #116
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Originally Posted by Racalfanatic View Post
My Dad bought himself a BBC B in 1983. I have it in my attic now and when I clear it out, it will be destined for thr council tip.
Rather than the council tip, I'm sure there are forum members who would be happy to relieve you of it if you were to post in the "items offered" section.
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Old 11th Oct 2008, 9:05 pm   #117
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Originally Posted by Racalfanatic View Post
My Dad bought himself a BBC B in 1983. I have it in my attic now and when I clear it out, it will be destined for thr council tip.
You can't do that to a Beeb

If you're really desparate to get rid of it, I'll give it a good home. I'm only a few miles away from you as well.
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Old 13th Oct 2008, 10:27 am   #118
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Hi,

My first computer was a Triton, which was a single-board computer built from a kit of parts. It was designed by a company called Transam Components, and was described in a series of articles in Electronics Today International in 1978 / 79.

It had a 1MHz 8080 CPU, 64x16 columns/rows character (TV) display, 2 kBytes ROM, 1 kByte RAM, cassette tape interface and built-in ROM monitor with tiny BASIC (I think).

After that, I built a Compukit UK101.

Sadly I don't have either PC now.

Mike
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Old 17th Oct 2008, 9:21 pm   #119
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

I got my first computer in 1978. It was a C-1P Superboard II from Ohio Scientific. Using the Mostek 6502 and over 1000 bytes (1024) of high speed memory it was fun to use.

This single board computer was later developed further in England as the UK-101. There was at this time a company called Watford Electronics that sold the UK-101 and all kinds of acessories and upgrades for it. I dont know if it exists today.

From them I got a new Monitor ROM, which made a huge difference. Instead of 24 letters to the line I got 48. I bought more memory chips from them (2114) and ended up with 8192 bytes.

Later I bought the BBC model B. I still have both.

Gisli

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Old 17th Oct 2008, 9:29 pm   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mullard View Post
If I still had my first computer I could live in it! I call it my computer, but actually it belonged to my employer (Elliott Automation). The Elliott 803 had 8K of 39 bit core memory, and an add time of 576 microseconds! Divides could take milliseconds!
It was a bit serial machine having only a single bit aritmetic unit. A magneto-striction delay line was used to pump bits around a nickel wire spiral. The bits were shifted out of a register and as they came out the end they were processed bit by bit with the other operand to produce the result back in the register.
Programming was in machine code using relative addressing and the coded paper tapes were fed into a programme with the imaginitive name of T2. We also used Autocode which was the nearest thing to a high level language. I still have the manuals and some other documents.
It also kept you warm!
John
To: Mullard.
my first computer was also an Elliott 803B. After reading your post I remembered programming in T2 as well.
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