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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 4th Aug 2023, 3:43 pm   #241
Vintage_RC
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first computer was a UK101 by Compukit as with Beardyman. I remember going by tube train to the shop that sold them. It went together without any real problems and worked first time. The UK101 was a copy of the Ohio Superboard which resulted in a legal case. It booted up with Microsoft Basic which I guess was also unlicensed. I still have it somewhere up in the attic.
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Old 4th Aug 2023, 3:58 pm   #242
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first computer in the early 1980s was a Philips P2000 with twin floppy drives and a Daisy-wheel printer that was so noisy it had to be put in a noise-hood. Found it at the back of a store-room at one of the Philips offices when they were being cleared out.

The main business programs (Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Database) were held on 16k ROM keys which plugged into the mainframe. If I recall correctly, mainframe memory was 16k, expanded to 48k, Operating System only took up 4k!!

Amazing what could be done with 16k apps.

Used it for several years until we got a 286.

S.
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Old 7th Aug 2023, 4:22 pm   #243
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first computer was a Commodore C64 with 1541 floppy and Commodore colour display. Since I was only allowed to own a computer after the reunification of Germany, it was already cold coffee for everyone around me, but rich had the opportunity to get stuff from others for little money (for a 12-year-old).

Unfortunately I don't have it any more but I recently bought a C64C that is in top condition and even sealed.
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Old 5th Oct 2023, 1:37 pm   #244
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

My `path`:
Binatone Pong.
ZX Spectrum 48k Rubber key
ZX Spectrum +
Commodore Amiga 500 (I still have this - upgraded to ECS chipset, HDMI out, 68030 CPU, 64MB RAM and IDE)
Playstation 1
PS 2
PC

My current collection is mostly Amiga stuff: (other than my PC)
Spectrum NEXT
Amiga 500(as above)
Amiga 600
Amiga 1200
Amiga 2000
Amiga 3000
Commodore CDTV (in need to of a new CD drive though)
Slowly building my own Amiga 4000.
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Old 5th Oct 2023, 3:54 pm   #245
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

How do you use the twin cpus, its something I never looked at back in the day™
Is it as simple as a processor1/processor2 switch?
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Old 8th Oct 2023, 12:27 pm   #246
KeithG1XFL
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

My First Computer was a Video Genie (A Rehashed TRS-80 I think), and Yes I still have it and the Expasion that goes With it

Regards
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Old 8th Oct 2023, 1:00 pm   #247
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

The first computer that I actually owned was a rubber keyed Spectrum bought from Comet. As soon as I bought it the “proper” keys version came out at the same price as I paid and my version was discounted. Bless them! Took it back and Comet refunded the original amount paid which then allowed me to buy the newer version for the same money.
Still have it…

Peter
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Old 8th Oct 2023, 8:08 pm   #248
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

I got a Tandy chess computer game in about 1982. I know where it is (at my Dad's house). I could never beat it, even on the most basic level 1! Then came a Dragon 32, on which I learned basic - I scrapped it about 15 years ago, which I regret as I could have given it away on this forum had I known about it then.
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Old 8th Oct 2023, 11:03 pm   #249
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

I don't think I've contributed to this.

The first computer I used was probably a DEC at the UEA in Norwich in the summer holidays.

Then at school, a teletype with a modem to connect to the ICL at Norwich City College when doing the first Computer Studies course at my school.

The first computer I had was a Commodore PET 2008 which I won (see below). I loved that PET. I'm not sure I did much more than type in programs from Personal Computer World but it got me started.

https://colinjhaynes.wordpress.com/

Then I had a Spectrum 48k at home which I added a Microdrive and the Sinclair printer to. The Microdrive was more reliable than the printer as I recall.

Then various PCs - the IBM PS/2 Model 95 was a favourite; you could drive a tank over that and it would be fine.

Colin.
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Old 9th Oct 2023, 11:48 am   #250
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

I've still got a Tandy TRS 80 in the loft, with its B&W monitor. I built an expansion board (from the US) for it to run a printer etc. I've got a MS "Typing tutor" cassette for it, (MS seem to have done somewhat better than Tandy since).
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Old 9th Oct 2023, 12:39 pm   #251
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

I never saw the first computer I programmed !.

It was somewhere in the Warrington Borough Treasurer's building, and we programmed at school by sending hand-punched cards in on a Tuesday.

We got the results back the following Tuesday, on fan-fold paper. This 168 hour coding/result cycle soon prompted accurate coding and punching, a reply of 'Syntax Error' after waiting a week made sure of that.

Soon after I had access to a few programmable things, but I can't remember the order.

There was my MK14, which I've still got. This did get used as a temporary solution in an industrial application, but was mostly used for experimenting with interfacing to things.

There were a few APPLE ][, one of which I've also still got. I used one to build a machine that tested torpedo batteries. Lots of big chunky digital and analogue I/O on that. Another was used to drive an industrial ink jet bag printer. I wrote some clever software to change the fonts and provide graphics on that one.

There was also an HP calculator, a HP65 I think. I had a part time job in a bookies, as a settler. One day a salesman came in demoing the HP, which he had programmed to settle simple bets. He left the calculator with us for a week to try it out. By the end of the week I'd programmed it to handle any bet. Each way WW or PP, doubles, trebles, yanks, canadians, accumulators, it did the lot !. He came to collect the HP, and we never saw him again.

There was an Acorn System 1, which was used with an ultrasonic module from Polaroid to count sheets in a paper mill. I've not got any Acorn stuff now, except an Electron which I've forgotten where it came from.

I did a job at ICL Letchworh, where I was given an OPD, which I've still got. I didn't do much with this, as the monitor failed soon after I got it, and it's disappeared now.

Of course there was a ZX81. This got used like the MK14, for experimenting stuff. I did build a super simple EPROM programmer with it, but have lost it all over the years.

All of this must have been in the late 70's and early 80's, but the first 'PC' I remember buying was an Amstrad ALT286, which I think would have been in 1990. I remember connecting through a 2400 baud modem to BB's in the UK, I couldn't afford the phone calls to the US !. I've still got the ALT, well most of the bits to put it back together anyway.

After that all my computers were PC types, and they became less and less fun as the years progressed. Now the're just tools for browsing and writing documents. I haven't a clue about how they work in detail.

I knew what every chip did in my Apple !.
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Old 9th Oct 2023, 2:32 pm   #252
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

I had the same experience with the first computer i programmed for at school.
We used to send them up to Oxford University(no idea which one) to be converted and run on their mainframe ,then we got the results back a few weeks later.
So i never had a clue what type of computer they ran it on.
Used to love writing the flow charts too !
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Old 9th Oct 2023, 11:40 pm   #253
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I caught the computer bug after being exposed to the HP97 in the college science labs where I worked, shortly after that they purchased an Australian designed and built Z80 based Microbee which came with basic and a machine code assembler, both in ROM - later this was upgraded to a 5.25 floppy and CP/M so we could run Turbo Pascal - none of these were mine computers weren't cheap back in the early 80's - however an affordable computer popped up in the classified ads - my first computer was a cassette based Dick Smith System 80/TRS80 clone, purchased from a used car dealer. He had taken it as a trade in for car and couldn't get it to work, he demonstrated the problem - power on - insert cassette - press play - 'see' he said 'nothing's happening' - I felt a little guilty as I loaded it and the box of game cassettes into my car - but after paying around 1/2 market value I just couldn't bring myself to tell him where he was going wrong.
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Old 9th Oct 2023, 11:46 pm   #254
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

I only ever saw a TRS80 running once and never went hands on with it, but I guess you had to enter ' Load "" ' or something of the sort to get the tape to start turning?

I heard tales, probably apocryphal, of people trying to force cassette tapes into the rear expansion slot on Spectrums.
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Old 9th Nov 2023, 4:22 pm   #255
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first "commercial" home computer was an Oric1 (my really first "hobby" computer was a home made computer based on the 2650 microprocessor from Signetcs with 2K RAM).
In 1984 a adapted a speech synthesizer (MEA8000 from Philips) to the bus connector of the Oric and wrote an assembly routine to drive it and a basic program to make it speak sentences from a limited prerecorded vocabulary and another program permitting it to say potentially anything (of course with a much worse quality) based on a list of about 30 phonemes.
It was described in two consecutive articles of the french computer magazine "Micro Systemes" which had a big success.

After that I adapted it to a lot of 8 bits machines based on the 6502 and the ZX80 and published a book (in French) describing these applications together with a colleague who adapted it to the french Thomson MO5 / TO7 machines (based on the 6809).
Later on (1985) I modified the module to adapt it to the parallet port of an IBM PC.

I recently found an Oric1 in perfect working condition (without power supply nor RGB cable).
I easily found a suitable 9V power supply but I had to make an RGB DIN to SCART cable.
At the time of my first Oric, this cable needeed an external supply as there was nothing foreseen to activate the fast switch of the SCART (required to be in RGB mode).
However the sync signal of the ORIC can be used to drive the fast switch but it is not powerful enough to drive both the sync (CVBS input of the SCART, pin 20) and the fast switch (pin 16).
A simple modification inside the ORIC (addition of a 470R resistor between +5V and SYNC output of the DIN) suffices to solve the problem (provided that the CVBS input of the SCART is capacitively coupled to the SYNC signal).
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Last edited by marceljack; 9th Nov 2023 at 4:42 pm.
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Old 9th Nov 2023, 7:57 pm   #256
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

First computer was a quite out of date Amstrad PC 1 (either the 1512 or 1640) in the late 90's.
Colour screen, 3.5 and 5.25 drives plus what I guess was a hardcard inside.
It came from a "friend" of my Dad's, let's just say delete your documents off your machine before giving it to an inquisitive 9 year old!
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Old 10th Nov 2023, 11:47 am   #257
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by marceljack View Post
>>
>>
I recently found an Oric1 in perfect working condition (without power supply nor RGB cable).
I easily found a suitable 9V power supply but I had to make an RGB DIN to SCART cable.
At the time of my first Oric, this cable needeed an external supply as there was nothing foreseen to activate the fast switch of the SCART (required to be in RGB mode).
However the sync signal of the ORIC can be used to drive the fast switch but it is not powerful enough to drive both the sync (CVBS input of the SCART, pin 20) and the fast switch (pin 16).
A simple modification inside the ORIC (addition of a 470R resistor between +5V and SYNC output of the DIN) suffices to solve the problem (provided that the CVBS input of the SCART is capacitively coupled to the SYNC signal).
Thanks for the info on what you've done with getting RGB over SCART on your Oric - I need to get one I've had a long time (but was missing the ULA until I recently found New Old Stock of these these being sold) going, so will be useful.
When I made a SCART lead for my BBC Computer, back in the 80's, that fortunately did have 5V on it to do the RGB switching. Although, annoying, the mode-switch on my TV Monitor didn't completely switch-off everything on the SCART socket so got a diagonal-rolling picture when switched back to 'TV' and had to unplug this lead or switch-off computer to see TV.
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Old 10th Nov 2023, 3:48 pm   #258
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

If you are talking about a relatively modern TV which still has SCART but also has a USB port you can derive the +ve bias needed to put the display into RGB mode instead of the default composite mode by taking voltage (Via a USB-A plug and lead) from the +5V of the USB port and feeding it via a dropper resistor to the composite / RGB switching pin inside the SCART plug. (The pin number of which I forget at the moment)...

I have the same problem with Atari STs, which don't provide the force-RGB signal / voltage from their monitor output connection. At one time you could always choose composite / RGB input mode manually in the menus of the TV / display but later models appear to have dropped that in favour of electronic switching.
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Old 10th Nov 2023, 4:33 pm   #259
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

Well mine was a Spectrum but 16k, all I could afford. I did eventually upgrade it to 48k and it's still working, actually had it going a few weeks ago
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Old 10th Nov 2023, 4:56 pm   #260
marceljack
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Default Re: What was your first computer and do you still have it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SiriusHardware View Post
If you are talking about a relatively modern TV which still has SCART but also has a USB port you can derive the +ve bias needed to put the display into RGB mode instead of the default composite mode by taking voltage (Via a USB-A plug and lead) from the +5V of the USB port and feeding it via a dropper resistor to the composite / RGB switching pin inside the SCART plug. (The pin number of which I forget at the moment)...

I have the same problem with Atari STs, which don't provide the force-RGB signal / voltage from their monitor output connection. At one time you could always choose composite / RGB input mode manually in the menus of the TV / display but later models appear to have dropped that in favour of electronic switching.
Of course you are right if there is a USB port on the TV you can take the 5V from it and apply it to the fast switch pin of the SCART (pin 16) through a resistor dropping the voltage to 1 to 2 volts on the 75 ohm input resistance of pin 16 (a 220 ohm resistor will do).
However many people prefer to use these old machines on CRT TVs where there is no easy DC source available.
So the solution I propose, if it has the drawback of requiring a (simple) intervention in the computer has the advantage to result in a simple cable between the DIN and the SCART (the 4,7 µF capacitor can be wired in the SCART plug).
Concerning manually switching between CVBS and RGB mode, very few TVs had this possibility (at least in France).

Last edited by marceljack; 10th Nov 2023 at 5:20 pm.
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