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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 24th Dec 2018, 8:23 am   #1
mole42uk
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Default NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

I've just had a nice surprise!

I have recently purchased a TL866 Programmer which has been successfully coupled to my Macintosh computer running Windows XPsp3 under VirtualBox. The purpose is to help verify the EPROMs used in vintage synthesiser keyboards (think MOOG).

While setting up the programmer I grabbed a random handful of EPROMs that have been sitting in a drawer for many years. Upon testing a Mitsubishi 2732, I find that it contains the code for the venerable ZEAP 2.0 - those of you who cut their teeth on a NASCOM will recognise that as the Z80 Editor & Assembler package supplied for use on the 80-BUS computers.

Of course, I'm now likely to get completely side-tracked and fire up the old NASCOM to revisit my past life…
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 9:12 am   #2
Nymrod121
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

Nice one. Just think of all the 'special' HP/Tektronix EEPROMs you could read ... I can see a market for that sort of service
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 11:44 am   #3
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

If you are reading old EPROMs I would not only read and save backups but 'refresh' (over-programme) the original ones as well.

We are starting to get to the point now where the data in some of this retro stuff was programmed 25-30 or more years ago so there is a real danger of the onset of bit-rot (data fade). If you take the opportunity to refresh each EPROM as you read it, that will reset the data-fade clock back to zero and they should be good for another 30+ years or so.

Part of me wishes I had owned a Nascom (1 or 2) but, having been involved in some discussion threads about them they seem prone to developing truly weird faults, especially in the video section, which can often only be 'cured' by swapping in different alternative combinations of the same chips (even though the machine previously worked with the chip set it had in it).
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 12:50 am   #4
JohnBHanson
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

I wonder if you would send me a copy - I have written a nascom emulator and I would like to give this a try. Are you per chance able to copy the manual as well?
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 8:33 am   #5
mole42uk
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

Hi John, PM me with your email and I’ll happily send you the BIN file.

I have the manual somewhere, if I remember where it is I could probably scan it - the NASCOM documentation was mostly A4 pages stapled together and pretty easy to separate for the document feeder!
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 11:32 am   #6
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

I recall ZEAP well - even made some good money using it! Somewhere I still have a tape with Nascom Pascal on it...
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 11:35 am   #7
JimmyDeath
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

Just curious as to why you are using Win XP, I also bought a TL866 this year and I happily works in Win 7 and 10.
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 12:27 pm   #8
mole42uk
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyDeath View Post
Just curious as to why you are using Win XP, I also bought a TL866 this year and I happily works in Win 7 and 10.
I'm using XP because I have a licensed copy from the days when I developed UNIX server / XP client systems for my employer. As a Macintosh user for 30 years I'm not interested in the Windows platform, except that in this case the TL866 MiniPro software is only available for Windows.
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Old 29th Dec 2018, 11:55 pm   #9
Slothie
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBHanson View Post
I wonder if you would send me a copy - I have written a nascom emulator and I would like to give this a try. Are you per chance able to copy the manual as well?
ZEAP manual here: http://www.nascomhomepage.com/pdf/zeap.pdf

When I was in school a friend had a NASCOM 2 and I was quite impressed with it. A year or so earlier I had been trying to get my dad to get a NASCOM 1 kit, but we ended up with a Commodore PET because he was dubious about being able to assemble a kit and wanted something with a case. Over the last few years I've kept my eye on eBay but they rarelyturn up and are usually very expensive, so they must be pretty rare!
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Old 30th Dec 2018, 9:58 am   #10
mole42uk
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Default Re: NASCOM Nostalgia Surprise!

Yes, there’s something odd about the NASCOM prices on eBay. For such a low-volume product it seems to have an almost mystical following. Mine has been in the loft for many years, along with the floppy disk drives and Pertec controller.
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