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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 2nd Nov 2008, 12:52 am   #121
olemuso
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

The first computer I saw was a Honeywell something-or-other which my sister was in charge of at Bidston Observatory (Tidal Institute). That was back in the late 50s / early 60s when I was a young teenager. It was awe-inspiring.
The first one I owned was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K which was the start of my computer addiction. I had lots of fun with that machine, learning Spectrum Basic, then Assembler and some Machine Code.
A friend gave me a Bunker-Ramo terminal keyboard and I spent a couple of months designing and building a discrete-component interface so I can put my Speccy motherboard inside it. I also added the sound output stage from a Finlandia television. This was my pride and joy for quite a while. I still have it and really must dig it out of the loft and see if it still works.
From there I went to Amiga 500, then Amiga 3000/030 which I upgraded with an extra 4MB RAM (£144!), and a SCSI card and CD-ROM (around 200 quid I think). Then I upgraded the processor to 4000/040 and it crashed even faster than before.
Shortly after this I saw the light and bought a PC - Compaq Pentium 75MHz, it seemed so fast back then.
Since then I`ve had many PCs all of which I`ve built myself. Maybe one day I`ll get fed up with computers and Get A Life again..... but then again
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Old 2nd Nov 2008, 12:03 pm   #122
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Hello all,

Effectively these were our son's rather than mine - I only paid for them! After several cardboard boxes with keyboards drawn on them we got a BBC "B", RAMDISK etc; then Archimedes A3000 then a s/h 5000 by which time programming was paying and he led me down the Linux direction.

Trouble is that I don't _really_ understand any of them, I only want to use them! The Beeb and Archies are still here cluttering the place waiting for me to rescue my old jokes then they can go...

Regards Ant
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Old 2nd Nov 2008, 1:37 pm   #123
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Hello all,

I forgot my favourite - but equally inaccessible currently - the Sinclair Z88. I used it a lot as it was so portable. I also had a lot of trouble with it, it was the American model with a zinc-sprayed casing which shorted bits of the PCB when soldered joints pierced the insulating sheet... They didn't want to know until I pinned up a notice at a Users' Forum, asking was anyone else having a problem!

Regards Ant
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Old 3rd Nov 2008, 2:07 am   #124
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

If you do decide to "get rid" of the BBCs and Archimedes please let me know as I'll be interested! I won't post in the "Wanted" section at this time as I'm just offering a good home should one be needed.




BG
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Old 3rd Nov 2008, 9:38 pm   #125
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

I had one of these too!!! Somehow the keyboard used to print out lines of characters by itself.....so could not use it!!

After that the ZX81 - yes RAM pack wobble - blew that up experimenting with a interface card bought as a kit

Then the Sinclair QL - a weird beast that was..
Next up...Atari 520ST, still have it minus the mouse, which I can't seem to get a replacements for....

Then IBM clone with 5 1/4 floppy drive, 4mb memory, 30mb hard drive.

Then dad's old 486DX IBM Ambra, My own built Pentium and now a worthless pentium 4.

I recently bought a new Laptop just for music dj ing and editing!!!

Paulus.d




Quote:
Originally Posted by mjfowler View Post
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

Last edited by Brian R Pateman; 3rd Nov 2008 at 10:46 pm. Reason: Tidied up and offensive remarks removed.
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Old 14th Dec 2008, 11:42 am   #126
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

I started with one of those small single board kit jobs - difficult to remember after all these years, but a LED display, memory and keyboard -think it used a 4004 CPU. It wan't really possible to do much with it. It was well advertised in the early mid 70's.

Around 1978 I bought and built a Triton (as above). I then proceeded to build and add all of the expansion boards. 8K Basic, 8080 Assembler and a full 64K of memory. The tape loading system wasn't very reliable and slow (300baud), I built a Kansas City interface that ran at several times the rate and was reliable. I then designed and built S100 interfaces, added floopy drives to replace the tape system interfaced a Floopy tape system from the US, then a 5Mb full height hard drive.

I wrote crude word processors for that, Rugby time decoders and lots of other similar novelties.

By then I was finding that the 64K limit of memory (RAM and ROM) wasn't really enough for the software I was writing at the time, so designed a method of paging banks of 8K memory in and out. It was all becoming a bit unweildy. I interfaced Z80 and 8085 processors to it, to replace the original 8080A and even extended the (TRAP?) assembler software to cope with the extra instructions.

About 1983(?), I started looking at the BBC and in particular the BBC Master and saw one second hand in London - I was in Oxford at the time and drove over to collect it. I eventually added several plug in CPU's to that one - Z80's, 80186, 6502 co-pro and the Torch. The latter enabled it to run CPM and came with various business software packages.

The 80186 was able to run quite a lot of the early PC DOS software - it ran the first version of Autoroute very well indeed and I seem to remember a DOS flight sim.

One version of the Acorn BBC was a BBC+ built into solid case, with monitor, disk drives and a 20Mb hard disk built in. It had a really specialised CPU(?) lashed into the case under the hood and a quite massive amount of memory. I never did manage to make much use of that, apart from as a normal B+. It was a special Workstation design, intended to sell to universities for lots of £, but never quite achieved its aims.

From there I moved on to an early PC with 8" floppy drives, built out of what ever I could get hold of cheap and built up in an old desk. Then as prices started to fall, onto clone PC's built up from new cases and parts from a company I had found in Manchester - the first one I was able to find in the north of England selling such items.

For the BBC I wrote a weather satellite image decoding program, using a Maplin receiver designed for the BBC. On moving to the PC, I redesigned the hardware to work with the PC and wrote some software to make it all work together. It worked quite well, much better than the BBC because of the much better resolutions of the PC. I then offered it back to Maplin - trouble was that by then there were other cheaper methods of doing the same, using the PC's sound card instead of hardware.

I no longer need to write software, design the hardware or, solder the logic PCB's up, but I had a lot of fun along the way

Last edited by harrym1byt; 14th Dec 2008 at 11:52 am.
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Old 30th Dec 2008, 3:13 pm   #127
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

ZX81 - and hopefully it's still in the house somewhere.

I bought it as soon as possible after giving up on evening classes designed to introduce us teachers to the wonders of computers and it was a far better way to learn !

It ended up with extended memory, white text on a black screen, a "proper" keyboard, lived in a wooden case alongside its tape recorder, sat at the back of the classroom, and the Maths revision program wot I wrote for them was used extensively by many of my 5th-formers (with their "If you could produce this standard under exam conditions, your grade would probably be around ..." strip of cash-desk-width printout tucked into their maths books.)

(Proper computer people at the school, however, used the BBC Micro

OAP John
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Old 31st Dec 2008, 7:18 pm   #128
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Amstrad Notebook and still got it.Says you can learn it in 10 minutes or money back,just about.
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Old 31st Dec 2008, 8:16 pm   #129
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

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Amstrad Notebook and still got it.Says you can learn it in 10 minutes or money back,just about.
I've got a couple of those. I even programmed one to act as a Webserver, serving pages from an inserted memory card.

Being BBC Basic programmable, they're really quite versatile units.

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Old 27th Jan 2009, 8:46 am   #130
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Many years ago. I owned an Adler with two 8"drives, can't remember the model no., running CP/M. I spent many hours late at night playing adventure. The only sound was the humming of the huge cooling fan and the Drives while i waited for a response. Unfortunately the floppies kept wearing out and no one i knew of could fix it. It was replaced by an Apple ii which had graphics! Kicking myself know off course! I can play adventure on my pocket pc but it's just not the same...

Last edited by Station X; 27th Jan 2009 at 1:08 pm. Reason: Post moved from another thread.
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Old 28th Jan 2009, 10:36 pm   #131
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Hi,

ZX80 and then a BBC B, I also learnt the nuts & bolts, or should that be bit’s & byte’s, on a Nascom Z80 system at college in the early 80’s – that was hands on computing. Should have kept the Sinclair Z80 though!

I’d like to see a Nascom again – it’s got to be a good 27 years ago since I saw one!

I’m currently brushing up on my C language in order to programme PIC’s for embedded control.

Also there was the Radionic digital computer, better described as cascaded Eccles-Jordan Bistable driven by a GPO telephone dial , this was at school in the early 70’s. Recently came by an original description & assembly sheet E/508.

I noticed Solidisk name appear in an earlier post – they are still in business in Southend, and I recently bought a PC of them – I can pop in the shop and talk to someone if I have a problem, and not a call centre in furthest reaches of the Amazon.

Terry.
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Old 1st Feb 2009, 5:52 pm   #132
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Hi,


The first computer that I ever used was at university in 1967. The Elliot 903 was the size of a desk, programs had to be compiled before they were run. All this and data were all fed in on colour coded punched paper tape. The output was either on punched paper tape or a teleprinter. Eventually it was upgraded with some form of VDU. The small CRT had a number of wires embedded in the bottom front of the tube. These could be used as a crude form of touch screen input.

I bought my first home computer in either late 1978 or early 1979, it was a Tandy TRS80. I opted for the more "powerful" 16K version rather than the standard 4K version.

About three years later I bought an Apple complete with twin floppy discs.

I still have the Tandy and the Apple. The TRS80 still works but sadly the power supply on the Apple burned out after about 5 years. By that time I had moved onto the BBC computer. Yes I still have it and it still works!
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 10:33 am   #133
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Was that at Herriot Watt University?
I was on the committee of the Elliott Computer User's Association in the seventies, and I think Peter Bladon was from Herriot-Watt.
I still have some bits, although it was upgraded from a 903 to a 905 in about 1975 and was eventually replaced in about 1985.

Peter Kinsman
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 5:56 pm   #134
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valvepower View Post
Hi,

ZX80 and then a BBC B, I also learnt the nuts & bolts, or should that be bit’s & byte’s, on a Nascom Z80 system at college in the early 80’s – that was hands on computing. Should have kept the Sinclair Z80 though!

I’d like to see a Nascom again – it’s got to be a good 27 years ago since I saw one!
I built a Nascom, and I still have it, including a stack of cassette tapes with Pascal, C, ZEAP etc... No idea if these cassettes will still read though...

Peter
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 9:18 pm   #135
n_r_muir
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterkin9 View Post
Was that at Herriot Watt University?
I was on the committee of the Elliott Computer User's Association in the seventies, and I think Peter Bladon was from Herriot-Watt.
I still have some bits, although it was upgraded from a 903 to a 905 in about 1975 and was eventually replaced in about 1985.

Peter Kinsman
Hi,

Close but no cigar!

I was along the road at Edinburgh University. My project was to try and analyse EEG recordings. It involved designing & building an A to D converter then trying to analyse the various frequency components of the input waveforms. It worked, eventually, but it was very slow.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 8:49 am   #136
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Amstrad 1640, in which I later added a 3.5" floppy drive in addition to the standard 5.25". It had a hard disk. I used to use Wordstar on it. Also D-base. It spent a lot its of time on Packet Radio.
These computers had their power supply in the monitor.
Sadly long gone.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 12:30 pm   #137
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first hands-on experience of a computer was an Olivetti Programma 101 back in 1968. Really a very, very basic machine by to-days standards but was one of the very first desktop or "personal" machines. Used a magnetic card as storage and I still have mine somewhere with a square root generating program. It was a big help that my Dad worked for Olivetti. Believe our nuclear subs used them for calculating missile paths. This was at school in London, the PTA bought it. They must have been very progressive as I never saw another computer im my entire school career after that.
Big jump until 1982 when I bought a Spectrum then BBC. Remember Micronet 800? Also had (and still have) the Disciple disk interface for the Spectrum. Amazing improvement being able to "snapshot" running programs and save them to disk.
Still have most of the old kit but only use a boring PC now.....
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 2:25 pm   #138
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

My first was a ZX81, my second was a Sinclair spectrum, and my third was a BBC Acorn which I still have.
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Old 18th Mar 2009, 7:53 pm   #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pveatx01 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valvepower View Post
Hi,

ZX80 and then a BBC B, I also learnt the nuts & bolts, or should that be bit’s & byte’s, on a Nascom Z80 system at college in the early 80’s – that was hands on computing. Should have kept the Sinclair Z80 though!

I’d like to see a Nascom again – it’s got to be a good 27 years ago since I saw one!
I built a Nascom, and I still have it, including a stack of cassette tapes with Pascal, C, ZEAP etc... No idea if these cassettes will still read though...

Peter
Hi Peter,

If it’s not too much trouble, please could you take some photos of your Nascom, especially the main processor PCB and e-mail them to me.

It would be really nice to see a Nascom after all these years, and remind me of my Collage days.

Please send me a PM if you can help with the request.

Terry.
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Old 19th Mar 2009, 9:15 pm   #140
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Default Re: what was your first computer and do you still have it?

Mine was a Commodore 64, still have it and it works too. Just needs a new fuse.
I used to play for hours on a quad bike game, must of been about 9.
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