BBC Microcomputer Model B

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BBC Computer 32K

Acorn 1770 DFS



The Best Home Computer Ever Made

[BBC Micro, disk drive and CUB monitor | This is the first computer I really got to know, after starting out on a Sinclair ZX80 and ZX81 aged ten. I have recently resurrected my ol' faithful BBC Micro from the loft, and am undergoing an extensive period of total-immersion in Beeb gaming and programming nostalgia; I heartily recommend it for all fans of classic computers :-)

This machine ran at 2MHz clock speed, quick for its day, had 32KB of RAM, and used cassette tapes and 100KB floppy disks for storage (no whining hard drives or noisy fans to disturb the peace). The operating system was held in 32KB of ROM, so was lightning fast to boot up, and hardly ever crashed.

Vintage Gaming

The software was top quality and many of the games were more playable (i.e., responsive, inventive and addictive) than those of today who require a thousand times as much memory, speed and colours. Recall if you will classics such as Elite and Revs, which were masterpieces in efficient programming. Most of these games were crammed into about 12KB, as the screen memory consumed as much as 20KB of the precious RAM. I taught myself BBC BASIC and 6502 assembler and wrote quite a few programs.

Vintage Hardware

Sadly my original machine has developed a suspected fault with IC32 which makes it unstable after a few seconds' operation. While I found out more about fixing it, I bought another machine on eBay, as well as a Microvitec CUB monitor that I'd always dreamed of owning. Then I discovered the amazing 8-Bit Software website and many other Beeb pages, which have been most useful in getting me back up to speed with my *FX calls and my attempts to repair the hardware.

Tragically my floppy disk drive gave up the ghost one night during an extended Elite session. Many attempts to diagnose and fix the problem didn't succeed; it's difficult to troubleshoot without known-working spare parts to swap. Eventually I managed to buy a new one on eBay, an 800K Pace dual drive, ideal for making backup copies.

8-Bit Future

My plan is to dig out all my old programming floppy disks and finish writing some of the programs I was working on; it is great to see that my data still survives after twenty years. I found tapes and disks containing a few adventure games I'd written, an English/French/German language testing program, as well as many graphics and utilities including an entertaining disk 'encryption' system to password-protect my files. Eventually I'd like to get my Beeb(s) hooked up with an Acorn A3020 a friend kindly gave me, and also connect them to my Linux PCs for backup and transfer of files to and from the Internet once I have some software to share.

Another project will be to use two vintage Juki 6100 daisywheel printers that I acquired as a stereo-pair in a musical composition.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2004-01-01 - last updated 2006-08-18 - links verified 2006-06-24 (but is offline)