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  • My Old BBC Micro

    Posted on August 24th, 2022 Iain No comments

    After a trip “down south” I recovered by old BBC from the loft recently.

    It started life as a Model A and was then upgraded to a B, and later a disk interface was added. It also has a big “Sidewise” ROM/RAM board fitted. (My dad was an IT manager for British Gas and was a big believer in upgradability. He approached buying and owning a home computer with about the same attitude as procuring a mainframe for BG. To be totally fair, that strategy did work very well. We got a huge amount of use out of the Beeb over many years.).

    Anyway, it’s somewhat dirty but the plastics are in good condition. It’s quite an early board with plenty of factory bodges – the most exciting of which is a variable capacitor trimmer on a bit of veroboard randomly above an IC. The original OS was 0.1, but it was upgraded to 1.2 when that came out.


    After replacing the usual suspects in the PSU and reseating the expansion board (a problem I remember back in the day) it came straight back to life. Looking at the bodges it’s surprising it worked at all, never mind after all this time. The Cub is a recent purchase BTW, back in the day we had a Philips portable TV with RGB input on the back.

    Quite a few ROMs in it – some even legitimate (ISO Pascal, Wordwise). I don’t remember how Basic got upgraded to Basic 2. The more unusual ROMs uinclude PHX (Phoenix) which was a special terminal emulator used by Cambridge Uni and a few others in the UK. It implemented a page editing protocol. I have an odd personal connection to that as I ended up making the official port of the protocol to the Mac 68k era. SSMP is some other kind of terminal emulator (not the messaging protocol), but I don’t remember what I used that for.

    Disks and disk drive are currently MIA – possibly still at my dads.