Acorn Archimedes A440/1

The Archimedes A440/1 was launched in June 1989 and was the highest specification machine in the 400/1 series with the other two machines in the series being the A410/1 and A420/1. The only differences between the three machines in the series was the level of expansion fitted at the time of manufacture and the A440/1 could not be expanded further without third party add ons.

The Archimedes A440/1 base unit

This Archimedes A440/1 was given to me as a gift in 2014. 

Expansions in this A440/1

Repair/Change History

It is believed that this Archimedes was one of the development machines at Baildon Electronics in the 1990's. According to the serial number on the bottom of the case, this A440/1 started out life as an A410/1. At some point in its history, it received a RAM upgrade which would have turned the machine into an A420/1 which is indicated by the second serial number (25-AKA52-1000917). After the A420/1 upgrade, it's unclear as to when the machine was fully upgraded to A440/1 specification but the fact that it has an official Acorn Archimedes A440/1 badge would indicate that the upgrade was carried out with the OEM kit.

Serial numbers revealing the machines history

In April 2014, I received this machine without a lid but  it was otherwise fully operational. There was minor leakage of the batteries which was cleaned up as part of a full strip down and service of the machine.

On receipt, the machine contained an IFEL 36MHz ARM3 processor upgrade which I swapped with the slower Watford Electronics 25MHz ARM3 processor from my 8MB Archimedes A410/1. Although this was a "downgrade", it allowed me to still have an ARM3 processor in this machine and upgrade the 8MB A410/1 to become the fastest Archimedes I own.

In addition to replacing the ARM3 processor, an Econet interface module, Baildon Electronics 16-bit IDE card, Ultra VIDC Enhancer and an Atomwide IV Ethernet network card were added to bring the machine up to a usable specification and allow full networking capabilities.

I picked up the IDE and Ethernet interfaces at the 2014 Wakefield RISC OS show from the charity stand. The Baildon Electronics 16-bit IDE card allows for a full 8x512MB partitions providing 4GB of storage and supports the use of Compact Flash cards as bootable IDE hard drives.

In early May 2014, I re-flashed the Baildon Electronics 16-bit IDE board with the latest IDEFS modules and an updated version of VProtect. I also took the opportunity to install the AutoVIDC module in the ROM image which allows the Archimedes to immediately support the Ultra VIDC Enhancer at power on instead of soft loading the module during the Uniboot process.

The Acorn Archimedes A440/1 from the side showing the podules fitted

In mid-May 2014, I sourced a case lid from CJE Micros and in late May I managed to get an original Archimedes A400/1 series keyboard and mouse from ebay so now this Arc is fully restored.

Battery replacement schedule

2 Duracell AA alkaline batteries fitted in April 2014.

The next battery change is due in April 2015.

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JASSP Forums

The JASSP project run by Jon Abbott is an attempt to acquire the rights to all of the Acorn Archimedes games back catalogue and archive them for the future.

Archiving the games is just half of the battle. Jon has written ADFFS which allows those archived images to be loaded and played on any ARM based machine running RISC OS which involves patching these games to run on later hardware using a JIT/VM style environment within ADFFS to allow the games to be patched to run safely on the latest hardware.