The basic suite of user manuals consisted of the User Manual and Technical Manual. The additional EPROMs available for the VELA also had a full manual dedicated to the functions of each EPROM which were ISL2, the Utilities EPROM, ISL3, the Graphics EPROM and ISL4, the Physics EPROM.
The User Manual serves as a basic introduction to the VELA and covers the use of programs supplied on the ISL1/ISL1* EPROM.
The VELA Technical manual covers all the technical aspects of the VELA and provides full schematics of the VELA notes on how to program it and a full disassembly of the ISL1 EPROM.
The User Manual for the Utilities EPROM was released in October/November of 1984 and detailed the fitting process before covering the 22 programs that it contained which included data dump capabilities, a 6802 disassembler for direct output to a printer. There was apparently an earlier version of this EPROM as the ISL2 ROM image on this site does not have all of the functions mentioned in this manual.
The Graphics EPROM was released in February/March of 1985 and rather misleadingly contained routines and programs for logic analysis, flip-flop simulation and only eight of the twenty programs on the EPROM covered connecting the VELA to a printer for direct graphic output of data without the aid of a Microcomputer.
The Physics EPROM was released in May/June 1985 and completed the functional upgrade to the VELA by addition of extra EPROMs containing a further 19 programs that were either refinements to programs in the original ISL1 EPROM or brand new functions such as an Energy Meter, Power Meter, Accelerometer, Digital Thermometer, Capacitance Meter, and Phase Meter.
The RS Components Multi-function Intelligent Data Logger was a custom version of the VELA that had a mix of programs from ISL1, 2 and 3 placed onto a single ROM which provided a more rounded functional ROM at the expense of some of the more advanced logging routines. It was supplied with a loose leaf manual and a cut down quick reference guide providing details on the programs on the custom ROM. Further information pertaining to other aspects of use of the VELA are also missing from these manuals.
After the introduction of the VELA, many teachers who adopted the VELA as a teaching tool began to write books covering different aspects of the VELA and how it could be used withing the different scientific disciplines. The Get to know your VELA series was one such set of books.
The book of ReVELAtions was a project based book covering the area's of Electronics and Control Systems. In common with many 8-bit computers the VELA's digital output port was not only able to be used to download data to a Microcomputer but it could be used as an 8-line control port and could be connected to buggies, stepper motors and other devices with a suitable buffer board in place. The book also contains several PCB designs and specifications for peripheral devices that can be used to augment the VELA.
Details to follow.
If you've come across this page because you've found a dusty old VELA or any of the peripherals I've mentioned on the site in the store cupboard of the science department and you're wondering what you can do with it... You could always consider donating it to a good home such as mine where it would be reunited with a BBC Micro, archived for the future and used!
Although I now have many VELA related items, I am still missing many more bits and pieces so if you happen to have a VELA, any VELA software, manuals or related VELA handbooks, then I'd still be very interested in hearing from you so please do get in touch!
Of particular interest are any VELA SAM4 compatible modules and software for the RM380Z, Apple II and IBM-PC's of the day which currently are lost to the mists of time with the prospects of viable floppy discs containing the software being more remote as the years go by.
For a full list of VELA related items I'm looking for, please check out my VELA - WANTED, DEAD or ALIVE! page.