Archived news from Retro-Kit

Simtec 4MB RAM upgrade for Archimedes A300 series

Yesterday, I received a Simtec 4MB RAM upgrade for the Archimedes A300 series of computers to install into my 1MB Archimedes A310.

Simtec 4MB RAM expansion for the Archimedes A300 series

These RAM expansions are increasingly rare these days because they were manufactured in limited numbers due to the complexity of the fitting process and this expansion is the first of it's type I've seen that isn't already fitted to an Archimedes over the last five years.

I'm planning on installing the expansion in the new year but for now, I've documented the Simtec 4MB RAM expansion and described the basic of its installation on its own page.

Posted on: 6 Dec 2015@13:08:14, updated on: 6 Dec 2015@13:08:14.


AutoVIDC 2.12 released for the Acorn Archimedes

I'm pleased to announce the release of AutoVIDC 2.12 (VIDC Enhancer control software) which includes two extra SWI functions and has a minor change to the clock detection routines and provides enhanced configuration capabilities for all users of the UltraVIDC Enhancer.

An UltraVIDC Enhancer

The SWI functions allow a programmer to query AutoVIDC to check whether any VIDC Enhancer hardware has been detected (AutoVIDC_EnhancerPresent) and what type of VIDC Enhancer is fitted (AutoVIDC_EnhancerType).

Together with the updated module the newly released floppy disc contains a new configuration tool called "ConfigMon" which allows a user to quickly and easily set the default CMOS settings based on the MonitorType they wish to choose.

All of the VIDC Enhancer software and manuals are available for download from the UltraVIDC Enhancer web page.

Posted on: 4 Aug 2015@21:21:06, updated on: 4 Aug 2015@21:21:06.


Repairing and using the Microvitec Touchtech 501

The Microvitec Touchtech 501 touch screen adapter for the BBC Micro series of computers provided a way to turn a Microvitec CUB monitor into a full touch screen experience using an infrared grid positioned in front of the screen of the CUB monitor.

The device was essentially an assistive technology related device and was aimed at the special needs education sector to provide an intuitive method of interaction with the BBC Micro computer for children and adults alike.

Software was written for both educational and theraputic purposes including titles like "Money" which taught basic arithmetic using images of coins and theraputic titles like "Sound Space" which coupled the touch screen experience with the Hybrid Music System to allow control and creation of music using touch.

The educational software "Money" provided a touch screen experience

You can find out more about the Microvitec Touchtech 501 here.

Posted on: 12 Jul 2015@12:21:16, updated on: 12 Jul 2015@12:21:16.


Replacing damaged battery holders in an Arc A310

Although the early models of Archimedes machines from the A305 to the A440/1 which were manufactured between 1987 and 1991 when the A5000 was introduced did not carry a rechargeable battery on the motherboard, the machines are still susceptible to battery damage.

Damaged battery holders

These battery holders are still manufactured and I've had to replace some recently due to metal fatigue after battery damage so I've documented the full repair using these OEM parts showing the removal and replacement of the holders.

New battery holders and batteries fitted to an Acorn BBC Archimedes A310

You can read all about how this replacement is carried out on my battery holder replacement article.

Posted on: 22 Jun 2015@10:17:26, updated on: 22 Jun 2015@10:17:26.


Acorn AKF50 multisync monitor

I've had this monitor for around 4 years and I've had to effect repairs on it over that time so I thought it was about time that I added it to the site and documented the repair.

The Acorn AKF50 multisync monitor

I've now documented the monitor and the repair that I made when the internal mounts for the DAG wire (earthing strap) failed and needed replacing. You can find out about the capabilities of the monitor and how I made the repair on its dedicated pages.

Posted on: 30 May 2015@17:37:11, updated on: 30 May 2015@17:37:11.


Welcoming the Microvitec Touchtech 501

I picked up this Microvitec Touchtech 501 from a Buy it Now ebay listing to add to the collection. The Microvitec Touchtech 501 turns a standard monitor into a touch screen device using banks of infra-red LEDs and sensors which are used to determine breaks in the beams and calculate co-ordinates passing them back to a BBC Micro over the serial port so they can be interpreted by the running application.

A Microvitec Touchtech 501

This particular device is in need of some repair at the moment and it requires a full strip down in order to determine the power cable connections before it can be fixed so I'll be updating the site with progress over the coming weeks documenting how the repairs go.

Posted on: 12 Feb 2015@09:14:56, updated on: 12 Feb 2015@09:14:56.


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Versatile Laboratory Aid (VELA)

The Versatile Laboratory Aid

The VELA was a device that could be used as a stand alone data logger or used in conjunction with one of many different 8-bit computers of the day for use as a data capture and reporting tool..

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Pre-order your Ultra VIDC Enhancer now

I opened up a list of pre-orders in anticipation of creating a new batch of Ultra VIDC Enhancers in 2016. Due to delays, they're now going to be ready in July 2020. Please contact me to enquire about being placed on a pre-order list. No payment is necessary until the Ultra VIDC Enhancers are ready to ship.

A3000 Ultra VIDC kit

The anticipated price should remain the same at £32.50 each + £6.95 P&P to locations in the UK (other countries may incur greater shipping costs). The package includes the Ultra VIDC Enhancer, all connecting cables, headers and jumpers required for your Archimedes and a 3.5" floppy disc with the software on.

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