Archived news from Retro-Kit

Hacking the Ultra VIDC Enhancer with adafruit

Ian Bradbury has posted a great article on the forums showing how he's hacked one of my Retro-Kit Ultra VIDC Enhancer PCB's to accept an adafruit variable clock generator which can generate any clock speed required for increased monitor support and compatiblity on the Archimedes range of computers.

Using a BENQ BL912 monitor, an Ultra VIDC Enhancer PCB and an adafruit clock generator, Ian has successfully created a VIDC clock multiplexor which can be made to work with every Acorn Archimedes from the A305 all the way through to the A30x0, A4000 and A5000 machines. This is something that has never been done before and gives the Archimedes even greater flexibility in connecting to modern monitors giving them an even longer lease of life.

Ultra VIDC Enhancer board with Adafruit clock generator

Photo courtesy of Ian Bradbury

For more information and to follow Ian's progress, visit the forum post and for more information about the Ultra VIDC Enhancer, visit the Ultra VIDC Enhancer page.

Posted on: 29 May 2016@00:53:54, updated on: 29 May 2016@00:53:54.


Rare peripherals for the VELA documented

Two weeks ago I acquired a new VELA PLUS which came with a set of quite rare peripherals including a Sensor Adaptor Module 4 (SAM4) and some sensors adaptors and probes to go with it.


The SAM4 provided a way of connecting standardised modular adaptors to the VELA to allow for the direct measurement of many properties including temperature, magnetic fields, pH levels, pressure and position. With the addition of a supporting ROM in the VELA, the adaptor modules were all designed to be "plug and play" so the VELA could display the values the probes and sensors were measuring directly on its display without the need for conversion from the measurement of Volts to the units that were appropriate for the probe.

The SAM4 connected to the VELA PLUS with a temperature sensor module and probe

You can find out about all of the different sensor probes and module adaptors that were available for the VELA and SAM4 on the VELA peripherals page of this site.

Posted on: 24 Apr 2016@00:20:27, updated on: 24 Apr 2016@00:20:27.


Three new "old sites" available in the archive

The retro-kit archive has been updated and expanded to include the contents of three sites that no longer exist on the internet. This includes The BBC Lives!, Acorn Gaming and although with the latter site, only the file base is available.

The BBC Lives! and Acorn Gaming websites


Posted on: 5 Mar 2016@20:00:15, updated on: 5 Mar 2016@20:00:15.


The new VIDC Enhancer boards have arrived

Three weeks after placing the order, I'm pleased to report that I've now received one hundred and forty Ultra VIDC Enhancer boards! That's right, one hundred and forty!

140 unpopulated Ultra VIDC Enhancer PCBs

It's quite an exciting time for Acorn Archimedes development at the moment with several projects being discussed in the community and one of those projects includes converting the Ultra VIDC Enhancer PCB's to use the I2C bus that's built into every Acorn computer from the first Archimedes through to the RiscPC.

Whilst the Acorn A7000 and RiscPC will never have a need for an Ultra VIDC Enhancer due to their programmable video clock, earlier RISC based Acorn machines are limited to the traditional 24, 25.175 and 36MHz clock speeds. This means a modified Ultra VIDC Enhancer could be added to the A3010, A3020, A4000 and A5000 to add three more clock speeds to their arsenal.

By adding a further three clock speeds to these machines it should allow a much greater choice of refresh rates for the video output improving the compatibility with as wide a range of monitors and screens as possible.

The Ultra VIDC Enhancer PCB

So in the short term, expect to see some new Ultra VIDC Enhancers for sale in the coming months as I build up some stock to fulfil the pre-orders I have but in the longer term, a variant of the Ultra VIDC Enhancer may become available to add even more flexibility to these great machines.

Posted on: 21 Jan 2016@02:05:30, updated on: 21 Jan 2016@02:05:30.


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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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