USA model BBC micro

This is not a back-converted to UK specification model, but an original USA version BBC micro. It was sold to me ca. 2001 as being dead, and in early 2007 I finally tried to make it work. I didn't have to try hard: using a 230V PSU it just works fine... There might be an issue in the USA power supply, or perhaps it was something simple such as the keyboard cable not seated correctly when the seller (an American) tested it.

Pictured are the USA manuals (new and complete with moisture absorbing gel pack :) ). The machine itself was used but looks very clean. The keyboard has no shiny keycaps for example.

This machine has:

I've played with this machine a bit and in the process tested the disc interface, the 1MHz bus (with an Opus Challenger Disk/RAM disk), the user port (with a Morley EPROM programmer), and the composite video output using a standard PAL TV (I didn't test the RGB output as I didn't have the SCART cable with me where I tested the machine).

Testing the user port with the EPROM programmer was a bit tricky, as the USA BBC only has 20 lines of text in MODE 7 (compared to 25 on a standard BBC). This means the first few lines were missing, and other stuff muddled up due to scrolling/printing at wrong places. This means that the USA BBC isn't all that useful. One will get into lots of trouble with many programs that assume a certain amount of space on screen. This goes for graphics modes too of course. In the pictures you can see that the graphics screen uses coordinates 0-1279 (horizontal) and 0-799 (vertical) compared to 0-1279/0-1023 in the PAL models.

The weight of this machine is substantial, ca. 6 kg, about 1 kg more than a normal BBC micro.

Click on the thumbnail images for a big image (1600x1200):

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Last modified: Fri Feb 13 09:09:57 CET 2009