BeebOPL Xmas Demo
A demo of my BBC master using the BeebOPL sound card to play Xmas tunes.
The card is a great little gizmo that basically gives the BBC a Yamaha OPL sound chip like used in the PC sound blaster cards. The system connects to the 1Mhz bus and has a through connector so you can add other devices to the chain.
The sound is pretty tinny as its going through the BBCs internal speaker, you can use external speakers via a 3.5 inch jack socket on the card to get a better sound.
If you are interested in getting one for yourself then see the Stardot Forums for details. The device comes as a kit which requires simple soldering skills.
I'm going to try fairly simple tasks this time round, the intension is that I actually complete them.
ViewData Demonstration Machines
I want to setup a set of 3 demo machines that can be used for connecting to my ViewData BBS. The idea is that I want to have a set of machines setup to show the "Internet" in 1985.
Each setup will consist of a BBC Micro, Cub Monitor and Acorn Prestel adapter. I also want to get a nice 80s TV that can sit on the side showing clips and videos from 1980 - 1985.
Each machine will need...
3) Fixing / refurbishing (Probably power caps etc)
For the last RetroChallenge I setup a PC to do my software imaging using a Kryoflux. I have since sorted the machine and it now has all the software I need to image disks.
I have a large amount of software that needs imaging, I'll start with some of the BBC titles and then continue with the Archimedes software.
Pimped Out Master
I currently have a BBC Master on my desk but I'd like to fully pimp the machine out.
I've also looked at doing a custom black paint job on the machine (I have special Vinyl paints so may give that a go).
So there are my goals, we'll see if I can actually accomplish any of them next month :)
Well we are at the end again and I'm pretty pleased with what I've managed to get done.
Wasn't expecting to do much this time round and we are now less than 3 weeks away from the baby being here.
Glad I managed to get a bit of time in to do something I've been trying to have a look at for ages.
Using The MDFS
So now that the MDFS is up and working ok I've started to load some games onto it so I don't have to go routing through disks and can easily setup a machine to play on when I get the chance.
Well there is one game that needed to be played to signify the completion of my Retrochallenge, that game is Elite...
Can't wait to read everyone's write up and catch you all in the summer.
Risc OS North West User Group (RONWUG)
Took my kit over to RONWUG to demonstrate how to setup an Econet network.
We started by setting up the MDFS and I explained the workings of the box. I decided to leave the tape unit at home as the thing is pretty heavy so it just has the floppy and hard disk units attached.
We looked at the serial connection and the built in administration menu, then I showed how to change disks using the "Release Discs" button on the front, how to shut down the unit and how the key on the front works.
I had wired up a set of socket boxes to use as a backbone on the network, the socket box below has a machine connected and a terminator as it the end of the network. There is another terminator at the other end.
The socket boxes basically sit on a five core cable that is Krone connected to the box. The cable is basically a bus network with 2 data lines (+/-), 2 clock lines (+/-) and a ground cable.
We then added in the clock between the 2 segments of the network and connected the 2 lines to each side of the network.
The clock should be as central in the network cable as possible.
Once we connected this the red "No Clock" led on the MDFS went out showing it was seeing the network clock.
We then connected a BBC Master and an Archimedes to the socket boxes. On resetting the Master using Break + N the screen shows "Econet Station 194" and then runs the !Boot file from the MDFS.
We then used the *DIR and *CAT commands to view the files on the MDFS. We found a games called IMOGEN and loaded that from the MDFS to show it working.
Upton typing the *STATIONS command we got back a list of machines connected to the network, the Archimedes was in the list showing as station 130.
On the Archimedes we checked out the NETFS filer that allows the system to browse the file shares on the MDFS, you enter your login details and it opens the filer window showing the contents of the MDFS.
I also showed how to upgrade the BBC Master to use Econet. Below shows the installed Econet card in the internal slot.
The Master uses the same card as the Archimedes range and the A3000 and A5000.
All in all we had a good night. The next job is to make the Archimedes bridge to a TCP/IP network so that I can access the MDFS via the network.
Sorting Out The BBC Master
After the initial BBC power supply failed I grabbed a BBC Master out of storage and brought it over.
As usual I then found that I couldn't for the life of me find the BBC to SCART cable for the monitor, I was using this a while ago but since then I've been moving house and have boxed up lots of my stuff and put it in storage.
After searching every box in storage I gave up and ordered a new one from the Retro Computer Shack I have had several cables from here an they are very nicely made.
Thankfully it arrived today so I manage to get the Master working ok.
While I was at it I ordered a few repair kits for the BBC power supplies and will at some point try and refurbish the capacitors in them.
After getting the Master working I opened the case up and removed the dead and corroded batteries that had been left inside, luckily they are contained in a plastic wrapper so haven't leaked anywhere.
The machine doesn't have an Econet card installed so my next job is to go off to the storage locker and find some Econet cards and the ANFS roms that are in boxes somewhere in there.
I did manage to find some extra Econet boxes, cables and a set of terminators, these are home made but should hopefully do the job. I also found that I have an SJ split Econet box, this is for putting in the middle of the network and attaching the clock, the normal way to do this is to have 2 segments and attach the clock between the ends of 2 of them. The SJ box allows me to do this without having to use multiple boxes and is much neater.
Got out one of my nice looking and clean BBCs thinking that it would be less likely to have issues.
Plugged the machine in and connected to the monitor.
Nasty smell and the famous white smoke started pouring out of the power supply.
Guess that's another one that needs the capacitors replacing.
Got the new tape drive unit from storage and plugged it in, all looks good it has the correct lights etc and tries to load the tape.
Unfortunately nothing is moving inside the tape, looking inside the unit it looks like the pinch roller inside has perished, apparently this is quite common. So now need to see if I can replace it with a suitable alternative.