Questions tagged [bbc-micro]

For questions about the BBC Micro, programs written for the BBC Micro or peripherals for the BBC Micro.

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5
votes
1answer
152 views

Did Econet have security?

Econet was used in a classroom setting to connect a room full of BBC Micros to a single floppy disk drive. This was an important capability because in those days, a floppy disk drive cost in the ...
19
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11answers
4k views

Was it possible to write a novel on a BBC Micro 16kb/32kb memory era computer without expansions?

BBC Micro model B has 32k memory. An average book, like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, has about 350,000 characters in it. So you'd need over 10 times the memory to load it in, plus the software to edit ...
2
votes
1answer
187 views

BBC Micro default Mode specifications vs reality of production models

Note this only appplies to the Models AandB as the Master had configuration set in NVRam. One of the BBC's initial listed requirements for their computer to Acorn was a default of Mode 4 : " START-...
5
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2answers
2k views

How did the BBC sideways ROM software for the AMX mouse process the user port input data to determine x and y movement?

This mouse plugged into the user port on the underside of the BBC micro models. The mouse came with software in the form of a sideways ROM which provided APIs, CLI commands for own programs as well as ...
4
votes
1answer
397 views

Did BBC Micro and Electron games use custom tape loaders?

Back in the day, I owned a Commodore 64, and I noticed that essentially all games on tape, provided their own code for reading the tape, instead of using the code provided in ROM. This had two ...
3
votes
2answers
443 views

Did the BBC ask for any unusual key colors on the BBC Micro?

Perhaps the most visually distinctive feature of the BBC Micro is the row of red function keys on the keyboard. I don't know who came up with that. I could swear I read somewhere that the BBC asked ...
22
votes
4answers
6k views

Why was IBM BASIC so Huge?

The early versions of Microsoft BASIC required 4KB of ROM, and many versions existed in the 8KB and 16KB size. But Microsoft's IBM BASIC (known as "Cassette BASIC") for the original IBM PC (Model 5150)...
6
votes
2answers
602 views

What was the title safe area on PAL TV sets?

Computers that used TV sets for display, needed to worry about the title safe area. By consensus, on NTSC sets, it was 200 scan lines, or 192 if you wanted to play it really safe. What was the ...
2
votes
1answer
500 views

Which retro personal computers, if any, can use a modern day VGA monitor? [closed]

I play around with emulators, but I would love to go back to my roots, with physical ZX81, BBC Micro, Amiga, etc. Unfortunately, those all require a CRT monitor, or a TV, as output. I suppose that I ...
9
votes
1answer
282 views

Patch BBC Master ROM using Sideways RAM?

I have a BBC Master 128 with the standard ROM installed. This includes ADFS v1.50 in slot "D". I want to replace this ADFS in ROM with a patched version, loaded from disk, into Sideways RAM. It is a ...
7
votes
1answer
314 views

How to get BBC BASIC to TRS-80?

I recently discovered there's BBC BASIC for CP/M machines. Having had my fill of Microsoft Basic, I need to get BBC BASIC onto a disk I can boot on a TRS-80 Model 4P. I have no CP/M disk (or image) ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Did any early RISC OS precursor run on the BBC Micro?

Acorn famously developed the ARM microprocessor using their existing BBC Micros internally, both to simulate the ARM and to develop for actual ARM using a Tube-connected second processor. Later, ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Why is the BBC Micro's Mode 7 so different to the other display Modes?

Mode 7 on the BBC Micro is very different to the other seven display Modes (0-6). From the programmer's point of view, the BBC Micro's mode 7 looks like 'oh, there is also a character cell mode that ...
11
votes
1answer
844 views

Can the BBC be programmed to a half-size mode 1 screen mode with 16 colours instead of 4?

Screen Mode 2 on the BBC micro is 160 x 256 with "16"* colours. This uses up 20Kb of memory. Horizontal-rectangular pixels ( 2 x squares each). 4 bits per pixel (0-15 values for 16 colours) Screen ...
7
votes
2answers
310 views

Do all Econet devices need the same clock speed?

Econet was a network used by the BBC Micro, conceptually similar to Ethernet, two orders of magnitude slower and correspondingly cheaper. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Econet it ...
26
votes
4answers
5k views

How did the BBC Micro stay cool?

The BBC Micro used the extended variant of the classic 'computer in keyboard' design; like the Apple II, the case went back far enough that you were encouraged to put the monitor on top of it. All ...
16
votes
1answer
617 views

Origin/source of “One Line” one-key game

Circa 1985 in our school BBC Micro lab, we wasted much time playing a tiny type-in game that looked a bit like this: The playfield was filled with a random arrangement of asterisks, and the player ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

BBC/Acorn BASIC, what made it so fast?

As I look over old versions of BASIC trying to piece together their history, I come across repeated indications that BBC Basic was really fast. One list puts it running the Ahl benchmark (for all its ...
8
votes
0answers
173 views

BBC Master 128 not been switched on for over 20 years [duplicate]

I have a Master 128 that I am hoping to revisit now that I have retired. It hasn't been used for about 25 years so I was wondering what would be the likelyhood of it working. I am not a computer/...
11
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3answers
672 views

BBC model B, 20 pinouts port on keyboard below speaker used for what?

Wondering what the 20 pinout holes was used for. It is below the speaker on the keyboard, has a further four pinouts above, and has something to do with the cartridge system in later models, I guess. ...
3
votes
1answer
326 views

Can the BBC Master co-processor execute a program in the I/O processor's memory?

Whilst researching the 65C102's memory layout, it occurred to me that, since the I/O processor's memory is mapped to 0xFFFFxxxx, it might be possible to store code there and execute it by setting the ...
5
votes
1answer
454 views

Cost differential between 2 and 4 MHz RAM chips in 1982

The most common speed of the 6502 was 1 MHz, allowing the use of 2 MHz RAM chips (half the bandwidth went to the video chip to refresh the screen). In 1982, the BBC Micro shipped, with double speeds ...
9
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2answers
685 views

Screen “garbage” in Acorn Electron games

A common feature of later games released for the Acorn Electron was the use of screen memory to store game code. This was commonly known as screen "garbage", and can be seen on games like Exile. I ...
25
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2answers
3k views

Was the first ARM “processor” a BBC BASIC program?

The best background I have found so far on the early development of the ARM processor at Acorn comes from this interview with Steve Furber. The interview does not mention the development of the first ...
9
votes
3answers
728 views

Can the BBC Master 128 work fine with no battery?

The BBC Master 128 has a CMOS NVRAM and battery system for storing configuration information. I assume that a dead or removed battery just leads to the NVRAM reverting to defaults or other non-harmful ...
11
votes
3answers
624 views

What kinds of expansion ROMs and cartridges are available for the BBC Micro?

The BBC Master 128 has 3 empty expansion ROM sockets and 2 cartridge slots, which seems like a lot of potential. I have already discovered that it is common to add an expansion ROM to support a filing ...
23
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3answers
2k views

What's the TUBE interface of the BBC micro all about?

I keep reading of the BBC micro's tube interface that was apparently designed as a co-processor interface to the 6502. I would be interested in what were actual applications of this interface and ...
34
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2answers
2k views

What BBC Microcomputer features were requested specifically by BBC engineers?

When requirements for the BBC Microcomputer were developed as part of the BBC Computer Literacy Project, an outline specification was created by an independent consultant, the late John Coll. This ...
13
votes
2answers
670 views

BBC Master 65C102 co-processor — test memory

Out of the blue the other day, my friend found an internal 65C102 co-processor for the BBC Master in his attic, and gave it to me. It wasn't in particularly good physical condition (all the pins were ...
28
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4answers
3k views

How did Elite (BBC Micro) compress resources?

Elite, an Acornsoft game for the BBC Micro, is a game in space. Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.     -- Douglas Adams ...
13
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2answers
661 views

Reading the BBC Domesday Project

In 1986, the 900th anniversary of the original Domesday Book, the BBC coordinated a project to document modern Britain. This was claimed to be data to last for the next thousand years. Data was ...
14
votes
1answer
716 views

How did the Sideways address space work?

I was researching the BBC Micro when I found the Sideways address space: a 16KiB memory space allowing access to up to 16 16KiB external blocks of ROM (or RAM). But 16 blocks of 16KiB is 256KiB, ...