Worth Taking a Look At

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steve3000
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby steve3000 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:49 am

A well used (and fairly battered looking) 4mb A540 base unit on eBay right now - only few hours left:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Acorn-Archim ... 1438.l2649

What interests me is the ROMs - labelled "FOX" and dated 8/3/90, which seems to predate the A540 release version of RISC OS 2.01 (5th Jul 90) but after the original RISC OS 2 release (5th Oct 88). Any thoughts?

sirbod
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby sirbod » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:50 am

steve3000 wrote:What interests me is the ROMs - labelled "FOX" and dated 8/3/90, which seems to predate the A540 release version of RISC OS 2.01 (5th Jul 90) but after the original RISC OS 2 release (5th Oct 88). Any thoughts?

I didn't notice the ROM's, but now you mention it they look like EPROM so it's possible they're bespoke. Maybe the person who won will let us know, they certainly seemed keen to win both it and the 4mb upgrade going by the amount they both went for.

It mentioned coming from a school in some of the sellers descriptions, which I'd expect to be using RISC OS, so FOX could be a reference to the company that sold them, Fox Computers perhaps?

Google turns up a few other references to RISC OS/FOX, Martyn Fox who wrote a programming book and Fox TV, who allegedly used RISC OS in 24. It's probably a mystery we'll never find the answer too.

crj
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby crj » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:35 am

Fox was an Acorn internal codename. One of the managers had a wildlife calendar, and they just picked that month's animal whenever they wanted a new one.

What it was the codename for, on the other hand, I've long since forgotten. It may have been the A540 itself.

crj
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby crj » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:37 am

(The codename for Risc PC was Medusa. Either they'd changed their codename scheme by then, or that manager had started getting some pretty twisted wildlife calendars.)

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hoglet
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby hoglet » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:39 am

crj wrote:What it was the codename for, on the other hand, I've long since forgotten. It may have been the A540 itself.

It was indeed a code name for:
A540/R225/R260

steve3000
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby steve3000 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:40 am

Interesting! So whoever paid out for that A540 may have an early example with possibly a pre-release version of RISC OS 2.01... (unless of course the scribbled date is American format... unlikely though) Not sure this was the driver for the high price, as RO2.01 only added the two extra VIDC clocks, 16Mb support and 12MHz RAM support.

I noticed the ARM3 was the rare ceramic version too, that should overclock nicely. :)

But still, quite a price to pay!

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bughunter
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby bughunter » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:54 pm

Which reminded me I had some A540 parts, six shoebox searches later:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/332438812147
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/332438825302

I miss that machine, but not the noise it made - this despite wiring the two power supply fans in series...

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danielj
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby danielj » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:58 pm

That backplane looks ostensibly identical to an A5000 backplane?

d.

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IanS
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby IanS » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:02 pm

danielj wrote:That backplane looks ostensibly identical to an A5000 backplane?

d.

The connector that plugs into the motherboard is on the other side.

steve3000
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby steve3000 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:13 pm

IanS wrote:
danielj wrote:That backplane looks ostensibly identical to an A5000 backplane?

d.

The connector that plugs into the motherboard is on the other side.

Also the A540 backplane, at least mine, is incredibly flimsy, flexing at the slightest pressure... Whereas my A5000 backplane is much more sturdy. :)

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bughunter
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby bughunter » Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:12 pm

steve, do you notice much of a performance difference between the two? The A5000 I had at home always felt faster than the A540 at work, I had always assumed it was RAM bandwidth.

RobC
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby RobC » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:06 pm

bughunter wrote:The A5000 I had at home always felt faster than the A540 at work, I had always assumed it was RAM bandwidth.

I think memory runs at the same speed on the A540 and A5000 (12MHz).

I don't really notice any difference between my 25MHz R260 (under RISC OS) and 25MHz A5000.

My A540 has been upgraded so that the CPU runs at 43MHz and the RAM at ~16MHz and that is noticeably quicker. Was your A5000 an alpha variant (33MHz) by any chance?

ajw99uk
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby ajw99uk » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:47 pm

A3000 with 8MB, reasonable price so far: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Acorn-Archim ... 2982618699
I wonder if you could mount the dual MEMC board and RAM in an Arc or A5000?
Running RISCOS: A5000, A540, R140, RiscPC, RPi B
Running *nix: SGI Fuel & Indigo2, RPi2, x86, amd64, RiscPC, A540, R140

VincentVega
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby VincentVega » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:28 pm


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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby Lardo Boffin » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:08 pm

VincentVega wrote:System 1, boxed with manuals:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Acor ... Sw~HBaCxJG


When i saw that bidding was only a couple of hundred quid. Guess that didn’t last...
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

Trisomie21
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby Trisomie21 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:47 pm

Hi!

I got an A540 with eproms that have marked by hand also.

The problem is, the machine had seriously battery leaking problems and is not booting up.

Dead :cry:
Last edited by Trisomie21 on Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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IanS
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby IanS » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:07 pm

Trisomie21 wrote:Hi!

I'm the one who bought this strange A540 with the eproms that have Markes by hand.

The problem is, the machine had seriously battery leaking problems and is not booting up.

This one - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Acorn-Archim ... true&rt=nc ?

From the pictures in the listing, it looks like it had something like a Colour Card fitted at some point in its past, without the card, it needs the ribbon cable removing, and two links adding to the genlock header on the motherboard.
a540_genlock.PNG
(23.63 KiB) Not downloaded yet

steve3000
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby steve3000 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:23 pm

Trisomie21 wrote:Hi!

I'm the one who bought this strange A540 with the eproms that have Markes by hand.

The problem is, the machine had seriously battery leaking problems and is not booting up.

Dead :cry:

As Ian says, the pictures show that this A540 has had some previous expansions (most likely a genlock or colourcard, possibly others), and so will need links reset to the correct positions before it will fire up. Add this to the battery leakage, and makes it a difficult challenge.

However, what will make it even harder is trying to do this with an early (pre-release?) version of RISC OS 2.01 in there. RISC OS 2 and 2.01 did not have a rigorous power-on self test as found in RISC OS 3, so the computer will try to start, but if anything is set incorrectly, it will most likely hang with no output.

If IanS suggestion doesn't solve things (and after trying Delete+Power-on CMOS reset), next step I'd definitely recommend would be swaping out your ROMs for a set of RISC OS 3.1 (and change the ROM links appropriately). With RO3.1, when you fire up the computer if there's any problem, it will flash out some bit-wise morse code through the floppy disc drive power light, which you can decode to find out why start up isn't happening :) ...then it's a usually a matter of replacing a occasional failed component, resetting missing links, or repairing damaged PCB tracks around the battery.

Trisomie21
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby Trisomie21 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:01 pm

Thanks for the hint with the two jumpers to set.

But it still remains the same, no reaktion, power led goes on and thats it.

I will tru to exchange the eproms to riscos 3.11. for this i have to buy some from england.

I will How try to swap the rom's and than we will See what to to.

I want this machine back to live! :D
Last edited by Trisomie21 on Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

steve3000
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby steve3000 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:11 pm

Trisomie21 wrote:Thanks for the hint with the two jumpers to set.

But it still remains the same, no reaktion, power led goes on and thats it.

Do the keyboard lights come on/off? What happens when pressing reset?
Trisomie21 wrote:What i have recognicsed is, that there is no real serial number on the machine, only handwriting on the bottom that reads "serial no. Fox or fool m #009" :shock:

The Same on the cpu modul "arm 009" !? Handwriting on the cpu 35.7 mhz.

So assuming they started numbering at FOX #001, then you have the 9th A540 made! Very nice :)

The ARM3 module is very interesting, you have one of the very rare ceramic ARM3 chips, which fits with this being an early A540. Although only set to run at 26MHz (because your card has a 52MHz crystal) these ARM3's can operate at much higher speeds than most ARM3 chips, for example several of these were sold by IFEL (and others) as 36MHz ARM3 upgrades for earlier Archimedes. But they can overclock even higher - and can be cooled for stability :) Try reading here

...However first things first - you also have serious battery leak. You need to remove that battery and treat the PCB with vinegar as soon as possible to stop any further corrosion.

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vanpeebles
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby vanpeebles » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:06 am

Clockhoss! 8)

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marcusjambler
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby marcusjambler » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:16 pm

Acorn System 1 on ebay at the minute...

Already at lol price :shock:

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby Lardo Boffin » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:03 am

A 3D printer for £300? :shock:

https://www.aldi.co.uk/3d-printer

Pretty much everything I have ever bought from there has been surprisingly good. Wonder if the same applies here?
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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daveejhitchins
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby daveejhitchins » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:44 am

Lardo Boffin wrote:A 3D printer for £300? :shock:

https://www.aldi.co.uk/3d-printer

Pretty much everything I have ever bought from there has been surprisingly good. Wonder if the same applies here?
Aldi have been selling low cost 3D Printers in other countries for a while now. I've been wondering if/when the UK shops would have them. They generally get good reviews from the various 3D reviewers.

I think the important thing is it opens up these printers to people who may not, usually, consider them. A good opportunity for Christmas presents to get the kids interested in engineering!

Dave H :D
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

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vanpeebles
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby vanpeebles » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:21 am

That looks very interesting :shock:

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby Lardo Boffin » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:16 am

daveejhitchins wrote:A good opportunity for Christmas presents to get the kids interested in engineering!

Dave H :D


Yes. A good opportunty ‘For the kids’ :D
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

crj
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Re: Worth Taking a Look At

Postby crj » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:55 pm

I love the way they've included that in their normal printer section, so when you go to the specs page you see things like "paper size". (-8


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