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Jupiter Ace

The Jupiter ACE was a British home computer of the 1980s, marketed by a company named Jupiter Cantab. The company was formed by Richard Altwasser and Stephen Vickers, who had been on the design team for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

The Jupiter ACE somewhat resembled a ZX81 in a white case, with black rubber keys like the Spectrum. It displayed output on a television, and programs could be saved and loaded on cassette tape, as was standard at that time. The machine came with 3 KB RAM, expandable to 49 K. While it had only one video mode, text only, which displayed 24 rows of 32 columns of characters in black and white, it was possible to display graphics, by redefining the 8×8 pixel bitmap of any of the 128 characters. Like the ZX Spectrum, the machine's audio capabilities were restricted to beeps of programmable frequency and duration, output through a small built-in speaker.

The major difference from the 'introductory computer' that was the ZX81, however, was that the Jupiter ACE's designers, from the outset, intended the machine to be for programmers: the machine came with Forth as its default programming language. Though this gave a great speed advantage over the interpreted BASIC that was used on other machines, it did, along with the meager sound and graphics capabilities compared to the upcoming competition, keep the ACE squarely in a niche market. Sales of the machine were never very large. The reported number of Ace’s sold before Jupiter Cantab closed for business was around 8,000. Surviving machines are quite uncommon, fetching quite high prices as collectors items.

   Jupiter Aces General Specifications.
  • CPU: Z80A running at 3.25 MHz
  • Language: O/S: Ace Forth [not a standard fig-Forth or Forth-79].
  • ROM: 2 x 4kB Eproms containing the FORTH compiler and editor.
  • RAM: 3 kB expandable to 51kB.
  • Program Storage: 1500 baud cassette tape.
  • Video Display: 32 x 24 Monochrome Graphics, High Res: 64 x 48,
    all 128 characters redefinable.
  • Keyboard: 40 key rubber membrane, with auto-repeat on every key,
    and two shift keys allow ASCII codes to be produced.
  • Sound: Single channel buzzer.
  • Interfaces: TV connector [UHF TV set to Channel 36], Cassette port x2: Ear & Mic,
    power (9v), two edge connectors: first has a complete address and data lines from
    the cpu, Second: has data and some selection lines.
  • Size: 215 x 190 x 30 mm.
  • Wait: 246g.
  • Documentation: 182 page Users manual.
 
 
The above information was taken from http://www.jupiter-ace.co.uk/ 

Our unit comeswith a 16k ram pack, power suppy, cables, Forth programmimg manual and two tapes: Jupiter Tool Kit Monitor and Five programs for the Jupiter Ace including Music, Banner, Worms and Lunar Lander.
 
This was very kindly donated by Mr Alan Leeson
 

Manufacturer: Jupiter Cantab
Date: 1st January 1982

Jupiter Ace Manuals :

Item Manufacturer Date
Jupiter Ace Forth Programming The Leagrave Press

Magazines RELATED to Jupiter Ace in our Library

Item Manufacturer Date
Your Computer - October 1982 October 1982
Practical Computing - January 1983 January 1983

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH1332. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

 

Jupiter Ace

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