Similar in appearance to the IBM 5100 from five years earlier in 1975, the Hewlett-Packard HP-85 is an all-in-one portable computer system with a built-in keyboard, 5" screen, thermal printer, tape storage unit, and the BASIC programming language.
The Megaprocessor is a microprocessor built on a huge scale. It consists of seven panels, is two metres high and nearly ten metres end-to-end. It was built by James Newman, of Cambridge, as a hobbyist's project. Since the Megaprocessor is not based on any single computer or chip architecture, it is a unique machine, the only one of its kind in the world. It arrived at the Centre on 20 October 2016 and is currently on display in the foyer.
The project began with Newman's desire to learn about transistors. The transistor is the fundamental component of modern electronics. It switches or amplifies electrical power, allowing for the creation of logic circuits. Today they are mostly produced in integrated circuits, with millions or billions of them crammed onto a microchip. Newman used discrete transistors: individual components you can count in the palm of your hand.
This makes the Megaprocessor a huge recreation of a device that, in practical electronics, would be tiny. The advantage of this approach is educational. Newman said:
“Computers are quite opaque. Looking at them, it’s impossible to see how they work. What I wanted to do was get inside and see what’s going on. Trouble is we can’t shrink down small enough to walk inside a silicon chip. But we can go the other way; we can build the thing big enough that we can walk inside it. Not only that we can also put LEDs on everything so we can actually see the data moving and the logic happening.”
The Megaprocessor runs at a top speed of around 20khz and can be slowed down to 0.01hz. Programs can be halted and stepped through cycle by cycle.
256 bytes of RAM is included on a separate panel, with each bit represented by an LED. The board is approximately 2m2. On this scale, 32GB of RAM - a commonplace amount in performance PCs - would need a panel the size of the United Kingdom.
There are over 10,500 LEDs and 40,000 individual transistors on the system. Newman made more than a quarter of a million solder joints during construction.
The AIO Serial and Parallel Apple Interface from SSM Microcomputer Products allows the user to connect an external parallel or serial driven device, like a terminal or printer, to the Apple II computer. The AIO uses two software controllable LSI (Large Scale Integration) chips for the parallel and serial interfaces to give the user maximum flexibility in configuring to system needs.
The included manual covers cable connections; serial and parallel setup; sample applications; use of included firmware and software; troubleshooting; and software listings and schematics.
The BeebOPL is a modern peripheral designed for the BBC Micro. It functions as an FM synthesizer using the Yamaha OPL chip. From the manual:
"This easy to assemble and install card transforms your computer into a powerful synthesiser which will faithfully reproduce the sound of a single instrument or an entire orchestra.
"In fact, it uses the same digital sound technology as the best electronic keyboard, so you hear rich, rumbling base, crystal clear highs, and true up-front mid-range. It also has up to 11 discrete channels for up to 11 different instruments and game sounds playing at once. You can listen to the sound straight from the speaker of your BBC Microcomputer and with the built-in pre-amplifier and output jack you can even listen to it on your home stereo."
Kit fully assembled with original manual, packing list, and schematic.
The Mark XIV Computing Bomb Sight was a vector bombsight developed and used by Royal Air Force Bomber Command during the Second World War. The bombsight was also known as the Blackett sight after its primary inventor, P. M. S. Blackett. Production of a slightly modified version was also undertaken in the United States as the Sperry T-1, which was interchangeable with UK-built version.
Developed in 1939, the Mk. XIV started replacing the First World War-era Course Setting Bomb Sight in 1942. The Mk. XIV was essentially an automated version of the Course Setting sight, using a mechanical computer to update the sights in real-time as conditions changed. The Mk. XIV required only 10 seconds of straight flight before the drop, and could account for shallow climbs and dives as well. More importantly, the Mk. XIV sighting unit was much smaller than the Course Setting sight, which allowed it to be mounted on a gyro stabilization platform. This kept the sight pointed at the target even as the bomber manoeuvred, dramatically increasing its accuracy and ease of sighting.
The Mk. XIV was theoretically less accurate than the contemporary Norden bombsight but was smaller, easier to use, faster-acting and better suited to night bombing. It equipped the majority of the RAF bomber fleet; small numbers of Stabilized Automatic Bomb Sights and Sperry S-1s were used in specialist roles. A post-war upgrade, the T-4, also known by its rainbow code Blue Devil, connected directly to the navigation computer to automate the setting of windspeed and direction and further increase accuracy. These equipped the V Bomber force as well as other aircraft.
The Commodore Amiga 2090 Hard Disk/SCSI Controller supports both ST506 hard disks and SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) systems. Both 3.5" and 5.25" drives can be installed.
In addition, the A2090 can function as a SCSI "host adapter", allowing you to connect one or more external SCSI storage subsystems such as hard disks, tape streamers, or combined disk/tape systems. Most external SCSI subsystems designed for the Macintosh Plus will plug directly into the rear connector of the A2090 controller.
The Ultra 60 is a fairly large and heavy computer workstation in a tower enclosure from Sun Microsystems. The Ultra 60 was launched in November 1997 and shipped with Solaris 7. It was available in several specifications.
This controller is one that was dug up from the Alamogordo, New Mexico desert.
The 'Atari Tomb' is a landfill site in the New Mexico desert full of Atari games, peripherals and other stock. The story surrounding it became one of the great myths of the gaming industry.
In 1983, the young videogame industry in North America collapsed. One of the reasons for this was saturation of the market. Atari, one of the giants of the industry, was left with a mountain of unsold and returned stock as consumers lost confidence in gaming. This useless stock was dumped in a landfill site near Alamogordo, New Mexico, beginning in September 1983.
The games industry quickly recovered and became an entertainment giant. Soon, Atari items of this vintage became desirable, and myths spread about what lost treasures might be buried in the Tomb. The amount of speculation led to some doubt as to whether the burial site even existed.
In April 2014, an excavation took place as part of the production of a documentary on the topic. Some 1,300 cartridges were excavated out of an estimated 728,000, and other items such as peripherals were also recovered. They have become symbols of the early days of the gaming industry.
A computer resource pack for the offshore oil industry. Part of the Microelectronics Education Programme by BP Educational Service. Includes VHS tape, card reader, ID cards, keyboard overlays, and resource pack.
This daughterboard expansion for the Matrox Mystique graphics card adds extra hardware to enable high-resolution Motion JPEG video capture and editing. It also has a composite TV-out connector and hardware MPEG1 decoder for full-screen video playback.
Pictured here attahced to the Matrox Mystique graphics card.
The Ultra 1 is a family of Sun Microsystems workstations based on the 64-bit UltraSPARC microprocessor. It was the first model in the Sun Ultra series of Sun computers, which succeeded the SPARCstation series. It launched in 1995 and shipped with Solaris 2.5. It is capable of running other operating systems such as Linux and BSD.
The Ultra 1 was available in a variety of different specifications. Three different CPU speeds were available - 143 MHz (Model 140), 167 MHz (Model 170) and 200 MHz (Model 200). The Ultra 1 Creator3D 170E launched in November 1995 with a list price of US$27,995.
Video Genie (or simply Genie) was the name given to a series of computers produced by Hong Kong-based manufacturer EACA during the early 1980s. They were compatible with the Tandy TRS-80 Model I computers and could be considered a clone although there were hardware and software differences.
The computers making up the series were
* Video Genie System (EG3003 - first version, early/mid 1980) * Video Genie System (EG3003 - second version, late 1980) - our unit * Genie I (EG3003 - third version, late 1981) * Genie II (EG3008 - late 1981) * Genie III (EG3200 - mid 1982) - a more business-oriented machine with CP/M-compatibility.
Although Video Genie was the name used in Western Europe, the machines were sold under different names in other countries. In Australia and New Zealand they were known as the Dick Smith System 80 MK I (EG3003) and System 80 MK II (EG3008). In North America they were sold as the PMC-80 and PMC-81.
CPU: Zilog Z80, at 1.76 MHz Video: Monochrome 64x16 / 32x16 uppercase text 128x48 block graphics Composite video output, cable included RF tv signal output, cable included 16 KB RAM, expandable to 48 KB 12 KB ROM containing Microsoft LEVEL II BASIC Storage: Built in 500 baud cassette deck Cable for using an external cassette deck included Built in powersupply
The EG 3008 is complete with: EG 100 Monitor EG 3013 Expander EG 400 Disk drive unit
We are grateful to Michael Pinnock of the British Antarctic Survey for the following description of this exhibit:
A custom-made microcomputer used by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on its Antarctic research stations, ships, aircraft, and its Cambridge research institute. It was primarily designed for controlling and logging data from experiments (e.g. automatic weather stations, airborne geophysics, shipborne oceanography) but could also be used for data and text processing.
Its design evolved in the early 1980's (1980-1982) and some 25 of them were produced by 1985. The last unit was taken out of service in 2003 - at that time it was still reliably logging geomagnetic field data at BAS's Halley research station.
Based around a Motorola 6809 processor, it ran the Flex operating system.
The design owes much to the rapidly evolving Cambridge microcomputer scene in the early 1980's, e.g. the first processor board used was an Acorn Atom design, although later units had a custom made processor board.
Additional design details from Jim Turton:
The BAS micro was indeed spawned from the SWTPC and Flex. However the hardware was more similar to the CMS (Cambridge Microprocessor Systems) board, which was a single board 6809 computer that also ran Flex DOS. This was also inspired by the Acorn Atom single boards around at the time. Acorn mostly used the 6502 processor - later used in the BBC Micro, but it did make a 6809 version. Although Acorn never used Flex like CMS. Essentially we cribbed this idea to design our own 19 inch card frame board. We designed the hardware and it was laid out on PCB by one Arthur Bartrum of 'Batvale' in Sutton. The processor board had 6809 processor and 8k of static memory plus address decoding only. We also developed our own bootstrap monitor which had some powerful debugging features. Additional cards had an ACIA (6851) serial port (for RS232) terminal comms, a PIA (6820) for a parallel printer port and a PIA for disc interface. Other cards had vaarious custom interfaces such as ADC's and DAC's for experiment interfacing.
For the printer we used the Epson RX80 dot matrix printer then the FX80 (or the other way round). The system supported two 5.25in floppy drives. One for the Flex DOS and programs and the other for data.
This board was designed by Mike Cook and converts signals from the BBC Micro's cassette cable to signals which can be read from the user port. From there software would convert the data into colour visuals on screen. Originally published in The Micro User Body Build series.
This barcode scanner is designed to connect to a Laserdisc player and allows the user to control it by scanning barcodes. The player can be commanded to play a series of frames, switch audio tracks, or turn the video on/off.
Our Answer Box 100 is packaged as part of 'An Interactive Videodisc package for Initial Teacher Trainers' published by 'The Technical & Vocational Educational Intiative'. This package also includes a Laserdisc and two copies of the supporting book.
The DL plus enables you to view, record, display, and store data collected from Philip harris First Sene or Blue Box sensors.
Whilst connected to the computer it wil gather data as a interface. More powerfully, whilst away from the computer it will record in a variety of ways, allow you to view the data graphically or in a tabular form, and store sets of data for loading into a computer later.
The Apple Language Card was designed by Wendell Sander, and was one of the first Apple cards available for the Apple II. it was released in 1979 with the Apple Pascal Language system. The Language Card provided an Autostart ROM F8 to earlier Apple systems that did not have the F8 boot ROM installed, allowing an Apple II to boot from a Disk Drive; and also provided an extra 16K of RAM to a fully expanded 48K Apple to bring the total memory available to 64k.
This expansion card for the Apple II accelarates operation of software by using a high-speed 6502 processor and on-board high-speed RAM. Once activated, software runs on the board - the Apple II's original processor is left idle. The DIP-switches configure slot access speed and timing.
This logic analyzer by Hawk is designed to connect to the Apple II computer. Up to four analyzer 'pods' can be connected. It connects to the computer using a GBIB connector. The interface card contains software in ROM to operate the analyzer.
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