Bygonebytes

Introduction

My first Electron was purchased from a small shop in Glasgow in October 1987 for £40..I had just sold my Sinclair QL, which paid for the Electron and part of a Pres +1/+3, my first of what turns out to be one of many expansions.

Not content with my lot, I saved up and bought a Pres +6 so I could have more Eprom programs at my finger tips and free up a cartridge slot on the Plus 1 for what was going to be my next expansion.. the Java Systems E2P, the Electron 2nd Processor. I purchased this as a circuit board and diagram Jaffa Systems, I assembled it myself and if I remember correctly it took some time to get the timing right for the refresh rates of the dynamic RAM. The E2P worked ok for about a year then it would occasionally fail to start. I spent some time trying to fix it but to no avail so the Slogger Master Ram Board was now on order....With the MRB installed the Electron was once again stable and working a treat.

At this stage I wanted to have a go at the Slogger Stop Press (a conversion from the BBC AMX product). This required a User Port so it was off on the upgrade trail...I ordered the Slogger Plus 2, again as a circuit board and built it up from my own components. This was a great addon with two cartridge slots, more ROM/RAM sockets and of course the User Port. This board plugged into the Electron between the Plus 1 and the Electron itself. It did not have a case so there was no mechanical support and often worked loose..I then built it into a case which fixed both the Electron and Plus 1 to the Plus 2 improving reliability.

After a while Slogger introduced his Stop Press 64 which used the capabilities of the MRBs' extra memory, it also had a User Port and additional ROM/RAM sockets so I sold the Plus 2 and bought the SP64. This made my Electron quite compact.. by now it had the following capabilities:

All possible ROM/RAM sockets available.
2 banks of Battery Backed Sideways RAM
User Port for mouse.
Built in Desk Top Publishing.
Two cartridge Slots, one for the Plus 3 Disk Drive the other for Sloggers Click.

Then came the greatest challenge...By now I was producing one or two little addons for the Electron, eg the ROM128 and a Battery Backed Ram Module for the Plus 6 & Plus 2 and was looking to move into the BBC Computer market so I started to look around for a BBC Master. I eventually bought one with a 40 Mb hard disk and IBM PC 2nd processor. It came with the circuit diagrams showing how to build the hard disk addon and plenty spares.. so I thought I'd have a go at fitting one to an Electron. The BBC HD required connection via a 1MHz bus, I knew Pres had produced one at one time so once again I watched the adds. Having collected everything I need to set to work on producing the....Super Electron!

This is what went into it..

PC mini tower case.
Electron Motherboard.
Electron Keyboard - in original case with cable extended to plug into tower.
Slogger Master Ram Board.
Slogger Stop Press 64i with User Port.
Plus 1.
Pres Plus 6.
Slogger Click.
My own Cartridge Expansion Slot - I required another cartridge slot for the 1MHz bus.
Pres AP3 Disc Interface with dual 3.5" floppy Disk Drives.
Pres 1MHz Bus - Modified.
125Mb Hard Disk.
Acorns ADFS.
Pres DFS.


At this time (c1994), I wrote an article for the Electron User Group magazine detailing how I put the Computer together - please have a read.   EUG Article
Garath Babb also wrote an article on Hard Drives in EUG #7

Electron Accessories:

Here is a list of Electron hardware produced by myself, I don't have many photo's of the products but the circuit diagrams are available. If you have any of the items and are willing to take a photo please contact me (See end of page):

I wrote a couple of programs, Rsave and Rload to allow the saving and loading of ROM images in the BBRAM, both were under 256 bytes and available on disk or ROM.
Internal BBRAM for Plus 6/Slogger Plus 2
(Product Photo) 128Kb BBRAM, designed to plug into a ZIF Socket - prototype of above
(Product Photo) 16Kb BBRAM, designed to plug into a ZIF Socket
(Product Photo) As above, different angle
ROM Image of Rsave and Rload
User Port
Cartridge Slots
1MHz Bus
ROM64 - this was designed on request which lead me on to designing the ROM128
ROM128
(Product Photo) ROM128
Video Switch
Shift Lock and TAB key

Listed below are other accessories I have used at one time or other.. Slogger Rombox and Rombox Plus
Slogger Pegasus Disc Interface
Sloggers 32K Sideways RAM cartridge
Slogger Joystick Port
First Byte Joystick Interface
Jafa Mode 7 Adapter
Jafa Mode 7 Adapter MKII - Please click here for more details..
Jafa Electron Second Processor - Please click here for more details..
Jafa Systems ROMPlus144
Pres Plus 6 - ROM Expansion for the Plus 1 - Fitting Diagram
Complex Software Systems Sound Expansion
ACP's AP5 1Mhz Bus and User Port and its insides
Pres's Advanced Battery Backed RAM cartridge
Acorn Data Recorder

The Insides:

Electron Motherboard
Electron Power Supply
Acorn Plus 1
What's inside

Super Electron II:

I had another, but half hearted go at building another Hard Disc drive Electron - Super Electron II, this is far as I got.

MicroMart Article:

The 31st March 1994 issue of MicroMart had an article on Classic Computers, spotlighting the BBC and Electron Computers. There are many companies and User Groups mentioned, some are still around but alas others have disappeared since publication. Here's a copy to read.

Page 1     Page 2

Other clippings:

The Electron seems to be used a lot when it comes to encouraging upgrades...have a look at these pictures.

Woolwich BS     Woolwich BS     The Times 'Interface' paper

Phoenix Computer Crib Card for the Electron - Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Sloggers Master RAM Board Installation Instructions and User Guide.

I have pressed my trusty Electron into use as a Pattern Generator for testing some CCTV installations, here are a couple of photographs with the Electron's video output fed through a 2Mb transmission system. The Program appears in issue 64 of EUG.

Elk Pattern Generator
and again

The Slogger 1987 Catalogue
The Slogger 1989 Catalogue