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 The Nascom-2 microcomputer

 Background   Initial build   Development   Other uses   Picture   Links 

Background

In 1979 I first rang with a ringing simulator . It was built by Peter Cummins from discrete logic, and had to be set up using switches to input binary numbers! At the time, microcomputers were appearing, and I decided that would be a better way to build a simulator. One of my colleagues had a Commodore PET , but since it cost £700 I decided it was too expensive. Instead I bought the Nascom 2 in kit form and built everything myself. The kit included the keyboard, computer board and power supply board – no case, no peripherals, nothing else. In fact I was lucky, because at the time there was a shortage of 8k static RAM chips, which was the main on-board memory, so they included free a 16k dynamic memory card and a 2-slot backplane to connect it to the main card (but no card frame).

Initial build

Having got the kit, I had to:

Development

Things didn't stand still. These were the main developments:

Other uses

Despite the single purpose for which I had built the machine, when I had it, it became more general purpose.

Picture

Nascom 2 with peripherals

The picture shows the computer in its 'home' configuration. It still includes the tape recorder, though that was no longer used for data storage after I added the disc drives. Notice the handle on the front of the machine. Everything was designed to be portable (or luggable as we said in those days). There are pull-out handles on the back of the disc drive and on the top of the monitor. For several years in the late '80s and early '90s, I used it when running listening courses, with the precursor program that later evolved into !Strike for Risc-Os .

RIP – When the machine finally died, I didn't have the heart to scrap it, or even to salvage it for parts, so it is wrapped up 'mothballed' in the loft.

Links


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