View Full Version : RISC OS computer in test equipment

July 10th, 2014, 02:03 AM
Just bought a video processor and was rather surprised to discover it was based on the ARM processor. Dates from mid 1990s and has RISCOS ROMs version 3.71, a Strongarm add on processor, 2GB hard disc and 3.1/2" floppy.

My only experience of the ARM was trading an Amstrad 1512 in for one in the late 1980s, but never really used it, the PC was simply the better development tool.

The question is, can this computer run as a Archimedes computer? One minor snag is that there doesn't seem to be any monitor output??? I have found a lot to read on the ARM, but thought a simple question would possibly save a lot of time if it isn't possible. My memories of the A3000 was that the CPU had four (?) peripheral chips for video, I/O etc and there doesn't appear to be any of these in this computer.

July 10th, 2014, 03:54 AM
Bit more hunting and these use a standard Acorn motherboard, a 1208,000 and a 1102,200, each with keyboard, VGA, serial, parallel etc ports.

Don't have a keyboard etc to test, but what is the easiest way to get into RISCOS? Not sertain I am interested, have other computers that are of more interest so be good to test them out.

July 10th, 2014, 08:49 AM
Might be worth going to a user group meeting, I know the Manchester group still meets


because my radio club meets in the same building...

July 10th, 2014, 11:22 AM
Pop on over to the Acorn Arcade forum. Lots of helpful folk there.

July 11th, 2014, 06:42 AM
Thanks for the leads. Isn't it easy to blow a few hours reading forums!

I don't think I am interested enough to get these running, when home will power up and see what happens but don't have a special keyboard or the mouse.

July 11th, 2014, 10:07 AM
StrongArm capable RiscPCs, ie 600s up with 3.70 roms, used a Acorn labelled keyboard that used ps/2 ports so any ps/2 keyboard should work fine and you could set them up to use a serial mouse if the need arrised. There are also bus port to ps/2 converters and instructions to make your own if need be.

Though not that popular on a world wide basis I find Acorn risc systems interesting in their own right and gotten quite a few systems now because of that. They are prone to the usual faults other systems have like corroded batteries, cmos going haywire due to low voltaga etc. Personally I'd even say more delicate in a lot of cases to x86 boxen. Most issues are well documented though.

Don't forget to post a few pics as well just for interest sake. Good luck.

Almost forgot systems prior to the RiscPCs with 3.11 roms are considered the most compatible with older Achimedes titles. If you ever find a good one there's a ton of info. There's also a project to get as many software titles as possible made available for public use and one to run older titles on later systems. The main issue was the screen resolutions iirc but I think that's been mostly solved.

Curious enough ARM tech is still alive and well. This reply has been posted using a small Andriod ARM based tablet I picked up for $40 ;)

July 12th, 2014, 03:45 AM
Couple of photos attached.

One unit uses 6 pin MDIN for both keyboard and mouse, the other uses 6pin MDIN for keyboard and 9 pin MDIN for mouse. Both have the podule backplane, various serial boards, Ethernet and genlock.

July 12th, 2014, 07:07 AM
Interesting setups. Just had a quick gander at chris's Acorn site. The 1102,000 motherboard was used in the A7000+ so used ps/2 type(6 pin mdim) mouse and keyboards. The 1208,000 mobo was the Mk III mobo for RiscPCs so should have a ps/2 and 9 pin mdim bus Acorn mouse.

I know the earlier Acorn specific keyboards were 6 pin mdims as well but highly unlikely those setups will use one I'd imagine given the likely manufacturing dates of the mobos.

You could probably rehouse the mobos in another case if you wanted. Im sure someone interested in Acorn machines would give it a shot ;).

July 15th, 2014, 03:55 AM
Little bit further. Connected VGA monitor and keyboard, see photos for monitor but nothing on keyboard. Responds to mouse but nothing happens. Says it is a 7500FE processor, 8MB RAM. Ends up with the message on the third screen and then does nothing.

July 15th, 2014, 02:12 PM
Looks like the OS is loading but has been setup to load !APP_MCSP in the prefetch folder on the hdd which is probably looking for something to interact with but not finding it.