At 21:42 28/06/2003 +0100, Jules Richardson wrote:
sounds /very/ like a Torch 68000 Hard Disc machine I have, so
definitely production quality. Same ridiculous separate power supply..
ahh - so there's one other out there at least then! :) Looks identical, but
mine doesn't have the 68000 stencilling on the front of the case. The brackets
securing the BBC board to the drive cage and the mounting for the UHF
(where it plugs into the BBC board) look very improvised on my machine, but
maybe that's the way they all were in production.
OK, I dragged it out and pulled the lid off...
Brackets on mine:
they do look a bit ropey...
to be complete - it has the modem (connects somewhere to the
torch boards, rather than the RS423 on the BBC, so makes 100% of all BBC
native communications software useless).
68000 board is
positioned where the Z80 board is on yours, is just bigger.
I don't think mine has the mountings in the right place to take either of the
two flavours of 68k boards I have.
The 68000 board in mine is "secured" by means of a raft of self-adhesive
clips - a long slot-style one down the edge to the front of the case, and
several small ones at the back edge. They are now falling off...
jack plug connector on your modems was indeed the standard "plug
and socket" telephone connector in the GPO days (before they became British
Telecom) and was not a mass-market commodity - you had to pay quite a lot
to have sockets installed; most phones were hard-wired.
Hmm, I do remember phones being wired into the little box (typically) just
inside the front door on houses before sockets became common. Seem to remember
phones could only be bought from the phone company too.
Yup ... those were the days, eh?! I remember wiring up my parents house
with plug-in phone sockets using 5-pin DIN connectors because I'd just
built a 300 baud modem (Maplin kit!) and had to connect it up somewhere
/seems/ to run a 68000 version of CPN - there is supposed to be
a unix for it, but I never found a way to boot it into that, or software to
I had a quick flick through some of the docs I have. They seem to suggest that
you need the later Atlas 68k board to run Unix and CPN from a hard drive, and
that the earlier 68k 'Neptune' cards wouldn't allow this. See what card you
have (it'll say Atlas if it's the later card) - I've probably got everything
needed to do a Unix install against one of those assuming any of the discs I
have are still intact.
ok, see earlier picture. it doesn't say atlas on it, so presume it's an
early one... Oh well.
I got rid of
most of my other torch stuff; the communicator tried to sell
for quite a high price on eBay.. makes me cringe to think of so many going
I heard they weren't that common and a little sought after. Maybe some more
will crop up at this guy's house...
Is your machine somewhere where it's accessible? I'm curious as to what disk
setup you have in your machine; whether it's a 1MHz - SASI - Xebec - drive
configuration, a 1MHz - SCSI - Xebec - drive config, or something else
It's got a Torch SASI board in it, so it says, with another interface board
underneath that I can't quite see, with the drives under that.
Knowing what ROMs you had might be useful too in trying
to work out how to get
my machine to boot as at least I can try to duplicate a known-working
configuration. And if you feel like getting your hands really dirty, pull the
MCP ROM temporarily so that the machine boots to Basic and see if your
produces sensible characters or not :-) (the keyboard mapping is all over the
place on mine, but I don't know if it's supposed to be like that or not!)
You should be able to get to basic by holding "B" down on a hard boot (ctrl
+ reset). My machine has the standard OS, a standard BBC Basic, a standard
DFS rom, and MCP 1.01 AT. I do remember fiddling with this about 15 years
ago when I first got hold of it, and I /think/ I added the DFS and Basic
ROMS at that time, to allow for better BBC mode running. certainly they
didn't interfere with running it in 68000 mode.
I seem to also remember that you cannot put a DNFS rom in it, as that
contains Acorn Tube code, which gets confused by the Torch hardware.
Keyboard I seem to remember worked just fine - there is an interface board
connected to the BBC keyboard port, which in turn connects to the 15 way
connector on the chassis, for the big torch keyboard.
I've not powered it up yet .. I know it did work, but think last time I
tried (after moving house) it didn't boot. Will try again later, when got
a bit more time.