Acorn Electron
Acorn Electron

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Info
   
Setname:  electron   
Year: 1983
Manufacturer: Acorn
Status: imperfect  badworks
Type: Home Computer
Emulation info
   
Overall emulation:  good   
Color emulation:  good  
Sound emulation:  imperfect  
Graphics emulation:  imperfect  
Savestates:  unsupported   

Tech info
Chips
M6502 ("maincpu")cpu 2000000 Hz
Speaker ("mono")audio
Beep ("beeper")audio
Screens
Screen ("screen")raster horizontal 640 x 256 @ 50.080000
Media devices
cassette ("cassette") cassette cass wav, uef
cartridge ("cartslot") cartridge cart bin
Software lists
electron_cartoriginal

Romset info
ROM NameSizeCRC32SHA1Dump StateBIOS option
os.rom16384 bf63fb1fa48b8fa0cfb09140e808ac8a187316c605a0b32egood
basic.rom16384 794347814a7393f3a45ea309f744441c16723e2ef447a281good
Sysinfo



Features


* CPU: MOS 6502A 1 MHz
* Co-Processor: custom ULA
* RAM: 32 kb
* ROM: 32 kb
* Text Modes: 20 x 32, 40 x 25, 40 x 32, 80 x 25, 80 x 32
* Graphic Modes: 160 x 256 (4 or 16 colors), 320 x 256 (2 or 4 colors), 640 x 256 (2 colors)
* Colors: 8 colors + 8 flashing versions of the same colors
* Sound: 1 channel of sound + 1 channel of white sound, 7 octaves. In fact 3 virtual sound channels mapped to the single available physical channel. Built-in speaker
* I/O Ports: Expansion port, Tape-recorder connector (1200 baud), aerial TV connector (RF modulator), RGB video output
* Keyboard: QWERTY full-stroke keyboard, 56 keys, basic statements accessible through keys, 10 function keys (0...9 keys + FUNC), ESCAPE, CAPS LK/FUNC, CTRL, BREAK, COPY, RETURN, DELETE, SHIFT (x2)
* Built In Language: Acorn Electron Basic + 6502 assembler


Usage


Electron emulation in MESS supports tapes in .wav and .uef format, using the "cassette" (cass) device.

Keyboard

This system requires full keyboard emulation to work correctly. At startup, full keyboard emulation mode is enabled by default. Whilst in full keyboard emulation mode, some key associated functionality may be disabled (like the ESC key for EXIT). The keyboard emulation mode is toggled using the "Scroll Lock" key (by default).

Original Keyboard: QWERTY full-stroke keyboard, 56 keys

~^ ¦\
ESCAPE 1! 2" 3# 4$ 5% 6& 7' 8( 9) 0@ -= LEFT RIGHT BREAK

CAPS LK £{ _} []
FUNC Q W E R T Y U I O P UP DOWN COPY


CTRL A S D F G H J K L ;+ :* RETURN


SHIFT Z X C V B N M ,< .> /? SHIFT DELETE


SPACEBAR


Known Issues


This system still has imperfect graphics and sound in MESS.


History and Trivia


The Acorn Electron is basically a cut-down version of the Acorn BBC-B with which it is partly compatible. After the success of the BBC, Acorn and founder Chris Cury wanted a product to compete with "under £200" computers and especially with the Sinclair Spectrum, its main threat. But sadly, Acorn failed to meet the demand for the new system, mainly because of production problems related to the large custom ULA at the heart of the Electron.

The next year (1984), Acorn decided to anticipate all these problems and focused on producing the Electron in vast numbers. But unfortunately, public demand and enthusiasm were on the wane, and despite an extensive £4-million advertising campaign, a third of the Electrons that were built never made it to the shelves, leaving behind large stockpiles of components that had been paid for but were never used.

Compared to the BBC and its flexible connectivity, the Electron was quite basic with only one expansion port to play around with. Fortunately, Acorn quickly released the Plus 1 expansion offering two ROM cartridge slots, a parallel / centronics interface and a joystick connector.

The built-in Acorn Electron BASIC, largely derived from the famous BBC BASIC, was impressive with innovative features such as the ability to define real procedures with DEF PROC and ENDPROC, or the handling of error events (in 1983!). There was even an OLD statement which would recover a program erased by NEW. A complete assembler language was also stored in the 32K ROM.

The graphics capabilities were also quite impressive for a computer of this category. Text mode of up to 80 columns and a high resolution of up to 640 x 256 pixels with 2 colors. The custom ULA developed especially for the Electron handled the video display, sound and I/O communications! This was the real heart of the Electron.

The mechanical keyboard was very good. BASIC statements were printed on most of the keys, allowing users to type them in one go. A small amber LED placed on the left part of the keyboard indicated if you were in lowercase or uppercase mode.

Despite being more powerful than the ZX Spectrum, the Electron didn't sell well and suffered from a lack of certain software.

(info from old-computers.com)


Links


* BBC Documentation Project -- http://www.bbcdocs.com/
* The BBC Lives! -- http://bbc.nvg.org/
* Acorn Electron World -- http://www.acornelectron.co.uk/
* Acorn Electron at old-computers.com -- http://old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?c=121


Other Emulators


* ElectrEm -- http://electrem.emuunlim.com/
* Elkulator -- http://elkulator.acornelectron.co.uk/



Edit the History info for this game.

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