The Apricot Portable with IR keyboard
(complete with the reflection of a tree - oops!)
Inventory No: 0033
The Apricot Portable has twin 3½ inch floppy disk drives, a colour LCD screen and a cordless (IR) keyboard.
Apricot Portable in its case
The Apricot Portable is nominally a portable, because the keyboard and screen will fit into a case that can be carried, but it always requires mains power to operate.
The remote keyboard is battery powered and self-contained. For operation in noisy environments, a fibre optic lead could be used to connect the keyboard to the screen. The keyboard/processor combinations were not encoded, so it was possible to point a keyboard at a neighbour's machine and type! This must have been a source of endless amusement (?).
Inventory No: 0098
This was intended to be part of a networked system but it does work as a rather bulky stand-alone machine. The screen and the processor cabinet are fixed to a common plinth.
SOL-20 with North Star disks
Inventory No: 0024
The SOL-20 was an early S100 bus machine that was widely used as a word processor. The CPU/Keyboard unit is fitted with (genuine) wood side panels, perhaps a marketing ploy to bridge the gap between traditional values and the new technology?
SOL-20 opened with a board removed showing s100 bus
The SOL-20 opened to reveal, on the left the power supply and on the right the connectors of the S100 bus (an early de facto bus standard which had 100 lines). The card which has been removed and is standing in front of the power supply is the floppy disk controller and the top card in the machine is a 16Kb dynamic RAM module. The processor card is at the bottom.
Inventory No: 0028
The Intertec Data Systems Superbrain computer was an example of an early microcomputer designed for the commercial market. It had two microprocessors, a Z80A as the main processor and a Z80 to control the dual 5¼ inch floppy disks. It was available with 32 or 64KB memory and ran the CP/M operating system.
Inventory No: 0028
The Superbrain with the case removed showing the main circuit board. 64KB memory is on the left of the board (blue decoupling capacitors) The primary CPU is immediately below the centre of the screen. The secondary (disk control) CPU lies immediately above the "8" on the numeric keypad and immediately to the left of this CPU is the boot ROM with its yellow Intertec label.
This particular machine has a third party pixel graphics addition, visible as the square light coloured piggy-back board immediately below the left-hand floppy disk drive and the main PCB, housed in a white plastic casing mounted vertically just to the left of the screen.
Inventory No: 0170
The Sinclair machines, the ZX80, ZX81 and Spectrum were marvellous educational devices. They were cheap and capable of doing enough to intrigue, but not enough to satisfy. Consequently, they were constantly being added to, modified and programmed. They were very accessible and understandable machines.
The illustration shows the power supply, the processor and the printer. The printer works by creating a small arc from the print head wire to the aluminised paper, which causes localised blackening.
The A5 size manual is included as a reminder of just how small the ZX81 was.
Sharp MZ80 K
Inventory No: 0184
This is included as one example of the many different types of small computer that vanished at the beginning of the 1980s, trodden underfoot by the advancing hoards of cloned PCs.