Econet (Was: Re: 8-bitters and multi-whatever)
julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Sep 14 16:13:34 CDT 2007
Tony Duell wrote:
>>> Econet was available on just about all the Acorn computers -- 'Systems'=
>>> Atom, BBC micro, Electron (? the Advanced User Guide for the Electron
>>> mentions it), ACW, Archimedes. I wouldn't be suprised if it wasn't
>>> available on the RiscPC too. Presumably it was used, or Acorn wouldn't
>>> have persisted with it.
>> It was an optional extra on the Archimedes range - the case cutouts
>> were there but you needs a small additional circuit board that plugged
>> onto the motherboard and carried the controller logic and ports.
> It was optional (rather than standard) on almost all Acorn machines. The
> only one I know to have had it as standard was the ACW.
Possibly it was standard on the whole ABC range. It's also fitted on my 310
machines (80286 copro) but a sample of one is hardly telling :-) I've never
seen a 1xx (Z80 copro) series machine (well, one that had been gutted, so that
> For the 'System' machines, the Econet interface was not suprisingly an
> Eurocard you put in a spare slot of the cardcage.
I've got two variants here (both p/n 200,024) - the earlier one has
additional 4017 and LS74 ICs not present on the issue 2 board. Not sure if
that was just the collision detection circuitry and they removed it on the
later board, or if it provided some other function...
> For the Atom, there was a long, thin PCB that plugged onto the solder
> side (top) of the main PCB. I can't rememebr if the header plug for this
> to fit onto was standard on all Atoms, or whehter you soldered it in when
> adding the Econet upgrate.
I just checked my Atoms, as they're all out of storage so I can assemble some
good machines from all the odds and ends. Four machines have the header
fitted, one doesn't (but looks like it did once and someone's removed it),
whilst the sixth shows no sign of it ever being fitted.
I checked the technical manual - that header's not listed in the kit of parts,
and the text just says it's not required on the minimum configuration machine.
So it sounds like it wasn't standard on the kit-built machines at least, but
possibly was on the factory systems (my machine which shows no signs of ever
having had it looks to have been a home-build, judging by the soldering)
> Beebs (and B+'s?) had the main PCB laid out fo the econet circuitry, but
> no compoennts were fitted. The upgrade was a 'bag of bits' that you
> soldered to the main PCB.
It's funny that the technical spec for the model A/B specifies sockets for all
the optional bits, *apart* from Econet; I'm not sure if something can be read
into that about the BBC's expected take up of the network ability.
> The Master and Archimedes machines took a little plug-in PCB containing
> econet circuit. There were at least 2 versions of this one had hardware
> collision detection, the other didn't.
I found someone's web page the other day listing various econet modules -
they'd found about 8 different ones (not all Acorn), although I think they're
all basically the same two circuits (one with collision detection, one without)
> The same module is used, IIRC, in the Filkestore systems.
Quite possibly... I never did take a look inside one. I just had a look at my
photos of the Communicator (Acorn, not Torch) and even that has sockets for
one of the modules. Possibly that means their network computer was the only
system which didn't have an easy path to Econet ability.
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