Acorn Electron

Acorn Electron microcomputer

A fast, powerful, self-contained computer system generating high resolution colour graphics and capable of synthesising music or noise. The computer came on the market around 1984 and is based on the BBC-computer used in the BBC-computer school project.

The computer is contained in a rigid injection moulded thermoplastic case. The computer provides the following facilities:

  • A 56-key full travel QWERTY keyboard with ten user definable function keys, two-key rollover, and auto- repeat.
  • The internal loudspeaker is driven from a music synthesis circuit with envelope control.
  • A modulated 625-line PAL A UHF colour television signal (channel E36) for connection to a normal domestic television aerial socket is available through a phono connector.
  • A 6-pin DIN RGB connector supplies output for use with a colour monitor.
  • A phono connector supplies a video output to drive a black and white monitor.
  • A standard audio cassette recorder can be used to record computer programs and data files at 1200 baud using the CUTS standard tones. The cassette recorder is under automatic motor control and is connected to the computer via a 7-pin DIN connector.
  • An interrupt driven elapsed time clock enables real time control and timing of user responses.
  • The unit uses a 2MHz 6502 Rockwel micro processor and includes 32K of read/write Random Access Memory.
  • A 32K Read Only Memory (ROM) integrated circuit contains an extensive and powerful machine operating system, and an extremely powerful and fast BASIC interpreter. The interpreter includes a 6502 assembler which enables BASIC statements to be freely mixed with 6502 assembly language.

The standard television output is 625-line 50Hz, interlaced, fully encoded PAL, modulated on UHF channel 36.

The display modes provide user definable characters in addition to the standard upper and lower case alphanumeric font. Graphics may be freely mixed with text. Text characters can be positioned not only on, for example, a 40 X 32 grid, but at any intermediate position in graphics modes. Two different books are available; one is the Electron Service Manual and the second is the Advance User Guide.