Centre for Computing History

We went to their retro computer event today. It was all weekend at the museum but we couldn’t make it until today.

IMSAI 8080 as used by Bill Gates and guest appearance in War Games


Debbie lost to me at Pong.


There were all the usual consoles, home computers, arcade machines and computers from the 60’s and 70’s there. They also had s number of organisations and enthusiasts selling and just showing off  what they have done.

We met John who runs Fuze, the company who make the Fuze Raspberry Pi cases and more. It was great to discuss the future of education with him and how coding was going to be a fundamental part of this. I really must get one of their cases. They look very cool in the flesh especially in close proximity to the original BBC’s.

One of the staff there today was kind enough to power up an Elliot and demonstrate inputting a program using punched tape which played a familiar tune.


We also spoke with a home brew enthusuast who has created a Z80 backplane based microcomputer called the RC2014 that can run CPM and Microsoft Basic. It comes as a kit which you need to solder for £55. Just had to buy one of these for my next little project. 

I will do a separate post on this when I start to build it.


Fab day and looking forward to their next adult video games night.

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Amstrad GX 4000 Homebrew

The Amstrad GX 4000 was a very unsuccessful console from the late 80’s, early 90’s. It was very unpopular and was not in production for very long. It was based on the Zilog Z80 and used ROM cartridges for software.

Not a lot of software was produced for it and when it comes up for sale on sites like Ebay, the cartridges are generally £30+ if boxed.

The console came with a game called Burning Rubber which I have and then I purchased a copy of Operation Thunderbolt, one of my favourite arcade games from the 90’s

After some searching recently, I cam across a homebrew cartridge with all the games ever produced for the console on one homebrew cartridge. A bargain at about £35 and was quickly ordered from the European site.

Over the summer, I sorted my loft and garage and managed to locate my Amstrad GX 4000 and decided to test the new homebrew cartridge.

Burning Rubber worked out of the box. Operation Thunderbolt didn’t work initially but after a clean of the edge connector contacts works fine. Had some problems initially with the homebrew cartridge but this turned out to be an aftermarket multi-voltage PSU I was using with the console set to the wrong voltage. A quick change and everything seems to work fine. You use the bank of dip switches to select which game you want to load from the homebrew cartridge.

IMG_3005

The full list of games can be found here:

Games_romset_list_GX4000