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The BBC Microcomputer was born from a television series encouraging computer literacy. In 1980 the Corporation sought a UK supplier to build a computer to meet its specific needs. Acorn, who at the time made the Atom and were working on its successor the Proton, won the contract. The Proton became the BBC computer and was initially sold with a choice of 16KB or 32KB memory. The larger version was by far the more common.
More expensive and physically much bigger than the rival Commodore 64 and Sinclair Spectrum, many people first came across the Beeb, as it became known, at school. However, large numbers were sold and a great deal of software was produced.
  A good example of the BASIC programming language was installed. The BBC version included procedures and encouraged structured programming.

Software and data were loaded from cassette or, with the appropriate chip installed, disk.

The BBC had more connection possibilities than any of its rivals. This made it ideal for experiments and projects. Add-ons included a Teletext adaptor, also used to download software from TV computer progammes.

The computer also had empty chip sockets so that additional software and hardware could be installed.
Start-up screen.
Rear connections: UHF (TV) out, Video (Monitor) out, RGB (TV SCART) out, Cassette recorder (DIN), Analogue in, Econet (networking).
Front connections: Tube (for second processor), 1MHz bus, User port, Printer port, Disc drive, Auxilliary power output.
Flexible and powerful as it was, the Beeb suffered from a lack of memory. In 1985 two versions called the BBC-B+, one with 64KB and one with 128, were launched but these were not wholly compatible with the earlier models for which there was plenty of software
One peculiarity of the Beeb is its built-in power supply. Many people have stored their old computer in the loft since they stopped using it. Now, some 30 years old, they are being brought out and switched on - with the result that after about 20 minutes the power supply produces clouds of smoke. Alarming as this is, it does not mean the end for the computer. It's just some of the components failing. One of mine did exactly this and has been repaired. The other was serviced before it could follow suit.
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