Alphatronic PC

I had the Alphatronic PC in my collection for a while but just got around posting the page now. This is an interesting machine but I really need more info about it – anything from where to download software, how to make a cassette cable or maybe find a disk drive…

I took a bunch of pictures of the machine and posted here. Enjoy!

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Turbo-R

I finally gave up my long search for a Turbo-R bargain. It is just impossible. So I sold a few things and got me a great looking Turbo-R ST. Everything works and I am having a blast with it.

It is kind of funny though how the latter panasonic machines are mostly the same case with only minor cosmetic changes. Check out how the ST compares to the WSX:

Honestly the WSX looks a bit nicer in my opinion…

New Sanyo Wavy 23

I got a new Sanyo Wavy 23 for my collection. Only this time it is the blue model. Here is a pic of both blue and gray compared:

It is interesting to see the little differences between these two models… The blue has the white horizontal lines under the logo on the left side. The gray has a ‘double slot system’ label on the right side that is missing in the blue. The blue has the little compartiment for batteries underneath and the gray doesn’t. also, I always thought the keyboards were exactly the same but you can see that the colors are different.

I always assumed the gray was the latest model of the two but comparing them side to side I think I was wrong. When I opened up both models the motherboard for the blue looked more recent (with fewer components). Functionality wise both are identical though. Hopefuly one day I will find the box for the blue model – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those for sale.

Solving the Archimedes VGA issues

Even though the A3020 has a VGA output and the RiscOS works great on a regular LCD monitor, some older games won’t. These games rely on software interruptions that basically require an older RGB monitor able to handle 30Mhz (new monitors usually handle 60Mhz and up).

The solution I found was this 15Khz RGB to VGA Converter. This is a little box that you add between your computer output and monitor’s input. It is basically a scaler that automatically identifies the frequency of the output and outputs it in VGA. It supports both RGB and YCbCr, and you can switch between both on the fly.

I am now able to play TwinWorld, Spheres of Chaos, Lemmings and all the other Archimedes classics.

Just one disclaimer: Even though the scaler worked fine on my modern LCD monitors, I noticed some flickering on games like TwinWorld where the background changed a lot. Games like Lemmings did not show that problem as much. When I connected the scaler to an older CRT monitor (still VGA) the problem went away. I think that this might be caused by the capability of CRTs do deal with a larger range of frequency but I am not sure.

Overall, even thought the scaler costs quite a bit it was worth it.

New British machines

I got two new additions to my collection last month: a custom BBC Master and an Archimedes A3020. I am still getting used to both and getting to learn these machines since I’ve never had a chance to even see one before now (I don’t think either had a lot of exposure outside of the UK).

I am working on solutions to get some older games to work on the A3020 – more info on that soon. Overall both computers are working fine and they are lots of fun!

FM-Towns!

Here is the latest addition to my collection: a super rare Fujitsu FM-Towns II Fresh-ET.

Information about this system is very hard to find. I based my description mostly on info from this page and my personal findings. Old-Computers has some about the EX model but not much overall.

Fortunately all games for previous Towns work great. I am having a blast with Flying Shark which is as close as a true arcade conversion I’ve ever seen (honarable mention goes to the X68k version).

Here is a pic of Chase HQ running on the original VGA monitor that came with the computer:

Great stuff!