Beeb errr ... BBC Micro restoration and upgrades

... or I just saw the best-made upgrade for it

Intro

Who dafaq are these guys?! :D


... and what they are doing in my garage lol? :D

/intro

Yay, BBC Micro time!
I've finally managed to get one of these Brittish electronic marvels of an era.
It is indeed a super cool machine ... but before I start writing cool stuff about it, let me show you how I've managed to restore it! :D

Wendell, one of my best supporters (cheers buddy;), asked me to refurbish, upgrade and work on BBC Micro for him.
I was like ...


That is because Beeb was never popular in my country back in a day. This was a kinda exotic machine for me. However, I decided to give it a go ... as usual :D

Werkz

I've bought a random Beeb straight from < insert 'ur fav bidding portal here >
and waited for delivery.
It was delivered quite quickly. Here it is after unpacking.








Getting job done

Soooo ... The Beeb was basically dead. It was kinda hard for me to diagnose anything because:

  • I've never ever played with it
  • I've no idea how it should behave
  • I've no idea which parts might be broken
  • I've no tools to test it

Obviously ...

I can easily state that logging to Stardot was my best move. This is an excellent source of information. Moreover, the community that keeps on running this internet place is superfknawesome!!!
You see, I am into internetz for quite a while and believe me, it was very rare in the past(siriuz past too) to login to an IRC chan/forum/mailing list as a newb and be greeted like a long time family member. I was really surprised that such normal communities actually exist, especially nowadays!
This site is highly recommended for all folks who want to deal with Acorns and retrocomputing in general!

The very first problem with Beeb was obviously a faulty PSU. I've learned quickly that it is a common problem with these machines.
Majority of failures are caused by old capacitors as everyone could expect :D
This PSU is not different but it also adds a bit of challenge by forcing you to find specific caps.
The caps that are on pics below.




All faulty caps were desoldered ...


... and replaced by new

One piece sorted! YAY!

Keyboard and case

Next thing on a list was general cleaning and deYellowing of a case.
Some pics of that job ...


After ...


Case time ...


My own standard method was used as usual that was described many times on my blog already so please have a look on other posts and stop asking questions ;)

... just kidding, feel free to ask questions anytime, because my methods evolve while I learn to do it better and better ;)

... and after deYellowing

Motherboard fixes

After cleaning all the sockets and looking for corrosion, I've finally come to the conclusion that it has to be something else that is failing.
My first hunch (obviously after lurking on Stardot forums mentioned before) was that some of the RAM chips are fried by PSU killer caps ;)
This is also kinda "normal" in 25+ years hardware so I've started to remove all of the original chips.


All RAM chips were replaced by new units and placed into freshly soldered sockets.

Next thing that had to be addressed was that weird(at least to me) crystalline structure that was formed on one of the sockets.
I think that these crystals are simply made of tin chloride but I obviously might be wrong so please correct me in comments if I am wrong.
Weird to me was that it was formed on only ONE of many sockets that are placed all around this mainboard.
Here are some pics and close-ups of it.



Here is a place where this "invaded" socket was mounted.

Anyway, I've cleaned it in an ultrasonic cleaner and soldered it back to the motherboard.

Also, I've figured out that replacing some shorted decoupling caps might be essential for the stability of this machine :D

The board after fixing




... and finally(pic with beer intentional;)

Woohoo! Boots and BEEBs!

Mods

After spending some time on startdot forums I already knew which mods to get for this marvelous machine.
I've chosen two mods:

DataCentre came in first.
When I've unpacked it ... I was like ...

I've quite a few mods online but I've never ever seen so good product.
I should also add that it wasn't so expensive. It comes with detailed documentation printed in a form of a very nice leaflet. There is also an extensive installation manual. Every single detail needed to connect it is included in this kit. This product is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Installation is super easy and it works right away!
Mark who makes this mod did an awesome job. Cheers Mark! :)



I've started off by installing a ROM that came in with DataCentre.


To check if it works I've simply booted it and Micro greeted me with a nice screen.

Next, I had to drive a ribbon cable under a motherboard.



Power is provided by a computer and is borrowed from supplying leads by using a neat solution - ScotchLok. All you need is to crimp a Scotchlok on a wire and that's it! No cutting and no soldering required!

I've drilled a 5mm hole for a status LED and mounted it in a corner of the case.



I've also installed a DataCentre PCB on mounting poles that came with a KIT and connected a LED wire to it.

Here is a pic with all mounted and connected.

Next mod was ordered from one of the guys that I've met on forums.
Basically, this is an adapter that connects a RaspberryPI Zero to a TUBE port.
Here is a short description found on this awesome projects GIT page:

PiTubeDirect is a low-cost Second Processor project for Acorn's 8-bit machines (Beeb, Master, Electron, Atom) which uses two cheap chips to interface a Raspberry Pi to the Tube connector. The Pi emulates one of a number of CPUs, and also the Tube interface chip. A Pi Zero can emulate a 6502 Second Processor running at 274MHz.

Installation is extremely easy. Below some pics of it.



That's it! It Worked :)


I don't have any demos of how it works since this is my first Acorn machine that I've played with. However, here is Marks YT video with a Beeb running Elite and using RPI as a second CPU.

Final pic.


See you in the next post ;)

Standard outro

Myself and Willy/Lamers we are running a multi-vendor online store.

https://www.retro-cloud.eu

We've just finished making a batch of brand new EasyFlash3 cartridges for C64.
Some K&A Plus Magazines were also added recently to our offer.

New stuff for C64, Atari Falcon and more is coming soon - stay tuned

Please support our work by spreading a word about it.
Without your support, we simply cannot grow and we have a lot of new cool retro hardware (and more) products to come :)

Drygol

Chaos is your redemption .... better run .... better hide

I come from Internetz :>