BeebMaster - BBC Microcomputer


BBC Model A BBC Model B Beeb Motherboards
Beeb Cases BBC Model B+ US BBC Model B

The BBC microcomputer in its two forms, the Model A and Model B, was produced by Acorn Computers Limited for the BBC as part of the Corporation's computer literacy project. Both models were produced from 1981 to 1984.

The BBC micro was one of the most versatile 8-bit machines ever made. It could be expanded in many ways by the addition of disc drives, joysticks, hard drives, speech, printers, the Econet local area networking system and a number of Acorn adapters such as second processors, Teletext, Prestel, and the IEEE488 system. It is worth remembering that to most of the BBC micro's contemporaries, many of these options were simply not available.

The BBC micro became widely used in schools nationwide, not least because of the ability to link machines together to share disc storage and printers in an Econet system.

Acorn's implementation of BASIC remains the finest version of BASIC ever produced. As well as a full implementation of the BASIC programming language, BBC BASIC contains a built-in 6502 assembler allowing the user to assemble machine code programmes from within BASIC or incorporate assembly language routines into BASIC programmes.

In other 8-bit machines, machine code programmers would have to purchase additional assembler software or poke bytes of code directly into RAM to achieve the same result.

Acorn made several programming language alternatives available to the BBC micro such as Comal, BCPL, Lisp, Fortran and C.

With its relatively large (at the time) 32K of RAM, eight screen modes, powerful graphics and sound capabilities and almost limitless expandability, it is not difficult to see why the British Broadcasting Corporation Microcomputer System became extremely popular in an educational environment, for serious programmers and for those who wished to implement software control over their own hardware projects such as robots and scientific instruments.

I hope you will click on some of the links in the table above to learn more about the machines in the BBC micro range.