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Acorn Electron

The Acorn Electron was a budget cut-down version of the BBC Micro computer. It had 64 kilobytes of RAM, and ran a version of BASIC as its operating system. The Electron was able to save and load programs onto audio cassette via a supplied converter cable to plug into the microphone socket of any tape recorder.

It was capable of basic graphics, and could display onto either a television set or a "green screen" monitor.

The hardware used on the BBC Micro was emulated by a single chip (ULA) which was designed by Acorn. It had feature limitations such as being unable to output more than 1 channel of sound instead of being polyphonic, the inability to provide teletext mode and unable to run applications as fast as the BBC Micro. The ULA controlled memory access and was able to provide 32K x 8 bit of addressable RAM using 4 x 64k x 1bit RAM chips (4164). See 80s home computers.

Technical Information

  • CPU: MOS Technologies 6502A
  • Speed: 1.79mhz
  • Coprocessor: Custom ULA
  • RAM: 32kb
  • ROM: 32kb
  • Text Modes: 20 x 32, 40 x 25, 40 x 32, 80 x 25, 80 x 32
  • Graphic Modes: 160 x 256 (4 or 16 colors), 320 x 256 (2 or 4 colors), 640 x 256 (2 colors)
  • Colours: 8 colors + 8 flashing versions of the same colors
  • Sound: 1 channel of sound + 1 channel of white sound, 7 octaves. Built-in speaker
  • Size: 16x34x6.5cm
  • I/O Ports: Expansion port, Tape-recorder connector (1200 baud), aerial TV connector (RF modulator), RGB video output
  • Power Supply: External PSU, 18v



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