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 The Nascom-2 microcomputer

 Background   Initial build   Development   Other uses   Picture   Links 


The story began when I rang with a ringing simulator built by Peter Cummins in 1979. His machine was built with discrete logic, and had to be set up using switches to input binary numbers! At the time, microcomputers were appearing, and I decided that would be a better way to build a simulator. One of my colleagues had a Commodore PET , but since it cost £700 (over £3200 in 2023) I decided it was too expensive. Instead I bought the Nascom 2 in kit form and built everything myself. The kit included the keyboard, computer board and power supply board – no case, no peripherals, nothing else. In fact I was lucky, because at the time there was a shortage of 8k static RAM chips, which was the main on-board memory, so they included free a 16k dynamic memory card and a 2-slot backplane to connect it to the main card (but no card frame).

Initial build

Having got the kit, I had to:


Things didn't stand still. These were the main developments:

Other uses

Despite the single purpose for which I had built the machine, when I had it, it became more general purpose.


Nascom 2 with peripherals

The picture shows the computer in its 'home' configuration. It still included the tape recorder, though that was no longer used for data storage after I added the disc drives. Notice the handle on the front of the machine. Everything was designed to be portable (or luggable as we said in those days). There are pull-out handles on the back of the disc drive and on the top of the monitor. For several years in the late '80s and early '90s, I used it when running listening courses for bellringers, with the precursor program that later evolved into !Strike for RISC OS .

RIP – When the machine finally died, I didn't have the heart to scrap it, or even to salvage it for parts, so it is wrapped up 'mothballed' in the loft.

Resurection?? – After 30 years I took it out of the loft and gave it, together with all the supporting documentation, so a retired engineer who offered to try to get it working again. I would be delighted if he succeeds.


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