Any Help With The AP4?

By Frank Jones

Originally published in EUG #24

I enjoy the EUG magazine immensely. Fascinated by the variety of our members' interests - especially Terry Painter and his kites! They must be quite a sight when in full flight!

The anguish that members seem to suffer about whether to take the plunge and buy a PC seems to go on and on. I just think that they have got to accept the fact that they will never get it right - there will be regrets within months no matter what agonies they go through deciding on the initial purchase! I think the best thing to do is that the moment one is disenchanted with one's model, sell it and buy another! Your first loss = your last loss. You have invited comment though so I have sent this brief letter in View.

I have an ADVANCED PLUS 4 which I'm not too happy about. I was under the impression that I could do away with my L-sized Acorn Plus 3 and use this AP4 for a twin 3.5" disk drive I have but no, it doesn't work. Individually, the AP4 and the twin drive are OK. Am I failing to tell the computer something? Any advice appreciated. Incidentally, on your own Electron. I gather you have both 5.25" and 3.5" drives. Do you go through the fag of unplugging and plugging to use either? Or are either available at the touch of a key? I was thinking of writing to Derek Walker who seems to have produced numerous multi-switch jobs to see if he had devised such a gadget. [No doubt he has! - Gus]

One of my regrets of the last couple of years is that around 1990 in a deal with a local schoolboy, I parted with my 64K Electron for his 32K job plus cash. Now, I have not seen an advert for a 64K Electron on its own since my interest has been reawoken. Several times the advert reads with tons of addons, but the price is always too high to tempt me. Are there any cheap 64Ks down your way?

Glad you are keeping up the good work.

Frank Jones

Interesting point about PCs but in my experience you will make a considerable loss if reselling so soon. It is the expense of PCs that really bugs me and, of course, gives the numerous PC shops their incomes. I know one man who deals in second-hand PCs who regularly buys in for about £5.00 and then, after a bit of a cleanup and a few new parts to make it look good, will sell it for £300.00! Radio Rentals have started renting PCs and are charging £30.00 per month. You are of course tied to a contract!

Could some readers who use the AP4 give Frank some advice?

A second drive can be easily plugged into the Acorn Plus 3 using the edge connector behind the 3.5" disk drive. Any drive will work provided it has its own power supply. These can be easily made with a 12 0 12 volt transformer connected to 5v and 12v regulates. If you need a circuit and any advice, write in and I will put one in the next EUG.

Changing between the two in ADFS is with the *MOUNT (x) command. In DFS, you use *DRIVE (x).

If you can't get another Electron, try and get a Master 128. There are a number of these on the market and almost everything in EUG will work well on a Master too. A word of caution though. The printer port on the Master tends to break down. Perhaps you will be lucky. If not, two chips need to be changed to get it running again.

Unfortunately one of these is becoming difficult to find and both are soldered in. Apart from printing, the printer port doesn't have any effect on the working of the Master. I know some people are still using their Master with a faulty printer port and keep their Elks connected to the printer to print out.

Gus Donnachaidh, EUG #24