Control Universal catalogue

Section 21


The BBC Computer was developed by Acorn Computers to a BBC specification, and is a remarkable machine, both in performance and in value for money. It is interesting to note that the Sinclair Spectrum is being promoted as a "direct rival to the BBC Computer, but at half the price."

Our view at Control Universal is that the Spectrum certainly does represent very high performance for the money, and we would be pleased to sell it, should we be invited to do so. However, the BBC Computer is clearly superior, and well worth the higher price. The following short comparison indicates this.

UHF output to standard tvyesyes
Output to standard tv monitornoyes
keyboard40 key miniature73 key full size
bus expansion connectoryes (1)yes (2MHz + 1MHz)
printer interfaceextrabuilt-in
cassette interface1500 baud300 baud + 1200 baud
graphics memory6.5k20k
text display32 ch x 24 lines80 ch x 32 lines

There are many more points of difference, and our comparison is based only on literature checks, but we summarise both computers as excellent value for money, and the Sinclair as a first class introductory machine for the hobbyist, and the BBC Computer as a first class serious computer capable of almost limitless expansion.

The BBC Microcomputer System Plan

* Options requiring additional hardware within BBC Microcomputer



2 MHz 6502A


16K ROM BASIC hardware within BBC Microcomputer
16K ROM Machine Operating System
32K RAM (16K on Model A)


73 key full OWERTY layout, including 10 user definable function keys, 4 cursor control keys, two key rollover and auto repeat.


Mixed high resolution graphics and upper and lower case text.
Full colour on all 8 display modes:

0 640 x 256 2 colour graphics and 80x 32 text *
1 320 x 256 4 colour graphics and 40x32 text *
2 160 x 256 16 colour graphics and 20x32 text *
3  80 x  25 2 colourtext *
4 320 x 256 2 colour graphics and 40x32 text
5 160 x 256 4 colour graphics and 20x32 text
6  40 x  25 2 colour text
7  40 x  25 Teletext display

UHF, composite video and separate RGB and Sync outputs.

External Storage

300 baud and 1200 baud interface (with motor control) for standard cassette recorders.

Tone Generation

Three-voice music synthesis with full envelope control feeding internal loudspeaker.

Printer interfaces

1: 8-bit plus full two-line handshake "Centronics" port. *
2: 75 baud to 9600 baud software selectable serial port to drive RS232 devices with full two-line handshake. *

User Input/Output

One 8 bit parallel input/output port. *

Analogue Inputs

Four analogue inputs for games, paddles or control applications. *


Within the computer (at extra cost) Capabilities Floppy Disk Interface
Econet Interface
Speech Synthesis
Cartridge ROM Pack Interface
"Tube" connector for second processor option.

Second Processor Option

The Computer is designed so that it can be expanded to run with a second processor and considerably expanded memory. Planned expansion units which are connected via the "tube" include:
3 MHz 6502 with 60K RAM
Z80 with 60K RAM running CP/M
16 bit processor with 128K RAM.

* Model B Only

Model A BBC Microcomputer System

A fast, powerful self-contained computer system generating high resolution colour graphics and capable of synthesising 3-part music. The computer is contained in a rigid injection moulded thermoplastic case. The following are contained within the computer thus ensuring the minimum of connecting wires.

Model B BBC Microcomputer System

The Model B BBC Microcomputer System is an enhanced version of the Model A Microcomputer but with the following differences:


Both Model A and Model B may have the following expansion options fitted internally at purchase, or by Dealers at a later date.

External options which plug directly into the machine include:


Considerable attention has been paid to the overall design of the system and application software. A modular approach has been adopted specifically to ease the interfacing of various high-level languages (such as BASIC and Pascal) to the operating system.


The BASIC interpreter is an exremely fast implementation, very close to the Microsoft standard, but with numerous powerful extensions.

image: AND 01 Single disk extension

								excl VAT
ANA 01	BBC Computer Model A					309.00
ANA 02	Model A + Econet interface				369.00
ANB 01	BBC Computer Model B					348.00
ANB 02	BBC Computer Model B + Econet interface			389.00
ANB 03	Model B + disk interface				409.00
ANB 04	Model B + Disk + Econet interfaces			450.00
	(all the above include a User's Manual)	
AND 01	Single disk drive extension 100K bytes capacity		230.00
ANE 01	Teletext receiver					144.00
ANE 02	Prestel receiver					 90.00
	TV monitors - see page 10.1	
ANF 03	Cassette recorder					 26.00
ANG 01	5-way DIN to 25 way D type serial cable			  8.50
489	Printer interface cable, Centronics type, 1m long 	 15.00
ANH 01	Games paddles, per pair					 11.50
ANJ 01	Extra copies of user's guide				 10.00



This package consists of two programs for the Model B.

ADDRESS BOOK allows you to build up a file of several hundred names, addresses and telephone numbers which can be retrieved by name, or by matching with other information specified in the entry. Applications include mailing lists and customer records

PLANNER works just like a written diary, but with a real-time alarm and many automatic features. There is space for 3000 entries, which may be one of three kinds: appointments at a specified tine of day; regular events, such as birthdays and biil paynents which automatically et carried forward; and exclusive entries for trips and holidays, which prevent appointments being made over a specified period

1366	BBC Desk Diary						9.00


This suite of four programs for the BBC Computer Model A or B will perform a wide range of algebraic manipulations, and expressions can be symbolically differentiated or integrated. The package is intended for use in Mathematics teaching or research.

POLYNOM can expand and simplify a polynomial expression into the equivalent polynomial.

RATIONAL can expand and simplify an expression of rational terms into the equivalent ratio of two polynomial, reduced to lost terms.

TRIGONOM can expand, simplify, differentiate or integrate a trigononetric expression, including ratios of trigonometric terms, into the equivalent standard form.

FOURIER can perform trigononetric transformations into a linear combination of sines and cosines of integer multiples of x.

1367	BBC Computer Algebraic Manipulation Package		9.00


The Peeko-Computer simulates the operation of a simplified microcomputer in order to teach the fundanentals of machine code programming; it is suitable for either the Model A or the Model B. The Peeko-Computer has ten easily learned instructions, and the display gives a visual analogy of the operation of a real microcomputer.

Programs can be entered, single-stepped or run with the memory and register contents being displayed at every step. To aid comprehension each instruction nmemonic is displayed as it is encountered.

The Peeko-Computer comes complete with a 16 page instruction annual including exercises and examples, and the cassette includes five demonstration Peeko-Computer programs.

1367	BBCC Computer Peeko-Computer				9.00



Acornsoft FORTH is a complete implementation of the FORTH language, to the 1979 standard specification, for the BBC Computer Model B. FORTH is a compiled language so programs run very fast (typically 5 times faster than BASIC).

The cassette includes:

The FORTH dictionary and compiler
The tape interface and screen editor
The graphics package
A high resolution graphics demonstration

In addition to a comprehensive set of arithmetic and and stack operators, control transfer words and defining words, Acornsoft FORTH includes more advanced features for defining the actions of defining words themselves. This opens the door to "metaFORTH" and user defined FORTH-based languages.

1369	BBC Computer FORTH language cassette				14.50
1370	"FORTH on the BBC Computer" book by R. de Grandis Harrison	 7.50


Acornsoft LISP for the BBC Computer Model A or B consists of 5.5k of machine code interpreter, plus 3k of initiallised LISP workspace containing utilities and constants, which can be deleted to make extra space if not required. It is intended for students researchers and hobbyists who want to find out about the fundamantal language of artificial intelligence research, and system designers who require more flexibility in data and control structures than is provided by traditional programming languages.

The system contains a number of extensions to basic LISP, including PEEK, POKE, CALL and VDU to provide easy interface with the BBC Computer MOS (machine operating system), improved interactive control structures using LOOP, WHILE and UNTIl funtions and disk input/output control functions.

1371	BBC LISP language cassette			14.50
1372	BBC LISP book "LISP on the BBC Microcomputer"	 7.50


This package is supplied in ROMs to fit inside the BBC Computer. It therefore uses none of the user RAM leaving about 27k bytes free for text - about 4000 words.

It uses text mode 3 during text entry, with the top line continuously displaying the exact number of words in the document, and the number of bytes left free. When printing out, if there is more than 16K bytes of free RAM, then the screen can show the exact format of the printed output without actually printing it.

There are an impressive array of formatting commands, which appear in a different colour (darker shade in monochrome) to avoid confusion, including justification, lines per page, line spacing, centring, etc., and the usual set of text manipulation commands.

1373	BBC Computer Word Processing Package		65.00


1374	PHILOSOPHERS QUEST model B only		8.50

An advanced Adventure in which you tell the computer what you want to do, and it describes in plain English your progress through a fascinating world full of fiendish puzzles to be solved. To complete your quest you have to think hard about everything you do!

1375	DEFENDER model B only		8.50

No compromises have been made in this amazing fast action graphics game. Save the humanoids from the landers, using the ship s laser missiles, smart bombs and hyperspace jump. Complete with mutants, bombers, pods, swarmers and baiters to attack you.

1376	MONSTERS model B only		8.50

You control an animated figure pursued by monsters who chase him up ladders and along walls; the only hope of survival is to dig holes in the walls and trap the monsters by filling them in. Score more by dropping the monsters through several levels, but watch your oxygen. With sound effects and high score.

1377	SNAPPER model B only		8.50

A superbly authentic version of the currently most popular arcade game. Guide the Snapper through the maze eating dots and avoiding the creatures that chase you. Complete with full sound effects, score, and a ladder of high scores.


This book describes how to exploit the excellent graphics facilities provided by the BBC Computer. It includes 40 programs which will run on either the model A or the model B to produce a spectacular range of pictures and patterns in full colour, including animated pictures, recusively defined curves, and rotating three dimensional shapes.


The book describes a set of graphics routines which can be incorporated into programs to present data graphically in a wide range of applications. The graphs include automatic scaling, labelling of axes and use of colours.

Routines are included to draw two and three dimensional graphs, stereo pairs, two and three dimensional contour maps, bar charts and pie charts.