The Oric Atmos was the successor of the Oric 1 and had almost the same features. Its main difference with the Oric 1 was the keyboard and the debugged ROM (the ORIC 1 had several bugs). Although improved, the loading process from tape was still very uncertain. The real mechanical keyboard was really better.
Two versions were available, with 16 or 48 KB of RAM. 16 KB version couldn't be upgraded, very few of them were sold.
There were also new Basic instructions and above all the Scart power supply was integrated on French models from 85! Fantastic, when you know that the Oric had the world record of cables and power supplies you had to use (1 for the computer, 1 for the tape recorder, 1 for the peritel supply and 1 more plug for the TV!).
The Atmos had really large success in France like its little brother the Oric-1. A lot of videogame companies got off the ground thanks to this machine, and quite a lot of people have a tender thought when then remember their Atmos.
In 1985, Eureka Informatique, a french company, bought back Oric. The Atmos then lived a bit longer thanks to some improvements (peritel power supply and better tape reliability) and cheap prices policy.
The Atmos was somehow legally licenced in Yugoslavia as the Nova 64.
The Pravetz 8D was a bulgarian clone of the Atmos.
I have an Oric-1. I bought the Oric rather than a Sinclair ZX Spectrum because I liked the proper bus expansion connector on the back and I wanted to experiment. It''''s actually my second one since the cassette input failed in a few weeks on the first. The replacement failed too but by then the Oric-1 circuit diagram had been published in Oric User Magazine and comparing the diagram with what was actually in my Oric-1 (it wasn''''t quite exactly the same) I could see part of the cassette interface that looked badly designed so I tried fixing it and it worked!!! The solution, if you have an Oric that won''''t load from cassette is to fit a pull-up resistor on the input from the cassette interface to the 6522 VIA chip. I just soldered the resistor under the PCB across pins 18 and 20 of the 6522 VIA. I used 2k2 but 4k7 would probably be plenty. The original design used only the on chip pull-up but I knew from experience that the pull-ups in the 6522 were often very weak.
The Atmos was the first computer I ever owned! I saved up half the money, and my parents paid the other half. All my friends had either commodore 64’s or Spectrums, but I wanted something more serious. I think basically I fell in love with the black and red keyboard design! Aesthetically it was the nicest machine around. Sadly it died after a few months and Oric had gone, so Dixon’s swapped it for the nearest thing, a Spectrum plus. About 20 years ago I was in touch with someone who worked at Oric, and managed to get a brand new machine as they’d kept a few when they’d gone bust. So now I once again have a working Atmos, that sits pride of place in my collection.
Saturday 7th April 2018
Glyn Harper (Isle of Man)
I took the dear old Oric Atmos from the attic in July 2015 and it all worked perfectly, the disc drive still functioned and all the discs had their data intact after 30 years. Amazing!