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T > THORN EMI  > WREN


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Thorn EMI  WREN computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message! For other purposes like sales messages, hardware & software questions or information requests, please use our main forum.

  Click Here to add a message in the forum

 

Wednesday 20th May 2015
Chris (UK)

Great to see so many posts for the Wren. I would love to see any schematics or service information for this great little computer.


Sunday 16th November 2014
Mr N B Bell (uk)

Hi I have a Thorn EMI WREN in good working order.Also has its ts Mannuals and software ...Nice old pc


Friday 30th May 2014
Steve (Norway)

Interesting... I was the hardware support specialist at Wren computers... I found this during a "nostalgia hunt".

The computer was very advanced for its time, but, as people have pointed out, plagued by problems.

The primary issue was the case itself. The design was very poor and EXTREMELY vulnerable to shock damage. There were quite a few sharp angles in the case mouldings that created weaknesses.

I cannot remember how many units we repaired, sent back to the customer , and which were returned again with cases that had been damaged in transit.

I remember testing out new packaging (+ possibly a slightly modified case?) by $ping boxes off a desk.
(Corner $s, side $s, flip $s and so on).

I cannot remember with certainty if the design of the case was modified to try and make it less prone to stress damage, but I am pretty sure that the design of the case was modified slightly.

Also during manufacturing, we were unlucky enough to have batches of logic chips where the propagation times were all at the maximum specified values.. Units build using these chips often suffered from "amnesia".
There was a lot of discreet logic involved in the RAM refresh circuitry, with bad propagation times through a number of logic gates all adding up, the memory refresh was unreliable.
This was a difficult problem to find, and quite costly for Wren. The computers designer (from Transam Microsystems) used a lot of time tracking this problem down.

I took one home a few times, and had to swap arms several times on my way to the tube station. They were pretty heavy to haul around.


Friday 10th June 2011
Mike (UK)

This Computer was assembled at the Thorn EMI factory in Treorchy South Wales. Only about 1000 were made before Wren went bust and many companys were left holding the parts for the other 9000 units that were part of the first production run.

It was very advanced for its day and the software package was very good quality and comprehensive for that era.

Quality control was a major issue which certainly delayed production and caused a few financial problems for Wren. It might just have been too far advanced a concept for the time....

Great Computer though!!


Tuesday 19th May 2009
Webmaster

Hi

Thanks for the info!
Don''t hesitate to send us more information about your experience with this system so that everyone can read it.

Regards


Tuesday 19th May 2009
Brendan Owen (UK)
Transam Eurodata Ltd

Although the Wren computer was manufactured at Thorn EMI in Feltham, they were a subcontractor to Wren Computers Ltd. Wren was a joint venture company between Transam Microsystems (www.transam.co.uk) and Prism (who distributed computers for Sinclair). I led the team at Transam that designed the computer and implemented the software. Transam have recently been aquired by Eurodata Systems.


Saturday 25th January 2003
KasunagiX (USA)

7" monitor?, the largest then i've ever seen in a Luggable machine.





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