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O > OLIVETTI  > A5   


Olivetti
A5

Olivetti introduced a mainframe about 1960 which was called ELEA, then in 1965 the Programma 101 - which was probably the world's first real desktop computer. Then a little later they introduced the Audiotronic range of "office computers". The first was the A770, which was replaced by the A7. The A5 was the desktop version.

The Olivetti Audit 5 or A5 was largely an electro mechanical computer. It printed via a golf ball typewritter mechanism at the astonishing speed of 16 character per second (CPS).

It was a machine that was designed to meet a use that was quickly dying out at the time, visual record computers, that is electronic ledger machines. These were fast being replaced by screen based computers.

According to a former australian computer reseller (Geoff Greig), the A5 and A6 models had problems were they would catch on fire!

He also recalls: "Some of the customers I had would start printing a report at close of business one day and come in the next morning to find it still printing. However the print mechanism being so mechanical often such a big print run would result in a breakdown. I tink Olivetti in Australia made more money out of Maintaince agreements than selling computers.
And the sound was liike a machine gun. Not the sort of thing you would was to having printing beside you. Some people even made giant sound boxes to put them it to try and reduce the noise.
The 2030 had a dot matrix printer that printed at the outstandind 100 cps and was much more reliable.
"

The BCS 2030 (BCS stands for Business Computer System) was a vast improvement on the the machine the Olivetti A5. The BCS 2030 Floppy disk version replaced the A6. The A6 being an A5 with a dual 128K floppy drives and still the 16 CPS printer.

Here is what www.storiaolivetti.it says about the A5:
"The Audit A5, introduced in 1974, is an accounting system with the characteristics of a real computer. It has a central unit (Micro 8, designed Olivetti), RAM, hard disk and removable disks, magnetic cards, adjustable, built-in printer, the programming language BASIC owner (LIMO, Interactive machine language Olivetti). As the "elder brother" A7, presented simultaneously, the system A5 is designed with the logic of modular and can be expanded according to user needs, such as the A7 has no video, but unlike ' A7, which looks like a desk job, the A5 is a desktop machine. The design is reminiscent of the typewriter, also to be more easily accepted by the environment secretary. E 'marketed with an extensive library of programs for various applications in the accounting and administration."

______

Contributors: Daniel Moffat, Geoff Greig.

We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.

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I worked with this machine a5 in a banks stock and share dept. 6 7 years I was the main operator of 2 a5s I was full time and ended up with the dreaded RSI. A lot of data was with the numerical keyboard with my arm suspended I was quite fast some batches took 3 hours and I estimated 100,000 strokes on peak days . The a5 broke down a lot and the technician said they were not meant to do so much work. Data was recorded on a cassette and print out paper. It was fazed out 1983 with the VDUs installed. I have no photos I had 6 months off to recover from tenosynovitis and neck bursitis no compensation really only improving now with constant chiropractic new methods no work breaks then and because I was only one not good memories but a zippy machine that typed well on certificates and was a bit noisy. With the VDUs came ergonomic chairs

          
Wednesday 16th March 2011
jan (Melbourne)

I worked on the A5 from 1979 as a programmer. Yes it used BAL - Basic Assembler Language.
I also spent time with the engineers and helped them pull many apart.
Because i had time on my hands when not programming the A5 I learnt the A4, P603 and Auditronic 1530 series.

          
Thursday 10th August 2017
POK (New Zealand)

I was engineer on A5 it was fun. Needed a lot of attention as it was not built to do what the programmers wanted it to do or what the salesmen told the customers it would do. We took them all back to retrofit with stronger components. We wanted them to work but sometimes they broke and this was not good for a machine that printed people''s pay slips. There was no shortage of effort to make them work but they just wouldn''t do what they were asked to do. Those were interesting times.

          
Saturday 29th July 2017
R J Grace (United Kingdom)
I

 

NAME  A5
MANUFACTURER  Olivetti
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  Italy
YEAR  1974
END OF PRODUCTION  Unknown
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Unknown
KEYBOARD  QWERTY mechanical keyboard with numeric keypad
CPU  Mostek 6048 ?
SPEED  Unknown
CO-PROCESSOR  Unknown
RAM  1 KB
ROM  Unknown
TEXT MODES  Text output via paper sheets
GRAPHIC MODES  None
COLORS  2 printing colors ?
SOUND  None
SIZE / WEIGHT  Unknown
I/O PORTS  Unknown
BUILT IN MEDIA  Paper magnetic card with 256 bytes storage
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply
PERIPHERALS  Unknown
PRICE  Unknown


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