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.
I had an Atmos. I agree with the quality of the manual. A tutorial on 6502 MC code programming and a list of the rom function calls. That taught me real programming when I was 14. I also found that I needed a serial port and built my own on vero, from a design in a magazine. Then wrote a simple mc code dumb terminal emulator program, with my new found skills. I did buy one of the floppy drives, but had lots trouble getting it working. Eventually it was discovered that I had been shipped a slave drive, rather than a master. But by the time we had worked this out, Oric had gone bust. (Though the new owners did help me out and got me a proper master drive. Thanks lads.) It''s still all in the loft. Will have to drag it all out and see if it works. That will be a shock for the kids!!
Tuesday 13rd November 2012
Jules (Poole Dorset / UK)
I learned all about programming on the Atmos, which I still have and with its disk drive, still works, the data intact from over 25 years ago. The user manual was quite outstandingly good, the best computer manual I have ever seen. When I started out in home computing I was advised that "If you''re a user, buy a Spectrum, if you''re a programmer, buy the Oric." It was fantastically accurate advice. I''ve now a Master''s in IT and work developing multiuser corporate databases - all thanks to skills learned on the Atmos.