Designed by Barry Savage, the Menta looks like a Sinclair ZX-80 or ZX-81 clone, but it's not. It's rather a development tool and initiation machine based on a Z80A processor. The concept is to help you understand how a Z80A works.
The system itself is very similar to a Sinclair ZX-80 with its flat membrane keyboard. But when you look closer, you notice that the keybord is not quite usual like a QWERTY one for example. It's an hexadecimal one with numbers from 0 to 9 and letters from A to F. All the other keys are marked with Z80 machine language functions and instructions.
Apparently, there is no other language available than the built-in Z80 monitor. It enables you to directly program the Z80A microprocessor via the dedicated keyboard.
There is a RF TV video output to use any television as main display. A tape interface is here to save your work on magnetic tapes. There are even communication possibilities through a 24 i/o line connector.
The Menta is very rare and was only advertised in specialised magazines, next to EPROM programmers.
Indeed the Menta is very similar to its brother: Softy, an E-PROM programmer which used the same plastic case, almost same keyboard and had an E-PROM socket at the left part of the keyboard.
Contributors : Callum
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.
sandy white talks of programming with one of these... .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v$MTQv0Yz7eSw
Wednesday 16th November 2011
I used to have one of these. It displayed a memory in HEX on the TV. You could step through your programs and see what happened to the memory on the display. It could print a hex dump via the serial port (A DIL header). The same header was used for saving/loading programs to tape.
Friday 24th December 2010
Colin Camper (UK)
That's got to be one of the ugliest computers I've ever seen.