Comart was the computer system group that took over the Byte Shop/Computerland chain when it had financial difficulties in the late 70s. They were a large company distributing North Star systems, and similar equipments. The Communicator was their first effort in distributing a British-made system.
The Communicator is a S-100 bus system based around a main chassis with a 10-slot-mother-board. The system had 64 KB of RAM and came with three variations of dual floppy disk drives.
Several S-100 boards were available. They offered Viewdata/Prestel capabilities, or 18.7 MB hard disk, with 13.4 MB cartridge backup.
The system ran CP/M operating system. A smaller system called the Educator, with networking facilities, was also available.
Chris Coggins adds:
The Communicator was upgraded over several years until the Communicator was given multi-user capability by running MP/M80 but finished off running Intel 386 processors with 512 KB RAM running CCP/M86. Hard disk had grown to 40MB Rodime drive.
David Broad sold Comart to Kode International and 2 years later it lefts it's Cambridgeshire factory and moved to Swindon. The Company went downhill, dropped the S-100 bus to use standard PC architecture but eventually closed.
I worked in Byeshiop Manchester we sold these along side North Star Commodore Pet, Apple II, Sharp Mz80k vic20 and Cromemco.
I still have a Communicator with 10Mb hard drive, I think it will end up at Bletchley as they said $ it off.
I fell out with them somewhat after I set up sale to Kellogg''s to weight the frosties packets instead of them buying a harris mini, then when the guy came round to discuss the sale I was told to make the tea.
I said to the young lad who worked Saturdays that I thought I should set up on my own, he told the owner who sacked me.
He had previously given me my P45 when I had to visit hospital for something less than trivial.
I am not bitter as it was a really good grounding and I have had my own Computer company ever since.
He went on to manage Clive sinclairs z88 thing and Byteshop went on to be purchased by another company which still trades.
Monday 23rd May 2016
John Adams (UK)
One of these ran the flight display boards at Manchester Airport. I remember the screen was on top of the Base unit and would wobble. I always felt drunk after using it.
Friday 10th July 2015
Paul Hindley (uk)
I have a copy of PCW magazine from 1983 in which the CC was promoted as *future proof*.
I think I''d like to upgrade mine, now. My 5mb HD isn''t particularly power-efficient, the coils which move those disk-heads make my lightbulbs dim !! $)
Monday 27th October 2014
Paul Kerry (Scotland)
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Serial video terminal
Depends on the video terminal used
2 x Serial RS-232
BUILT IN MEDIA
2 x 5.25'' floppy disc drives - 190 KB, 390 KB or 790 KB each