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E > ELECTRONICA > CIP-03


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Electronica CIP-03 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

 

Friday 13rd January 2017
Dan Mihai (United States)

Found this post while browsing around$ I am the original designer and the project manager (from the ITC side) of commercializing this design as CIP-01 at Electronica Pipera back in 1987$ Calin Popescu was the project manager from the Electronica Pipera''s side.

It all started when during several brainstorming discussions over quite a few satisfying games of Bridge with Cristi Hera (Pupu) and Virgil Vladescu (Bombone) - graduates of IPB Automatica / Calculatoare - about the weaknesses of the FCE''s HC-85 design, I had the idea of designing an alternate Spectrum clone hardware as a fully synchronous Finite State Machine (FSM) which ran everything (Z80A CPU, shared video memory controller, and later even the PAL encoder) from a single ~18 MHz crystal and with zero CPU WAIT states - a first for that time, and which made this design be the only Sinclair Spectrum clone generating "pure" sound tones. Initially I built this design "by hand" on a 25-mil 4-layer PCB encased in a manually assembled plastic enclosure slightly smaller than the original Spectrum - 8.75 cm wide x 5.5 cm deep x 1.6 cm tall (still have one of those in my personal computing museum, happy to share pictures with anyone who asks) and sold quite a few of these in the IPB dorms around 1985-1986 before pitching the idea of commercializing this design to my team leader at ITC, Riuric Bulgacov, in mid-1987.

Riuric brilliantly positioned this as a potential "gaming accessory" to the just-released Cromatic color TV manufactured by Electronica Pipera to get it approved by the political administration of that time $ I am still amazed to this day that the project got approved by the administration, considering how strict they were in controlling the public''s access to electronic communications, typewriters, free speech, etc. Perhaps it was its classification as a "game accessory to the color TV" that made it fly under the radar?

The design of what became CIP-01 had to be adjusted for the manufacturing capabilities available at Electronica-Pipera: 50-mil 2-layer PCB technology, injection-molded ABS plastic, and "consumer electronics-grade" connectors (rather large DIN jacks, etc.) which increased the size of the PCB by a factor of 4 yielding a size of the entire device of 31.5 cm wide x 28 cm deep x 6.5 cm tall. This was quite a bit larger than the original "hand-built" prototype, but it had the advantage of a larger and much more comfortable keyboard and (potentially) better cooling for the electronics.

I still remember designing CIP-01''s first PCB layout on Electronica''s CORAL minicomputer while trying to cleverly route power and ground traces to minimize ground noise - quite a challenge in a 2-layer "consumer electronics-style" PCB layout compared with the original 4-layer "computer-style" PCB layout with dedicated power and ground planes.

Eugen Stefan (Gene) from Electronica designed an RF modulator which was included in the box as well. Marian Romascanu from ITC designed a synchronous PAL encoder - conceptually based on the Apple II NTSC design - and I programmed the super-optimized 4K Spectrum BIOS cassette loader + BASIC interpreter to go around the Sinclair Spectrum software copyright while still providing the ability to program in BASIC. The Sinclair BIOS was loadable from a cassette tape (not sold by Electronica at that time to avoid copyright issues, but widely available from friends, family, and other "hobbyists") for full compatibility with all Spectrum games. I still have a CIP-01 preproduction prototype (white) in my personal technology museum, happy to share pictures of it as well. The entire commercialization project (concept to manufacturing) of the ITC-Electronica joint venture lasted about 12 months, which would qualify as a record even today.

CIP-01 was available in consumer electronic stores everywhere in Romania starting with 1988, I still remember seeing it on display at Bucur-Obor $ right next to a Cromatic color TV.

I''m quite happy to see that the product ended up selling well and helping a lot of young Romanian people acquire a passion for computers, learn how to develop software, and increase their market value in today''s high-tech global economy.


Thursday 9th July 2015
Zoltán (Cluj)

In order to make a DTP program for editing the high school’s newspaper we had to modify a CIP-01 (bought immediately after the Revolution) to house supplementary 64K RAM (128K per total). also a printer and a MIDI (Musical Instruments’ Digital Interconnection) interface has been added, in this manner the computer became a ‘powerful’ multimedia tool (for Romanian ZX-clone standards, of course).
Unfortunately I don’t have the computer anymore.


Sunday 18th May 2014
Cristina Oprea (Romania)

I have a CIP -03 from Electronica. Whoever is interested in buying it please contact me : chris1_chris@yahoo.com


Wednesday 28th August 2013
Victor Fomino (Bucharest, Romania)
The world through my eye(s)

Together with Calin Popescu, I worked in the project for CIP (series) 03 computer (Sinclair clone).
Based on a designer sketch, I designed all the mechanics (keyboard, case and even a Joystick).
I wold like to get the mail adress of Calin Popescu.

Thanks


Tuesday 12th March 2013
injineru (Germany)
Injineru

I had this also but it was a CIP (without number). I used to play a lot on it but my dad always told me to make some programming because that is the future :) Oh the memories...


Saturday 9th February 2013
Cristian (Berlin)

Hi there,

I have a CIP-03 and intend to use it in a presentation at the university. I also have a CGA to VGA converter (http://www.ebay.de/itm/250921932635), but I have no idea how to connect it to this jack: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/OV8LprJxKpL-obTwA7ml9PSsYGzlsMif53eYzYbzzpQ?feat$directlink

The Ring around is the Ground, but then I have the R/G/B plus the HS and VS.

Does anyone have an idea about this?


Sunday 12th September 2010
Calin

My first computer, bought in Mai 1990. It was CIP 02 version and BASIC should be loaded from tape. My first programs and algorithms were tested using it


Wednesday 7th February 2007
Adrian (Constanta)

Yes, I still have this one! I had it first in '92 - '93, I think. I was just hypnotised by it ... hours and hours of loading and playing old games. We only had one TV at that time, and me and my brother were fighting with our parents for it. Those were the good times!


Monday 20th March 2006
Adrian Toma (Earth)

CIP03: My first computer... I was i kid in school (13 years old) when i bought this amazing computer. I remember i was loading 30kb in only 20 minutes. Unfortunaly, sometimes, i was getting "Tape Error Loading" ... so reload... Anyway, i was loving it ... THIS made me decide my future career in IT.





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