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This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Research Machines Nimbus PC computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Friday 4th March 2016
Chris (UK)

I have an RM Nimbus on ebay if anyone is interested.$STRK:MESELX:IT$_trksid$p3984.m1555.l2649

Wednesday 25th February 2015

Mr Eprom9, you sound so posh!! $o)

Wednesday 25th February 2015

Mr Eprom9, you sound so posh!! $o)

Thursday 19th February 2015
adrian (United Kingdom)

The Nimbus is backwardly compatible with the 280z,380z and 480z. This means that the entire and then widely available(in education circles) backcatalogue of software written in RM basic is/was open to nimbus users. That means literally thousands of titles across hundreds of subjects, most written by teachers and pupils themselves to aid them with their course work. My mom borrowed a nimbus in the line of duty just prior to launch. We were able to enjoy it''s incredible functionality, including the earliest available MS Windows operating system. and of course Acorn had their noses put out of joint because the nimbus could run BBC basic software: something that their own electron struggled with and Archimedes could not do at all at the time. Here at last was an affordable, £800 personal computer which could be used at home, in the office and in schools. It could be used for the all the stuff adults wanted including helping the kids with their homework: Anything written in anything up to RM or BBC basic would work on a Nimbus PC. Again, RM missed the boat. I used to sell computers. Customers would tell me they wanted a computer to help the kids with their homework. If their school had BBC micros or zx spectrums I could help. If they had RM equipment i was at a loss to help, other than to suggest they get a friend in education to get them RM or to go and work for RM so they could borrow RM equipment,

Thursday 22nd December 2011
Jonathan Erskine-Nartey (UK)
Personal web site

If anyone still have RM Nimbus PC, please let me know because I''m very interested. Also, does anyone have a copy of the following software:

1) Adventures I for RM Nimbus containing two games: The Lost Frog $ Merlin''s Castle

2) MicroSmile for RM Nimbus containing a game called "Boxes"

3) Look and Read: Through the Dragon''s Eye: Nimbus Pack

Check out my wanted list to see the pics -

Friday 17th December 2010
EPROM 9 (England)
EPROM 9 Home

If it''s still going contact the email on my site please. I am a collector who needs to build up ones collection. Thanks

Wednesday 6th October 2010
unravelled (London, UK)

I used to manage a 480z and Nimbus school network in the 80s. RM was unfortunate in that it made the machines non-standard in trying to enhance them for school use.

I have acquired a nimbus pc2 system (twin floppy) recently, but it really needs a new home. Is anyone interested?

I don''t know if anyone here can help, but what I''d really like to do is convert some paintspa pics into a useable format. I believe one of the versions of painspa ran on a conventional pc, but woudl still read and convert older files . Can anyone confirm, and help me track down a copy?

Saturday 18th September 2010
Dave (UK)

@Mark Gray, If you''ve still got your Nimbus for disposal, I''d be happy to give it home in my computer collection. It would look good next to my 480Z :)

Tuesday 17th August 2010
Nemo (UK)

@ Mark Gray (Newbury), are you serious about dumping your Nimbus PC-186 (green screen version)? that really would be a shame!

Thursday 5th August 2010
Mark Gray (Newbury, UK)

I''ve got a Nimbus PC-186 (green screen version) switched on right next to me now. 21 years plus old and still working perfectly. Even the hard disk (a whopping 20 megabytes) works.

Real shame I''m going to have to dump it. Don''t have room any more.

Thursday 1st July 2010
Paul Smallman (UK, England)

OMG yeah i remember caxton, the more professional word processor we learned in year 2, paintspa, treasure island, rm basic, logo etc was awesome. I actually wanted to go to school. Do you remember Trains aswell, that game that you had to get the tracks right or the train would derail and crash horribly. Lol i have actually managed to get the original PAINTSPA to run on my modern day pc seriously! I would love to be able to get caxton and suchlike to run but have no idea where to get this ancient software. But paintspa is a great start, and it runs flawless on my dual core intel! I have to boot into dos and use runpc186.exe but im loving that i can do that!

Monday 7th April 2008
mark p

...yeah, there were originally a few paragraph breaks in that wall of text. my apologies.

test - this should be on a new line

Monday 7th April 2008
Mark P (Birmingham UK)

Haha!! Possibly the first computer I ever used, at least of any note (the absolute first being a borrowed Speccy, of course), at about 7 or 8 years old at primary school (like '88, '89?). It seemed magic at the time, though the school had surely either got it second hand, or very cheap - mind you, I wouldn't put it past RM to still be selling 186-based systems (never mind that they were about the only company ever to do so, instead of jumping straight from 086 to 286) at a premium price to schools that didn't know any better even at that date. It does seem to be their business model. I really dislike the company for their shoddy hardware, naff network software and high prices, but do owe them this small debt of gratitude for re-sparking my interest (that, and the same teacher's personal Atari 800 that he brought in so we could play Donkey Kong as a FAR better treat for good work than a boring gold star!). So much so that I saw the teacher first setting it up to introduce to the class through the window at playtime, and was so taken by this magical box of light (alternatively, perhaps thinking - wow, a really big spectrum!) that I snuck back in once he'd fired it up and loaded Paint Pot (something of a big deal, graphically, at the time - 16 colours :D) then wandered off, and wrote a big HELLO on the screen... somehow figuring out the mouse and how to choose the "rainbow" colour swatch pretty quickly.

Caught a fair bit of trouble for that I must say, but eventually I was unbanned, allowed to paint with it, play some of it's ropey (but spirited) games such as the electronic model train set, taxi driver (silly maths game :D), the aforementioned snooker etc, and even to the giddy heights of being entrusted with formatting a stack of new discs (remember when they were sold unformatted?) using clunky old DOS v3, big cheese for an 8 year old.

Kind of glad I randomly happened on this article as it explained some of the mysteries about the machine... e.g. how come it was the only 186 I've ever seen? (RM being wierd, though it did allow some minor technical advances) Was I dreaming when I saw cartridge slots? (No) How come it had such comparitively good graphics when, as far as I could tell via other sources, it should have been a bog standard CGA IBM clone? (It wasn't a proper PC clone, though, was it... they sort of pre-empted the coming of EGA, almost)........ and how come it seemed to share so many software titles with the BBCs mum used at her work, like Caxton Press, Granny's Garden, etc? (The BBC runtimes...) ---- i mean, wow! :D

Too bad their later machines sucked so much... the 386s that somehow already so ancient when I got to the second year of secondary school (and never even turned on, presumably completely broken down and knackered, and looking like they were still connected with an EGA cable not VGA) not much later... then the Pentium desktops the size of a house (most of it empty air) and inexplicably set up to use 640-rez, 8 bit colour on a nice video card and 15 inch monitor, and the horrendous RM Network software that wouldn't let you log in if you were slightly over quota (something like a single megabyte, tightarses) - unless you deleted one of the offending files ... and not even giving you the opportunity to copy the file off onto floppy or anything. Why they didn't just use Windows NT is anyone's guess. They're still making shite to this day, though things have improved slightly - a recent job in a school turning up some nice contemporary desktops, but also some awful all-in-one compact desktop things (not in any way a threat to the imac, and again seemingly hardcoded to use the wrong resolution and take forever to log in to a very sparse desktop) and borderline acceptable trolley-based laptops that are actually rebadged super cheap korean things. Gahh.

Bring back the simple but fun Nimbus, I say ... they don't really do much more complex with the current ones than they did with the 186 :D

The only regret is, as the primary school was so poor, they never got so far as buying a second one to attempt making a network with :) that would have been an excellent early adventure!

Monday 26th February 2007
Lyndon Baldwin (UK)

This really does take me back to school circa sep 1995. This was the school network running RMPC186's! That snooker game where you had to type in angles (used in maths lessons) and like others have said crashing often (especially when the whole classroom were using word or excel. I remember the print server username was IT2PRN and password was HOPELESS (obviosly IT staff realised the obselecence of the equipment). I got told off for logging in on that user! We also had a desktop publishing program called **** press. Can't remember the name.

Thursday 14th July 2005
Crispin (UK)

I used to have one one of these machines it had 640kb mem and a 20mb extrenal harddrive (same case as main computer case worked by parallel port plus it booted hd from bios) it was the first pc I striped and rebelt , and the one's we had at school worked on dos 3.3 (if you could get to it) 512kb mem no floppy or hard drive and worked on a 10bacet nertwork served by 386 sever and a 286 sub server.

Saturday 25th June 2005
Keith Greer (Co Derry, Northern Ireland)
KG Intenret

We used to have these computer at my primary school. they had a modified operating system made for the NEELB (North Eastern Education and Library Board) in Northern Ireland, the main screen had something like eight large buttons down each side labeled with a program name. Very easy to use!

Friday 8th April 2005
Darren (UK)

I used to repair these for the local authority what a great job! On the road half the day, then on the bench! There are 2 different versions, the old style "tall" version made of some type of rubber type material, and the newer metal one. I remember the fix for sync loss on the monitor, and after replacing many field output chips, finding a cure from RM to reset it DOH! Lovely machines to work on, but removing the mainboard resulted in many power LED plastic bits being snapped (oops!)

Friday 10th December 2004
Nathan Graves (England)

There were a lot of these at my old school, and some of the later (486) models. You could run most DOS programs on them, and if I remember I even tried to get Windows 95 running on one (it crashed and i was banned from using the computers for 3 weeks >.<). Anyway, there were a lot of educational programs on the system, but most seemed to be written in RM Basic. Oh, and I remember a high score on PC Genius :)

Monday 26th April 2004
Daeljan (UK)

I bought one of these RM Nibus PCs back in 1994 from a computer junk shop while I was doing my degree - I used it for many assigments. It had a 'Passport' drive - a 20 Meg Winchester drive that slid in and out of the front. I used WordPerfect, Tetris, and a text based digital logic gate simulator. I never had a problem with this machine.

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