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C > COMPUKIT > UK-101   


Compukit
UK-101

Made in the UK by Compukit in New Barnet, North London, the UK-101 was originally a copy of the Ohio Scientific Superboard II. Two years and various legal battles later the UK-101 became, technically, behind its erstwhile rival.

You could buy the UK101 as a kit or as ready made for an extra fee. The kit came in a cardboard briefcase, in which there were anti-static tubes containing the 65+ ICs, a box of IC sockets, and bags containing passives (mainly 0.1uF ceramic decoupling capacitors) and keyboard bits (the keyboard switches were soldered directly to the PCB).

The UK101 came with a transformer in a plastic case, which was rectified and regulated down to +5, the regulator's heatsink was far too small and it would run very very hot, causing the RF modulator to drift channel. Many people relocated the regulator off-board onto a bigger heatsink to solve both problems.

It came with an A4-size book authored by Dr. A.A. Berk, covering assembly, trouble-shooting, and circuit diagrams with descriptions.

The UK101 was based around the 6502 processor. On top of ASCII characters, 128 graphic characters were available in ROM. The RAM memory was expandable from 4 KB to 8 KB on board, or 40 KB with an expansion board.

At the time, The UK101 was heavily supported by Watford Electronics in the UK, and by various electronics magazines who published circuits. There were many user groups and plenty of software available. It was thus possible to upgrade this machine beyond all recognision !
Several cases were also made and sold by a number of manufacturers.

_______________________

Contributors: Paul Mansfield

John reports to us:
There were 3 monitor chips available, this being the 8k rom. The only one I can remember the name of was the Cegmon, the latest in the series.
The 40 pin expansion slot offered some inpressive (for the time) abilites. Mine had a sound card in it but I also saw systems with colour, hard drives and 5.25 floppy systems.

Some boards had links in them in place of the two sockets on your picture. These needed to be removed if you wanted to use the 40 pin expansion and a couple of 8T28s (buffer chips) put in their place. Other expansions I saw included a 'graphics' chip that could be switched in using software. A small pigiback board replaced the Normal character chip (which is the horizontal one in your picture) with the graphics rom and normal character rom slotted into it. This gave 256 additional characters, and since the replacement rom was an Eprom these new characters could be anything.

Programming was via Microsoft 8k Basic and involved a lot of Poke instructions to get it to do anything much. Overclocking was a breeze, but you had to get it right otherwise the screen divided into 4!

Martin Ward adds:
You could upgrade the graphics RAM by "piggkbacking" two new RAM chips on top of the existing chips, with one pin sticking out sideways which had a flying lead soldered to it. This gave you 48 characters x 32 lines.
The tape recorder could also be "overclocked" to 600 or even 1200 baud!
RAM cost about £10 per K (£5 per 1KB x 4bit chip).


Dick Greening reports:
An interesting story is that one of the BBC engineers rewrote the garbage collection routine (in the Microsoft Basic 4 Rom I thing it was,) only to find later that somehow Microsoft had incorporated his routine in their new version of Basic. He was able to prove it was his program as he had encrypted his name in the program! Sound a familiar story!

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.
Please consider donating your old computer / videogame system to Old-Computers.com or one of our partners.


 

@Terry - Chris Carey opened radio station in Dublin, and the folk involved set up a sales and support organisation run out of a very decrepit basement in Dublin city centre. I was studying CS in Trinity at the time, and used to work part-time for them, either soldering kits for purchasers, or fixing those that didn''t work. (Almost always bent pins on the ICs)
Those were some very happy days :-)

          
Wednesday 22nd July 2020
Con Cunningham (Ireland)

I worked at Comp shop New Barnet , selling these and helping pack them , its was run by Chris Carey great days - i then build and developed software for Nascom , i was 14 at the time

          
Thursday 23rd January 2020
terry brown (United Kingdom)

Change the dollar sign to a hash sign in the URL''s below

          
Thursday 28th August 2014
Martin Ward

 

NAME  UK-101
MANUFACTURER  Compukit
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1979
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Microsoft BASIC
KEYBOARD  Full stroke 50 keys
CPU  6502
SPEED  1 MHz. (could be 'overclocked' at 2 MHz by modifying the clock divide circuit)
CO-PROCESSOR  None
RAM  4 KB expandable to 8 KB on board
VRAM  1 KB
ROM  8 KB (Microsoft BASIC) + 2 KB monitor
TEXT MODES  16 to 48 chars. x 16 lines
GRAPHIC MODES  None, but 128 graphic characters
COLORS  Monochrome
SIZE / WEIGHT  unknown
I/O PORTS  Tape recorder (at 300 baud) and printer ports
BUILT IN MEDIA  None
POWER SUPPLY  External AC transformer. Power regulation on board
PERIPHERALS  Supports all Ohio Scientific expansions
PRICE  £249 in kit form




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