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The Wren was one of the last "laptop" CP/M computer. It can be described as a combined personal computer and Teletext terminal. It weights more than 12 Kg !

This Computer was assembled at the Thorn EMI factory in Treorchy South Wales. Only about 1000 were made before Wren went bust and many companys were left holding the parts for the other 9000 units that were part of the first production run.

It was very advanced for its day and the software package was very good quality and comprehensive for that era.

Although the Wren computer was manufactured at Thorn EMI in Feltham, they were a subcontractor to Wren Computers Ltd. Wren was a joint venture company between Transam Microsystems ( and Prism (who distributed computers for Sinclair). Transam have recently been aquired by Eurodata Systems.

The Wren was sold with several good softs : Perfect Calc, Perfect Writer, Perfect Filer, Executive Desktop (agenda, phone directory, note-pad, etc.), the popular BBC Basic (the same as the Acorn BBC or the Electron) and a communication application. Indeed the Wren has a built-in modem and is Prestel (english videotex) compatible. But it can also be used to automaticaly dial phone numbers stored in a directory.

The whole system looks quite strong and robust. When transported, the whole monitor and drive assembly slides over the keyboard. The 7" built-in screen is monochrome but it is also possible to connect the WREN to an external RGB monitor. The two disk-drives (40 tracks) can stored 190k each. Weird fact : the drives LEDs light up when one of the floppies is selected but don't light off when this drive stop to work...

Quality control was a major issue which certainly delayed production and caused a few financial problems for Wren. It might just have been too far advanced a concept for the time....


I had a Wren and used it for producing a club magazine using the "Perfect Suit" of software supplied as a package with the machine.
The magazine was voted as one of the best club mags at the time.
I sold it to a collector - am I sad saying I wish I still had it to play with.
The implementation of BBC basic was fairly sound and I also used for Packet Radio as a licensed UK radio ham - it was ideal for that.

Wednesday 5th February 2020
Adrian (UK) (United Kingdom Hampshire)

I bought a Wren - I remember driving up to Transam''s shop off Gray''s Inn Road to collect it and an Epson RX80 dot-matrix printer. I decided I could afford the RAM upgrade from 16 KB to 256 KB, but not the optional 5 MB HDD.

I can vouch for the Wren being *heavy* and then need to change arms several times when carrying it.

I used it at university for writing project reports. I also built an RGB-to-PAL board for driving a colour TV, and an I/O board which connected to the HDD connector and allowed analogue-to-digital and digital-to-analogue converters to be converted: somewhere I have a file containing Dire Straits'' "Brothers in Arms" track digitised from LP, as an exercise.

It worked until a few years ago, but when I was about to move house I could not get it to boot: it was a hardware problem because it never got as far as spinning the boot floppy.

I''ve just found a listing of a BASIC program that I wrote which contained embedded Z80 code which sorted an integer array considerably faster than doing it in BASIC - or even in Turbo Pascal. It was a long job debugging that code because any error in Z80 usually resulted in the Wren locking-up and having to be rebooted.

Friday 27th September 2019
Martin Underwood (East Yorkshire)

Great to see so many posts for the Wren. I would love to see any schematics or service information for this great little computer.

Wednesday 20th May 2015
Chris (UK)


TYPE  Transportable
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1984
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke keyboard with 5 function keys and arrow keys, 67 keys
CPU  Zilog Z80 A
RAM  64 kb (up to 256 kb)
VRAM  32 kb
ROM  8 kb
TEXT MODES  80 x 25 / 40 x 25
GRAPHIC MODES  512 x 256
COLORS  monochrome built-in display
SIZE / WEIGHT  235 x 420 x 470 mm / 12 kg
I/O PORTS  Centronics, RS232c, Winchester Hard Disk, Paddle (2), Modem socket, RGB video output
BUILT IN MEDIA  Two 5.25'' built-in disk-drives (190k each)
PRICE  £1,000 (UK, april 84)
2881 (France, october 84)

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