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A > APPLIED TECHNOLOGIES  > Microbee 32   

APPLIED TECHNOLOGIES   Applied Technologies
Microbee 32

Around 1978 Owen Hill teamed up with an electronic components company, Applied Technology of Hornsby (Sydney), to build a small computer he had designed. Applied Technology had been previously producing kits in Australia for S-100 boards. The Microbee was released as a kit in 1982 on the cover of Your Computer magazine, the manual was included free with the magazine. They were an immediate hit, being quite a powerful little system given the cost.

Applied Technology eventually changed their name to Microbee Systems, and sold ready-made versions. Their main market (especially for the 32) were Australian schools, which had the Microbee recommended as the preferred system.

Over the years there has been several versions of the Microbee 32. The early ones (PLUS series) had monochrome display and clock rate at 2 Mhz. Later ones (Colour/IC series), from june 1983, included colour and 3.375 Mhz clock rate.

Different models:

- 32k Home built - 2mHz clock, Z80
- 32k IC (with EDASM) - 3.375 mHz clock. All later Z80 Microbees would run at this speed though many were over clocked up to 6 mHz.
- 32k Personal Communicator (with Basic, Telcom terminal program and Wordbee - a word processor in ROM)
- 32k PC85 (Word processor, Basic, Spreadsheet, Database in ROM) - the last of the line for ROM based machines - very neat and with built in networking.

The Microbee 32 was followed by Microbee 56, 64 and 128 models. There were all disk based systems using CP/M. The Microbee 128 was intended as a high-end business system. There were also two really keen prototype systems, the Gamma and the Delta, which were intended to compete with the Amigas, but problems within the company led to their cancellation not long before the company's collapse.


Had one of these as a kid did any of you play that yacht around Australia game where you had to type in distance+compass direction,,,I think been about 25 years since I played. What about that one where you were some manner of cargo ship captain going from port to port in trade hoping to avoid pirates but if you were really lucky you had the opportunity to bribe the pirate boss at the beginning of the game? So many memories so few names to stick on them

Friday 6th February 2015
Vex (Australia)

OMG. I remember this computer well. I was around 2 years old when my parents got this computer direct from the manufacturer down in Hornsby.
We had the version with the tape deck and programs usually took about half an to load. My first game I ever played was Frogger in green screen....I also remember playing a game that involved going around a set course and you had to avoid hitting the sides or any obstacles dotted around the course but I can''t remember the name of it!!!

Thursday 14th August 2014
Benjamin Ashcroft (Newcastle, NSW, Australia)

Had several Microbees$ one was the Computer-in-a-Book CPM other wise known as the "Chook in a book" because of its drive noise
Great fun

Sunday 29th June 2014
Michael Tooth


NAME  Microbee 32
MANUFACTURER  Applied Technologies
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  Australia
YEAR  1982
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Microworld Level II extended Basic
KEYBOARD  Full sized, 60 keys, QWERTY standard layout
CPU  Z80 A
SPEED  3.375 MHz
CO-PROCESSOR  6545 CRT controller
RAM  16 KB or 32 KB depending models (battery-backed CMOS)
ROM  16 KB (Microworld Basic) + 12 KB (for optional ROMs like word processor and telecommunications software)
TEXT MODES  64 x 16
GRAPHIC MODES  128 x 48, 512 x 256
COLORS  Yes, with later models
SOUND  Internal loudspeaker, one channel, 2 octaves
I/O PORTS  Serial RS 232, tape interface (300 and 1200 baud), composite and RGB (optional) video output, parallel port (optional on early units), expansion bus
POWER SUPPLY  External power supplu unit, 12V DC at 1.1A
PERIPHERALS  Printers, tape recorder, joystick, modem, optional colour board

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