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P > POLYCORP > Poly 1 Educational Computer   

Poly 1 Educational Computer

The Poly was a home/educational computer platform developed in New Zealand in the early 1980s. It was marketed to schools, but because it was prohibitively expensive and somewhat idiosyncratic, the main customers seem to have been the Australian Army and somebody in China.

Perhaps its most remarkable feature was its ability for networking, which seems to have used a protocol all of its own. For a year or two it may have been the most network capable home computer in the world, before 3Com thought to make Ethernet cards for the Apple II.

It was named after Wellington Polytechnic, where it was developed.


Contributor: Tony Thompson

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I went to High School in New Zealand in the 80s. My school still had a computer lab with a dozen or so Poly 1 and a couple of Poly 2 computers. They were a strange looking machine, and very heavy. I remember the keyboards on the Poly 1 had copper plates at the sides to let you de-static yourself before using them. They were all networked, and shared a central "server" which looked like a large box with a couple of 8" floppy disk drives. The shared printers also plugged into the "server". Software was very simple - I remember a very basic word processor, and we were taught Pascal on it.

One of the guys I went to school with is trying to preserve and document information about these machines:

Saturday 28th August 2010
lizardb0y (New Zealand)

The CPU speed has to be 1 Mhz, because the 6809 was never rated for 4 Mhz. (2 Mhz in Motorola made parts, 3 Mhz for some hitachi ones)

Wednesday 22nd August 2007
Diego (Earth)


NAME  Poly 1 Educational Computer
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  New Zealand
YEAR  1981
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  BASIC interpreter + text editor
KEYBOARD  Full QWERTY keyboard + function keys
CPU  Motorola 6809
SPEED  1 MHz or 4 MHz (Unconfirmed)
RAM  64 KB
VRAM  2 x 240x204 Display pages or
1 x 480x204 Display page – 48K
2 Text screens – 2K
TEXT MODES  Display 1 - 40x24 Text
Display 3 - 40x24 TeleText
GRAPHIC MODES  Displays 2 & 4 – 240x204
Display 5 – 480x204
SOUND  Clock chip (Unknown specs)
SIZE / WEIGHT  Big & heavy
I/O PORTS  DIN Network connector
BUILT IN MEDIA  Proprietary Networking System to a CP/M based server (no internal storage)
PRICE  ~NZ$4000

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