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Dataman Designs

Designed by Barry Savage, the Menta looks like a Sinclair ZX-80 or ZX-81 clone, but it's not. It's rather a development tool and initiation machine based on a Z80A processor. The concept is to help you understand how a Z80A works.

The system itself is very similar to a Sinclair ZX-80 with its flat membrane keyboard. But when you look closer, you notice that the keybord is not quite usual like a QWERTY one for example. It's an hexadecimal one with numbers from 0 to 9 and letters from A to F. All the other keys are marked with Z80 machine language functions and instructions.

Apparently, there is no other language available than the built-in Z80 monitor. It enables you to directly program the Z80A microprocessor via the dedicated keyboard.

There is a RF TV video output to use any television as main display. A tape interface is here to save your work on magnetic tapes. There are even communication possibilities through a 24 i/o line connector.

The Menta is very rare and was only advertised in specialised magazines, next to EPROM programmers.

Indeed the Menta is very similar to its brother: Softy, an E-PROM programmer which used the same plastic case, almost same keyboard and had an E-PROM socket at the left part of the keyboard.


Contributors : Callum

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.
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sandy white talks of programming with one of these... .$MTQv0Yz7eSw

Wednesday 16th November 2011
smalc (uk)

I used to have one of these. It displayed a memory in HEX on the TV. You could step through your programs and see what happened to the memory on the display. It could print a hex dump via the serial port (A DIL header). The same header was used for saving/loading programs to tape.

Friday 24th December 2010
Colin Camper (UK)

That's got to be one of the ugliest computers I've ever seen.

Sunday 20th April 2008
PeriSoft (USA)


NAME  Menta
MANUFACTURER  Dataman Designs
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1981
KEYBOARD  Flat membrane keyboard, 40 keys
CPU  NEC D780C (Z80A clone)
SPEED  Unknown
SIZE / WEIGHT  Unknown
I/O PORTS  RF TV video output, 24 input/ouput lines, tape interface
POWER SUPPLY  External power supply (9V DC tip positive)
PRICE  1950 FF (France, Sept.. 1982)

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