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A > ACT > Apricot Xi   

Apricot Xi

The Xi was the hard-disk version of the cream-coloured Apricot PC.

The keyboard could be clipped to the underside of the machine, and a little cover would slide over the front panel to conceal the floppy drive. A handle then slid out of the front (just under the ridge) that allowed it to be carried very easily.

A colour screen was available - a re-packaged 10" Sony Trinitron screen that almost nobody bought because it was so expensive.

The mono screens had an anti-glare coating consisting of a very fine nylon mesh stretched over the screen and held in place by the bezel. Anybody who made the mistake of spraying glass cleaner on it would regret it, as the cleaner just clogged up in the pores of the mesh and left a nasty stain on the screen, which could only be removed by dismantling the monitor in order to rinse the mesh in water.

Model Xi5 : 256 KB RAM + 5 MB hard-disk + 315k disk-drive
Model Xi10 : 256 KB RAM + 10 MB hard-disk + 720k disk-drive
Model Xi20 : 512 KB RAM + 20 MB hard-disk + 720k disk-drive
Model Xi20s : 1 MB RAM + 20 MB hard-disk + 720k disk-drive

There was also a very rare model - coloured pale grey, which had a hard drive of 50 MB or thereabouts.

Dave Ridley reports:
Used to fix these machines, one very common problem on Apricot Xi was "wobbly screen" reported by user. The answer was to make a "bacofoil sandwich" as we called it! Take one aluminum foil strip, cover with packing tape to insulate, solder an earth wire onto one corner and stuff inside case, under where the screen sat. Hey presto, no wobble induced by PSU in main unit! Also the disk drives were prone to clogging up and getting generally dirty.

Technical tip from Charles Verrier:
Taking any Apricot PC to bits required a bit of care...
The rear panel had 3 or 4 screws, one of which fitted into the metal 'bridge' that ran the width of the machine, and held the PSU and disk drives above the motherboard, which filled the base of the case.
The bridge was partially supported by this real-panel screw, and would drop about half a centimetere when it was removed.
The only way to reassemble the thing was to turn the unit upside down so that the bridge screw hole would re-align with the real panel.
Happy days!

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Using software which I wrote which turned it into a multi-user system, my firm used the Xi for its sales order processing and stock control from about 1987 until we eventually replaced it with a bigger, faster machine in the early 1990s. Because it became so fundamental a part of our business and we couldn''t afford to have any significan downtime, I bought several machines as spares. There are still several working examples in the warehouse, and even the original manuals on the shelves in my office. If anyone is interested in them it would be great to see them go to a good home. apricotXi $at$ jubileegroup $dot$ co $dot$ uk

Sunday 30th July 2023
Ged Haywood (England)

I just got one of this rare grey Apricot Xi today. Ive experienced almost as exactly the same problem as Bill mentioned below. The computer startet no problems. But after a few seconds the PSU of the Monitor got up in smoke. Fortunately it came with another small monitor and i was able to do a bit of tinkering with this lovely machine. Some of the keys of the keyboard seem to be dead. Anyone here that knows if these rare keyboards are fixable? Greetings

Monday 2nd August 2021
Sven W. (Germany)

I have one that is missing the keyboard ... contact me if you have one for sale for a reasonable price.
rfka01 (at) freenet (dot) de

Monday 12th February 2018
rfka01 (Germany)


NAME  Apricot Xi
TYPE  Professional Computer
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1984
KEYBOARD  Full-stroke keyboard, 101 keys, 8 function keys, 6 dynamic function keys (membrane keys)
Built-in 40 characters x 2 lines LCD screen
CPU  Intel 8086
SPEED  4,77 Mhz
CO-PROCESSOR  Intel 8089 (for in/out tasks), 8087 optional arithmetic co-processor
RAM  256k, up to 768k
TEXT MODES  80 x 25, 132 x 50 (character matrix 10 x 16)
GRAPHIC MODES  800 x 400
SOUND  1 tone channel
SIZE / WEIGHT  Main unit : 42 x 32 x 10 cm
Main unit : 6,4 kg / Monitor : 4,1 kg / keyboard : 1,5 kg
I/O PORTS  RS232c, Centronics, 2 x Apricot expansion slots
BUILT IN MEDIA  1 or 2 x 3''1/2 disk-drives (315k or 720k), 5Mb, 10Mb & 20Mb hard-disks
OS  MS-DOS 2.0, CP/M 86, Concurrent CP/M
UCSD p-system in option
PERIPHERALS  1 additional 3''1/2 disk-drives, trackball, printer, plotter
PRICE  Xi 10Mb : £2795 (UK, november 84)

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