Click Here to visit our Sponsor
The History of Computing The Magazine Have Fun there ! Buy books and goodies
  Mistake ? You have mr info ? Click here !Add Info     Search     Click here use the advanced search engine
Browse console museumBrowse pong museum









 

ZX Spectrum T-shirts!

see details
ZX81 T-shirts!

see details
Ready prompt T-shirts!

see details
Atari joystick T-shirts!

see details
Spiral program T-shirts!

see details
Arcade cherry T-shirts!

see details
Battle Zone T-shirts!

see details
Vectrex ship T-shirts!

see details
Elite spaceship t-shirt T-shirts!

see details
Atari ST bombs T-shirts!

see details
C64 maze generator T-shirts!

see details
Moon Lander T-shirts!

see details
Competition Pro Joystick T-shirts!

see details
Pak Pak Monster T-shirts!

see details
BASIC code T-shirts!

see details
Breakout T-shirts!

see details
Vector ship T-shirts!

see details
Pixel adventure T-shirts!

see details




T > THORN EMI  > WREN


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Thorn EMI  WREN computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum

 

Wednesday 1st July 2020
Ian (United Kingdom)

Hi Harry, thanks for posting. Yes, I can get both of your computers repaired at fairly low cost. Can you post your e-mail and I will communicate with you directly. This mini-Forum does not automatically forward/redirect messages.

Do you have any software to exchange? Anyone on the forum have any cool vintage hardware for this Wren and more importantly software to run?

Cheers,

Ian


Tuesday 19th May 2020
Dan (UK)

I think I used to use one of these back in 1990 for exercising floppy disk drives. It used to run some program for exercising different makes of drive and also used to show an "oscilloscope" output showing the amplitude of the signal from the heads when a test diskette was used in the drive$ this allowed alignment to be performed. Anyone else know of these being used for this purpose or have I got this mixed up with something else?


Thursday 30th April 2020
harry  (uk)

I noticed that Ian from London mentioned he could get these Wren ''s repaired is that still an option? I have two of these not working? can you pass him my details if possible?


Monday 27th April 2020
Ian (London, UK)

Hi Martin, great to know that you have one of these machines and that you were interested in I/O interfacing. So am I, and I have built a lot of hardware interfaces e.g. ROM cards, 8255 PIA boards, ADCs and DACs.

I am eager to interface to the Wren.

Do you still have the audio digitiser schematic and software to share or to purchase? I am also interested in the RGB to PAL card.

I have got a working Wren Executive which my friend and I have repaired and restored. More importantly, the boot disc has been corrupted and I wondered if I could perhaps borrow your''s to make a duplicate and flux copy?

I can also arrange to have your Wren repaired.

Cheers!


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

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.


Friday 27th September 2019
Martin Underwood (East Yorkshire)

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.


Wednesday 20th May 2015
Chris (UK)

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


Sunday 16th November 2014
Mr N B Bell (uk)

Hi I have a Thorn EMI WREN in good working order.Also has its ts Mannuals and software ...Nice old pc


Friday 30th May 2014
Steve (Norway)

Interesting... I was the hardware support specialist at Wren computers... I found this during a "nostalgia hunt".

The computer was very advanced for its time, but, as people have pointed out, plagued by problems.

The primary issue was the case itself. The design was very poor and EXTREMELY vulnerable to shock damage. There were quite a few sharp angles in the case mouldings that created weaknesses.

I cannot remember how many units we repaired, sent back to the customer , and which were returned again with cases that had been damaged in transit.

I remember testing out new packaging (+ possibly a slightly modified case?) by $ping boxes off a desk.
(Corner $s, side $s, flip $s and so on).

I cannot remember with certainty if the design of the case was modified to try and make it less prone to stress damage, but I am pretty sure that the design of the case was modified slightly.

Also during manufacturing, we were unlucky enough to have batches of logic chips where the propagation times were all at the maximum specified values.. Units build using these chips often suffered from "amnesia".
There was a lot of discreet logic involved in the RAM refresh circuitry, with bad propagation times through a number of logic gates all adding up, the memory refresh was unreliable.
This was a difficult problem to find, and quite costly for Wren. The computers designer (from Transam Microsystems) used a lot of time tracking this problem down.

I took one home a few times, and had to swap arms several times on my way to the tube station. They were pretty heavy to haul around.


Friday 10th June 2011
Mike (UK)

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.

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....

Great Computer though!!


Tuesday 19th May 2009
Webmaster

Hi

Thanks for the info!
Don''t hesitate to send us more information about your experience with this system so that everyone can read it.

Regards


Tuesday 19th May 2009
Brendan Owen (UK)
Transam Eurodata Ltd

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 (www.transam.co.uk) and Prism (who distributed computers for Sinclair). I led the team at Transam that designed the computer and implemented the software. Transam have recently been aquired by Eurodata Systems.


Saturday 25th January 2003
KasunagiX (USA)

7" monitor?, the largest then i've ever seen in a Luggable machine.





Click here to go to the top of the page   
Contact us | members | about old-computers.com | donate old-systems | FAQ
OLD-COMPUTERS.COM is hosted by - NYI (New York Internet) -