Competition Pro Joystick
Atari ST bombs
Elite spaceship t-shirt
C64 maze generator
Pak Pak Monster
|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|
Thanks for the info!
Don''t hesitate to send us more information about your experience with this system so that everyone can read it.
|Tuesday 19th May 2009||Brendan Owen (UK)|
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.