I’ve been spending some time recently with my new non-work project, which involves a pile of BBC microcomputers, various ancient pieces of kit, a phone line and an Econet. To date this has largely involved me just piling stuff up in the garage, but tonight I decided to actually do something about it.

The plan is this: I used to run a Viewdata bulletin board many years ago on a BBC Micro model B, with a V23 (that’s 1200 baud) pre-Hayes auto-answer modem and a 20MB Winchester hard disk. I am going to get that working over the Internet, still using a modem but dialling over the house VoIP system to the ancient Dacom Designer modem. It will mean that only one person at a time can use the BBS but that’s the way it used to happen. It’d be ace to get that authentic speed 🙂

Having said that, I don’t particularly want to lock up the Winchester disk, so I’m killing two birds with one stone and setting up a Level 3 Econet fileserver as well complete with home-constructed clock boxes. As a plus I can probably get the RiscPC connected to it, but that’s a bonus and if I can’t well so be it. There’ll be a third machine (a BBC Master 128) which I’m going to fit John Kortink’s GoMMC system to, as a backup storage device since I don’t entirely trust the MFM drive which will be attached to the fileserver, and it’ll give me a Beeb to play with while the BBS is in use.

I was quite proud of myself tonight – managed to fault-trace the 1770DFS and get that working which then opened up all the old 5.25″ DFS disks I have kicking around; then fitted the ATPL Sidewise board and got the 6502 second processor working using an old Beeb PSU. It’s still an inconvenience having to load ADFS into sideways RAM so I’ve put a shout-out on the BBC Micro maillist to see if anyone has an ADFS ROM I could grab, or can burn me one on an old 27128 EPROM (I have loads of the damn things, but none with ADFS on).

I’ve saved the fun of getting the old Winchester drives working for next time. I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a long haul, that one – there’s an ST-225 drive and an old Miniscribe 3650, both of which haven’t seen action in years. I think I’m going to need an enclosure as well, I’ve got an old SCSI one in the garage somewhere which will come in handy I think. Mmmm.

(Update: Looks like I need to get some more 34-way cable and IDC connectors for the 1MHz bus, so I guess it’s a trip to Maplin for me tomorrow!)