Introducing myself

In this forum you can write about anything that does not fit in other forums.
This includes generic Oric talkings and things that are totaly unrelated but want to share with people here :)
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kaydav
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Introducing myself

Post by kaydav » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:43 pm

Hi all,
I've just joined and still finding my way about here but wanted to say hi.

I've had an Oric-1 since about 1982 but it has been in storage in my mum's loft for years. I recently got it out and it's a bit bashed but does appear to mostly work. The speaker grille and the interface port have each taken a knock, which isn't hugely critical because I don't have any add-on hardware (for now!) and a speaker replacement may be quite simple to do. But there's something wrong with the video output. I tuned it in on the RF connection and got a very grainy image of the start screen. I could see just enough to know that typing things works so it's definitely not dead. Confirmed that the TV wasn't at fault since it can display the signal from a ZX Spectrum which uses the same channel give or take a bit of fine-tuning. We never had a RGB video cable so I don't know if it's any better that way. Haven't opened up the case yet either. If anyone has any tips towards getting it working again I'd be grateful.

At the moment I'm in the midst of converting a box of old audio cassettes to WAV format prior to converting to TAPs. Some are originals, some copies, some typed-in programs, some game-saves. I don't have a full list yet, and I don't know how good the tape recordings are any more, but happy to share anything that's not been emulated already. I'll also be doing photos and scans of boxes, inlays and manuals when time allows. One game I've been looking for is A&F Software's Zodiac Adventure, I think also known as Adventure II. I think it was the first ever adventure game I played so I have a soft spot for it. I have a .TAP from Gamebase v3.0 but it gives a syntax error after loading and won't LIST. Does anyone have a working copy anywhere?

Anyway, I'm so pleased the Oric community is still alive and active! :D

Yicker
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Yicker » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:49 am

Welcome back to the world of Oric :-)

You'll get plenty of help from the guys in this forum.

Regards
Scott

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Chema
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Chema » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:01 pm

Welcome to the forum!
An RGB to SCART cable is a must. The picture improves enormously. You can get one from retrocables or look in Ebay, for instance.

My only other piece of advice is rhat you get your hands on a Microdisc compatible controller + Gotek or HxC. Or a Cumulus device.

A floppy drive changes the experience with your Oric completely, and you'll be able to enjoy the most recent games.

Cheers!

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Dbug
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Dbug » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:29 pm

I can confirm for the video, if you can go SCART, just do it.

I can vouch for the cables from Retrocomputer Shack, they are the best on the entire planet, because they do work, and they also don't need the secondary power-supply madness required by the original cables (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251137727260)

Regarding floppy drive/cumulus, an added bonus is that since you have an Oric 1, that would help making most Atmos game work by loading up the ATMOS rom in Overlay memory.

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kaydav
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by kaydav » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:50 pm

Thank you all :)

I've just ordered myself the RGB-SCART cable. Fingers very much crossed that the video output is improved by this. Once it arrives and I get a chance to test it I'll take photos.
Chema wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:01 pm
My only other piece of advice is rhat you get your hands on a Microdisc compatible controller + Gotek or HxC. Or a Cumulus device.
These sound very good! I'm not certain at this point which is my best option but I have time to make my mind up once my Oric is usable. I see Gotek devices on eBay, such as this one - are any of those compatible with Oric or do I need to look for a specific type? Where would I be able to buy the other hardware bits?

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ibisum
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by ibisum » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:49 pm

I remember well the moment I first turned on my first Oric-1. It was delightful .. some nullabor hotel in the middle of nowhere, having picked it up in Melbourne the morning before getting on a long, long ride ..

And I also remember the time I first turned on the same Oric-1 with an RGB-SCART cable going to an old VGA LCD I had laying around.

Congratulations! You're in for a nice time with that machine! :)

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Chema
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Chema » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:25 pm

First of all, check the Oric works ok :D . The extra bit about the RGB cable is that it bypasses any problems with the modulator. You need a TV which can display an RGB input (I think most can, certainly any CRT with SCART should).

After that, I'd open the Oric and check it is NOT a model with two ROM chips. Those have, if I recall correctly, problems with disk drives.

You can try to load some software using the audio input, but the Oric has always been really picky with this. You'll need to use a good player. Many smartphones and tablets simply cannot output a signal strong enough. I got my best results with an old laptop.

About the disk drive, the Gotek is a floppy drive emulator, i.e. it substitutes a real floppy drive (3", 3.5" or 5.25"), to avoid the hassle of using real disks. But you'll need a controller board in addition, and that is the complex part. There are some controllers being manufactured by Silicebit, but he makes them in his free time, and I am not sure if he'd take more requests.

I think the thread is this one http://forum.defence-force.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1743

There is another alternative, the Cumulus. This device emulates the controller and 4 disk drives altogether. You store your disk images in an SD card and select the ones you want to "insert" using the buttons. The problem here is finding one, if you are not ready to make it yourself. Zaxon makes them from time to time. You can check https://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/detai ... -set-25967

Beware this is not a cheap device and it has some stability problems with some Orics, though Zaxon is willing to fix them or give your money back, I think.

Just search and surf around this forum and you'll find a lot of information and inputs from other users about these devices.

Enjoy!

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kaydav
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by kaydav » Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:59 am

Chema wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:25 pm
First of all, check the Oric works ok :D . The extra bit about the RGB cable is that it bypasses any problems with the modulator. You need a TV which can display an RGB input (I think most can, certainly any CRT with SCART should).

After that, I'd open the Oric and check it is NOT a model with two ROM chips. Those have, if I recall correctly, problems with disk drives.
For definite! Yep, I'm waiting for the cable to arrive and check the Oric does work before I do anything else.

I was lucky enough to find a modern-ish TV/monitor that has SCART and component-AV and I think even a VGA input on it, and I've had an old VCR running with the SCART connection. I have a Spectrum 48K and a +2A as well that have both been working with the TV/monitor (via RF though) so I can reasonably expect that the Oric-RGB-TV setup will work provided the Oric isn't bust. I have 4 or so old cassette/data recorders that were used back in the day, although not the original original one for the Oric (I remember it was really picky about volumes, and didn't like a stereo recorder) and have cleaned/realigned two of them so far. I have the original audio cable but see that I could get a new one on eBay if I need to.

So far I really like the Gotek option. I've bookmarked Silicebit's thread and will go back to it once I know if my Oric is ok. I'd ideally join his list if he's still able to make them, but I'd also be up for trying my hand at making my own if I had a set of clear instructions and access to all the components I need. Same goes for the Cumulus really. But first, to establish if my Oric is ok (can't get too far ahead of myself!) :D

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Symoon
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Symoon » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:30 am

The CEO (Club Europe Oric) don't advertise much but I think they still got a few controller cards for sale.
Maybe it's worth contacting them to see the conditions (not sure they'd require you to be a member).

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ibisum
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by ibisum » Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:11 pm

Don't forget you can type PING and EXPLODE to test the Oric, even if you can't see a picture ..

;)

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Dbug
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Dbug » Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:57 pm

ibisum wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:11 pm
Don't forget you can type PING and EXPLODE to test the Oric, even if you can't see a picture ..

;)
CTRL-G is a good one as well :)

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Chema
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Chema » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:24 pm

Dbug wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:57 pm
ibisum wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:11 pm
Don't forget you can type PING and EXPLODE to test the Oric, even if you can't see a picture ..

;)
CTRL-G is a good one as well :)
ZAP, for me it will always be ZAP ;)

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kaydav
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by kaydav » Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:51 pm

My RGB-SCART cable arrived today! And ... the Oric's video output works beautifully :D

However, there are other issues to fix somehow. I tested with ZAP (for me it's ZAP too) and discovered that the keyboard is a bit dysfunctional. Some keys don't work at all, some do multiples like QQQQQ instead of Q, and others bring up the wrong key. Although I couldn't type ZAP, I did notice that I don't hear the key clicks. The speaker looks fairly busted altogether. The peripheral port has bent pins, but I think I might be able to straighten them with needle pliers.

So I reckon I need to open up the case and have a look, take photos (may get the chance Wednesday). Then source a new speaker and maybe a new peripheral socket if straightening the pins doesn't work. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. (And am I still ok keeping updating this thread here, or should I start a new one in the hardware section?)
Attachments
peripheral port
peripheral port
busted speaker
busted speaker
display working, keyboard not so much
display working, keyboard not so much

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Chema
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Chema » Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:53 pm

Mmmmmm.... I don't remember if the Oric 1 rom performed a memory test. In any case, you have a picture and the Oric boots, so that is good news. Most probably RAM is ok, ROM too, ULA and 6502 should be ok.

The keyboard involves more things, the VIA, a multiplexor, and the AY. I'd check of you have sound first. Remember you have audio output on the cassette plug, so you can easy build a cable and use some external speakers. If you don't hear anything that way, a broken AY could explain the lack of sound and the keyboard errors.

However, now that I think about it, if you press a key and you get several repetitions, that is strange. The ROM routines handle the auto-repeat and it does not work that way. Does the cursor blink normally?

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Steve M
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Re: Introducing myself

Post by Steve M » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:10 am

Welcome aboard!!!

Yes, open it up and have a check of the keyboard. It may need a clean. It's odd for the Oric-1 keys to repeat like that. I wonder if the motherboard and keyboard boards are touching. (There should be a strip of insulation between them.)
The expansion port looks a bit messed with. I'm not sure how it can get shoved around like that? You can straighten out the pins and make it look better if you have some small pliers - but they do need to be small!
If it's had a bash there the blow may have shunted the keyboard connector. If you have a multimeter it'll help check it over for any broken tracks.
Hopefully it's nothing too serious.

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