So .. I bought an Atari STfm case and keyboard off Facebook, with the sole purpose of creating a frankenSTEin machine!

Raspberry Pi 3
Atari ST keyboard and case
Internal 128GB SSD Hard Drive
Port extenders to reach the edge of the case
Atari Mouse converted to USB and optical

The project is coming along nicely .. I have all the components secured to the bottom of the case and its all working lovely with Pixel OS and Hatari emulator

I am thinking of using this machine as my main system as I currently only do Amazon Echo Skill development, Facebook and web browsing so it should be good enough

There is a Windows 10 laptop at my disposal for when I want to do YOUTUBE video editing and REASON music creation, so all is not lost! ūüôā


Buy Bye Amiga

The Amiga A500+ has been sold. It had to go as I didn’t use it and have realised that I need to start using the retro kit that I already own, rather than keep buying stuff and keeping it boxed away.

So …

The Atari STe is out on the desk, ready to be brutally used as much as I can.


The DK’Tronics keyboard arrived at the end of November ’16.

It took a lot of cleaning and fixing to get to a working state! ūüė¶

So .. Now it houses a 48K Spectrum + replete with reset button.

The only key that does not function properly is the . key on the keypad. This could be down to a bad contact, although I have cleaned everyone with switch cleaner spray.

I may bite the bullet and fit a toggle switch to change from a full stop to a comma for data entry.

More Speccy Goodness

Last night I found a post on the Retro Computer sales forum on facebook for an item that I used to own back in 1984.

A DKTronics keyboard upgrade for the ZX Spectrum.

These are currently hard to come by, so I jumped at the chance to make an offer, and we came to a sensible agreement.

It should be winding its merry way to me as we speak.

Keep watching for pics and a report of the working state of it (It was sold as untested!)

More Atari STe goodness

The Atari 520 STe I received in the recent epic haul has been upgraded to 4MB Рa full compliment of SIMMs have been inserted. It does not make it any faster (Its only Windows that needs more RAM to work faster!)

I have also added an external Protar Progate II 40Mb hard drive with built in ICD controller. It also has an additional 230MB SCSI HDD as drive 2.

The thing boots in no time and allows STOS and other apps to run almost instantly.

On the down side, it squeals like a little piggie, due to its age. I think the drive bearings are on their way out! – Must keep an eye on those.

Pictures to follow!

More Goodness

It takes a while to acquire good stuff.

Recently I have received an Amiga A500 Plus. This came boxed, but without power supply.
I had to wait a whole 3 days to test it, while the new PSU arrived. It does actually work and I can play all the discs that came with it! ūüôā

Its a good machine, better than the A600 as the A500+ has the ECS chipset and a whole 1MB ram with a battery backed clock.

The battery on the main board was about to explode, so a swift wipe with the soldering iron allowed it to be replaced with a brand new one thanks to amigakit!

I worthy addition to my collection.

Epic Haul

Like busses, nothing comes along for ages, then loads all at once!


So last night, 08/09/2016 I collected ‘some’ retro bits from a guy who works at the same Local Authority as I do.

Minimal cost, for maximum retro joy! – There is just so much for me to go through – I am sure I won’t be able to find room for it all.

BBC Micro Model B Issue 3 – With Turbo MMC and 12 Rom Card

Acorn Electron – Dead as a DODO! – Sold to an Acorn collector

CBM 64 РWith CF Card РSold to a collector

ZX81 – Untested, No PSU – I have found a PSU and tested. It lives, but has the dreaded video roll!

Vic 20 – Untested, No PSU – This has been sold to a CBM collector

Ericsson MC12 – Dead – No PSU to test – UPDATE: The internal battery contacts were corroded. These have now been sanded back down to the base metal and the device lives!
Sinclair 48K+ – Mint condition with SDCard interface and Joystick – Case sold to a collector. Mainboard and PSU kept for my own use

Atari 65XE – CF Card and joystick – Sold to an Atari collector

Amiga A600 with internal CF Card and Joystick – Sold to an Amiga collector

Sanyo MSX MPC-100  РSold to the MSX user group Helsinki, Finland

Atari 520STe – Kept, upgraded and used every few weeks

Sega Mega Drive – Unusual blood red model with modded switch and Multi load cart. –¬†Not being a gamer, I have traded this for more kit, that has since been sold to various people!

I have also enquired with the same source about any other stuff that might be available, so keep coming back to the blog for future updates!



New Old Kit

Recent items I have acquired as of July 2016;

Iomega external USB floppy drive with over 100 blank floppy disks (3.5″ 1.44mb)

2 x Dell Axim X30 Windows Mobile 2003 SE Hand Held PDAs with Wifi
1 x Dell Axim X30 Windows Mobile 2003 SE Hand Held PDA without Wifi

Vintage cassette player for my Speccy (This works but does not seem to output any sound) – Needs a good service I think.

Vintage Nokia business phone – 6310i Lightening with charger – This is almost unused and looks new. The ultimate bullet proof phone – These things never die!

All quiet on the Western front

It’s been very slow recently. Not much retro tech happening;

I have purchased a 1BITS card for my ZX Spectrum +2A.

This is a great card that allows me to do all sorts of clever stuff. It has a joystick port, SDCard, PS2 mouse/keyboard port and loads of config jumpers.

I can load Speccy games from 8GB SD card in under 10 seconds.


Woop Woop.

X/Y Midi Pads on the cheap for muscial goodness

Keep with me on this post, as it does use some retro components! Promise!

A few years ago, I purchased an AKAI MPK mini 25 note keyboard with drum pads.

This is a great piece of kit, but due to its portable size, does not have pitch or mod wheels;

Searching the web does not produce much other than 2 ideas.

1. Sell the keyboard and buy the AKAI APK49 – larger keys and pitch and mod wheels
2. Use a retro Pocket PC as an X/Y pad for pitch and mod control.

Number 1 is out as I just bought the thing and love its compact size… So.

The second option it is then;

I use Reason 6 as my main DAW (Or try to as I am not very musical, ROFL)

Here is the process I used to get a spare Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC (Dell Axim X51) working as an X/Y pad with Reason. (just like this one, but I have run it on many different versions of pocket PC as long as it can run .Net framework!)


Using google, search for LoopBe1 midi loopback driver – LoopBE1, download it and install it to your main machine

Install Active Sync 4.5 if you are using Windows XP, or use Windows Mobile Connection centre if you have W7

Search on google for Theresa Pocket PC Theresa Download and download the ZIP file and extract it to your desktop to a folder called Theresa

From the Theresa folder on your desktop, copy the server folder to somewhere accessible on your main machine and create a shortcut to the .EXE file (So you can run it easy when you need it) РYou can set it to auto load, but I dont like too many things loaded unless I need them

Connect the Pocket PC to your main Pc and allow it to be detected and with Active Sync or Mobile Centre, then cancel when asked to set up a partnership (This is not needed. You can set one up if you wish though)

Explore the PDA/Pocket PC device and copy the client folder from the Theresa folder on your desktop to somewhere on the PDA or a memory card

Run the server exe file from where you copied it and you will get a new T icon on the task bar – It should have a little red dot at its top right

Run the client exe on the PDA

You will be presented with the main Theresa screen on the PDA. At top right is the power button to close the app. Next to it you will find the config button. Select this and you can choose which port the software will affect.

Click on the top option (DEVICE:) and you will be presented with a list of available ports on the PC. Select the LoopBe1 Midi driver/port and click ok. You have now set up Theresa to output midi data to the correct PC input driver

You can also change the skin of the software to match one of your favourite ‘Real life’ Midi Controllers

On your main PC, fire up Reason or Essentials or any other DAW you use (They should all work about the same)

Edit preferences and add a new control surface as ‘Other’, do not do an autodetect as nothing new will be found

Now select the Advanced tab and enable loopbe1 midi driver as another input device.

You should now have 2 green ticks for input devices (one for your main input keyboard and another for the PDA X/Y Pad)

Close the window and add an instrument to Reason – Test it with your keyboard to make sure you get sounds

On the Theresa screen you will see little numbers in the green bar above each slider/pad area. This is the MIDI number that is transmitted when Theresa is used.

Click on each number to change it to your preferred MIDI channel/note/value etc

I changed the botton left vertical slider from 105 to 110 (This is the value of the LFO rate for OSC 2 in SubTractor analogue synth module)

Play a note and move the slider up and down with the PDA stylus – your synth sound should change as you move the slider, or whizz around on the top left pad.

Voila – a cheap (if not free) X/Y Midi controller – Its not quite a Kaosscilator or a Korg Nano Pad, but its not bad.

(I will add more screen shots as and when I get chance)