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M > MIDWICH > Microcontroller   


Called the Midwich Microcontroller, this British computer was developped to provide a small desktop micro capable of running other equipment throug a variety of interface cards.

In 1979 an Italian IC manufacturer designed and began to sell a single board micro system that could be expanded to a full system with a VDU, discs, etc. Called the Nanocomputer, it was manufactured by SGS Ates and one of the distributors in the UK was Midwich. The Nano was somewhat expensive and suffered from a number of minor problems which prevented its use in the market for which it had been originally designed. Quite how much this prompted Midwich to proceed with their own system is not clear, but the influence is plainly here.

The case of the Microcontroller is made out of structured foam sitting on a steel chassis. It is certainly rigid but its impact strength (ie dropping things onto its top), may be suspect. The top of the case is both wide and deep enough to allow a portable TV or monitor to sit on it. One nice touch is that the ventilation slots are covered internally with mesh thus preventing thke ingress of paper clips and the like.

The steel chassis extends up to form the rear panel of the unit and is securely attached to the lid. Indeed, there are so many fixing screws that only the most determined "peeker" will have the patience to remove them and gain access to the inside! Once into the interior the overall impression is of neatness. Everything is well laid out, all the components are of top grade and the whole unit has the appearance of being built to last.

We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system, please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
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I worked for a company in Altrincham, Manchester called Datac who sold this computer badged under their own name. It was mainly sold to Universitues and scirnce labs. I got one of the cases and keyboards and put my dads ZX Spectrum in it.

Sunday 8th March 2020
Colm Meaney (United Kingdom)

From 1980-92 I worked at a computer shop in North London. We were Commodore dealers for years and my job was to ''evaluate'' new computers, accessories and software that we might potentially sell.

I looked at the Midwich Microcontroller computer which is a TRS80 model 1 clone. It was marketed with a number peripheral to allow remote control of mains appliances.

As the computer, was monochrome only, it had no sound, no graphics and was expensive to expand we did not pursue it any further.

Tuesday 6th March 2018
SI Walters (United Kingdom)


NAME  Microcontroller
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  United Kingdom
YEAR  1982
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  Control BASIC + machine code monitor
KEYBOARD  fullstroke keyboard (QWERTY), 57 keys
CPU  Z80
RAM  16 KB
VRAM  unknown
ROM  12 KB (expandable to 16 KB)
TEXT MODES  24 x 40 characters
COLORS  unknown
SOUND  unknown
SIZE / WEIGHT  unknown
I/O PORTS  TV / Monitor video output, tape interface (300/1200 bauds), System bus expansion
PERIPHERALS  6 slot bus expander and experimental breadboard, analogue input board, analogue output board, digital I/O board, PROM programmer, prototyping board
PRICE  £375 (UK, 1982)

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