The CEFUCOM 21 is a very strange computer ! It was built around a Sanyo PHC-25 to be used as a computer-aided teaching and learning system (to learn English for example).
A tape recorder is built-in the left side of the plastic case. The tape deck can read data on one channel and audio on the other. This feature is used by the system to output audio instructions at the same time as its loads data programs into the computer. The tape deck can also be used independently from the computer (see below). Classic connectors associated with the tape deck are to be found on the left of the case: Phones, Line out, Mic and Aux In. Below the capsules' window display (see below), there are two sliders used to control the volume and the balance.
But the most incredible part is the built-in display on the left of the case, just below the tape deck. On might think that this is a LCD screen, but it's not. It's only a plastic transparent window to show what is behind. Teaching programs were delivered with "capsules" which look like a book in a box. When this box is inserted into the (huge) dedicated slot, the visuals contained in the capsule are synchronized with the corresponding data program to be displayed behind the small window. When the visual changes, a black shutter hide what's happening behind, and then reveals the new visual. This is very impressive to watch !
The CEFUCOM 21 is thus a very innovative system mixing electro-mechanical-controlled visuals, with real computed display, computing data from the tape and real audio instructions coming out also from the tape ! A real multimedia system in 1983.
The system can also be used as a normal computer and is BASIC compatible with the Sanyo PHC-25 and NEC PC-6000. Under CEFUCOM BASIC 1.0, a bit less than 32KB RAM is available for the user.
When the computer is switched on, the following menu is displayed on the screen:
1 - See/Modify the planning of your lessons
2 - Study a lesson
3 - BASIC
4 - audio recording/reading mode
Option 1 is not clear... Does it show you information about your lessons schedules and progressions, or can it be used to create new lessons ?
Option 2 will ask you to insert the correct capsule into the computer.
Option 3 must be chosen to use the system as a normal computer, like a PHC-25 on steroids.
Option 4 is intended to use the tape deck alone to listen to music or record something (trough the AUX IN or MIC connectors on the left of the computer).
The audio features which were optional through the PSG-01 expansion box for the Sanyo PHC-25 are he built-in the system, offering 3 voices of 8 octaves, as well as the two DB9 "Atari compatible" joysticks connectors.
Above the keyboard are a set of buttons used to interact with the lessons (buttons 1 to 8) and also to manually control the tape deck (RECORD, PLAY, REWIND, F.FWD, STOP, PAUSE). There are also buttons and switches to control the built-in clock and alarm option. There is also a serie of LED indicators used to show various informations such which MODE the system is in, or the progress of the study/lessons.
There is also a ROM CARTRIDGE slot, but its purpose is unknown. Was it intended for something special, or never used ? The Sanyo PHC-25 didn't have a cartridge slot, but the NEC PC-6001, which is very close technically, did...
Another curiosity is the DIN8 plug found at the back of the system, labeled "COUPLER". Did they intend to connect the CEFUCOM-21 to the outside world though a modem ? It's incredible to think that the developpers tried to put every features they could in this beast in 1983 !
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