80-Bus News


September–October 1983, Volume 2, Issue 5

Page 40 of 67

power and reset switches are also mounted on the back panel, along with the quick release fan filter and a blanked off hole approximately 1″ by 2.5″ to allow connection to be made to any expansion cards fitted by the user which require leads to external equipment, etc. All connectors on the back panel are clearly labelled and an adequate description of each is provided in the manual.

The Keyboard

The keyboard is separately detachable and mounted in a steel case. Connection is made by a multiway 36″ coiled cable which expands to about 80″. This makes for neat and tidy connection, but unfortunately the connector on the keyboard is on the right hand side of back panel of the keyboard case which means that if the cable is laid ‘naturally’, it runs from the left hand side of the computer across to the keyboard connector on the other side of the keyboard case. This means that more of the cable is in view than would be strictly necessary had the keyboard connector been fitted to the left hand side. The keyboard is of high quality with a light yet positive touch and is a full function keyboard with a standard QWERTY layout. Ten function keys, four cursor control keys and a numeric pad are also provided. An unusual feature of the function keys is that the cursor and numeric pad keys may also be programmed as function keys. Additionally, the functions can also be shifted so that each programmable key may serve a dual function. This gives access to no less than 60 fully programmable function keys if required. This feature would commonly be used with programs such as WORDSTAR, where the numeric pad would be reprogrammed as the WORDSTAR cursor keys. The only criticism of the keyboard as such is the cursor keys themselves which are, in my opinion, badly positioned and psychologically in the wrong order. The order could be changed by reprogramming but this should not be necessary on a machine like the Galaxy. Programming the function keys from the keyboard is simple from within the CP/M command mode (and often from within programs) and a utility program is provided to store the reprogrammed key patterns for instant recall at a later date.

The Disk Drives

The drives fitted as standard are the Micropolis 1115F-V 96 track per inch, single sided 80 track drives working in a double density MFM format. These drives are extremely solidly built and use such advanced techniques as phase locked motor speed control and an internal dedicated processor. They are widely recognised as being one of the best and most reliable drives available. The Micropolis drives give a formatted space of 400K, which, when system tracks and directory areas are taken into account, leave the user with 388K of useable disk space per drive. A factory option is to fit the Micropolis 1115F-VI drives which are of similar specification but double sided, providing a useable space of 788K per drive. The drives are loaded in the conventional manner with flap doors; no spring disk eject mechanism is fitted. A small point is that with the drives mounted vertically, there is no obvious ‘up’ when inserting disks in the disk drives, and although obvious to the experienced user, it is only too easy for the inexperienced to put a disk into the drive ‘upside down’ and to suffer a failure of the system to boot. A point not covered in the manual.

An interesting point if the double sided 1115F-VI drives are fitted is that the Galaxy could be used to read disks from many other machines (including Gemini’s earlier double density machines). As the drive head step pitch is the now standard 96 tracks per inch, and as the standard pitch of

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