Scor­pio News


January–March 1987 – Volume 1. Issue 1.

Page 8 of 63

‘supermicros’. He had been partially involved in the development of the Challenger and just after its launch began working, with Sahara Software, on a port of the Mirage operating system to a prototype machine.

For those of you who don’t know Mirage, it is a real-time, multi-user, multi-tasking networking OS specifically developed for the 68000 CPU and, like the Challenger, it is British. The first Mirage-based Challengers were shipped early in 1986 and Marston Spurrier became the Distributor of Mirage language processors and software for Gemini Challenger dealers. At refinements have been made both to Mirage (with a new version due for release as Scorpio News hits the streets) and the Challenger when running Mirage, the combination is (Nick believes) formidable and there is no competition as to price/​performance.

Marston Spurrier’s business is now wholly based on Challenger systems sales and development of new software and utilities for Mirage. For example, the latest product is a Mirage software driver to read Gemini CP/M (80, 86, 68k) disks. Nick is also a consultant to Sahara Software (the Mirage sales organisation) assisting in porting of existing applications to the Mirage environment. One of the projects he has been involved in will result in the publication in January 1987 of an integrated Word-Processor, Spreadsheet with colour graphics, document formatter with indexing and table of contents generator, software printer font generator and print package to drive laser printers with software fonts rather than the inordinately expensive ROM fonts. This is fully multi-user and will retail at £595 – true multi-user software at a PC price.

All Scorpio News readers, including 80-BUS users!, are welcome at Marston Spurrier’s offices at __ _________ ____, ________ ____, London ____ – just south of both Battersea and Albert Bridges and the first road joining the two Bridge Roads – to look at the Challenger/​Mirage combination.

A Review of the Newburn Opto-input Board

by M. Black

For our particular application, we needed to interface a variety of different Voltages to the 80-8US. We saw an advert from Newburn Electronics for their NE871 opto-input board. It seemed just what we needed as the board is self-contained, and unlike the Maas board does not require the Gemini GM816 I/O board to drive it (therefore less BUS slots are required). We ordered a board with plug-in modules for 8 of each 12V, 24V, 50V and 110V sensitivity. We also ordered the industrial Klippon termination.

We received the board within a few days. On inspection, the board seemed well made with a comprehensive manual. It’s nice to see that 80-BUS manufacturers now include board-ejectors as standard, this saves many grazed knuckles.

We set the board address to Hex $40 using the on-board Dil-svitch and plugged the board into the rack. We used 40 way ribbon cable to connect the board to the Klippon block. The Klippon block mounted easily on the rear of the rack sing standard Klippon rail.

Connecting a suitable voltage to the correct Klippon terminals, lit the corresponding LED on the board. We found it very handy being able to see the state of all inputs using the LEDs.

Programming of the board was carried out using Turbo Pascal. This was very simple as all inputs are read from 4 ports, in this case Hex $40 to Hex $43. Each bit of the port corresponds to one input.

In conclusion, we found the board ideal for our application. Gone are the days of birds nest wiring and resistive dividers hanging from the rear of connectors etc. Real inputs can be easily connected using the Klippon termination rail This gave us the professional finish we required.

Page 8 of 63