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London RISC OS Show 2020

This is a transcript of the full talk I would have given at the 2020 Virtual London Show if I’d been organised enough to book a slot in time!

We’ve now been in our new premises for over a year but have been so busy we’ve still not opened some boxes yet!
Moving out of the shop which we’d leased for 36 years meant we had to sort out what they call the Dilapidations (Repairs and redecoration) on the building, the surveyor costed most, but not all, of the necessary work at over £66,000! There are still things to do but I’m hoping it will cost not much more than half that.
Jason joined us before Christmas and has been busy processing orders and adding items to our ebay shops. There have been many Acorn related things that we’ve had listed on our website for years, which when listed in one of our ebay shops sell quickly even when they cost more! Our two ebay shops are cje-micros and four-d-pi-shop

On a personal note at the end of last year I started a string of tests for Prostate cancer and after two biopsy’s they told me at the beginning of March it was cancerous but that they could cure me. I started hormone treatment straight away.
Then came lockdown and the government said only do essential travel so Andrew and Jason went on furlough, only for the government to then say Mail order businesses could continue. So I was left holding the fort and with most people then having more time for their hobbies I was kept very very busy. After six weeks Andrew returned and then with Jason back we were able to catch up with things just in time for me to have four weeks of Radiotherapy out of the county every weekday. My PSA is now very low so it is looking good though they will still do regular test for at least five years.
As many readers of this posting are going to be male and over 50 I would like to take this opportunity to urge you to have regular PSA tests, my oncologist told me that because my tumour was on the edge of the prostate it would have not caused any symptoms.

During lockdown many people have had a clear out of their old Acorn/RISC OS kit and we’ve had a dozen or so people either bring us or we’ve had collected anything from a single BBC to a van load of kit!

In the last year we’ve been developing/sourcing more RISC OS kit including:

Adjustable resolution USB optical mice 800,1200 & 1600 DPI as it is controlled by a small easily accessed button on the mouse it needs no software so it is RISC OS compatible. Ideal for CAD or Artwork: Variable DPI MOUSE

Sourcing more power switches for Phillips/Acorn CRT monitors: Monitor power switch a surprising number of people still want the full retro experience of CRT monitors!
Also for the retro market floppy disc cleaning discs are now very rare often selling for £30 or more so we now offer a two week hire. 5.25″ Cleaning disc , 3.5″ Cleaning disc and we even do a 3″ cleaning kit hire.

mSATA adaptor and drives suitable for use with IDEFS interfaces (tested and known working on ZIDEFS interfaces in a RiscPC and A4000) a brief test on an Acorn IDE bus worked but due to HForm problems, only if we’d formatted the drive on a RiscPC before hand.
Though with 16GB being the smallest we can buy new, it is a bit of overkill when one or four 512MB partitions are all you can use.

RapidO Ig: Special show deals a new case and better monitor compatibility.

With all three of the cases we used to use now being discontinued we have found a new nice compact, versatile reasonable priced case.
A few people reported problems with Monitor compatibility I am very pleased to say that ROOL have recently been able to tweak the video driver so that most LCD monitors now work.

More details and a Special offer price available here.

RaspberryRO 4

Following sterling work, most recently by Sprow, RISC OS now supports the Raspberry Pi 4 without having to fudge things.
So today we are pleased to announce the RaspberryRO 4 we’re also now offering after extensive research a new tower/desktop case which whilst compact still supports an optical drive, allows us to offer up to 10 USB ports (2 front, five rear and three internal) card reader and internal PSU.
We are offering 2, 4 and 8GB versions with the Pro version having an SSD drive, More USB ports and an optical drive as standard.

Prices start at £249 + delivery. More details are at:

Brexit: We are bracing ourselves for the significant loss of sales and significant extra work for any remaining sales to the EU!

Leaking Batteries, Dead Clocks, Storing computers.

What goes wrong, how to fix it and how to long term store unused computers avoiding problems.


The rest of the A4000 above, not near the battery is in very good condition!

From the A5000 onwards Acorn soldered batteries[1] to the motherboard on all of their computers. If the computer is regularly used and in a normal house temperature range the batteries seem to last indefinitely. If however they are left off for months and/or subject to a wider temperature range, the battery can quickly start to chemically break down. Unfortunately it will still retain the CMOS settings whilst slowly corroding the PCB and components around it, meaning if the CMOS settings start to be lost significant other damage will normally have already have occurred. A5000 batteries are going to be up to 22 years old! And RiscPC’s 19 years with the last RiscPCs being sold in 2003.

To avoid the problem of a leaking battery when a computer needs to be put into storage we like others removed the battery which solves any battery leakage problem but when a battery is refitted we like others found that the clock often will not restart. There is a ‘kick CMOS’ utility that has been known to restart stalled clocks but hasn’t ever worked for us when a battery is refitted.

Whether you use your computer daily or want to put an old one to one side: Annually check visually the battery (For its position: see [2]) If it has started going furry replace it straight away (We can supply the battery for you to fit [3] or we can fit it, arranging collection and return if required.

Once you know that the battery is o.k. if you do need to store a computer even if only for a few weeks do ensure it is not subject to extreme temperatures we’ve have seen computers that were only stored for a few months in a loft or house attached garage batteries start to degrade. If it is for a longer period then store it on its side with PSU to the bottom should ensure that any leakage is onto the PSU’s metal case. Annually or every six months if possible plug it in and turn it on, checking that the date and time are correct. 24hours left powered would be good!

A damaged PCB may be repairable but this is a very time consuming operation with the clock chip being surface mounted and may ultimately be unsuccessful so we have in the past recommended replacement motherboards. There may come a time when motherboards become so rare (i.e. more expensive) that repairing may be economic.

If no battery damage has taken place but the clock no longer works we can replace the surface mount clock, this will cost about £45 for labour and parts but excluding collection and return.

There is now another alternative! (Cue the sales plug!)

Replacement clock module for the RiscPC, A7000+, A7000, A5000, A4000, A3020, A3010 and A3000!

Podule version for A5000, A7000, A7000+ & RiscPC (also A3000 if external Podule connector used): £26 + £2 P&P Order Page
MiniPodule Version for: A3000, A3010, A3020 & A4000: £26 + £2 P&P Order Page

n.b. we can even hire you one of the above if you are not sure it will solve your problem.
Podule clock module hire: Podule Hire
MiniPodule clock module hire: MiniPodule Hire

No additional software is required as the operating system will automatically recognise the clock and CMOS RAM
If all the Podule slots are in use on your RiscPC or A5000 we can supply a suitable solution!

Availability: Limited stocks available from stock! More stocks are available within 7-10 days

Whilst fitting the Clock Podule/miniPodule is very simple (no soldering required) you may have to disable the old clock.
More information including downloadable Fitting Instruction PDFs are here:

[1] Being a single cell we shouldn’t really call them batteries but the usage has now entered common usage and is what people search for!

[2] Downloadable Fitting Instruction PDFs have photos of the battery position on all of the computers see here:

[3] A3000/A540 CMOS battery (Horizontal mounting) can be ordered at: Order Page
A30x0, A5000 & RiscPC etc. CMOS battery (Vertical mounting) can be ordered at: Order Page