Breathing New (Composite) Life Into a Binatone Pong Console

Pong! What more could a young child want in 1978? Despite my formative years, I was already hooked on my friend’s magic-filled box of delights he described as a ‘TV Game’ (for ‘console’ was a word of the future). We would Pong, Pong and Pong some more. Then, in a rare moment of wish-fulfilment for a working-class lad from Liverpool, Santa brought me my very own TV Game, a Binatone no less! … 

 

Binatone Pong

 

2014-04-28 12.47.49 2014-04-28 12.48.26The first computer game I ever owned was this Binatone ‘TV Master MK IV’ – a simple unit that could play the standard Pong variants with a pair of analogue paddles. Yes, it may be simple, but I had hours of fun playing it. Sadly this isn’t my original but I did find it for just 99p on eBay. It Turned up filthy and I was pretty convinced it wouldn’t work. I’m very happy to say I was wrong.

 

 

A (Very) Little Bit of TV

Lets face it, today’s tellys are huge. As we all crave simpler times, away from the constant noise of social media and email, why not downsize to something a little more, err, personal?

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This is Sinclair Microvision MTV1B – Clive Sinclair’s second attempt at a portable television. Released in 1978, it was the smallest television in the world. A teeny-tiny 2″ CRT powered by 4 x AA (or a 9V) with contrast ratios that could be measured in single figures.

This one is in lovely condition and fully working. The seller had used it to keep him company on fishing trips right up the analogue switch-off. Although the aerial is now useless, it does have an external hook-up so I could get the Speccy connected. Surprisingly I was able to get though a level or two of Manic Miner quite happily.

 

3D-Printed Tooth

I’ve often wondered when my first ‘real life’ 3D printing experience would come. I’ve been lucky enough to see a few printers in action, indeed there’s one at The National Museum of Computing,  but these have all worked as demonstrations of the technology, printing out head scans, chess pieces and the like. When would 3D printing actually have an impact on my life?

The answer came sooner than expected. … 

 

The ZX81 Mystery Board

Well, my post on the ultimate pimped-out ZX81 drew a lot of attention; mostly centred around the mystery expansion board that was included in the myriad of components of which this behemoth was comprised. A closer picture shows it to be some kind of EPROM from  ‘Orme Electronics’.

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But what does it do? Well, the best clues can be found from the wonderful ZX81 Stuff resource. Sadly, I can’t find any photographs to confirm but it looks to me to be the first item in their Orme list. It can’t be an EPROM programmer as the chip is soldered in and there would be no practical way of removing it if it wasn’t. Without instructions I’m still a bit lost but I’m going with an EPROM programmed with Breakout, Life and a Toolkit of some description.