Five or six years ago I found an extremely rare computer from Triumph-Adler, the first model to wear the distinctive brand "Alphatronic", which was model P2. Most of this time I was alone as in my zone I was the only person to have one and my unit was the only one with Spanish ROMs and keyboard. Over time, I bought a second unit which came from Italy and this is the unit I play with the most. Also, and due to my postings people were able to recognize it and so the second unit came a year and a half ago approximately. The third and last Spanish unit to be found appeared only two weeks ago and is currently being repaired.
In Germany, this computer is not a rarity, they are usually sold at 150€ if complete and working but prices may be as low as 10€ if they are in non-working condition. In Italy, this computer was also popular and remain in high numbers. Outside of those two countries, situation is a bit more bleak. Being a bit "special", this piece of hardware was misunderstood for long time, as it does not boot into an interpreter like BASIC but the more simplistic MOS (Micro Operating System) which contains monitor software. This caused a massive dump in places like the UK.
With the Spanish region a bit more stable, next step is to check my northern neighbours. As far as I know, there is no reported unit in the French region but it does not mean they were completely banished. I have hope as at least a user of this forums seems to have heard or seen one of them:
http://www.silicium.org/forum/viewtopic ... +p2#p96539
A bit of history
There was a German company called Sks, which made leather covers for portable radios. Over time, they started building their own radios and in the early 70s got caught in the trend of designing and manufacturing computers. They made some calculators and 4 bit computers using only gates and memories. When the first CPUs appeared, they eagerly introduced them in their designs. It was the introduction of the Intel 8080 they made their biggest hit: they proposed an standard to which many companies of the country adhered, including Hell (now part of siemens), Triumph-Adler and ITT. Its final version was an update made for the Intel 8085 and, by then they released their most famous computer: the SKS KISS.
The KISS was a small success for the company, but its real gain was in its licenses to the foresaid companies. As such, not many KISSes were sold but their TA, Hell and ITT counterparts were successful. By 1979, the firsts TA P2 units rolled out in an all-white case reminiscent in shape of that of the orange KISS but later batches added a brown front panel and some even some stylish badges. This system was to be found in many variants or submodels:
- A cut-down version with 32k and a single floppy drive (P1)
- The standard, 48k version with two floppy drives (P2)
- The upgraded, 64k version (P2U)
- The single-board version (P2E)
As a late 70s system, we shouldn't expect anything extremely powerful. I would compare it as something in-between the Commodore PET and the IBM PC.
- Base: 46,5 x 54cm
- Height: 20cm
- CPU: 8085A@3MHz (the oscillator is 6MHz, but the CPU halves the input frequency so the system runs at 3MHz)
- ROM: 6k (MOS) + 2k (CHR ROM, CPU has no access to it)
- RAM: 32k (P1), 48k (P2), 64k (P2U); additionally 1k as MOS RAM
- VRAM: 2k (not included in the previous count)
- Text Modes (chars): 80x24 (default), 64x16
- Character size: 8x12 px
- Characters: 128 + inverse
- Color: Monochrome
- Mass storage: 160k Floppy drives x1 (P1), x2 (P2, P2E)
- Ports: RS232 (DB25), Printer, RCA (video), DIN-5 x 2 (cassette, TV; both unused: connectors not soldered)
I may add some more technical data in the future if I found to have forgotten anything.
Where to find it
This system wasn't a home computer but an office/industrial one. So the usual places one should expect to have chances on finding one may be the following:
- Barns (like my Spanish unit)
- Abandoned offices/factories
- Chicken coops?
Next post: how to identify it, with pictures of the beast!