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Fischertechnik in the UK

German made Fischertechnik kits never really caught on in the UK, perhaps because of their high price tags or because they seemed to be aimed at a slightly older or more studious audience than equivalents such Lego, Meccano and Lego Technics. Consequently there are few kits or parts traded second hand in the UK and computer based kits or interfaces are particularly hard to find. And when they are discovered they're often missing parts (usually the interface) or documentation.

Controlling Fischertechnik models via an Acorn computer

Fischertechnik's first computer-linked kits were launched in the mid-eighties to take advantage of the arrival of 8-bit micros from the likes of Commodore, Sinclair and Acorn. The kits came with what was called the 'Universal' interface. Luckily for us, there was an Acorn version.

Despite the computer name usually printed on each label, I suspect that there are only two interfaces electrically speaking. It's likely that any of the user port interfaces could be used with a Beeb, so long as the cable was terminated with a Beeb-compatible IDC plug. Even the parallel port interface could probably be used, if software was written to drive that port rather than the user port. See the 'Interfaces' page for more details along these lines.




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