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Interfacing - a Beeb speciality

This word covers a multitude of possibilities, as any box or circuit that sits between the computer and a second piece of equipment constitutes an 'interface'. As well as the Beeb's own ports, the interfaces covered here are those intended for more general application and which encourage the user to add their own expansion equipment or probes.

The Fischertechnik and Lego Dacta interfaces are a borderline case as they are intended to control only Fischertechnik and Lego accessories. Nevertheless, as these interfaces are entirely software driven they can easily be co-opted for less official control purposes.

All known interfaces

Scores of interfaces were developed for the BBC Micro range in the 1980s, some selling widely and others amounting to little more than prototypes from one-man bands. Most were designed for educational establishments or industrial development environments and carried price tags that put them beyond the reach of the average home user. Home users were catered for by numerous designs published in electronics magazines as DIY add-ons, and Mike Cook conjured up many more in his Body Building articles in Micro User.

Here's a list of all the commercial interfaces I've seen or found reference for so far.

  • Deltronics Control-It buffer box, 135 with probes (with variations branded as Barnet, Brent, etc)
  • Deltronics Sense-It analogue port interface
  • Commotion Control Box (really a repackaged Deltronics board)
  • Banana. 175, from Castle Associates (another repackaged Deltronics board?)
  • Unilab (1MHz bus)
  • Interbeeb (1MHz bus)
  • CLARE board. From AUCBE (Advisory Unit for Computer Based Education)
  • Minor Miracles
  • Bytronics
  • BEPL
  • Termite (hardware, 115)/Spider (software, 69), Paul Fray Ltd
  • Scorpion. 320, Micro-Robotics Ltd
  • Others - CMS, CED, Cube, M B Instruments, Excet, Digi-Box, Pilot One (60), Portcom (W.D.Enterprises), Hardworks, Graphitek, Miracle Technology P4/4R, Connect 3 from Phobox Electronics (75) and Connect 1 (35), Connect 8 from Austin Taylor (96), Leewood Incremental Encoder (250)...

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