A Dragon Breathes Fire Again

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Dave is a fellow volunteer at TNMOC with a bit of a passion for the 6800 processor and he has recently been working on a US computer known as the SWTPC 6800.

Southwest Technical Products Corporation (SWTPC) is a US company that came to life in 1964. The 6800 computer was one of their products, which had included several electronic devices.

Apart from the usual headaches with a few failed components, Dave faced a curious problem with the 6800 chip itself not reloading the stack pointer after a return from a subroutine, despite working for some time before the failure. A fellow volunteer helped Dave out with a replacement part and now the computer is fully operational and able to load and run the FLEX operating system from the attached floppy drives. The Museum hopes the SWTPC will a working exhibit soon.

So what is all this to do with a Dragon? Well the Dragon 32 utilised the Motorola MC6809E processor, the same family as the SWTPC and this sparked Dave's interest in his next restoration project; getting the Dragon to breath some fire again and take its rightful place in our PC Gallery.

The Dragon 32 was a British made computer and was first released in Autumn 1982 and by April 1983 40,000 units were sold, mainly through the high street retailers. However, following a turbulent but short history, Dragon Data Ltd of Wales collapsed in June 1984.

Dave's preparation of a Dragon 32 unit for the PC gallery was very straightforward as the ones tested were fully functional with only minor faults; 'will today’s technology still work in thirty years time?', he commented.

A working Dragon 32 has now been be added to the PC Gallery collection for hands on use. Programmes will be loaded from a cassette tape player.

Our young visitors soon got stuck in to the new challenge and Dave was heard to murmur, 'the Dragon roars again !'

Interested in the Dragon computer? then look at the excellent work at 'The Dragon Archive'

Many volunteers follow their interest in bringing back to life particular computers, whilst others help show them to the public. Whatever your interest, why not come to the Museum and see if there is a place for you - you would be very welcome to visit and discuss ideas for helping us as a volunteer.

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