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The BBC Master 512

About the 512 | Outline | Bibliography | Problems | Extra Info | Software | Photos | Index


The following is a list of books and other published items relevant to the Master 512. None of these items are now in print, and they never will be again, though some of them do turn up second-hand from time to time. Several have been made available on-line, though – click on the appropriate link.

Items Specifically for the Master 512

Master 512 User Guide – Produced by Acorn and distributed with the machine, so most owners of the 512 should have a copy of this. It describes the GEM Collection in exhaustive detail, but includes very little about the DOS-Plus operating system (and what it does include is at a very elementary level). This made it an extremely frustrating document for the majority of users, most of whom would be using DOS-Plus rather than GEM. To be fair, and despite the title User Guide, the DOS-Plus section only claims to be an introduction, referring readers to a further manual produced by Digital Research. However this manual was almost unobtainable, even when the machine was first produced.
Key Correspondence Chart and Function Key Strip for GEM Write – provided with the machine, but easily mislaid so included here.
Master 512 Release Notice – Produced by Acorn following the release of the machine, and attempting to cover some of the items omitted from the supplied User Guide. It includes information on a few of the DOS-Plus commands not mentioned in the User Guide, correspondence between PC and BBC keys (for a fuller description see here), the use of GEM setup (which doesn't work) including 4-colour GEM, and use of the Z80 CP/M emulator.
Master 512 : Technical Information and Monitor Documentation – Covers the software in the 80186 co-processor ROM, ie the 80186 Monitor and the protocols for using the host MOS from the 512. This was produced by Acorn as a leaflet separate from the User Guide. In practice, the information is duplicated in Chapter 14 of Watford's Advanced Reference Manual for the BBC Master. (With thanks to
EdBin and Move User Guide – These two utilities were included in Vn 2.1 of DOS-Plus. They did not form part of the earlier release (Vn 1.2) of DOS-Plus, and are not mentioned in the main User Guide. Acorn produced this booklet to cover them. It is now extremely rare and hard to get hold of.
Master 512 User Guide by Chris Snee, published by Dabs Press. (Not to be confused with Acorn's manual of the same title – see above.) This explains how to use the machine and describes the use of DOS-Plus in some detail. Although out of print it does sometimes appear on the second-hand market, and is well worth trying to get hold of.

Master 512 Technical Guide by Robin Burton, published by Dabs Press. Takes up from where Chris Snee's book leaves off, and covers a lot of the more advanced features of the machine. Again, second-hand copies may turn up. (Note: An earlier scanned and OCRed version of this book (see other sites below) was formerly linked from this site. This, however, had a number of problems, especially in some of the appendices. The version here has been re-edited, with special thanks for the original work that was done, and to Stephen Bass for work on Appendices E and F.)

A Programs Disc was also produced by Dabs Press to go with the Technical Guide.
512 Forum – A series of articles in Beebug magazine by Robin Burton, largely in response to readers' questions and comments (hence the name).
Other Beebug Items – There were a few articles in Beebug (other than the 512 Forum) that were relevant to the machine
Applications Compatibility and Software List – Note produced by Acorn describing some compatibility issues, and listing a number of programs believed to be compatible with the Master 512.
Circuit Diagram for the 80186 co-processor board. (Supplied, courtesy of Acorn, to accompany the Master 512 Technical Guide.)

Other Items Directly Relevant to the Master 512

80186 Data Sheet – The more technically minded might like to look at the details of the processor at the heart of the Master 512. (The download is a .ZIP file containing scans of all the pages of the data sheet, each in .GIF format.)

Appropriate Items on the BBC Computer Host

Advanced Reference Manual for the BBC Master from Watford Electronics. Chapter 12 (on Dual Processor Systems in general) and Chapter 14 (on the 80186 co-processor) are particularly relevant to the Master 512. (Chapter 14 more-or-less duplicates the content of the Technical Information and Monitor Documentation leaflet.)

Note: This download contains the contents of the book both as an RTF file and also as text on an image of a 640kb (large) ADFS floppy disk.
The New Advanced User Guide for BBC Master, Compact, B, B+ & Electron by Adrian Dickens & Mark Holmes. Chapter 18 gives a full summary of all the Tube protocols from the host side, and indicates what must be handled by the co-processor, though with no explicit reference to the 80186.
Tube Application Note – Official technical manual from Acorn on how the Tube should be used (PDF).

Note that many documents and other items relevant to the BBC Computer, including other versions (such as PDFs) of some of the documents listed above, are available on-line by clicking here or here.

Click here for Note to Copyright Holders

About the 512 | Outline | Bibliography | Problems | Extra Info | Software | Photos | Index