Actrix (computer)

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The Actrix computer, released in 1984 by Actrix Computer Corporation, was a Zilog Z80-based transportable personal computer running CP/M-80 V2.2. Its predecessor was the Access Computer computer by Access Matrix Computer Corporation.

Specifications[edit]

Hardware:


Options:
The void to the right of the two floppy drives can be either open, for convenient storage of a handful of floppy diskettes, or blanked up to conceal one of two options:

  • Intel 8088 co-processor board with 256 KB RAM and MS-DOS 1.25
  • Internal UPS

Another option is

  • Fitment of a 50-pin connector at rear of void for 8" disk drives


If either UPS or 8088 options are present the rear or the void is blanked off with a screw-on plate. If the 50-pin 8" disk cable option is present the rear of the void is changed to a clip-on panel securing the 50-pin cable connector. If no options are fitted the rear of the floppy void is a blank clip-on panel. If only the 50-pin option is present the floppy void is modified internally with a plastic jacket to prevent stored diskettes from interfering with the rear of the 50-pin header/cable assembly

Connectors:

  • keyboard
  • 2 X D25F RS232 serial (AUX terminal/console or printer)
  • 1 X Centronics parallel (printer)
  • 1 x IEEE-488 / GPIB (hard disk)
  • 1 x composite video (larger/second monitor)
  • 50-pin header on mainboard to optional external 50 pin male IDC connector for external 8" disk drives
  • IEC power (115V/220V dealer-switchable)

Disk Assignments:

  • A: first 5.25" floppy to load OS
  • B: 'other' 5.25" floppy
  • C: first side of first 8" disk
  • D: second side of first 8" disk
  • E: first side of second 8" disk
  • F: second side of second 8" disk
  • M: 256kB RAM disk utilising 256kb RAM from the 8088 co-processor

Software:

  • Digital Research CP/M-80 2.2 operating system
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 1.25 (only with optional 8088 co-processor board)
  • M: Drive utility (to utilise 256KB RAM on optional 8088 co-pro board as M: RAM disk under CP/M)
  • Personal Pearl database system
  • FancyFont text markup and layout software
  • Perfect Series office suite (Filer (DB), Calc (SS), Writer (WP))
  • Digital Research CBASIC compiler
  • Microsoft MBASIC interpreter

Included Custom-Written Utilities:

  • TELCOMU - Custom-written comms software with phonebook, modem dialling and X-modem file transfer capabilities, useful for connecting to online services such as CompuServe and RCP/M BBS systems. Also TELCOM and TELCOM+ variants (1.05/1.16/x.yy)
  • DISKU - Custom-written utility for copying, duplicating, formatting and verifying 5.25" and 8" floppy disks (2.26)
  • CONFIGU - allows customisation of various attributes such as monitor, cursor, printer, console redirection, RS232 and Centronics paramteres. Once customised settings are saved and can be reloaded manually or used by the WAKEUP program to allow customisations to be set at boot time (1.03)
  • WAKEUP - used at boot to set date and time and apply configuration profiles created using CONFIGU (1.03)
  • AMD - Sets CP/M to use the 256KB RAM of optional 8088 co-processor board as M: 'ram-drive'
  • INSTALL - Actrix auto-command installation utility - allows specification of a .COM file to auto-execute at cold-boot time (1.00)
  • DAC-DS - Dealer Acceptance Test - a diagnostic utility for dealers to quickly tests memory/clock, floppy disk, video, printer and keyboard (1.01)

International Distribution[edit]

In Australia; One official distibutor of the Actrix Computer range was Richard Carpenter, based in Little Mountain, Sunshine Coast, Queensland. It is believed that this distributor brought in two (2) or three (3) Access Computers as sales tools/demos and shipped less than 1 dozen Actrix Computers during his dealership. Two (2) demo Actrix machines were repossessed by the financier (NatWest Australia Bank Ltd) in 1986.

Company Failure[edit]

Expensive TV advertising and constant lawsuits concerning the product- and company-naming rights were money-pits that eventually added to the decline and ultimate stop of new sales of Actrix machines. Existing orders were filled by one remaining technician who built up the last remaining machines from the spare parts stock.

More information[edit]

Links to more info: