Acorn Cambridge Workstation

[ABC ]     [Computers ]


The ACW is the same as the ABC 210 except for a larger 20MB disc drive. It was priced at £3995 inc VAT which explains why I didn't buy a new one. There were 4 models in the Acorn Cambridge Workstation range, But I have only seen the ACW443 and I am not sure the other models were ever built. They are:

The Acorn Cambridge Workstation runs Acorn's Panos Operating System on its 32016 processor and runs BBC MOS on the BBC B+ I/O processor. There are rumors that versions of Unix, specifically Xenix were ported to the ACW but I have not yet found any evisixe. Here are some details of the Panos Operating System .

There is a video on you tube showing a BBC B+ with 32016 second processor loading PANOS:

Manuals and documents

Acorn ACW BrochureHere is the Acorn Scientific product brochure for the Acorn Cambridge Workstation.

The ACW comes with a nice boxed set of software and manuals. Here are two of them, in image PDF format, to download:

  1. Panos Guide to Operations (4M)
  2. BBC BASIC reference manual   (935K)

Here are other Acorn Scientific Panos manuals.

Also available is the Acorn ACW443 Service Manual which should be useful not just for the ACW but for the whole ABC range.

In August 1985 Acorn User published a news item titled "Workstation puts power on desks ".


The Panos installation discs are available from J.G.Harston's .

Acorn Cambridge Workstation (ACW)

I bought my ACW from an ex-Cambridge University student while in Bedford in 1992. It came complete with the Panos OS on the hard drive and C, ISO-Pascal, Fortran 77, BBC BASIC and 32016 assembler in their boxes. The software is produced by Acorn Scientific, which I think was formed to support the 32016 Second Processor and the ACW. I subsequently bought an unopened copy of Cambridge LISP on ebay in April 2003. My ACW is in working order and starts up without problems.

  Here are some photographs:

Acorn Cambridge Workstation  

Acorn Cambridge Workstation

Acorn Cambridge Workstation, looks just like the ABC range except for labels.

ACW labels  

Acorn Cambridge Workstation system and keyboard logos

Acorn Cambridge Workstion, close up of system and keyboard logos

ACW keyboard  

Acorn Cambridge Workstation keyboard

The Acorn Cambridge Workstation keyboard with the Reset and Tube On/Off switch behind the label.

ACW rear

Acorn Cambridge Workstation rear view

 Acorn Cambridge Workstation rear view shows the standard BBC B+ ports (Video, RGB, RS423, cassette, Analogue in and Econet) at the bottom. The 1MHz Bus,keyboard and prnter ports are above. The BT link is presumably for a modem. The black plastic clips on the far left and far right hold the top on the case. The rectangular opening in the stand allows air to be sucked in by the cooling fan in the bottom of the case.

ACW 32016 board  

Acorn Cambridge Worstation 32016 2nd processor board

 Acorn Cambridge Workstation National Semiconductor 32016 2nd processor board with the Ferranti Tube ULA is at the bottom right. The big chip with a label on it is the 32016 CPU with a space above for an FP processor. The top of the board is full of RAM chips (4MB).

  ACW software

Some of the Acorn Scientific software

 Acorn Scientific software for the Acorn Cambridge Workstation, from top left clockwise: C, Cambridge LISP, ISO Pascal, Panos (the operating system), BASIC & Assembler, Fortran 77.


Serial No,ACW 32/4
No. 48
Motherboard233,00 Issue 1
CPURockwell R6512AP
CPU Clock2MHz
ROM48KB (Maximum 192KB)
Disc ControllerWD1770PH
Disc Filing SystemADFS
Hard disc controllerAcorn Winchest Disc Host Adaptor (227,000 issue 2)
Adaptec ACB400 SCSI
Hard disc20MB
2nd processor board218,100 Issue 1 Large 32016 2nd processor
2nd processor CPUNational Semiconductor 32016
2nd processor CPU Clock6MHz
2nd processor Memory4MB
2nd processor OSPanos 1.4