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At £399 the BBC Model B was an expensive computer, it was also relatively expensive to make. Therefore Acorn decided to produce a cutdown computer aimed at the home marker to take on the Sinclair Spectrums and other cheaper home computers. The result was the Electron. Acorn planned to launch the Electron for Christmas 1983. Unfortunately problems with the ULA, which replaced many of the BBC's components, meant that the Electron missed the Christmas market. By Christmass 1984 the Electron was being left behind by newer computers and soon started the rounds of ever cheaper sell offs as Acorn cleared their stocks. It was not the success that Acorn had expected and left Acorn with one of their many financial crises from which they were rescued by Olivetti.
Here is the Acorn Electron Service Manual .
In August 1983 Acorn User published a review titled "Electron Son of BBC Micro".
In October 1983 PCW published a review titled "Electron ".
In October 1983 Practical Computing pubished a review titled "Electron ".
As far as I know Acorn only produced one Electron model (ALA01). However Acorn also produced a German version (GLA01) and an OEM version for BT (Merlin M2105).
The Electron only had 6 connections (power, TV, video, RGB, cassette and an expansion connector). However it could readily be expanded and Acorn produced the Acorn Plus 1 and Plus 3.
The Acorn Electron Plus 1 added a printer port and 2 cartridge slots plugging into the expansion connector. It was held there by 2 large screws so that there was no risk of accidental disconnection (unlike some other computers). Unlike the BBC Micro with it's unused cartridge interface to the left of the keyboard, cartridges was actually produced by Acornsoft. Other companies also used the cartridge slots for joystick controllers, disc interfaces and other devices. Acornsoft's titles on cartridge were:
The Acorn Electron Plus 3 was a complete 3.5" disc system with ADFS (but no DFS) which also plugged into the expansion connector and was held firmly in place by 2 large screws. The expansion connector was continued through the Plus 3 and a Plus 1 could be added behind the Plus3. This was Acorn's first use of a 3.5"disc and ADFS as a default, but Acornsoft did not produce much 3.5" disc software (I think the only titles were the Plus 3 Games disc and Database). the 3.5" disc next appeared in the Master Compact.
ACP , Cumana , PRES and Slogger were some of the companies that produced upgrades for the Electron. When Acorn stopped supporting the Electron, the rights to produce the Plus 1 were transferred to PRES which produced its own version.