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BBC A3000

 [Archimedes]   [Computers]  [Unix ]


The BBC A3000 was launched in May 1989, just before the A4x0/1 range. It was designed to be a "cheap" computer with limited expansion and a combined keyboard and sytem unit. It had an ARM2, RISCOS 2.00 and the MEMC1a. Once again Acorn omitted the RS232 port to save money and expansion is limited to a single mini-podule and a single external podule. There is no option of a hard drive, except on an external SCSI or IDE controller podule. The A3000 was the last "BBC Microcomputer" with a BBC logo on the keyboard.

Here is an Acorn publicity photograph of the A3000:

Acorn A3000 pic

 The A3000 and its successors the A3010  ,  A3020   and A4000    were very popular in schools and 3rd parties made a wide range of add-ons and upgrades including:

 The following models were launched [as far as I know]:

 Manuals and documents

Here is the Acorn product brochure for the A3000:
A3000 brochure 

Here is the A3000 Welcome Guide .

Here is the Acorn A3000 Service Manual.

Here is the Acorn A3000 Technical Reference Manual and technical drawings .

In July 1989 PCW published a review of the A3000 titled "Acorn A3000 ".

BBC A3000 Issue A

I bought this A3000 with an Issue A motherboard in 2007 as part of a lot of ex-school Acorn equipment. Unfortunately this computer is faulty so I have no benchmark data.

A3000 front

BBC A3000 (front)

This is an ex-school computer and you can see where security labels were stuck. I have cleaned it up a bit. Also note the "British Broadcasting Corporation Microcomputer System" label on the right of the keyboard.

A3000 right side

 BBC A3000 (right side)

This picture shows the 800K single density 3/5" floppy disc drive and the Reset switch underneath it.

A3000 back

 BBC A3000 (back)

This picture shows the A3000 interfaces, from left to right:

A3000 bottom

 BBC A3000 (bottom)

This picture shows the bottom of the A3000 with the mouse socket on the left. The serial number is 01-AKB01-1004071.

A3000 without case top

 BBC A3000 with case top removed

This picture shows the keyboard with the power supply on the top left and the floppy disc drive on the top right.

A3000 without keyboard

 BBC A3000 with keyboard removed

Thios picture shows the left and right speakers (connected by black and white wires).

A3000 without floppy disc drive

 BBC A3000 with floppy disc drive removed

A3000 motherboard

 BBC A3000 motherboard (issue A)

The picture shows, from left to right:

1. There is some corrosion at the bottom left corner which may explain why the computer is not working.
2. The CPU is the VLSI VL2333-QC CPU which is the earlier version of the ARM2.

Here is a HiRes picture of the A3000 motherboard (Issue A) 

BBC A3000 Issue 3

I bought this A3000 with an Issue 3 motherboard in 2002. As you can see from the pictures it came from a local school. It has been upgraded from 1 to 2MB with a Cumana 1MEG A3000 memory upgrade . It has an Acorn AKA12 Midi and User Port  mini-podule and an Econet interface . The OS has been upgraded from RISC OS 2 to RISC OS 3.11.

 Acorn A3000

 Acorn A3000 running RISC OS 3.11

 The working A3000 running RISC OS 3.11 

Acorn A3000 RHS 

A3000 right hand side showing the floppy disc drive 

The right hand side of the A3000, showing the floppy disc drive.  

 Acorn A3000 rear view

A3000 rear view 

The back of the A3000.  On the top of the case you can just see the Hoe Bridge School security marking. On the back, at the top centre, is the AKA12 MIDI/user port mini podule with 3 MIDI DIN sockets. Below are the A3000 interfaces, from left to right: expansion, RGB Monitor, Mono video, headphones, parallel, serial and econet. The serial upgrade is filled in spite of the sticker above the serial port.  

Acorn A3000 LHS 

 A3000 left hand side, showing the power on/off switch (and school safety test sticker)

  The left hand side of the A3000, showing the On/Off switch and a safety check sticker.

Acorn A3000 bottom 

A3000 case bottom 

The bottom of the A3000,  showing the serial number label in the middle at the top and the socket for the mouse in the middle on the right. Interestingly, to the right of the mouse connector is the cover (with a screw in the middle) to an unused battery compartment.  

 Acorn A3000 with top cover off

A3000 with to cover off 

The A3000 with the top cover removed, showing at the front is the keyboard. In the top left is the power supply and the floppy disc drive is in the top right. Between the power supply and the floppy drive at the top is the AKA12 MIDI/User port mini podule . Below the AKA12, next to the power supply is the Econet Module  and below that is the ribbon connector between the keyboard and the motherboard. In the middle between the floppy disc drive and the keyboard is the Cumana 1MEG A3000 memory upgrade .  

Acorn A3000 with keyboard removed 

A3000 with keyboard removed 

 The A3000 with the keyboard removed, showing in the top left is the Acorn AKA12 MIDI/User port mini-podule. Below the AKA12 is the Econet Module. Below the Econet Module is the socket for the keybard ribbon cables and below that is the battery for the CMOS RAM. To its right are the 4 ROMs with the RISC OS 3.11 Operating System. In the middle below the floppy disc drive is the Cumana 1MEG A3000 memory upgrade. 

Acorn A3000 motherboard 

A3000 motherboard, with all the addons removed.  

The A3000 motherboard (Issue 3).  


Serial No.01-AKB01-100407101-AKB01-1093264
Unique Indentityn/an/a
Motherboard part no.0280,000 Issue A0180,000 Issue 3
Motherboard serial no.AV-299-5367AV-301-8590
CPU ModelVL2333-QCVL86C010-10QC
CPU Clock8MHz8MHz
Memory ControllerMEMC1a
Cumana 1MEG A3000
Issue 1 fitted
Memory Clock8MHz8MHz
Video ControlerVIDC1a
IO ControllerIOC
Floppy Disc DriveCitizen OSDC-65CCitizen OSDC-65C
Podule 0n/aAKA12 User port/
MIDI Upgrade
0180,300 Issue 1
Econet Module
0259,200 issue 1
Other upgradesn/aSerial Upgrade fitted
OS Date05-Oct-8829-Sep-92
SICK v1.22
ARMSi v4.0