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Acorn NetStation

[NCs, STBs & Prototypes]     [Computers] 


In the mid-1990s Acorn worked for Oracle developing the reference design for the Network Computer or NC. The Acorn design became the NetStation. An NC was originally designed to run a web browser and to run applications in the browser window (e.g. using Java). As a result the NC has no local storage, apart from a smartcard which can be used to store user specific data.

The following models were produced:

The NetStation needs to load its configuration and programs from a server, it uses Bootp to discover its network configuration and then loads its applications.

Alternatively an IOMEGA Parallel Port ZIP drive can be connected to the NetStation and the NetStation can boot from the Zip drive. The Argo Zip Driver was commissioned by Acorn from Argo and is described in the Argo Zip Driver.

Manuals and documents

Here is the Acorn Clan Netstation  factsheet.

Here is the Acorn Network Computer User Guide .


My NetStation has Microlynx Topcat installed in the Ethernet podule ROM so it expects to discover a Windows NT4 server with Topcat installed. I have a copy of Microlynx Topcat, which was developed with Acorn's support to enable an NC to load its configuration from a Windows NT4 server and to use shared directories for storage, and have it installed on my NT4 server along with simple TCP/IP services. The NetStation searches for a Bootp server on power on, is assigned an I/P address and boots RISC OS from the server.
This NetStation has an Acorn 10baseT Ethernet Adaptor. Some other NCs have a v34 modem for dial up connections.
Here are some pictures:

Acorn NetStation and AKF60 monitor

Acorn NetStation with AKF60 Monitor

An Acorn NetStation underneath an AKF60 monitor. The NetStation is running NCOS 1.06, which as you can see from the Information box in the bottom left is based on RISC OS 3.70.

Acorn NetStation front

NetStation (front)

The front of an Acorn NetStation, on the left is the Power On/Standby switch, in the middle is the smartcard slot and the IR control and on the right are the power and active LEDs.

Acorn NetStation back

NetStation (back)

Acorn NetStation Serial No.

NetStation serial no.

The serial number is on the bottom of the NetStation. The sharp-eyed reader will notice that the serial number is not the same as the serial number in the specification (below). This is because I have two NetStations and took pictures of one while getting the specification of the other. But they are the same.

Acorn NetStation with top cover removed

NetStation with top cover removed

The NetStation motherboard showing the 2 NCOS ROMs in the front left and the ARM7500FE CPU above them. In the front middle is the smartcard slot and the 8MB EDO DIMM above it. On the left is the Acorn 10baseT Ethernet podule.


Serial No.80-TNS10-1004498
Unique identity0050A401799B
MotherboardNC 1 Main Board
Reference Design
Motherboard part no.2103,000 Issue 1
CPU Clock40MHz
Memory ControllerARM7500 (IOMD)
Memory Clock16MHz
Video ControllerARM7500 (VIDC20)
NICAcorn 10 BaseT Ethernet Adaptor
OS Date8-Nov-96
SICK v1.22
ARMSi v4.0