A few weeks ago, I posted twice here about a remarkable British home computer: the Elan Enterprise Sixty-four and One Two Eight. You can find these posts here and here. At the time, I was waiting for several parts I’ve ordered from Spain, France, and Hungary to arrive. Today, I’ve received all the parts and decided to power-up my Elan while testing my elgato HD60 PRO video acquisition card.
From Spain, I ordered two items. First, a power supply to replace the humongous brick shipped with the Elan. As mine was delivered without a barrel connector attached to it – the wire was cut –, and as I could not identify with certainty the polarity to use, I bought one from www.micomputer.es. That’s the only store on Earth that sells part for the beast. So, for your information, polarity is a negative center. The transformer is cheap and accepts input voltages between 100-240V. It also comes with a cute Enterprise sticker, so it worth the few bucks (shipping was more expensive than the part). The other item I ordered is an RBG-SCART video cable from http://retrocables.es. It is the only shop on Earth – and for this one, I will dare, the known Universe – where you can buy one! The problem is that the Elan is shipped without the RGB cable. Although the RGB cable provides the best image quality, it also uses a specific connector that latches directly onto the motherboard. This new cable comes with a 3D-printed connector with a very welcome UP marking. Yeah, you could connect the cable the wrong way to the motherboard!
From France, I ordered a keyboard membrane. Ok, this one is an opportunistic buy since I don’t need a new one … yet. But with old and rare computers like the Elan, if you see a NOS part, grab it! And when it comes to the keyboard membrane, the Enterprise relies on the same horrible connector as several other British computers from the era. With time, or after several opening & closing of the computer, the plastic membrane breaks or degrades, making the keyboard unusable anymore. Indeed, the traces break with the plastic, and sometimes you cannot even see it. A terrible system. I am happy. I found a spare one.
From Hungary, I ordered a 128 SD Premium adapter (from Gergely – you can contact him at vortyex at gmail dot com), and read about the card in English here. Note that this is the Premium version with a new design. The precision is important if you decide to 3D-print a case to host the card. It is not needed, but sure it makes it easier to use. Several ready-to-print models are available. You can look at this address: https://www.yeggi.com/q/enterprise+128/.
In addition to the SD card case, you can find a joystick cap – handy as it is often missing – as well as covers for the extension bus and the heatsink. Really cool. Note that the SD card comes without media. It is up to you to download the content from the bottom of the page I provided earlier, and to use DiskGenius (available here) to clone the partitions in the archive.
For my test, I used all my new parts with the Enterprise Sixty-four I source from Cairo in Egypt – with the exception of the keyboard membrane – and connected the SCART output to an OSSC (Open Source Scan Converter). Then I fed the HDMI output of the OSSC into the IN port of the HD60 PRO. Finally, I connected the OUT port of the acquisition card to an HDMI monitor. This setup allows me to record the video signal, including the audio, as well as taking screenshots. I’ve noticed a small lag at the machine’s boot, but once all the signals are synchronized, I could use both displays for the Elan. Neat, but not very useful as-is. But, being able to record videos is priceless. The main issue I’ve noticed comes from the audio, which suffers an important lag. I will dig further to see if it is specific to the Elan, or if I use under optimal settings. I am new to video capture, so that’s very possible. I hope you enjoyed these posts about the Elan. Feel free to share your own experience with this remarkable computer. Have a great WE!