EEVblog #507 – The First ARM Computer – Acorn Archimedes A3000

Dave tears down and attempts repair on a 1989 vintage Acorn Archimedes A3000 Computer, using the very first ARM processor, the Acorn RISC ARM v2

Service manual HERE
Reference Manual HERE
Schematics HERE

Forum HERE

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  1. Hi Dave

    “The first ARM computer” , not quite the 305 and 310 were out before the 3000.

    I’m not 100% sure but didn’t the A3000 use a more inclusive processor, with memc io etc on board?

    A trip to wikipedia me thinks.


  2. The A3010 eventually moved away from the Adelaide mezzanine board to the ARM250 SOC! processor.


  3. Re the DIN41612 bus connector.
    The Sinclair Ql actually had the two row version for it’s main bus.
    Obviously the VME influsence was strong at that time 🙂

  4. What is interesting is that Apple was investigating the then ARM (Acorn) processor for its Newton product back in the late 80s and Apple formed an alliance with Acorn and VLSI to produce next-generation processors. This alliance became today’s ARM Holdings Inc., who actually design the architecture (ARM now stands for Advanced RISC Machines), while Acorn split off to make computers using the processors.

    Of course, today Acorn is no more, and ARM Holdings is a huge company, back from the original Acorn-Apple-VLSI alliance.

  5. If the board isn’t recoverable, you could still make a project out of the case to the system. Raspberry Pi computers support RiscOS, so you could make a more modern RiscOS system out of the case. Find a USB based flash reader that fits into the floppy door, make some cables to go back to the cutouts on the back…

  6. Looking at the schematics. Fix one set of traces and possibility of piggy backing all the ROMs.

  7. The data pins will need to be isolated and rerouted to it’s intended bus.

  8. Econet – was the economy network – rx/tx and clock. I coded up a 16 line BBS system that would work over EcoNet with a dedicated client. Would also support numerous POTS modems by plug in cards to the ‘pizza box’ type Archimedes. I probably have original manuals & books for all this stuff in the garage…

  9. The usual method of fixing these corrosion problems in Amiga circles is to unsolder everything in the affected area, remove the solder mask there and the neutralize and remove the remaining battery gunk so the corrosion is completely stopped.

    For reassembly usually new components are used as much as possible, it’s faster than cleaning up every remaining speck of gunk between the legs of an IC.

    Still a pretty depressing sight, I’m glad I caught the leaking battery on my Neo Geo so early that only the ground plane below it has a few missing spots.

  10. In 500+ videos, you’ve never really rapaired anything, it have always been good out of the box, stupidly easy to fix, or too hard to bother. I’m starting to question your engineering skills.

    Just kidding! 🙂

  11. Nice info. Thanks!
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