Acorn BBC - Transfer BASIC program

There are many ways to get BASIC source in text format from a PC or Mac onto your 8-bit Acorn machine. Here are some options.

  1. Emulator + memory card/stick
  2. Emulator + omniflop
  3. Serial link

Solution 1 is the most straighforward.

To copy tokenised BASIC programs, machine code or DATA then an easy way is to create a disc image with an emulator (e.g. BeebEm) then copy that to your external MMC/SD/USB storage card/stick for your 8-bit computer. Then mount the disc image using the method for your particular storage solution.

1. Emulator + memory card/stick

PC/Emulator

  • On your PC load up the BeebEm emulator (or your favourite)
  • If the BASIC source has no line numbers type AUTO and return at the BASIC prompt
  • Now COPY the source (say from Notepad) and use EDIT->PASTE BeebEm menu
  • If you used AUTO then press ESCAPE to cancel program entry
  • Mount a disc image or create a new one FILE->DISC OPTIONS->NEW DISC 0 BeebEm menu
  • Type SAVE"myprog" to save the BASIC program to the disc image
  • Close the emulator and copy the disc image to your SD card/MMC/USB stick

BBC

  • Insert the media in your reader
  • Mount the disc image according to the instructions for your reader
  • Type CHAIN"myprogr" at the BASIC prompt

2. Emulator + omniflop

If you have a PC with an old 5.25" floppy drive and Windows XP (or earlier) you might use Omniflop to create a disc. Note USB floppy drives won't work.

  • Create the disc image as (1) above
  • Format the disc on the Acorn computer
  • Run Omniflop on the PC and write the image to the floppy disc (don't use format + write that seems less reliable for me)
  • Insert the disc in the Acorn computer and type CHAIN"myprogr"

3. Serial link

Use a serial cable to connect a PC to a BBC.

To make the Acorn machine accept input from the serial instead of keyboard use *FX2,1. Link at 9600,8,N,1 and paste the source into your PC terminal program of choice (I use putty). *FX2,0 to go back to BBC keyboard entry.

There are a whole host of *FX commands built in to the Acorn OS to use the serial port without loading any program on the BBC. Buffer control, escape key function and screen mirroring to the serial port are some. The BBC Micro User Guide explains many of these *FX commands.