Commotion Control Box  
 
The Control Box is a general purpose digital control interface for use with BBC Microcomputers and the Acorn Archimedes range when fitted with a user port interface. This was obtained in 2020 and was unused and still in its plastic wrapping.

Badged by Commotion, this control box was manufactured by Deltronics and uses the same connecting cable from the control box to the BBC micro as do Deltronics badged devices. The BBC control program, Comtrol, uses commands very similar to the Economatics Smart Box.

This box is not as versatile as the Smart Box as it lacks the analogue inputs and its control program is much simpler

The box provides the following facilities;

  • 8 digital outputs, which are active high, that is they provide current, and which can handle 500mA per bit maximum. Each output bit can be individually set. The output voltage is switchable between 6v or 9v. They are not TTL compatible
     
  • 8 digital inputs, which are active high and which can be individually tested. The inputs are TTL compatible.
     
  • 4 outputs for bi-directional motor control.
     
  • connection to the host computer system uses the printer interface for outputs and the user port for inputs.

 

OUTSIDE

The following pictures show the outside appearance of the Control Box;

 

Top view

This shows the arrangement of the digital inputs and outputs and the four motor control outputs. In the centre at the bottom is the switched power supply unit (PSU) which supplies external power. A key switch is used to prevent unauthorised use.

 

Back panel view

Mains input is via the fused kettle plug connector and is turned on using a neon indicator switch at the left. Centrally placed is a 25-way D-connector for the connections to the host computer. The cable used will depend on the computer system.

NB: The fixing screws for the D-connector were removed whilst the case was opened for photography.

 

The manufacturer's label on the inside showing the box manufacturer's address and the serial number.

 

 

INSIDE

 

 

The motherboard

The power supply components are shown at the bottom. Most of the ICs are CMOS versions and are therefore tolerant of the 6v or 9v power supply. There is no direct connection between the 6v or 9v and the host computer. All inputs and outputs to the host are at TTL voltages. The 24 power transistors running down the motherboard at the left provide motor control and drive to the digital outputs. Each can provide 500mA of drive but the overall load for the box is limited by the on-board 1.5A regulator devices.

Power is provided from the 240v AC mains through a fused 'kettle plug'. The circular component is a toroidal transformer which provides the low voltage to the system.

 

SOFTWARE

 

The BBC microcomputer version of the software can be downloaded here.

 

The Archimedes version of the software is shown below.
CoCo+ for the Archimedes range of computers using RISCOS 3.1
 
   

 

 

   

 

 
COMMUNICATION WITH THE SMART BOX

 

The wiring diagram for the BBC microcomputer cables for the User Port and Printer Port are given here.

 

Archimedes User Port and Analogue Port User Guide

 

 

 

ADDONS

A number of addon models were produced for the Commotion Control Box. These were designed to be built by teachers/students and connected to the control box so that students could explore aspects of control with 'real' systems.

The addons include;

  • A house, which comes with a set of input and output devices already wired to 4mm plugs to attach to the control box. Sensors include a push switch, a LDR and a magnetic switch. Also included were 5 x 6v MES bulbs in holders and a 6v buzzer.
     
  • A clown
     
  • A lighthouse
     
  • A traffic light
     
  • A car park barrier
     
  • Disco lights
     
  • A large 7-segment display

These addons are described in the CoCo+ booklet. The House came with its own construction manual.

 
 
 
 
 

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