Fenner SPC-800

Fenner SPC-800 (1984)

Samsung made only one computer that was compatible with the MSX standard; it was rebranded and sold in Italy by Fenner, keeping the existing model name. There are two revisions of the  Samsung SPC-800; the Fenner computer corresponds to the second revision of the South Corean model.

Fenner, founded in 1981, marketed low-end consumer electronics (like car radios, DVD players, TVs). The company went bankrupt in 2012.

I bought this computer for a handful of euros at the usual flea market that I attend once a month – the only one in my area. I often come back home empty-handed but sometimes my constancy is rewarded with some interesting object, even if never particularly rare.

The Fenner was only a bit dusty and dirty, so as usual it was disassembled, cleaned and photographed.

Fenner SPC-800 - dirty

Cleaning the keyboard is quite boring, but it’s always worth it. The difference between the clean key and the dirty keys is remarkable!

Fenner SPC-800 - keys

I didn’t fully disassemble the keyboard because all keys worked fine.

Fenner SPC-800 - keyboard

Inside the case you can see the power supply section, the RF modulator, and the motherboard.

Fenner SPC-800

Here is the exploded view of the computer:

Fenner SPC-800 - teardown

The only “problem” of the computer was a partially unsoldered composite video connector, obviously fixed by welding it back to the board.

I didn’t understand what the object in the lower right was, the one soldered with a cable to the cassette port. I asked my friend Xad who explained to me that it is the relay for the tape recorder remote control.

Fenner SPC-800 - motherboard

On the right side there are two joystick connectors and the printer port.

Fenner SPC-800 - side

On the back there are the cassette connector, en expansion bus, two RCA connectors for mono audio and composite video, and the RF connector.

Fenner SPC-800 - back

Final test after reassembling the computer. The TV shows the default BASIC startup screen as shown when you turn on the machine.

Fenner SPC-800

Fenner SPC-800

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Fenner SPC-800 (1984)

  1. Alexios Chouchoulas

    That’s a beautiful MSX machine!

    Judging by the cable, layout and solder joints, it looks like the electromechanical relay is a repair by a previous owner. The part number isn’t visible, but the plastic package behind the tape DIN socket looks like a reed relay, and that’s where I’d expect to find it on a board. Either the reed relay died and was bypassed by the previous owner to install the electromechanical one, or an *additional* relay was fitted — the MSX tape socket has a few spare ground pins someone could abuse for device control.

    What puzzles me is who would need the remote control relay so much. I never bothered connecting it myself. Maybe they did a lot of file I/O?

    Reply
    1. Giacomo Vernoni Post author

      When I published the pictures on a facebook group yesterday, a person commented “I always wondered if the relay was a repair – mine is identical”. Even the pictures on msx.org show the “external” relay.
      So I’d say that it came out like that from the factory.

      Reply
    2. Tom

      I built a 6502 Kim type system using tape as storage medium. Relay was nice when there were a lot of programs on one tape. It was an easy way to read the cassette and build an index of at what counter number a program stated and ended. And when I was only using battery to power the board and cassette to conserve power so the player didn’t run any longer than necessary. Eventually created a program to have the cassette started and stopped under computer control to make it more like its bigger brothers.

      Reply

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