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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

Look no further than DCP for a complete control environment which can handle several external hardware devices - robots, turtles, Lego models or stepper motors - all at the same time.

The system comprises three interfaces, called Interpacks, a Spectrum interface and seven related accessories.

Interpack One is the Scientific interface. It contains both digital and analogue inputs. There is also an eight-bit TTL input port and an eight-bit TTL output. You can also get a DCP expansion which allows you to connect other Interpacks.

It's called the Scientific interface because the I/O ports are well suited to situations in which measurement is important, such as gauging temperature or pressure.

The Control interface, Interpack Two, includes an eight-switch contact for digital inputs and six SPDT relays as well as the usual 15-way expansion bus for the potential growth of your interfaces. It's best used for controlling turtle-type robots, buggies and any motor controlled device which does not require precision movement.

If you want precision movement in devices such as robot arms and electronic mice, which have to find their way out of mazes, you'll need Interpack Three: The Stepper Motor. A stepper motor rotates one small step at a time so that you have more control over motion. For instance, a turtle controlled by stepper motors will negotiate difficult corners, stop in a precise position and move in an accurately reproducible way. Similarly, robot arms can pick up delicate objects because of the steady rotation of a stepper motor.

Interpack Three drives up to three 12V two-phase motors using industry standard chips. It also boasts eight buffered switch contact inputs for limit switches and sensors. Again, the DCP expansion bus allows you to put other devices or interfaces on to the back of Interpack Three.

The seven DCP accessories include some nifty hardware and software solutions to control and programming problems:

ADC Pack. Fast analogue to digital convertor. Could be used to turn the motion of, say, a robot into an equivalent electronic signal.

DAC Pack. The converse of ADC. Provides a fast digital to analogue conversion - output from computer to external device. It's controlled by a SV DC power supply and contains a DCP expansion bus.

DCP Bus intercard. Connects one Interpack to another.

Invertabus. Connects two ADC or DAC packs together.

Powerbus. Boosts the power supply when several Interpacks are chained together at the back of your Spectrum.

The DCP range of control interfaces is one of the most powerful and comprehensive around.

Supplier: DCP or Commotion
Prices: Interpack 1 £43.43; Interpack 2 £34.74; Interpack 3 £43.43' Spectrum Intercard £13.00; ADC Pack £21.70; DAC Pack £21.70; DCP Bus Intercard £13.00; Invertabus £4.30; Powerbus Pack £17.35


A comprehensive and powerful set of interfaces which will tend to all your control applications needs. Just plug in your unit and away you go. Fantastic.