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Turbo-Torch

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Everything posted by Turbo-Torch

  1. The 5200 sticks are not free floating, they are self centering in a half ass way with the rubber boots, which makes things even worse. When brand new, they would return to center. After a few hours of use, the boots breaks in and you get a partial return to center from whatever direction the stick was pushed. Atari could have done much better had they used a spring return setup like on the Kraft PC joysticks. And even better if they used latches to unlock the self centering and allow free floating on X or Y axis. Lol! You don't even need to look at them. Just being in earth's atmosphere causes the carbon dots to lose conductivity over several weeks. Back in the 90s I painted the dots with the copper resin used in an automotive rear window defogger repair kit. It worked great for several years but eventually broke down. I then did the foil dots and haven't had to take a controller apart in probably 20 years.
  2. No reason it shouldn't work if it's oriented correctly. https://www.ebay.com/itm/164211732622?hash=item263bc8308e: Depending on where you're located, it could take a while to get, but Ian is the best when it comes to TRS-80.
  3. Windows XP still had drivers that supported my Star NX 1000 which was made in the 80s. It printed out everything from tax forms to web pages nicely. I bet it's doable if you find a printer that has Epson or IBM compatible modes. Most from mid 80s supported both and were selectable with dip switches.
  4. My first printer was the DMP-110. I saved forever and bought it when it was on sale for $299.00. It was a love/hate thing from day one. It had buffer memory, boasted some sort of dual hammer print head and promised the world with hi-res graphics, high quality word processor mode, many print densities, insanely small micro-font and even cursive. The printer itself looked incredibly cool...aerodynamic, light beige with a smoke tinted cover. Quite possibly the best looking printer ever made. Reality was the print quality did not live up to the hype. I took it back under warranty a few times, they made adjustments and eventually told me that's as good as an inexpensive printer gets. I will say it did deliver on all the features. Mirco-font was cool, you practically need a magnifying glass to read it. In high school, they started giving us fancy computer generated report cards with multiple fonts and line graphics. I was able to mimic it using Scripsit on my Model III and made some new report cards with improved grades for two close friends who would have otherwise had their asses kicked and been grounded. Instead of keeping it a secret, word got out quick. I made and saved a template which allowed me to make a new card in about 5 minutes with teachers' names, room #s, previous grades and the new requested grades. They were really spot on good. I was only charging $10 for a new card but would bring in between $300 to $400 during each report card week. On report card day, my street looked like April 15th at a tax preparers office. lol Following year, another kid decided to muscle in on my business and his cards looked like absolute shit. Dude got busted and suspended for a week! The school started using a notary type stamp and alerted parents to look for it. That scared the hell out of me and I was done. And all the way to graduation, I thought it might come back to bite me, but it never did. Till today I wonder what happened when some of those kids tried to get into college and their transcripts didn't come close to matching up with what they brought home to mom and dad. So yeah, that printer has some fond memories attached to it and I still have it. Ribbons are very rare and it shares them with one obscure Commodore printer. I have quite a few new sealed ribbons, which of course are all dried out, but are easy to re-ink with a roll-on bottle thing from Staples. Several years ago I picked up a spare Model III on Craigslist for $25. The guy also gave me a DMP-100 with it and a ton of fan-fold paper. The computer and printer looked like they'd never been used and work great. The 100 actually has better print quality than the 110 imo. I also like that it's battleship gray and matches the Model III.
  5. The 130XE never got much love due to the hassles of using the SIO2PC cable I built back in the 90s. SDrive-Max just arrived and I have to say it's really slick for only $60 bucks! This is up there with my Harmony Encore and FreHD. SD storage devices are the best thing to ever happen to this hobby.
  6. That's a good question. I've never seen any hacks to use them outside of the 2600. The 2600 had quite a few edutainment games that used them. They even evolved into kid friendly versions later on along with the single keyboard that was included with Star Raiders. My original keyboards came as a pack in with BASIC Programming. I'm probably one of very few people who thought it was a cool setup and spent quite a bit of time typing in the BASIC programs in the manual. Even the overlays were neat along with the way each keyboard latched together to form one keyboard. BASIC Programming gets ripped on a lot, but it worked and it had to take a genius to pull something like that off on a 2600.
  7. This is for classic computers. If you bring in failed/useless add-ons for game consoles, the list will become endless. The keyboard controllers get a pass as they were mainly used with the BASIC Programming cartridge which sort of made the 2600 a computer.
  8. There are thin mylar ribbon cables that go from the floppy controller and RS232 board to the motherboard. Disconnect one side of each cable and turn the computer on. See if you're greeted with the Cass? message.
  9. Ha, I was just looking at those today on eBay and thinking the same thing. Also, there doesn't seem to be a single seller of a C64 SD device in the US? I've got a 64C in the box that's been in my garage attic for 20 years, I don't even remember buying it, so it may have been there when I bought my house. Never been into the Commodore line of computers and I'm not about to buy a disk drive, but thought it might worth getting and SD2IEC to see what's it's about. Currently under quarantine after testing positive for corona and boredom is setting in. lol
  10. I was going to mention that, but the Exatron was sort of popular for the TRS-80 Model I. Not as good as a disk drive (but way cheaper) and much better than a cassette. I have an 80 Micro magazine here with a full back page ad. Says they are also available for Apple, PET, OSI and an RS232 unit.
  11. Maybe not so classic, but if you consider PCs, you definitely needed a Creative Labs Sound Blaster. Actually, my first sound card was the Game Blaster that I bought for my 1000SL.
  12. When I was a kid, I always assumed the MC-10 was a repackaged version of a wind-up toy Timex Sinclair. I was tempted to buy an MC-10 when they were on closeout for $20 bucks. Seems a lot of people did as it's the only computer ever made that's easier to find in the box vs loose on eBay. I think one of two things happened...someone who had no interest in owning a computer buys it because "hey only $20!" and never opens it. Others actually try it out and think "What the hell did I buy? Oh well, it was only $20." Either way, it gets tossed in the closet the same day and sits for decades. Sinclairs lol...Ribordy Drugs down the street was the only place I recall seeing them sold. They couldn't move them at $49.99 with free accessories.
  13. The TRS-80 Voice Synthesizer and VOXBOX were massive failures. They never even bothered to make versions for anything after the Model I. $400 for the Voice Synthesizer was insane (almost $1300 today) and I think Eliza was the only RS program that supported it. VOXBOX speech recognition wasn't as bad at $169, but supposedly an experimental toy. Alpha Products also had a voice synthesizer with big full page color ads in magazines. You would think it would have been a hot item, especially with War Games being out at the same time, but I don't think it had much support either. Price was very reasonable at $70. When you think about it, the I, III and 4 didn't really need a voice synthesizer, it had many games with clear speech. Now the Orchestra 90 Music Synthesizer did great and it's one of my favorite peripherals.
  14. That's an interesting one. Model 4 keyboard and badge, yet battleship gray and shown booted with trsdos 1.3. Memory badge missing to add more to the mystery Being disk based, it would be 64K or 128K for Model 4, 32K or 48K Model III. I'm guessing it's a III with the rare Model 4 upgrade kit. Definitely modified with an awesome amber monitor.
  15. One other thing...some of the Computer Centers also provided customer training. Mine had a classroom with about 20 or so computers set up. I took BASIC and Advanced BASIC classes. This was back in '82 and I still have the workbooks and certificates of completion. The lady who taught the class was a genius. I was 12 and the only kid in there, most were business people who were there on company time. My uncle paid for the classes and then gave me my Model III after completing them. I wish I could remember the price, I know they advertised in the local paper. I think it was either $100 or $200 per course. I believe they also offered a course for Scriptsit and maybe some database programs. Definitely a different world back then. If you bought a program and found a bug in it, you could stop by the computer center and they would try to resolve the issue right there on one of their systems. If they couldn't figure it out, you would usually have an answer (often a patch) the next day. It's great for a home user, but also think of what that level of service meant to a business.
  16. You forgot the 1200 which was an IBM clone. I doubt there was any confusion (I certainly wasn't at age 12). If you were investing in a computer at the time, you knew what you were buying. People weren't mistakenly buying CoCo software for their Model II, or Model III software for their 100. RS had a great business model. The RS Computer Centers were very well laid out, the sales staff was very intelligent and they had technicians in the store doing upgrades/repairs and answering technical questions. That wasn't something you'd get when buying a C64 from K-Mart. TRSDOS was just TRSDOS for each line and aside from the first Model I version, all were excellent and each had very few revisions. There were many aftermarket DOSs, but once again, you knew what you owned and why you wanted that other DOS. I'm also not convinced the Model III was initially an FCC thing. Mine is a very early release and it never had the metal cage around the motherboard. Some have insisted it was lost over the years, but I'm the original owner and it wasn't there from the first time I opened things up. The hi-res board kit has a new cage that replaces the old one, there were no mounting holes in mine so I had to tap new ones. Hi-res documentation also states that metal cage may not be there.
  17. What ever happened to this giant Apple haul? Did it get put out under tarps too?
  18. It's something he does in his fantasies. There was never a skid load (or even one) to begin with. Ask him to post just one photo of anything he ever talks about.
  19. Your picture didn't show up. IIRC, the 20-1060 cable used female card edge connectors on each side...might have been a standard 34 position? You would need a wiring diagram to see if it follows a standard drive cable layout. Also, I don't know if a regular ribbon cable can handle the current to power the drive. And like I said, that drive only works on the EX and HX computers. I think you can take the drive out of the housing, unplug the adapter board and then use it as a normal internal disk drive in other computers. I doubt you'll find a key for the hard disk. Easier to replace the key switch with a new one or install a regular on/off switch in its place like the later versions. I don't know the fuse size or ratings. If you Google search for info on the drive, there are scanned service manuals online. vcfed.org has a Tandy forum that is very active. You may be able to get the parts and info you need there. Unfortunately the forum software is not friendly to new users. Each time you make a post, it takes a day or two for it to show up because a moderator has to approve it, so you'll need to be patient. After you make several legitimate posts, they give you normal access.
  20. I had the 25-1060 back in the 80s (and the 3.5" 25-1061). Those drives are only for the Tandy 1000 EX and HX. They used a special cable that also carried power to the drives. IIRC, the drives were normal but used an adapter board inside the housing. I also remember the cable wasn't a ribbon, it was black and round. The hard disk attaches to the 50 position I/O port of the Model III. The cable pictured above would just need a different connector on one end to attach to the hard disk's pin connector. I'm not familiar with the Model II 8" drives or the cable required. I do have some bare 8" drives that I intend to make work with my Model III one day...that will require a 50 to 34 pin converter board, special power supply and custom cables.
  21. Maybe someone at sometime will find this info useful. The Model III and 4 has a single 50 position I/O bus port for expansion. A company called Alpha Products used to sell a cable that allowed you to daisy chain multiple peripherals on that port. Unfortunately those haven't been available since the mid 80s. The port is a 50 position card edge. 50 position ribbon cable and female connectors are easily sourced. Amazon has the best price on the female connectors; less than $20 for 5. Anything with a 50 position card edge is next to impossible to find these days. Also each "finger" on the board needs to connect from top on one side to bottom on the other. The Radio Shack Hi-Res board came with one as a pass through. I recently found a source for dirt cheap prototype trans boards that can be modified in about 1 minute. https://www.circuitspecialists.com/pc622.html Syntax PC-622. These are 62 position and already have the reverse side connected. A cutting wheel on a Dremel will easily make it into a 50 position. You'll also want to bevel the edge a bit with a flat file. My port currently has the Hi-Res board (looped from inside like factory), FreHD (hard drive) and an Orchestra 90 all getting along together. I also have a mouse interface for CAD which I'll try as soon as I get a RS mouse.
  22. I'm 50 and have to agree with Bill on feeling fortunate to own any computer back in the early 80s. My best friend's dad was a high school principal and he brought home a PET during summer break. I was around 11 and it was the first computer I ever touched. It went back after summer break. About a year later, when I was around 12, my uncle gave me a TRS-80 Model III right after RS released that model. It was a 16K cassette based system and I felt like the luckiest kid in the world. Soon after, that same friend's dad bought a sweet Apple IIe with two disk drives. I knew no one else with a computer at that time. That was a fun computer and I was a bit jealous over the disk drives. Drive 0 for my Model III was $999.00 and that wasn't going to happen anytime soon...my 1st car 4 years later didn't even cost that much lol. 38 years later and that exact same computer is now very well equipped. My next computer experience was with the C64 in school. I attended a crappy Catholic grade school which got a C64 (yes, 1) when I was in 8th grade. They devoted an entire classroom to this single computer and it was shared by all grades K to 8. My friend and I used to laugh our asses off on how they treated that thing like a holy grail. The C64 BBS scene several years later became impressive. 9th grade was the start of public high school and I was completely blown away on my first day. A room full of TRS-80 Model IIIs. Another room full of IBMs for programming and yet another room full of IBMs for word processing. That led me to my Tandy 1000EX I bought my junior year. I played around with Atari 8 bits in stores and would have loved to own one. I did pick up a 130XE in the early 90s and still like to use it today. I've always been a huge RS fan but never had much interest in the CoCo line. Another good friend got a VIC-20 and I felt bad for him. It seemed to have the programming power of a 2600 with a BASIC Programming cartridge and games about as good as a Channel F. The TI-99/4A was another early 80s contender and not something I ever wanted. Probably need an asbestos suit for this, but I always wanted a Coleco Adam. I'd really like to find a nice Intertec Superbrain. Never seen one in person, but just from the name and way it looks, I know I want one.
  23. Videotext from Radio Shack was basically communications software. The actual Videotext machine had the software built into its ROM instead of BASIC, as mentioned above. I had the cassette version for my Model III as I didn't have floppy drives yet. It was a very simple communications program that didn't allow downloading. Eventually I upgraded to disk drives and Videotext 4.0. The white binder simply says CompuServe and the file name on the disk is VIDTEX. I was able to start downloading programs, mainly a lot of Orchestra 90 music files which I still have today. I have the original white binder for disk 4.0 in front of me. I don't know where the cassette binder went...I may have used it as a cool 3 ring binder for school. If you had a 300 baud acoustic coupler in the early 80s, you were hardcore and living a dream. 1200 baud? Yeah, maybe if you were a large corporation. A DC1200 with autodial from RS would set you back $850 in 1983 ($2,200 today). How many home users had that kind of money to toss away on a peripheral? CompuServe was accessed through a Telnet #, and if you were lucky (as I was) it was a local call. Going from memory here...I would call the # and connect. Enter a string of numbers which would then bring up the login for CompuServe. Enter your name and password and you'd be online. It was $12 an hour and eventually $6 an hour evenings and nights. If you used 1200, it was way more per hour. GEnie was a new service that started years later in 1985 and I noticed in magazine ads that its access phone number was the same as CompuServe, but the login numbers were different. At that point, I found that by punching in random numbers, I could log into other computers from God only know where. Some with simple passwords, some with none at all. Coolest was a NASA switching packet station with brutal warnings about accessing it illegally. I still have the login codes written down for it. Eventually I went to using XTERM software on the Model III for hacking and accessing BBSs, and I still use it till this day.
  24. I think I saw one at Tandy Assembly. It's a rare system that's sort of a mystery. It seems to be a CoCo that boots to a terminal program refined for Compuserve and Dow Jones. It has a built in 300 baud modem, color graphics, a 6809E processor and 4K or 16K RAM, yet no cassette port, joystick ports, serial port or cartridge slot. I don't think it was capable of running software, yet the one PDF mentions dumping and executing a binary program? At $399 it was the exact same price as the 4K CoCo, but if you wanted to go online with the CoCo, you had to fork out an additional $200 for the acoustic modem and $30 for the software. I bought the Videotex software on cassette for my Model III and got online around 1983 with Compuserve. The service was originally $12 an hour. Software was only $30 but I had to add the RS232 board and a 300 baud DC Modem I. I basically had to mow 2 lawns for every hour I spent online. http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/html/catalogs_extra/1981_rsc-04/hr035.html https://colorcomputerarchive.com/repo/Documents/Manuals/Hardware/TRS-80 Videotex Terminal Owner's Manual (Tandy).pdf https://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/access/text/2016/07/102727143-05-02-acc.pdf
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