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Turbo-Torch

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Everything posted by Turbo-Torch

  1. My TRS-80 Model 2000 had a 186. It was so close to being a compatible, yet so far away. Graphics were the biggest issue as it wasn't CGA or EGA compatible. Floppy drives were also 720K each instead of the standard 180K or 360K. It was a Radio Shack corporate computer that had every single option in the catalog added to it. The RS in my local mall sold it to me for $100 bucks...hi res color monitor and modem included too. At one point I added everything up and it totaled $10,000+, and it wasn't even a discontinued system yet. If it was being used in a business environment or for an engineer using CAD, it was the ultimate system (600X400 color graphics in 1984). I was a teenager at the time...and well, it didn't run games. My entry level 1000EX was 1000 times better because it ran everything and all software was free on local pirate BBSs. The 2000 was like a Lamborghini crippled with skinny bias ply tires. All that power with no good way to make use of it due to limited software. If I still had it today, I'm sure I would appreciate it much more. I let my best friend use it so we could play Trade Wars on the local BBSs and never bothered to get it back. He thinks it's still stashed away in his parents' house. Might be cool to get it back one day and experience it again in my 50s.
  2. I'm picturing a full out bomb squad with their robot (extra points for a Tomy Omnibot lol) transporting it to the explosion containment chamber on the tarmac and the poor Microvision getting detonated. Then an ungodly amount of money is spent on detective work and having forensics reconstruct the "device", only to find it was a 1970s toy that was being sent to the other side of the planet to have a new part made...all so a group of nerds can have theirs working again. Oh man...and then the details of the pressure vessel to keep the screen from getting depressurized. Guaranteed to make international news and there would be a big run on Microvisions and replacement screens! In all seriousness, that would be a perfect way to transport it as long as it was approved somehow and properly labeled. Add some insulation around it and get it out during the fall when it's not too hot or cold.
  3. That's an awesome idea, but I'm laughing my ass off at the thought of it getting caught in airport security. Think of this large white capped off tube with a stem sticking out of it...and then they x-ray it and see electronics inside. 💣
  4. RS probably stuck whatever overstock they had at the time in that box. I think I bought a Coleco Adam keyboard from RS for a few dollars. Since there's a few unlabeled keys, they were probably assignable for a data terminal. It would be interesting to see a key cap removed. The key shape and large character font looks just like a Model I Hi-Tek version.
  5. 1977 catalog page 94. Generic keyboard for projects.
  6. Your photos always look great. I bet you could do a killer 1980s style Sunday sales flyer.
  7. Here are the Kay-Bee games I picked up sometime in the mid 80s. Cosmic Intruders isn't too bad. It's a clone of Atari's Star Ship/Outer Space. Sound is ok too. Blitzkrieg is sad. You just move your guy back and forth trying to avoid the bombs. Sound is basic beeps and it doesn't even keep score or time you. It was compiled in Z-Basic.
  8. Kay-Bee actually had games for my TRS-80 Model III on disk in the 99¢ bin which really surprised me. I bought a few and they were worse than most BASIC games I typed in; although, the plastic cases and artwork were very nice. I still have them and I bet the rarity is way up there. That 99¢ bin also had software for Apple, Commodore and Atari and the dreaded 2600 Mythicon games (which I also bought that day). I miss the great deals on failed systems at places like Kay-Bee, Big Lots and EB. 7800 bundled with 5 games for $30, Virtualboy for $20, Dreamcast for $50 and Jaguar for $25. I think the first virtual bargain bin would be O'Shea. Site is still up and you can still see the 2600/7800 remnants from over 2 decades ago.
  9. I guess at that point you remove drive 1, make a nice face plate and mount the Gotek inside as 1. Popular mod at Tandy Assembly. If both floppy drives are wanted; replace drive 1 with a half height, assign it as drive 2, add a terminating resistor and loop the cable to the external connector. Then mount the Gotek in the open half space, assign it as drive 1 and connect it to the internal controller connector. Looks goofy but it's a self contained reversible mod. Actually you can leave both full heights in place, get creative with the cables and still have the Gotek outside. It'll be weird having drive 0 internal, 1 external and 2 internal but I think LDOS will let you reconfigure the drives, so it may be possible to have drive 0 lower, drive 1 upper and Gotek 2. Optional...leave both full heights in place and cut an opening between the two drives (after removing the TRS-80 emblem) and mount the Gotek there. It looks ok and yet it's cringe worthy at the same time...once you cut the case, there's no going back. Or just go with a FreHD and keep your 0 and 1 floppies as usual, drives 2 through 7 will be super fast hard drives. win/win situation and you don't even have to open up your computer.
  10. How are you assigning drive numbers? Stock from the factory removed pins from the cable. Aftermarket used standard cables and drives 0 to 3 are configured with jumpers on the drive itself. If hooked to the external port with a full cable, you'd need to assign it as drive 2. External drives also need a terminating resistor on the last drive. I've never used a Gotek, does it have a terminating resistor option? I also think floppy emulators need a proper bios flash (d/l costs a few $$) for the TRS-80.
  11. That made me scratch my head too. In '78 and '79, I knew the VCS existed from seeing it in the Tepe's catalog. At that time it appeared to be a $200 deluxe Pong system that I had no interest in. When Space Invaders was released in 1980, I think the world realized that Atari was something special (that's when I became obsessed). From '80 to '82, most kids would have murdered Santa Claus to get their hands on one and the sales figures prove that. Also the whole 8 bit scene exploded in the mid 80s with lower cost systems, disk drives, Happy mods, user groups, BBSs, etc. If Atari closed their doors in 1978, the 80s would have been far less exciting.
  12. He's probably too busy at the moment. I heard he personally flew his private jet out to his firm's east coast location to assist his people in finding a cure and vaccine for covid-19.
  13. That's your problem. I have well over 1,000 floppies from 3½, 5¼ and 8 inch, used in my TRS-80, Atari and PCs. If I don't get a perfect format (zero bad sectors), I consider the disk unreliable and either toss it or use it as a test disk. I'd estimate 1 out of 50 might list a bad sector or two after formatting. It's very rare that I get a disk that won't format and it's usually obvious before even trying. Several years ago I bought a large lot of 5¼ disks off eBay and when I opened the package, the smell about knocked me out. Every disk had mold on the media. I sent the seller photos, he refunded my money and I threw them all in the trash. I've found 3½ disks to be more reliable back in the day and and today due to the hard shell and sliding door. I have a 3½ USB drive on my current desktop and have no issues when I put programs on them to use on something like my old IBM P70s. Also, if a used disk looks good and doesn't format, it may have been formatted on a misaligned drive at one time. An electric bulk eraser will make it like new again.
  14. Still have my 1981 Model III since new. Works perfect and I use it all the time. Started off as a 16K cassette based model. All upgrades were done by me in the 80s and internally it's still all very early 80s technology. Behind it is an original Orchestra 90 music synthesizer and an old Wang modem to the right. The box on top with the key switch is a FreHD and it takes the place of 6 monster hard drives daisy chained together from back in the day. It's the only modern technology attached to it. And the little round thing is a speaker/amp for game sounds. As you can clearly see, it was the best early 80s computer available, and till today it still tries hard to keep up.
  15. I think all US Robotics will use the Hayes standard. Some of their early models even resembled Hayes modems. To dial out from your computer, you'd simply type in ATDT and then the phone number. Or ATDP for pulse dialing if you still had rotary phone service to your house.
  16. If you're new to modems, I'd stick with Hayes compatible. Non Hayes works fine too, but the command set will be proprietary and most likely not compatible with any software you'll use in the future...it would be like buying a non Epson compatible printer back in the day. Still not a deal breaker, you'll just need to enter dial commands manually and many terminal programs allowed you to reconfigure its automated dialing/answering commands. Whatever you buy, make sure you can find a manual for it so you know what those commands are. A 56K will still work at 300 or 1200. Those cheap 56K plastic US Robotics are dime-a-dozen and work well but they won't look period correct for anything built before the 90s. The Packard Bell with the silver steel case (PB1200Plus) is old cool looking. They also made them in 2400 to 9600 all looking the same...they were very popular and are now dirt cheap. If you're into looks and not worried about Hayes, there's some really cool stuff out there. Anything by DEC Digital (Digital Equipment Corp) or the Prometheus Promodem series from the early 80s are truly bad ass looking. https://www.pinterest.com/blakespot/modems-vintage/
  17. An 80 track 720K disk drive (QD or quad density) is rare and not the same as a 1.2mb HD drive. It's also difficult to format a 360K disk on a 1.2mb drive and then use it on another PC with a 360K drive. The HD head is narrower and you end up with noise on the tracks. Can't hurt to try, but I doubt you'll create a usable M3 disk on a 1.2 drive.
  18. In post 5, look at the second picture. On the top circuit board there are little tabs that are twisted which holds the screen to the board. Sandwiched between are rubbery zebra strips (that you won't see). If just one has poor contact, you lose a line of pixels. I use a pair of needle nose pliers to try and tweak the tabs so the board presses tighter against the strips and lcd...most of the time it works. I've had a few where it didn't help, and removing the board to try and clean the zebra strips made things 10X worse. I've not found new zebra strips and even asked around at Tandy assembly each year and no one is making repros yet.
  19. That's why you need an extension cable like the one I linked to and then slightly shave down the corners with a razor or exacto. I've used the extension cables on my 2600 and Vectrex, I've not tried it on my 7800. I don't see any reason for a Sega extension cable to ruin any game system unless it was defective and shorted internally.
  20. I bought a new 130XE motherboard from him and it was about 1/2 of what used defective ones were selling for on eBay. About 2 months in I noticed a weird glitch where any single character (I think two spaces in from the right of the screen) would show up inverted. Only seemed to be in BASIC. He had me send it back and I had another new one within a few days. I often wonder how much stock he actually has and what it would go for if he ever decides to sell the business. I'd love to buy a business like that after I retire, as it seems like it would be a lot of fun. And even though I'm planning on moving to a warmer climate, the current location is still a huge issue due to the crazy cost of living in that area. After setting up a business, buying or renting a proper warehouse, utilities, taxes, etc. would the profits cover all of that, let alone leave you with extra money for your own life? If you bought a house and store front out there 35+ years ago when prices were still sane and owned it outright, you'd probably be golden. I'm also thinking there is so much stuff, packing and shipping it half way across the country wouldn't be feasible. Hopefully it doesn't all end up as e waste.
  21. That's the hi-res graphics card! 👍 Imo, that's the ultimate Model III peripheral and I can't tell you how many years it took to find mine. It came out in '82 and allows graphics that were mind blowing for the time. My avatar pic is an actual photo I took of my screen. You definitely need to get the system up and running, and I'm guessing once you get a few good disks, it'll be fine. Mine has been with me since I was a kid and it has a few battle scars but that's just part of the patina. The graphics board will be a whole new animal to learn about later on with its own commands and version of BASIC. Normally it sits transparent and won't get in the way of anything else you'll be doing. Now if you decide for some reason you don't want it and remove it, there's a mod to the motherboard that needs to be undone.
  22. Can you post a photo of what you have? You should only have the motherboard and a disk controller which is about ½ the size of the motherboard. If you had the RS232 it would take up the remaining space. I'm curious to know what has the yellow plastic shield as I've only seen that on the factory hi-res board. You may have a really cool holy grail hidden inside. The hi-res board comes mounted on a new RF shield cage that replaces your old one. It's a single large horizontal board that's the same width as the motherboard but the shield cage over it makes it look like two boards. It connects to the 50 pin expansion connector with a special short cable that tightly loops and connects from within the computer's case. From there it daisy chains and exits out the opening to rear of the computer with another 50 pin card connector so you can still expand with other accessories. That piece could have been tossed by someone years ago and unfortunately they are made of unobtainium. It's a pain in the ass but you can build one if you have decent soldering skills and patience.
  23. He sent me LDOS and NewDos80 disks several years ago. I gave him $20 bucks. Unless you know that you're converting an original cassette program to a WAV, know how to load that program and that it's at 1500 baud (and probably a million other factors), you're wasting your time trying to use the cassette port. And if you're trying to load something that was a disk program, it ain't gonna happen. For example, Dancing Demon is a mix of BASIC and machine language and you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to make it load. I can't remember the details but I think it involved peeks and maybe changing the Memory Size at startup. I got that program when it was released and the proper information wasn't in the manual. Local RS computer center was stumped too as they couldn't load any of their copies. They called back the next day (after hearing from Fort Worth) and told me how to load it. Furthermore, cassette use was flaky at best even when using the proper cassette deck and commercial software. The volume had to be just right and if you had the cassette deck too close to the side of the computer, the load would fail due to RF interference. I can only imagine the added garbage in a WAV file. Get a good tape deck and buy some commercial RS games off eBay and then give it a try. All of mine are nearing 40 years old and still load fine. Or find some sealed data cassettes, write a BASIC program, CSAVE it and then CLOAD it back into the machine. Of course, finding a good cassette deck may not be easy. I've had my CTR-80A since new, never stored it in a harsh environment and still had to recap it and replace the belt. For disk drives: You need to hit eBay and buy a cleaning disk that comes with a fluid solution. New 5¼" floppies haven't been made in many years and even good floppies will leave oxides behind on the heads...and when you get a bad one, it'll really contaminate the heads. Also, when you get some good bootable operating systems, make about a ½ dozen backups of each...you won't regret it. For any disks that you buy, look at the disk surface under a bright light. If there are faint white splotches, don't even try to use the disk. It's mold and will often smell like it too. Lastly, only use SSDD or DSDD disks, 1.2 mb HD will not work. If your drives are aftermarket, they may be double sided, so use DSDD and LDOS to take advantage of them.
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