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Turbo-Torch

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Everything posted by Turbo-Torch

  1. Start with the most simple. Remove the mylar flex ribbon that connects the disk controller and motherboard. Gently clean the ribbon contacts with a pencil eraser, spray contact cleaner into each board's connectors and reassemble. There's also a longer and narrower ribbon that jumps two areas on the motherboard that should be cleaned too. If either of those have a flaky connection, it will cause the system to crash in a million different ways or not function at all. I eventually hard soldered mine with real stranded ribbon cable years ago. Another test is to simply disconnect the flex ribbon from the controller and turn on the computer. It should instantly boot to Cass? If you still have issues at that point, check your voltages...if good, I'd next move on to RAM.
  2. What cassette baud rate are you using and what baud rate was the WAV created at? The III will load 1500 baud default or 500 low speed. It's selectable at the Cass? prompt. Also what kind of program are you loading? You may need to use system instead of cload.
  3. Hahaha...it actually looks like it might taste good! Now I really want to know what its purpose is/was? Not sure what to tell you about the memory issues...are you using 1.5 volt alkaline and not nimh? If using an external power supply, is the output ok?
  4. You obviously have something going on with the internal RAM. Is that "gelatin bar" bleeding over the circuit board? I have a Sharp PC-1500 version that had funky issues with the display and that bar thing was like a hemorrhaging internal organ. Nasty, sticky blob that oozes and leaks all over and doesn't want to wash off your hands...took a lot of q-tips and rubbing alcohol to get the circuit board clean. It also seemed to migrate to certain areas of the board while leaving other areas spotless, as if it was intelligent and knew what it was going after. After removing it and cleaning everything, the PC has worked perfectly since.
  5. I'm almost certain the cassette cables are the same across most Tandy computers so don't pay more than a few bucks for one. The serial board is going to be difficult to find and it requires a special mylar flex cable. Jay or Ian may have one to sell and I know Jay had the flex cables reproduced too. You have several other options on getting files to the III. As mentioned earlier, FreHD is awesome. It's like having 6 hard drives from back in the day (at $2K+ each) attached to your computer. You can also get an auto boot ROM for a few bucks and not even need to boot from a floppy anymore...they'll just be along for the ride like booting to C drive on an old PC. You'll have around 40mb of available storage after bootup between drives 0 to 5 (floppies become 6 and 7). And of course many other sets of images can be kept on even the smallest SD card. HxC floppy emulator is another option and inexpensive, so something to look into. I've never tried it, but if you have an old MSDOS PC kicking around, there is also a way to write TRS-80 compatible floppies using an emulator on a modern PC and then moving files to the old PC with a 360k floppy drive and writing the disk. The computer has to be running MSDOS (not through Windows) and the drive cannot be a 1.2 mb. Only a tiny fraction of software came on cassette. I don't see trying to convert disk programs to a WAV file, loading it into the cassette port and then converting and saving it back to disk as an option. Unless someone has come up with a special program that can load in segments of code (into the limited 48K RAM) and then stitch it back together using multiple operations, it's going to be next to impossible. This is some of the software out there available for your Model III. http://www.classiccmp.org/cpmarchives/ftp.php?b=trs80%2FSoftware%2FModel+III I think I have a bookmark on another computer to a site with even more than that.
  6. For the dimming...spray DeoxIT into the brightness and contrast controls. There is a video board in the upper shell next to the CRT, remove that edge connector and clean up the connection. The fingers on the board can also be built up a bit thicker by adding thin layers of solder. Lastly, clean and re-seat the power supply connectors at the top left of the motherboard as viewed from the front. The keys will need to be unsoldered and removed. You can then easily disassemble each one with a small screwdriver. Inside will be a gray rubber cup with carbon pads and a spring. I would first take an ohm reading to see what you have (probably over 1K). Then disassemble the key and clean the lower contact portion with a pencil eraser and clean the carbon pads with a soft cloth. Some guys even rotate the cups 180 so that contact is being made in a fresh area. Reassemble and test again. The reading will probably be down to a few hundred ohms and good for another 30 years. Don't expect to see 0 ohms like a switch. If some of the carbon pads are ruined, one of the repair coating kits should work fine. I used some foil dots on my spare Model III that I picked up on Craigslist...that was the one with the newer keys that I messed up with DeoxIT cleaner. Underneath you should have four connectors. You found the edge card for the printer port, next to it and inward is the bottom edge connector of your floppy controller card, you can add two more external floppy drives off of it. The large edge card towards center is for expansion, that's where things like a Hard Drive or Orchestra 90 would attach...they can also be daisy chained with a special cable. Sharing that same cut out area will be a standard 25 pin RS232 serial connector for your modem. Now, if your III started life as a 16K cassette based model (as mine did), it did not have the floppy controller board or RS232 board. It's possible that you still don't have the RS232 board...that was my first upgrade in 1984 and I believe I paid $100 for that kit from Radio Shack. Later on I added the floppy drive kit. RS also sold other odd configurations such as 32K and one floppy which may also not have the RS232 board. On the rear, you'll just find the cassette port. Even if you're not going to use cassettes, you'll definitely want the cable since that port is also used for sound output. You attach one of the cables to the aux input of an amplifier and now you have surprisingly good sound effects and speech, especially in Big Five Games. If you look back up at my photo, you can see the little amplified speaker that I use.
  7. Hold down BREAK while turning on or pressing the orange reset to go into BASIC. It's going to have one of two different ALPS keyboard. One style has keys soldered in with two legs and the other 4 legs. The one with the stem broken off will need to be replaced and if it has 4 soldered legs, you'll probably have a hard time finding a replacement. If it has 2 legs, I should have a spare I can send you. No matter which you have, you'll need to unsolder each key, disassemble it and clean the bottom contact point with something like a pencil erasure where the carbon pad makes contact. DO NOT JUST REMOVE THE KEY CAPS AND TRY TO WORK IN CONTACT CLEANER! It will destroy the carbon pads in the later style keys with 4 legs and I wouldn't try it on the older 2 leg keys either. It did work great on my old 2 leg keys, but when I tried it on a late Model III with 4 legs, I ruined a bunch of keys. Also, the keyboard circuit board can develop cracks, especially from the center which can take out a vector of keys. Easy to repair with jumper wires if needed. Jay Newirth will most likely have everything you need. http://plaidvest.com/newsoft/ Very nice guy and his prices are more than reasonable. At the 2018 Tandy Assembly, he was giving away free key caps. He also has excellent repro emblems. Disk drives probably need to be taken apart and gone through. Definitely need to clean any old hardened grease from the rails and re-lube. The fact that it boots from a disk is a good sign. Getting files off the internet and onto the III is a chore. You can download them to your PC and then attach your III to the PC with a null modem cable. You'll need a host program on the PC and a terminal program on the III and then download like an old school BBS. FreHD is basically a modern hard drive for the III that uses an SD card. You can copy cmd files onto the card from your PC and then pop the card into the FreHD and use the import2 command and they'll show up. A FreHD setup is around $130 and a must have imo. Orchestra 90 is really cool but difficult to find; however, Ian Mavric makes new ones (along with FreHD kits). The ultimate cool accessory is the hi-res graphics card (see my avatar) but good luck find one. Had a search string setup on eBay for years with no luck, but managed to buy one from Jay at the 2018 Tandy Assembly. Here's a pic of my FreHD on the top case. Edit... You can get the replacement X capacitors from Digi-Key the part # is: 399-7483-ND
  8. So you want someone else to volunteer their time and resources to change this guy's business (who obviously has no interest in changing anything) so that it becomes more appealing to you? If there was such a thing as entitled millennial comment of the year award, you'd currently be in first place at the moment. The guy is knowledgeable, he sells quality items, gets orders sent out quickly, doesn't rip people off, often sells new items for less than what you can find used on eBay and honors warranty claims without hassles. Yes, he may be eccentric and likes to run his business in a style of days gone by...but it's been working for him longer than you've been alive.
  9. This worked fine for me and it arrived the next day through Prime. https://www.amazon.com/SN-RIGGOR-Extension-Genesis-Controlle-Controller/dp/B06XYWXNNH/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=BJMPSD9FNYR3RSS5GF09 Of course you need a razor or xacto knife to slightly shave 2 corners so it'll match the Vectrex port. Literally shouldn't take more than 10 seconds. And if you have the brand new AtariVox that was just sent out, be sure to use the revised DIP switch settings. https://atariage.com/forums/topic/300106-atarivox-problems/
  10. I believe it was always included on the 800 but I'm not sure that was always the case for the 400. At one point there seemed to be a base model 400 and then you could buy starter packs called The Entertainer, The Communicator, The Programmer and The Educator. If you look at The Programmer, it included the BASIC cartridge which makes me think that model of 400 didn't include it.
  11. The PC and XT had built in BASIC contained in a ROM. If you had a disk drive and used IBM PC DOS, the disk BASIC contained on the DOS disk still made use of the ROM. Disk BASIC would not work on clones/compatibles because they didn't contain that ROM. The early Atari 8 bit line did not have built in BASIC. When you turned on the computer, all you had was a useless notepad screen. BASIC was available on a cartridge that you plugged in. CP/M was an OS on disk which contained MBASIC.
  12. Not quite sure what you're asking. BASIC is a programming language and DOS is a Disk Operating System. Pretty much any DOS had its own enhanced version of BASIC to take advantage of the disk drives (disk BASIC). As far as a 16K 5150 with built in cassette BASIC being upgraded to a disk system...were there major language incompatibilities? I'm guessing finding someone who owned a cassette based IBM would be difficult, let alone finding someone who was angry over BASIC programs needing to be tweaked to their new disk system. For my Model III, I can boot to TRSDOS, type BASIC and still run most programs that were typed in and saved to cassette. I can also copy them to a disk and run them that way. For something that's really finicky, I can boot to cassette BASIC (internal ROM) by holding the break key while turning on the power and it's like the disk drives were never installed. Heck, I have a further enhanced version of BASIC that takes advantage of the optional hi-res graphics board.
  13. My mom really wanted one to go along with the French Provincial bedroom set. My dad bought it for her as a Christmas gift...maybe around 1978. I just remember it being a big deal and everyone had to see it and hear it ring. Some things are best left in past. I can't believe this was a thing...
  14. The ITT cordless is amazing. About every 15 years I'll replace the batteries in the handset and that's it. It's 3 AA rechargeables with soldered tabs linking them together. BITD, there were only a few set frequencies for those phones and no real security. On mine, when you put the handset on the cradle to charge, it did lock the system out and there was an override button if you wanted to turn the security off. The cheaper phones had nothing. It didn't take long for me to figure out I could roam around town with the handset on and tap off other phone lines that were on the same frequency. This was a godsend to me and my friends who loved to make prank phone calls. It also saved my ass because we sort of over pranked one particular place and they had a tracer put on the line. One day a detective showed up at my parents' house as one single call was traced to our number. I denied it and the police couldn't prove anything because they had at least a dozen other traced numbers between two different counties and none of it made sense, such as 90 year old couples and businesses. I think in the end they assumed the telcos tracing system was really messed up. I did get the stink eye from my mom & dad because they knew I was behind it, but didn't have a clue as to how. So much nicer than a disposable Chinese POS that you'd buy today.
  15. The acoustic couplers were a thing from '78 to maybe '82 at the latest. There was no shortage of wild looking phones in the 70s, so the handsets were not all the same. People didn't hesitate to save money and add style to their home by purchasing their own phone and sending back their rented phones to Ma Bell. And like I already said, if you needed to use an acoustic, odds were good there was still a Princess or Western Electric somewhere in the household. If the year was 1977 and you just brought home your brand new TRS-80 Model I and didn't have a phone with a standard handset to use with your new acoustic coupler (not really sure what or who you'd be dialing into), you could head back to Radio Shack and pick up a brand new Western Electric style phone for $34.95 or a refurbished one for $14.95 catalog #279-371. If you have a landline and want to use an acoustic coupler today just for the thrill of it (and I think that's what you're wanting to do from reading some of your posts), simply buy a real vintage phone. Hit eBay, Craigslist, flea markets, your old neighbor a few doors down and get yourself a Western Electric or Princess style phone for under $20 bucks. If it's not smashed up, odds are it'll work as they were next to indestructible. You'll also need a 4 prong to RJ11 adapter (unless your house is older and still has some of those old style wall jacks). I would also stick with touch tone, rotary dial phones use pulse and some telcos no longer support that. A side hobby of mine is old telephones...they're incredibly cool, everybody loves them and they still make and take phone calls as always. I have a hotline red 1958 Bell Western Electric in my rec room. Been in my family for 62 years and it works perfect. Also have an original 1st year touch tone Mickey Mouse phone in my office. My 80s game room has a period correct high tech looking wall phone called the Fiero (not related to the car). One of my favorites is a cordless phone I got for my birthday in the very early 80s. It's so old, it has a push button keypad, but only dials out in pulse and the base and handset are covered in brown leather. It's made by ITT, is pushing 40 years old and still has a 1/2 mile range to it. That one has some stories attached to it involving police and detectives knocking at my parents' front door.
  16. There was no standard handset. Before anyone even knew what a home computer was, there were trimline phones with the dial inside the handset, tacky French phones that could only be popular in the 70s, phones with squared off handsets, round space age phones, novelty phones... None of those would work with an acoustic coupler. That said, most households had a few Princess and/or Western Electric 500 phones still in use.
  17. Thank you! Works great with my Vectrex now.
  18. Received my Atarivox a few days ago and it works great with my 2600. Today I went to use it with my Vectrex and I can't figure out the DIP switches. The board layout and switch settings don't seem to be the same as in the manual. Default setting in the manual appears to be 123 down and 45 up. Default on mine was 12 down and 345 up. Now if I flip it over so the numbers are upside down, it looks the same as what's illustrated in the manual. If I try to configure VecVox or VecVoice the same way, it shorts out and shuts down my Vectrex. Now if I flip it around and and try again for VecVox, it initializes and but says VecVoice? If I play Yasi, I get no speech. If I put it back to the way it came, it plays fine in my 2600. Is there an updated switch setting for Rev. 2?
  19. Agreed that $10K wasn't much for a business computer. I like thumbing through old catalogs and seeing how quickly a system can hit $50K after adding memory, hard drives, a few terminals and a fast printer. The problem is when you get people who can't discern between the home market and the business world. This just goes back to a similar thread from a while ago when someone inferred that 8088 systems were next to worthless by 1988 because the 386 was released in '87 and you really needed that kind of power to play current games. This was at a time when you were lucky to have a disk drive for your C64 and were king of the school or neighborhood if you had a 8088 based system with 256K. Yup, the 386 systems were out there, but they sure weren't playing video games in people's homes. A Tandy 3000 was $4,300 back then and it was a 286 system. If you wanted a top end Compaq 386, it would set you back about $13K after taxes...nobody was spending the equivalent of $30K in today's money to play Outrun. lol Also, when it came to a home computer's longevity of usefulness, the 80s seemed more like today...you could have a 5 year old XT, C64 or Atari 8 bit and the current software ran on it fine. The fast paced PCs of the 90s sucked. Buy or build a new system and 6 months later there's something with twice the speed, memory and storage for less money that can run programs you can't. I'm glad those days are over. The Toshiba laptop I'm using to type this still gets along fine at 9 years old.
  20. I had those adapter shells back in the 70s and they were probably being sold long before that. AA to D is next to worthless since most anything using D cells will be high current drain...the mAh difference is too great. The C to D adapters were ok and I wish I could still find them, as someone gave me boxes and boxes of Duracell Procell C batteries made for medical equipment.
  21. I'm really trying to figure you out. Do you randomly buy old computers with little to no knowledge about them? When you buy one, do you try to gather the most basic information about them by reading the manuals? The links below took only seconds to find using Google. The first link has pdf downloads to all the manuals you can want for your 100 series computer. The center link is specifically for the drive you're asking about, including schematics. The third link is to Radio Shack's catalogs from back in the day. Open the page to your computer...read what your computer can do, take notice of the very informative fine print specs, check out all the other ads for the accessories that were available, read about all the software that was available. http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/kyocera/index.htm http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/kyocera/potrtdisk.pdf http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalog_directory.html It seems you've recently bought a VIC 20, CoCo, Model 100 and an expensive Apple setup. Have you managed to get even one of them working properly? Just a suggestion...maybe buy one system, take your time doing needed maintenance and repairs to get it 100%, then learn how to use it and its peripherals, load programs, enter programs, etc. before moving on to another system. Like I said, just a suggestion. And then when you need a proprietary part like Arcade Shopper's custom built cable at an extremely reasonable $25, it won't seem like it costs a fortune to you. Oh and one other suggestion...when you ask questions and others take the time to answer, you often leave them hanging by never coming back to that thread. An example is the one you started about your fuse popping VIC 20. Maybe a simple thanks or hitting a like button once in a while so that person doesn't feel like they typed into a black hole?
  22. There are still active dial up BBSs. I typically use an old ass 1200 baud modem because it looks cool and there's really no need to go higher. I've used 4800 no problem...that's the highest my favorite terminal program for my Model III supports. Technically the computer will handle up to 9600 and I'm sure my phone lines do too. FAX machines use modems and are still a reality, and no matter what idiots claim, they are still heavily used in the business world.
  23. I considered my 2000 to be about 10% compatible. Anything that required graphics wasn't going to work. Such a shame as it was an insane powerhouse that was years ahead of its time. I bought a corporate model from a local Radio Shack that had every conceivable option from their catalog stuffed in it...hi res 640X400 board (with CM-1 color monitor!) for CAD, 768K extended memory, 8087 math co-processor, internal HD which allowed both floppies to stay in place, a modem, lots of business software, etc. They wanted $100 for all of it, so I figured what the heck...it wasn't even a discontinued model at that time, it ran MSDOS and should blow away my 1000 EX, so how could I go wrong? In comparison, my $600 1000 EX was a toy spec wise compared to the $10,000+ 2000 setup, yet the EX did everything and the 2000 next to nothing. It was like owning a Lamborghini without a steering wheel. I was around 18 at the time and kicked myself for wasting $100 on it. It did run Telix well and I let a friend borrow it (around 1989) so we could team up and play Tradwars 2000 on several local BBSs. One of these days I'm going to get it back from him because I can almost guarantee it's still in his parents' house. It's one of those things I could appreciate a lot more now.
  24. Cocos are rather old technology...I would at least give it 2 days to repair itself.
  25. AKA Earworms...see one, probably have hundreds. Some are known to burrow into ear canals of their sleeping victims. 👂🐛
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