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TRS-80 Pocket Computers

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I've got one of these, which I think is awesome. Typing in games isn't so fun, but once you get them typed in (after an hour or so of trying), you can get it to do some fun stuff.

 

Does anybody else here have one of these? How rare are they? I picked mine up for $10 a couple of years ago.

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I've got one of these, which I think is awesome. Typing in games isn't so fun, but once you get them typed in (after an hour or so of trying), you can get it to do some fun stuff.

 

Does anybody else here have one of these? How rare are they? I picked mine up for $10 a couple of years ago.

I am a big Tandy fan and would love to have one. What type of games have you tried? It's kind of hard to visualize playing an action oriented game on the display, but I suppose a horizontally scrolling racing game would be really cool on it. Morgan

 

Edit: now that I think about it, I may have a book of programs for that. I will PM you with the title and see if you need scans from it. If I dont do this in the next day or so that means I forgot and you should PM me :)

Edited by Chuck D. Head

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I've got one of those. Also have one of the more advanced flip open ones with the separate alpha/num keyboards. They were really kind of neat way back when. :)

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Still have my PC-6 from 20 years ago. Amazingly, the programs I wrote back then are still on it (even though the RAM is battery-backed.) I had a PC-3 before that but the screen broke, then a PC-4 that just stopped working.

 

The PC-2 is still the best of all and I wanted one back then but I couldn't afford it.

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I was pretty amazed that graphical games are even possible on the thing, given the nature of the display. It's a really cool little machine, if you've got the patience to type everything in. I don't have any of the accessories for it, or I'm sure I wouldn't have to type the things in, but hey, that's the old-school spirit anyway, right? Typing in BASIC programs, hoping you don't have a typo on line 120 that blows the whole thing up?

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I've got a Sharp pocket computer. Cost close to $200 back in the day. I just put some fresh batteries in it a few weeks ago.

 

I made a graphical driving game where you steer around a course, with the ability to turn left or right. No error checking, so if you drove way off course, you'd start writing who knows what memory. It was also hard to tell which direction you were going, because you were just a single pixel. :)

Edited by 5-11under

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This site is a pretty cool resource:

 

http://www.pc1500.com/

 

Oh SNAP! Looks like the .wav files are there for most of them, I better download them before they dissapear and put em away for when I get one. Looking at the screenshots, it appears that as far as action games go, side-scrolling is the norm. Very cool.

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I have considered getting one for awhile. Which one should I get (or is easiest to find)?

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I think the PC-2 is generally regarded as the pick of the litter, but it's also the only one I have any experience with.

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Edit: now that I think about it, I may have a book of programs for that. I will PM you with the title and see if you need scans from it. If I dont do this in the next day or so that means I forgot and you should PM me :)

 

OK, the book is not so exciting. It is "Problem Solving on the TRS-80 Pocket Computer". No games or applications, just ideas on creating short programs for math calculations.

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I've got the little folding one, with 2K RAM.

 

Also just picked up a perfect Model 100 in just about mint condition. Really love that thing.

 

The 2K model served me well in school. Used to code up solvers for common problems. That rocked. Kept a few notes in it too, for other subjects.

 

Later on, that 2K model contained a set of math formulas good for doing sheet metal flat pattern layouts. Used it every day for years, and it rocked hard.

 

Right now that one is in a drawer somewhere...

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I still have both a PC-1 and a PC-6.

 

The PC-1 was the first computer that I ever owned. I had to save my paper route money for months to afford it. Got it in about 1981 or 82 when it was the cheapest "computer" available. I picked up the printer for it a few years later on clearance for $25. I used the PC-1 to "help" me through several high school exams. Back then teachers were easily convinced that it was just a calculator.

 

I picked up the PC-6 years later when I started working. I even expanded it to a whole 16K of RAM. I mainly bought the PC-6 because it was advertised as having access to an assembler. I had visions of pushing the thing to it's limits by avoiding BASIC. Turned out that the assembler is just a simulator and is severely limited in what could be done.

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I have several pocket computers. I've got two PC-2s with maxed out RAM (32k!), a PC-3, and a very rare PC-1360 with 64k(!!). The latter had both really rare max ram chips installed. The seller didn't know what he had.

 

I have messed around with these extensively. I've even written a 'Hunt the Wumpus' clone on the PC-2. They are really cool little computers, and the only (US) portable PC that is really deserving of the name. The rest of the line is far, far more limited in what you can do.

 

If you are planning on getting one of these, get a PC-2. They are common, fairly cheap, upgradeable (to a massive 32k), and they have a much more robust BASIC with actual dot-accessible graphics. You can also program in assembly (there's a guide). The RAM carts are swappable too, making them very nice to store programs on. Battery life is like a year or two.

 

Great little PCs, and they actually are full on computers. If you can get one with at least 8k (the ram can be hard to find), then you will have a very enjoyable little unit that can still do all kinds of useful stuff.

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was just searching around on ebay and seen a PC-3 with printer and books and power cord starting bid of $9.99. I was looking for the PC-2 but didn't see any. so would one say that the PC-2 was the best version out of them all ?

 

One would go nice next to my TI-1200 calculator, Newton 2100 and other hand helds.

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Another great old Radio Shack/Tandy portable is the TRS-80 Model 100. It's about 4 times bigger than the pocket ones. Model 100's have nice tactile keyboards.

 

My shop teacher back in the mid 80's had one. He had all the accessories for it -- printer, data recorder, extra RAM, and he had some games for it. He used it to type up worksheets/tests, and he used it to keep a database/spreadsheet of our grades. He let us use it whenever we wanted. He figured it was a good learning experience.

 

http://www.computermuseumgroningen.nl/tandy/model100200/tandy100big.jpg

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I've got a PC-6 and a PC-8. The PC-8 was purchased back in the 1980s, but the more advanced PC-6 was picked up at a Goodwill earlier this year for a dollar!

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Another great old Radio Shack/Tandy portable is the TRS-80 Model 100. It's about 4 times bigger than the pocket ones. Model 100's have nice tactile keyboards.

 

My shop teacher back in the mid 80's had one. He had all the accessories for it -- printer, data recorder, extra RAM, and he had some games for it. He used it to type up worksheets/tests, and he used it to keep a database/spreadsheet of our grades. He let us use it whenever we wanted. He figured it was a good learning experience.

 

Absolutely! Nice to see another fan on AA :)

 

The model 100 is one of the best portable pieces of electronics ever made. I mean, it STILL is the best portable word processor that has yet been released. Great keyboard, 20+ hour battery life, instant on/off, dead simple to use etc. It also has one of the most die-hard user groups in existence. Rick Hanson, who founded Club 100 back in like 1984 is STILL running the damn group. You can check them out at www.club100.org. Not only is there still an (incredibly) active user group, but there are a ton of homebrew projects that take these old lappies to the next level.

 

There is the NADSbox, which is a portable, battery powered SD card reader (which also adds a unix-like command line interface), and there is REX, which is a plug in flash chip that allows you to insta-swap ROM images on the fly, which gets around the storage limitations. With both of these (which I have), the old Model 100 line goes from really cool, to 'still really damned useful'. I use mine on camping trips, walks in the park etc for writing. Plus, they are indestructible.

 

I got introduced to them about five years ago when I was instructed to 'bring a laptop to take notes on' to our board meetings (which I hate). So I decided to take the letter of the law, and not the intent, and bought the oldest damned laptop I could find :lol: Halfway through the first meeting, I was in love.

 

What a great little machine :thumbsup:

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Oh, and to the original poster:

 

You're doing the PC 2 file loading the hard way. You can copy/write a program on a PC text editor, and then run it through the converter programs from www.pc1500.com (bin2wav, wav2bin etc).

 

Then you just use the printer interface's cassette ports to sync it over an audio out from the pc. Easy! Assuming you have a printer. If not, they're cheap as heck.

 

I find the PC-2/PC 1500 to be actually pretty useful, but it's much less of a game machine than, say, the TI calculator line. Still, I do have those 32k units. I wonder what you could really do with all of that memory....

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The model 100 is one of the best portable pieces of electronics ever made. I mean, it STILL is the best portable word processor that has yet been released. Great keyboard, 20+ hour battery life, instant on/off, dead simple to use etc.

 

How hard is it to find a Model 100 in good shape these days? I've heard they're great but never had one. If they're built as well as the PC-2's, I'm sure they're all holding up pretty well.

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Not hard at all. They show up on ebay all the time. You can generally get a working one for $30-$60 dollars. The model 102 (same thing but smaller and more compact) goes for more, while the big kahuna, the 200 (like a standard laptop with a flip case and large screen) goes for much more.

 

Of all the gagetry I've bought, the Model 100 is a truly useful piece of hardware. There is STILL nothing else like it. I mean, where else can you get something with an outstanding keyboard, days of battery life, instant on etc. It's the best portable word processor ever made, IMHO. With all of the homebrew stuff, it's a really neat machine.

 

Just join the mail list over on Club 100. Rick Hanson sells the units from his store too, and he is a great guy to deal with, though you'll pay more. Club 100 is quite possibly the oldest computer user group still in existence under the founding member. Getting close to 30 years(!) old now.

 

The PC-2 is a great little machine to tinker with. The Model 100 is one of the best computers ever made, hands down.

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I just got a PC-2 with printer/cassette interface and a custom carrying case at the local thrift for $9.99! Pretty sweet! Works perfectly, too....

 

Where should I start? How do I use the damn thing? :D Inquiring minds want to tinker!

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I just got a PC-2 with printer/cassette interface and a custom carrying case at the local thrift for $9.99! Pretty sweet! Works perfectly, too....

 

Where should I start? How do I use the damn thing? :D Inquiring minds want to tinker!

 

Check out the PC-1500 page. It has everything you need to get started.

 

The BASIC on the PC-2/PC-1500 (pc 2 is a Tandy re-brand of the sharp pc 1500) is surprisingly robust. You can do quite a lot with them. You use the mic jack on the printer interface to save/load via soundcard. The interface does NOT have to work, as they generally don't (ancient ni-cads). The PC-2 powers the audio out.

 

It's fiddly until you get your soundcard volume set right, and a program to dump the recording as an 8-bit unsigned wave file, but once you get it going, it's pretty easy to do. The above link will have everything you need, including gads of games.

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Most of these old devices were originally designed by Sharp and Casio, right?

 

The Model 100 was the predecessor to today's netbooks... so compact that it's conveniently sized even by 21st century standards. No wonder it was so popular in the 1980s, when laptops could weigh in excess of thirty pounds!

Edited by Jess Ragan

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