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Remember the TRS-80 MC-10?

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I just found my old TRS-80 MC-10 computer today. Almost forgot about this little guy! I found it and the manual (have no idea where that is...) in the only large load of TRS-80 Color computer items I ever found in the late 90's at the beginning of my retro gaming and computing phase. Never have had the original power supply or any cables, but it did and still works on an Atari 400/800 power supply enough for me to tinker with it. I programmed in a few BASIC programs from the manual into it years back. Now I need to find that manual again, a correct power supply, and maybe some other accessories for this little computer. Anyone else out there remember this little CoCo?

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I remember seeing one of these in our local store for over a year and, nobody ever bought it. They finally put one of those lonely little red sale cards on it and it still set for months. It was just sad.

 

hwimage-mc-10-rsc10-%5B26-3011%5D-(rs).p

 

 

Since a computer is as only good as it's support and programs, this one was doomed.

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I sure do remember it! Just tonight, in fact, I checked to see if Jim Gerrie had written any more new games for it. :)

There have been tons of games written for or ported to the MC10 in the last several years, most coming from Mr. Gerrie. Some of my favorites are Dungeon Crawl (a particularly impressive game in the vein of D&D: Treasure of Tarmin, Akalabeth, and other classic graphic RPGs) and Grail Of The Gods (an excellent, if a little slow, Rogue-like). Greg Dionne's Pac-Man is a must-play, and the 16K version of Tetris (also by Dionne, I think, though I'm not sure) even has digitized sound samples, including Schwarzenegger's "hasta la vista, baby" from Terminator 2.

As for accessories, you'll need the 16K RAM expansion and cassette cable. With them, you can CLOAD or CLOADM any MC10 program right from your soundcard (you'll need to convert the .c10 files to .wavs first, but there's a utility for that).

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I have two of them, and one 16Kb expansion pack.

 

Great little system... I always feel bad for not spending more time plonking around on it.

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I don't have a MC-10, but I've got an Alice 4K. And yes, the Yahoo group is quite active, although I hear that Yahoo is killing off services so the group eventually might move elsewhere.

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I remember when it was released in the UK through Tandy stores(UK version of Radio Shack). It was seen as universally pointless due to the insane launch price of £99, this was the same price that you would pay for a 16K ZX Spectrum or roughly the same as you would have paid for a TI99/4a, 16K Oric or a VIC20.

 

Why Tandy-WHY????????

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I don't have a MC-10, but I've got an Alice 4K. And yes, the Yahoo group is quite active, although I hear that Yahoo is killing off services so the group eventually might move elsewhere.

 

Yahoo sure managed to NUKE traffic in the TI section. The board there was thriving until they decided to ignore the old adage, "If it's not broke, don't fix it." Their new message format sucks.

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Not to mention how bad Tandy neutered the MC-10.

They should have at least included 8K and the rest of the 6847 graphics modes.

The ROM should have been socketed so they could offer an extended BASIC if the machine was successful.

The memory map was a mess and BASIC wouldn't detect if RAM were added in lower memory.

You have to wonder what they were thinking.

 

By the time the MC-10 came out you would think Motorola could have improved the 6847 too.

There was a 6847 that had the data latch built in and added lower case characters but I don't think that was available yet.

That would have reduced the internal parts count and cost on the MC-10 if it had been available.

 

They did make a pretty decent CPU choice though.

The 6803 isn't as powerful as the 6809 but it does pretty well vs the Z80 and 6502.

 

*edit*

FWIW, I think the memory size was due to the SRAM chips available at the time and space.

Edited by JamesD

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It was a fun machine that was surprisingly powerful; I was impressed by the graphics in Lost World Pinball when it first came out. The MC-10 is cool looking, particularly the French Alice Red version :)

It was classed with the ZX-81 and Timex-Sinclair membrane computers and a couple of others with a similar look and feel like the Jupiter Ace.

Typing felt like the CoCo I or the PC Jr; the Microsoft BASIC was excellent. This was a great machine for learning but didn't have much of a user base to support it; the expansion path was to upgrade to a CoCo.

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I had a Coco and a buddy of mine had an MC-10. We expected (not unreasonably) that they would be BASIC-software compatible.

 

Well, the Coco could load the MC-10 tape format with no problems, but the tokens were all encoded differently, and the resulting program was garbage. :? We were both quite disappointed as he had written a very long game that I wanted to try out. Eventually, third-party "translator" software was developed.

 

The cassette cables are the same as for the Coco (and the Model I/III) so they should not be too hard to find.

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I had a Coco and a buddy of mine had an MC-10. We expected (not unreasonably) that they would be BASIC-software compatible.

 

Well, the Coco could load the MC-10 tape format with no problems, but the tokens were all encoded differently, and the resulting program was garbage. :? We were both quite disappointed as he had written a very long game that I wanted to try out. Eventually, third-party "translator" software was developed.

 

The cassette cables are the same as for the Coco (and the Model I/III) so they should not be too hard to find.

I guess the MC-10 didn't have the option to save the code in ASCII or load code saved as ASCII like on the CoCo.

The MC-10 was missing the ELSE keyword which also made it tough to go from the CoCo to the MC-10.

Those two things alone would have been worth having a larger ROM.

The MC-10 could have instantly loaded a lot of programs written for the 4K non-extended basic CoCo.

 

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Not to mention how bad Tandy neutered the MC-10.

They should have at least included 8K and the rest of the 6847 graphics modes.

The ROM should have been socketed so they could offer an extended BASIC if the machine was successful.

The memory map was a mess and BASIC wouldn't detect if RAM were added in lower memory.

You have to wonder what they were thinking.

 

Tandy was pretty fond of neutering their lower-end machines to keep them from competing with the pricier ones. They did it to the CoCo 3 (which was deliberately weakened to keep it from challenging the Tandy 1000), and it sounds like they did it with the MC-10 as well.

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Tandy was pretty fond of neutering their lower-end machines to keep them from competing with the pricier ones. They did it to the CoCo 3 (which was deliberately weakened to keep it from challenging the Tandy 1000), and it sounds like they did it with the MC-10 as well.

I think the goal was not to have people upgrade the MC-10 but the have people upgrade from the MC-10 to the CoCo.

The problem with that idea is they could also upgrade to something else.

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Hmm, I will have to dig though my stuff. I might have a TRS-80 cassette cable somewhere. I know I have one or two for the TI-99/4 a.

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I think the goal was not to have people upgrade the MC-10 but the have people upgrade from the MC-10 to the CoCo.

The problem with that idea is they could also upgrade to something else.

 

Yep, I think you're right, and that's also a surefire way to make the end user feel screwed. Even in the early 1980s there were sitcoms and comedians making jokes about instant obsolescence in the computing world...

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I don't really play with it too much these days, but I grew up using a MC-10. I really enjoyed that little computer. Here is my web page with links and games for it.

 

Http://chazbeenhad.tripod.com

Thanks! I have had an MC-10 with ram expansion kicking around for a few years and haven't done anything with it. I will have to scrounge up an equivelant power supply and hope that a coco cassette cable will work.

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Thanks! I have had an MC-10 with ram expansion kicking around for a few years and haven't done anything with it. I will have to scrounge up an equivelant power supply and hope that a coco cassette cable will work.

The coco cassette cable will work just fine.

 

I normally load the wav files from the cassette cable plugged into my ipod.

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I actually found a couple CoCo tape connectors in my stash a few days ago. So, I have that part solved, though have to figure out which of the three ends do what. Also, found out that an original TRS-80 Model I tape connector will not work with a CoCo or TRS-80 model III. Same pin configuration, but the din end is plastic. It is a thicker outer ring with a tab on the side to attach to the Model I. Not sure if the reverse is true with the later connectors.

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I actually found a couple CoCo tape connectors in my stash a few days ago. So, I have that part solved, though have to figure out which of the three ends do what. Also, found out that an original TRS-80 Model I tape connector will not work with a CoCo or TRS-80 model III. Same pin configuration, but the din end is plastic. It is a thicker outer ring with a tab on the side to attach to the Model I. Not sure if the reverse is true with the later connectors.

Should be the black plug that is used to load programs.

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Now all I need to do is find a 16K RAM expansion and maybe a more correct power supply and I can try those programs online. I thought I had a 16K expansion last summer when I found an old stash of TRS-80 stuff at a storage place. Found the box, but never found the expansion itself.

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