The Tandy TRS 80 model 1 was the first member of one of the most famous computer family. It was one of the first home computer and was launched at the same time as famous computers like the Apple II or the Commodore PET. Beside, Tandy competitors nicknamed was "Trash-80".
The TRS-80 was developed was developed within the Radio Shack engeneering group, based upon several processor chips, SC/MP, PACE, 8008, 8080 and finally the Z80.
It used a black & white TV set, made by RCA, without tuner as monitor. The earlier models use a poor basic called Basic Level 1 (the Basic and the OS fit in the 4 KB ROM!). It was replaced later with the Basic Level 2 which needed a 12 KB ROM.
To offset its poor characteristics, Tandy developed a device called Expansion Interface which brings a lot of new features : additional 16 or 32kb RAM, two tape unit connectors, a printer port, a floppy disk controller, a serial port and a real time clock.
Tandy did as well 5, 10 and 15 MB hard drives. The case for them is about the size of a small PC tower. It's possible to fit 2 drives into each case. They were compatible with all TRS-80 versions.
When it was connected to a floppy disk unit, the TRS-80 uses the TRS DOS operating system, it was pretty bugged and most of the TRS-80 users prefered NEW DOS, it was an operating system done by a third-party company called Apparat. This OS was the real TRS-80 operating system.
LS-DOS was also an excellent DOS, superior to NEW DOS for most users. Interestingly, Microsoft's MS-DOS became more and more like LS-DOS each time it was updated, although never as good. LS-DOS was finally adopted by Tandy as the official DOS for the Model 4.
Documentation for all the TRS machines was superb. Even Microsoft provided documentation for its BASIC interpreter listing all the machine calls. You could use these calls when programming with either machine code or BASIC.
The Model I was followed by the TRS 80 model II (a business computer) and model III which had almost the same characteristics as the model I.
Contributors : Donald French, Paul D Moore
Special thanks to Marc Neiger who donated us this computer !
In October 1977, my first semester in high school, my father bought a TRS-80 (model 1). The Radio Shack store in Bryan, TX was unpacking it, their first one, to put on display and my father bought it before they even turned it on. It was the optional 16K memory model. We kept it a few years and added accessories, including hard drives, a thermal printer, and later a dot-matrix printer and TRS-80 desk. It was sold to a local businessman for his bookkeeping, after we got an Apple II. I remember the dot matrix printer was made of steel, cost $1000 and was very slow and loud, sounding like tiny men with jackhammers inside.
Wednesday 30th January 2013
TRS 80 MODEL I
Tandy Radio Shack
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Basic Level 1 (4k ROM models) Basic Level II (12k ROM models)