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T > TANDY RADIO SHACK  > TRS 80 MODEL I


 

This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Tandy Radio Shack  TRS 80 MODEL I computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message! For other purposes like sales messages, hardware & software questions or information requests, please use our main forum.

  Click Here to add a message in the forum

 

Thursday 3rd August 2017
Homer Le (CA/USA)

1976 we develope CP/M OS with 64 Kilo Bytes, At Gnat computer: system 8 is a box robotic using to control Angelica industrial washing/drying sytems! It work like a champ! 2) system 10 personal computer (have picture on local papers .. But cánt post here! too bad! ) this was my design and development, as VP enginnering) after graduate at SDSU .. I still have a system Gnat/associate system 10, 128KB... any one have interests ? Later competitors were Osborne, Kaypro, IBM, TRS ... Now is is history! (I still have OS on disketts!) $.. Enjoy modern PC but forget not when they are born! ... LOL


Friday 12th May 2017
Alan  (USA)
Cloud Ninjas

I remember Christmas morning that we found the TRS 80 under the tree. I did my first computer graphics on it doing point graphing a few years later and even wrote my own game after a while.

I will have to ask my Dad what happened to it, its probably just in the attic somewhere next to an atari (what we really wanted that Christmas).


Saturday 24th August 2013
emerson
The Legend of Zhizz

Hi there,

I''ve added a category in my iPad app to challenge your knowledge of vintage computers:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-legend-of-zhizz/id661108464?l$pt$ls$1$mt$8

Regards, Emerson

PS: thanks for this amazing website...lot of fond memories :)...and useful information $)


Wednesday 30th January 2013
Henry (Texas)

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.


Thursday 24th January 2013
The Dude (Chicago, IL)

I had one of these. I bought it used in 1981 or so when I entered high school. Level II basic with 16K. I had the disk drives, the cassette recorder, and I even had the TALKER speech box thing It sounded JUST like the system Matthew Broderick used in WarGames. I remember spending hour after house playing the games. Another computer geek/friend of mine had set up a BBS using a TRS-80. It crashed quite a bit.

The monitor died in the early 90''s. I lost the power supply in a move. I am not sure where the speech box went, I think I sold it. I do still have the machine and a bunch of disks and tapes. It is missing at least ONE RAM chip. I had an old video arcade game in my basement. One day I turned it on to play it and, it came up with a RAM ERROR. Following the directions I was able to see the diagnostic LED''s on the board and see it was reporting the RAM chip in socket 1, row 7, was bad. Now, this is like 1993. No ebay, no real internet, how the heck am I going to find a RAM chip that has been out of production for god knows ow long? Just for grins, knowing the TRS-80 was from the same era, I popped open the TRS-80 and, it has the same RAM chips! So, I yanked one from the TRS80 to put in my stand up video game. It''s been working ever since and works to this very day. My 8 year old daughter and her friends loves the old video games. Even my wife''s nieces and nephews (ages 8 to 15) when they come over love playing these old games. Both the stand up one I still have and the old ATARI games. So, while my TRS-80 is still on a shelf, a small piece of it is still helping bring smiles to kids faces.


Wednesday 12th December 2012
Chuck Rose (USA)

In 1977-78 I was a freshman in high school and my school offered a BASIC programming class. The main computer in the class was a DEC pdp-8 with tape drives. But halfway through the school year, we got one of the first TRS80''s sold in the state of Maine. It was a 4k Level 1 system, that was quickly upgraded to a 16k Level II machine. I remember how amazed I was that the entire computer was in the keyboard unit. The pdp-8 was about the size of a large fridge! And also the little TRS-80 was much faster and had GRAPHICS! Later in life I owned several Tandy computers (Model 4p, Coco 2 and 3, and even a Tandy 1000) but I still remember the shock of of that tiny weeny little TRS 80 in my first computer science class.


Sunday 11th November 2012
Geoff Greig (Australia)

The TRS 80 was the first computer I ever owned. Although I no longer have it I still have some cassettes with programs for it.

Hard to conceive that we used to save programs on a audio cassette player

A very addictive game we all played on it at the time was space invaders

I have a black and white video with my then 1 year old son bashing the keyboard with a banana. He is now 32 and is well into computers.

I must have spent 1,000''s of hours programing it. I wrote a very crude spreadsheet and version of the snake game.


Sunday 21st October 2012
Melvin F. Bailey (Canada)

I bought the first TRS-80 Model I in Canada. I walked into a Vancouver B.C. Radio Shack store because of a big sign in the window that said:

PERSONAL COMPUTERS

I learned BASIC and wrote PC-MAIL and PC-SELL and dba CENTRAL CONSULTING in Surrey B.C. I contributed them to downloads.com as shareware and contributed my TRS80 Model II to the Victoria B.C. Museum.


Tuesday 25th September 2012
E.J. Wilson (Atlanta, GA, USA)

My father and I wrote Games Pack I and II for the Model I around 1978. Marketed by Micro Pro International, which was an office on a pig farm. The games had AI, so the computer could play. Most ran in 16K, Including Poker, Spades, and Hearts. We wrote the first Monopoly for the TRS-80, which drew the board, took care of all the banking/deeding, etc, and rolled the dice in only 32K of RAM, and they all used the speech synthesizer if you had one.


Sunday 29th July 2012
Dave Yelen (NEPA, USA)
e-Info Network

I was hardcore TRS-80 Model I programmer - machine code and Assembly (thank you Microsoft). I built my own modem and designed an auto-dial auto answering unit and write and ran my own BBS (for only a few other friends that had modems at the time). Of course I had tons of games too. Anyone remember Voyage of the Valkyrie? Anyone remember StarFighter SC-78503? Man I spent a lot of time playing that game.


Sunday 29th July 2012
Dave Yelen (NEPA, USA)
e-Info Network

I was hardcore TRS-80 Model I programmer - machine code and Assembly (thank you Microsoft). I built my own modem and designed an auto-dial auto answering unit and write and ran my own BBS (for only a few other friends that had modems at the time). Of course I had tons of games too. Anyone remember Voyage of the Valkyrie? Anyone remember StarFighter SC-78503? Man I spent a lot of time playing that game.


Saturday 16th June 2012
C. Burke

Does anyone remember an animated cartoon stick character named "Alfredo"? Like Mr. Bill, he got into a lot of "dangerous" comic situations. I would appreciate it if someone can tell me if there is a repro version that I can download onto my netbook.


Tuesday 22nd May 2012
Mark R (UK)

Bought the Model 1 Level 2 16k on Valentines day 1979, then later the expansion interface and disk drives. Taught myself to program in basic and assembler, then went on to write software for a career, which I still do 30+ years later. All thanks to the old Tandy. Still have her, fully working. Happy days!


Wednesday 22nd February 2012
Peter (Luxembourg)

I have a TRS-80, with extension interface, and three, yes three, disk drives. NewDos plus all the documentation is included. It still works fine, believe it or not! Lots of software such as Visicalc and a stock exchange trading program.


Monday 20th February 2012
PaulH (UK)

I remember the Model 1 well... one of its little quirks was its "bouncy" keyboard... when typing away, characters would regularly appear several times. Standard fix was a little utility that needed loading from tape each time!


Monday 12th December 2011
Jeff (United States)

I purchased a 4K Model I in November 1979. I''m pretty sure I was the first person in my community to own a personal computer. It was really cool being able to do programming at home as opposed to sitting in the lab at school. I was in college at the time!


Thursday 10th November 2011
Johnny (Norway)

I bought one of those used in 1980 from a store in Stavanger, Norway. It cost NOK 5000 and contained the Computer, Screen, tape recorder and an electrostatic printer that could dump the screen to paper. It cost me most of the money I earned in my summerjob that year. I remember that the tape recorder was very picky on the volume to be able to read the tapes. It came with the standard BASIC language and it also included an Accounting program. I remember that Radio Shack had to stop producing this Computer because it didn''t meet the FCC''s requirements for EMC. As Patrice Chouinard experienced in the hospital.


Tuesday 31st May 2011
Jon (United States)

I remember playing with one of these. I was in the 8th grade and I was introduced to BASIC programming. The TRS-80 Model I''s I saw in school had NEWDOS 80 and one unit had an expansion unit, which was used primarily for student attendance records. These systems were great for the time, but were discontinued due to interference with TV and radio signal reception.


Tuesday 31st May 2011
Jon Fukumoto (United States)

I remember playing with one of these. When I was attending intermediate school here in Hawaii, there were a couple of these machines. I remember learning how to program in BASIC and playing games on them. The games didn''t look so hot, but despite the hardware limitations, the TRS-80 Model I''s were decent.


Tuesday 31st May 2011
Jon Fukumoto (United States)

I remember playing with one of these. When I was attending intermediate school here in Hawaii, there were a couple of these machines. I remember learning how to program in BASIC and playing games on them. The games didn''t look so hot, but despite the hardware limitations, the TRS-80 Model I''s were decent.


Wednesday 18th May 2011
Jan-Eric (Finland)

Back in 1978 (yes, just like all others... $-) I got my first real computer, a TRS-80 Model I. Until then, I had experimented with home.brew stuff.

Thr TRS was still in use in 2010, controlling the 15 stepper motors in my animation camera. (More here: http://www.saunalahti.fi/animato/stand/stand.html$mplane2 ) - the TRS was ideal for this purpose thanks to its expansion interface.

I also built a home-brew TRS, my "Frankenputer", from discrete parts - this was possible, since the TRS schematics were published! You can find info about it here: http://www.saunalahti.fi/animato/transferseu/3003s.html

All in all, a fascinating time!


Saturday 8th January 2011
Susana (Argentina)

I had started programming with Dave Ahl´s 101 basic computer games in 76 with my dad´s Novadata. On my 16th birthday, in 1978, I received a Radio Shack as a gift. My heart longed for an Imsai but this was easily bought. I´ve never seen such wonderful books as the ones written for this computer. It was so easy to learn to program this way. 32 years later I look back and yearn for these years gone by!


Thursday 2nd April 2009
Roy Thorn (USA)

Date excapes me But- I learned to program in basic for my new TRS 80. I did formulations for chemical fertilizer manufacture. You had to balance both physical and chemical properties. So I could do my formulations on the computer for the various raw materials and final grades. This suprised every one all the way to the front office on the east coast. I ws the only one in a multie plant organization that had computer printed formulas! Was on a TRS 80 with 16K memory! Still have it and it works!!! Was a simpler time and another place


Monday 4th September 2006
David Boccabella (Australia)

Back in 1978 I was living in Adeliade, South Australia. I had known of the TRS-80 for the past year and a bit but the pricing was a little high. A local electronics company called Dick Smith Electronics was offering a clone for about half the price - equiv to a TRS-80 Model 1 Level 2 for the Level 1 price. Unfortunately delay after delay happened and I was forced in desperation to purchase a original TRS-80 Model 1 Level 1 4K ram. In 2 days I upgraded to 16k. I remeber the Level 1 basic just had 2 string variables. I saved my cents and putchased the Level 2 basics and this was the start of my programming career. Over time I got the expansion module. Diskettes (I upgraded to a Pertec disk doubler and ended up with 2 80 track double sides drives.) The Level 2 Basic was very interesting as it was tokenised. Each instruction was stored in memory as one byte. This allowed me to develop sever tricks to code development. By creating several strings I could use the varptr to get the string location. From there I just Poked new commands into memory and when the interpreted code reached those lines - there was new code. I was able to make self modifying code for some very intensive database searches and well as creating some natural language interfaces. I'm now 46 and stilll remember the magazines and other details of the TRS-80 very fondly.


Wednesday 20th April 2005
Nick Wittenberg (Toronto, Canada)

In 1977, I was the manager of a Radio Shack in Richmond Hill, Ontario. We started selling the TRS-80s but I couldn't figure out what to do with the darn things. I bought a book on basic and learned the language. I created a program that printed out a graph, called a histogram, on a printer. The program used all 4K of RAM and I was very proud of myself. It was probably the best program I ever wrote. Another Radio Shack manager had got wind of a technique to attach a Teletype machine to the TRS-80 as a printer. So I purchased a very used Olivetti teletype machine complete with paper punch to use as my printer. It was made of iron and took two men to lift it. When I left Radio Shack, I returned the borrowed TRS-80 but I had that damned dust-gathering teletype machine for years.


Sunday 6th March 2005
Michel T Dallaire (Quebec city, QC)
VirtuelCOM inc.

In 1978, my father bought a TRS-80 Model I, He wanted to be ahead for his time. At that time, I was 7 years old and fortunetely, Tandy Corporation was giving the books in english and in french.

Since my father was working so much he was never at home, so I was using the computer every day after school and every weedend. After 6 month, when we were going to Radio Shack, I was in big discussion with salesmen and programmers. There was always a back area computer center with demo computers we could try on.

There was a guy working there part time while going at school and he was working on a computer project. He was not able to find is bug (poking memory at wrong address), that day I found the bug in 2 minutes. The guy told me that I was wrong. So I told him I was right and he looses nothing to try it. It happens that I was right. A lawyer was there to gather information about computers and he has seen the scene. He told the salesman: "Put me one of these right away. If a 8 years old little boy can use it, that's exactly what I need" Over a 5000$ dollar sales because he took all the accessories and priter stuff. My father is still laughing about it 25 years later! ;-)

It helped me alot to learn on a computer which has not game at all. I happy today for my knowledges about programming, algebra, english and logcial schemes.


Friday 25th February 2005
Ken Hansen (Pennington, New Jersey)

When I was in High School (graduated 1983) we had a TRS-80 lab, with about a dozen TRS-80s. I remember using the special switch (not sure of the name) that was designed to allow users to save their programs on the "server" (a floppy-equiped TRS-80) via the cassette port. The "student" would coordinate with the "administrator", who would dial the student's computer on the switch, then the "administrator" would "LOAD" from the cassette port while the student "SAVE"ed thier program to the cassette port. The "administrator" would then "SAVE" the program on to a floppy disk - the reverse was possible too. The "Networking Switch" was simply that, a switch that connected cassette ports on all the machines to each other!


Saturday 18th October 2003
Philippe Serrano (France)

I owned my first computer back in June 1978, a TRS-80 Model I - Basic Level II. AT the time I worked in a Photo Laboratory and I made a swap with a co-worker : my Nikon F2 camera for the TRS-80. First day at home with the computer I spent 35 hours trying to understand how it works, entering basic command lines from computing magazines.. I never took a picture anymore but I'm now working in Computing Industry :-)


Tuesday 3rd June 2003
Patrice Chouinard (Montréal Qc.)

At the time (1978) I owned a TRS-80 Model I. I also worked in an hospital. One of my co-worker wanted to see my computer. Radio-Shack had the "Carrying Case" for the computer. A set of two luggages. One for the computer and the other rather big one for the monitor. I carryied out my TRS. In break-time, we set the machine on a cantina table, plugged it and turn it on. Whowwwww "Panik in the hospital". Every single
piece of électronic monitoring équipment even two stairs down went completely crazy. Try to figure our faces when the chief medical found out why.
So that's fact... TRS-80 model I did generate a lot of radio freq.





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