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K > KAYPRO > Robie   


The Kaypro Robie was presented at the Las Vegas Comdex in 1984. It was the first non-portable Kaypro machine.

Except from its strange case design, the main feature of the Robie was that it had two 2.6 Mb floppy drives. Apart from that, the motherboard was basically the same as the Kaypro 4, with a 300 baud modem, rough graphics, real-time clock, etc.

Thanks to LaVerne Kreklau for most of the pictures


Michael Robinson reports:
I worked at Kaypro at the time. The big shortcoming of the Robie was the too-advanced (at the time) high-density drives. The drives would literally eat through very expensive pre-formatted proprietary floppy disks. After a long enough time in the drive, you could hold a floppy up to the light, and see through the directory track where the drive heads had scraped all the oxide off the mylar substrate. Eventually, this was tracked down to a manufacturing defect that left diamond dust on the heads during the polishing step, but by then the Robie was more or less doomed.
The industrial design on the Robie was done by Janice Kay (one of the Kay clan), the architect (of sorts) who also designed the Kaypro lobby.

Dave Domanski adds:
Robie was definitely commercially available. I had it for sale in my computer store (Matrix Computers in Dearborn, Michiga) in the early 80s, seems to me it was prior to 1984 but perhaps that is about right.
An ill-advised attempt by Non-Linear Systems (nee Kaypro) to broaden into the desktop market, Robie was the only not-specifically-portable Kaypro, but like the others it ran CP/M on a Z80 family processor. This was, of course, at a time when IBM's PC and MS-DOS were steadily crushing all else before them.
As you can tell from the picture it shared a lot of hardware with its "sewing machine case" Kaypro siblings. If I recall correctly it had a whopping 5 MB hard disk. I do remember that it was jet black, unlike your photo.
It never sold well anywhere near as well as the portable Kaypros, I think mostly due to its freakish appearance.

Allen Cobb's memories:
I remember the Robie from a shop I worked at (WordMovers - Lawndale, Ca) while in school. Time frame was right about 1984, it had two high density 5.25 inch drives - I believe somewhere in the vicinity of 2 megs per drive w/ specially formatted floppies (supposedly available from your KayPro dealer). From what I remember, the Robie did not sell well at all (I never saw one move from the store that sold a high volume of Kaypro products). The only sound was a beep emanating from the keyboard. The Robie made a great paperweight.

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The Robie was presented at COMDEX fall 1983$ not 1984!

Saturday 10th September 2022

We have a working model here at a computer store I work at. It POSTS but the system disk or drives must be shot because it doesn''t boot :( We also have a Kaypro 4+, Kaypro 2000, Atari 800, Commodore 2000, Commodore 64 on display!

Friday 18th May 2012
Glenn (Hilo, HI)

I am the owner of the Robie pictured here. Back in the early ''90s I sent the keyboard to a place in I believe North Carolina to be repaired. I never seen it again. If anyone knows where I can find one please let me know. I have searched e-Bay for a replacement for a long time but have never found one.


Thursday 13rd October 2011
LaVerne Kreklau


NAME  Robie
TYPE  Professional Computer
YEAR  1984
KEYBOARD  Detachable, 72 key typewriter style keyboard with 18 programmable keys.
CO-PROCESSOR  Motorola 6845 (video controler)
RAM  64 kb ?
ROM  4 kb ?
TEXT MODES  80 x 25
GRAPHIC MODES  virtual 160 x 100 through graphical characters + real graphic resolution
COLORS  built-in 9'' non-glare green phosphor screen
SOUND  Beeper
I/O PORTS  two RS232C serial ports, one Centronics-type parallel port, communication socket (built-in modem, RJ11C modular telephone jack)
BUILT IN MEDIA  2 x 5.25'' high-density, double-sided disk-drives (2.6 Mb each)
5 MB & 10 MB optional hard disks
PRICE  $2295 (USA, january 84)

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