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T > TANDY RADIO SHACK  > Color Computer


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Tandy Radio Shack  Color Computer computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Sunday 17th June 2018
david1024 (USA)

The CoCo actually did use Microsoft Color Basic which tandy licensed from Microsoft... as a matter of fact, the fact is listed every time the machine boots on the startup screen.

Monday 15th June 2015
Robert (Usa)

Hey does anyone know what these are worth I''m sitting on about 4 of them that I picked up at a flea Market for 5 bucks

Sunday 1st September 2013
Nick Ellerby (UK)

To call the Dragon 32 a "clone" is rather unfair. The CoCo and the Dragon were both simply implementations of the Motorola reference design for a computer based on the 6809 microprocessor. The Dragon 32 was my first computer (and later I got a 64). I ordered the Motorola datasheet for the 6809 to help my assembly language programming and it included the circuit design which was used for both machines.

Thursday 25th July 2013
marvin cornett (okla usa)

hay I got at lest three of everything ever made for the coco an more even every program an mage if u want power out the coco learn machine language I have 22 of them running 24-7 doing mailing stuff but using laser prints
you can make a coco talk to a new computer buy doing it throw dos so don''t put the coco down but u have to learn to program it in machine language gives it the most power

Thursday 25th July 2013
marvin cornett (okla usa)

hay I got at lest three of everything ever made for the coco an more even every program an mage if u want power out the coco learn machine language I have 22 of them running 24-7 doing mailing stuff but using laser prints
you can make a coco talk to a new computer buy doing it throw dos so don''t put the coco down but u have to learn to program it in machine language gives it the most power

Friday 3rd February 2012


Thursday 22nd December 2011
johng (Australia)

People, I have to tell you, if you''re going to learn a computer language that has extreme versatility, over and above even any of the C deviations, you MUST learn Extended Color Basic (including Basic)... add to this the inter-machine compatibility of the 6809 Machine-code language via the ''USR'' command in BASIC or the ''DEFUSR'' command in Extended Color Basic and things all of a sudden take on a very Dossy aspect. Of course then there was the progression to Deskmate which seemed to be an earlier version of Windows... however, time ticks on and now that it seems there never will be that IBM/Tandy merger I heard about on the bit-bangers grape-vine back in t'' eighties, seems like all I got to look forward to is someone who''ll adapt Extended Color Basic Boot n ROM to x86 and I''ll be convinced the world is going the right way again... regards

Sunday 4th July 2010
The_Biking_Viking (Minnesota)

Wow! I started researching ubuntu on wikipedia and ended up reminscing here like the rest of you how I got my start in computers.

At school I got excelled math classes and learned Basic on the U of M''s mainframe (even though I was only in 7th grade, mind you) and the next year bought my first TRS-80 CoCo after saving my 3 paper route monies for a year just to get the computer. Took me more years to buy the disk $ controller, then printer and speech card.

It is so funny and cool to see so many other people reminscing about their past CoCo''s. I built the single transistor driver provided in Rainbow magazine so I could use a reall greenscreen monitor for BBSing purposes which were very active here. Yes, Rainbow was a pricey magazine for its time. I met hundreds of local techies that way. Went to a couple of CoCo meetings where guys had ''supercharged'' their comps with 10 meg hds which was almost unfathomable at the time

What''s sad is not too long ago I moved and threw some of my equipment out because until this minute I never knew there existed this kind of support for it. A friend gave me a few more and I bought another one which had a custom ram bank to 512K which ran so hot it was mounted by the previous guy ON TOP of the grey case to help keep it cool. During hot weather I babied it by putting a small fan on low to run over it and it still worked last I disconnected it.

Too bad I threw away so many magazines, maybe the multipak and all kinds of other items. But you can''t store everything forever you know. I''ve got enough of my dad and his dad''s tools I keep derusting and sharp to prove that....Stanley Saws and planes and a that go back to their first house built near Staten Island when they immigrated in 1911 or so. I still use some of them, too.

Well, I''m digressing but reading all of your messages is really bringing back memories and that I should go through that stuff and see what I have and maybe even try to put it to use as a security system or home automation center with the X-10 units or find some use for it. It was an incredible machine for its day.

Coincidentally enough the movie WARGAMES is playing and that is bringing back memories, too. I spent a lot of hours programming back then. And conquering the Tape Game Madness and the Minotaur before I got a few of the cartridges.

If it''d be possible to link it to this computer it might be worth putzing with. I always wondered if this would make the ideal solar powered computer due to its easy, and minimal, voltage requirements. With no inverters needed.

Soon I have to move all of that stuff to another, smaller, more compact storage space. I''ll have a chance to go through it then. I always had bad luck with the printers.

Actually my mother would probably be more comfortable using it as a WP than any IBM machine. Any suggestions what printer might work well with it? Quiet a must. My DMP-250 was so noisy I soldered together an extension cord using a 25 foot telephone cord for the serial port connector and bought the connectors from RS. Then I put the DMP-250 on another floor in the closet. Making paper, for school reports and papers, was one of the most important things back then. Now we''re trying to go paperlless! LOL

Sunday 19th August 2007
Dan Damron (Calgary, AB Canada)

ahh, the coco, the reason I got into computers...

Couple notes that are worthy here...

The coco, when used with OS9 Level II, was way ahead of it's time. It was one of the only computers that could share memory between processes... of course it was completely multiuser...

At one time, I had a 20MB Hard Drive, 4 rs232 ports, TRUE parallel port, all modded into an IBM case, complete with an IBM keyboard adapter.. Of course this wasn't the standard defacto... hehe

reusing memory between processes meant it utilitized memory extremely well, if two terminals loaded the same app, only 1 instance of that app would remain in memory..

we had an active CCUG here in Calgary, can't remember everyone's name...

Specifically the gentleman who designed and manufactured the IO controller for the HD..

I remember it was an INTERFACE, attached to a MFM or RLL controller, then attached to the hard drive... remember MFM & RLL? Had to set the interleave to 3:1 for optimum performance..

We ran quite a few BBS's on cocos.. even through the bit banger port... At the time, I only had a 300 baud MANUAL modem (DCM 101 I think, with the red button on the front to turn it on and off).. we made an auto-answer circuit, sensing ring voltages off the phone line, triggering a relay, causing the modem to turn on...

My long time friend, even to this day, Ken Johnston wrote Inteleterm...

Wednesday 27th June 2007
David A. Czuba (Bellingham, WA)

Does anyone recall the ad to learn 6809 assembly language with a cartoon character in suspenders saying "I'll Teach You a Lesson!". I've always liked that emblem, and want to make it into a patch.

Wednesday 27th June 2007
David A. Czuba (Bellingham, WA)

My CoCo I was given as a Christmas gift from my brother in 1982. I quickly upgraded to 32K and started acquiring other hardware. The SAM chip tended to overheat, as another poster mentioned, so I purchased what was known as a Dragonfly fan, which was a two-winged device powered by an occilating piezoelectric ceramic. It failed quickly, so was replaced by another. As that other poster mentioned, I also wrote many programs for the Coco including Scrabble, and Rutherford's Experiment, where you shot at an unknown object, and tried to determine its shape. I also loaded Lisp and OS-9. Using Rainbow magazine as a jumping off point, I soldered together a light-pen, then programmed an application to use the input. I also came into a Helium-Neon (HeNe) laser, which I set up with a detector which 'read' the beam bounced off of a pool of Mercury. This was my rudimentary seismograph. I had so much fun with that computer! The chicklet keys had to be cleaned about 2 or 3 times throughout its lifetime.

Thursday 25th January 2007
Will Sawtelle (Earth)

A friend of mine supposedly was able to put an early Unix and 2 dumb terminals of the back of a CoCo or CoCo2. The Motorola 6809 was a fairly capable chip, and a predecessor of of the 68000 which was the driving force of the Fortune 32:16 multi-user machine I ran one with 4 terminals attached.

Wednesday 17th August 2005
Ernest (Greenwood S.C.)

i HAD A TRS 80 color computer my favirite game was donkey kong;pac man,and zaxon any one ever
herd of it i would like to have it for my pc now probblynever will though the co co was a great littel computer though thanks for listening Ernest.

Friday 9th July 2004
Keith Smith (Hardburly,Kentucky)

I have some parts still for various models of the Coco,as well as a few intact and working units.I kept most(if not all) of the Programs(Rainbow on tape and on disk,too) using backups of the orginial disks..Love to get my hands on a few more.

Friday 11th June 2004
Gabriel Sierra (Toa ALta, P.R.)
WP3BM 6 meter Repeater Home Page


Does anybody know if Mickey Term for the CoCo is still available somewhere? I have the RS-232 pack and I plan to use it for packet radio.


Sunday 21st March 2004
Kasey Chang (San Francisco, CA)

I had attended UT Austin for my EE program and one of the classes there use the CoCo's assembler cartridge (sold separately!) to teach assembly programming. As you can guess, it ain't easy typing assembly programs on that chiclet keyboard! Fortunately I was able to borrow my mom's Coco3 with the much improved keyboard and do most of the work at home!

Tuesday 11th November 2003
Paul Gerwitz (Rochester, NY)

I have a CoCo 2, CoCo 3 system with floppy disks, extra memory, disto controller, etc that is taking up space in my garage. I hate to throw it out if someone could make use of it. I would give it away if you would pay the shipping. If no-one bites, it's history

Wednesday 30th July 2003
Fabio Baccaglioni (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

I had my first computer in 1988 (yes, too late, but i was 8 years old!), a TRS-80 CoCo with 16Kb RAM and Floppy Disk Drive.
I Made a lot of appz in Extended BASIC, excelent computer but nobody has another like this in my city, Commodore64 was the most common computer here.

Monday 21st October 2002
Roland Weigelt (Bonn, Germany)

After playing around with my cousin's ZX81, I could convince my father to buy me a computer. In May 1983 I got a CoCo with 16Kb RAM and Extended Color Basic. The fact that there was virtually no software available here in Germany and that the Basic (and its manual!) was pretty good, turned out to be the starting point of my career as a software developer.
Being 14 years old and without any contact to other people interested in programming, my first programs were complete failures. Then I managed to locate a foreign press shop where I could buy the "Rainbow" and "Hot CoCo" magazine (both VERY expensive). Reading other people's code really helped me a lot.

Christmas 1984 I switched over to a Schneider CPC 464 (aka Amstrad). This is the computer I really had my first really big projects on (first in Basic, later in Z80 Assembler). I used it until 1988, when
I started using PCs.

But I will always remember my CoCo...

Tuesday 2nd April 2002
Jim (Toronto, Canada)

My CoCo started out with 16K, but was eventually upgraded to 64K with Extended Color BASIC. I wrote a number of my own programs (wish I still had them), plus I tried out a number of programs from COMPUTE! magazine, which one of my teachers brought in every month. But my favourite programs came from the Program-Paks, among them, Mega-Bug (a type of Pac-Man game) and Dungeons of Daggorath (a 3D adventure). I recently downloaded an emulator. Maybe I can re-create some of my programs. :-)

Wednesday 27th March 2002
Nathan (Santa Clara, CA)

My CoCo tended to overheat, so I would have to take the cover off after a few hours. I also had to fiddle with the video connection frequently when lines formed on the TV.

I started with 4k memory, upgraded to 16k and some advanced graphics package where you could actually draw lines on the screen (rather than use colored ASCII).

I subscribed to Rainbow magazine. Ideally, a friend would read the BASIC code to me while I typed. Half of the games actually worked.

I gave it away to my cousin, and his dad sold it at a flea market. I wish I still had it.

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