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T > TANDY RADIO SHACK  > 1000 SL & SL/2   

Tandy Radio Shack
1000 SL & SL/2

The Tandy 1000 SL series of computers were an update of the Tandy 1000 SX. They came in a redesigned case and, in the case of the TL/2 and above, featured onboard XT IDE hard disk controllers (These controllers are not AT IDE compatible and thus will not work with modern ATA hard drives).

The Tandy 1000 SL boasted an Intel 8086 processor running at 8 MHz. The 8086's 16-bit bus gave it a small but definite performance advantage over the earlier 8088-based Tandy 1000s. The SL came with 384 KB of memory preinstalled, whereas the SL/2 offered 512 KB. Both machines could be expanded to 640 KB.

The Tandy SL model was equiped with a 5.25" floppy disk drive (360 KB) whereas the SL/2 featured a 3.5" floppy disk drive (720 KB). It was possible to add a second disk drive or even a hard disk.

The SL series offered two innovations over the earlier SX series. One is high resolution (640x200) 16 color graphics; the other is an improved sound circuit, using an 8-bit mono DAC alongside the PSSJ 3-voice sound source. The DAC gave the SL series digital sound output capabilities not much unlike those of the early 8-bit SoundBlaster line of audio cards: 3 PCM voices, 8-bit DMA up to 22050 KHz, audio mono output, audio mono inputs (mic + line), sampling at 5512 KHz, 11025 KHz and 22050 KHz.

One interesting feature was the 512 KB BIOS, from which 350 KB where available as a read-only C: drive. DOS 3.3 and the main component of Deskmate 3 where stored on it. This was excellent as you could access DOS and start to work only within a few seconds (an unreachable dream nowadays).

There is no internal clock but one called "SmartWatch" was available as an option. There was thus a socket on the electronic board reserved for it.


Contributors: Derek McDonald (aka “Skel”)
Sources: Wikipedia,

Ray Jewhurst comments:
The SL and SL/2 both came with Deskmate 3 not Deskmate 2 I know this because I used to be a Radio Shack store manager in the early 90's and Deskmate 3 was one of improvement over the SX.

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I LOVED my Tandy 1000 exactly because I didn''t care about it! It was a gift when everyone had 286s and were even looking forward to the release of the first 386s. So after I tired of Solitaire (it had been upgraded to Dos5 by the previous owner) and journaling, I set out to learn everything I could.... by the crash and burn method.

I ran every .exe, .com, and .bat file on that box. It often "died" and I then had to learn how to recover. One day I hot swap pulled the WD PATA 20MB drive on an ISA sled to learn about it''s jumpers and in a few minutes (NOT seconds!) I saw a graphic desktop! I discovered it was DOS 3 in ROM and though it was agonizingly slow it opened my eyes.

That same week a friend "rescued" a set of PC Tools disks from a wastebasket when her place of business upgraded to a Mini Mainframe and I discovered PCs are not just tools, they are TOOLBOXES! A fella could put any kind of tools in them! PC Shell just kicked open the doors. Suddenly I could see the entire directory hierarchy. I''ve never been the same since.

Tuesday 13rd October 2020
James Hanley (USA)

I still got my tandy 1000SL and all the docs, brochure, manuals and disks that came with it. It was an awesome computer at the time, even without a hard drive. The souns, colors and 5-seconds boot were second only to the TL model ! Bought it in 89 when it hits the local Radio Shack ($1850 with color monitor and sales taxes) and used it until the year 2000. I replaced it with a 500mHz PC clone mainly because the needs for internet.

Thursday 1st March 2018
Sawa (Canada)

I remember my 1000SL... My first computer also. I was out of college and found this thing in 1991, two years after it came out, so it fit the budget, but was definitely an extravagance back then. I bought the acoustic coupler modem and eventually sprung for a hard disk... I was told I''d never fill up the whole thing, a whole 20 MB!
I remember the Deskmate software, my version of which was not capable of doing "lozenges" when a box was empty, and I remember both PC-Link and the free trial to Compuserve... boy did that get me in some financial trouble! I was very happy to find Prodigy, however, because that''s where my wife and I met. So thank you, Radio Shack and Prodigy. Because of you both, my wife and I met, and I''m about to become a grandfather. :)

Friday 12th September 2014
Medic26 on PC-Link


NAME  1000 SL & SL/2
MANUFACTURER  Tandy Radio Shack
TYPE  Home Computer
YEAR  ? 1989
KEYBOARD  full stroke keyboard with numeric keypad and function keys (102 keys)
CPU  Intel 8086
CO-PROCESSOR  Intel 8087 optional
RAM  SL: 384 KB (up to 640 KB)
SL/2: 512 KB (up to 640 KB)
VRAM  Unknown
ROM  512 KB (DOS 3.3 on drive C: + main Deskmate 3 program)
TEXT MODES  80 x 25 / 40 x 25
GRAPHIC MODES  CGA/TGA, 160 x 200, 320 x 200, 640 x 200
COLORS  16 colours
SOUND  3 voices & 1 sound channel + 8-bit mono DAC
SIZE / WEIGHT  354 x 394 x 140 mm / 7.8 Kg
I/O PORTS  keyboard (DIN 5), 2 x joysticks (DIN 6), monitor video output, composite video output, lightpen, parallel port, serial (RS232c) port, 5 internal expansion slots (ISA XT), audio mono output, audio mono inputs (mic + line)
BUILT IN MEDIA  SL: one 5.25'' floppy disk drive (360 KB)
SL /2: one 3.5'' floppy disk drive (720 KB)
OS  MS-DOS 3.3, DeskMate 3 and GW Microsoft Basic included with the system
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply
PRICE  1000 SL/2 = 9990 FF (France, 1990)

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