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Tandy Color Computers

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Early Intel and Zilog CPU

based portable personal



TRS-80 Model I

TRS-80 Model III

TRS-80 Model IV

Color Computer

Color Computer 2

Color Computer 3



Early ultra-light personal

computers based on Intel

and Zilog CPU's.  These

units are all unique in

their class.

TRS-80 Model II

Tandy Model 12

Tandy Model 16, 16b



Once again systems

caught between CPU


TRS-80, Tandy 2000

Tandy 1200

MC 10



Simply the best personal

computers built. 

Operated under MS-DOS

2.11 to 6.22.  Based on

the IBM PC. Jr.

Tandy 1000, 1000a

Tandy 1000SX ,1000TX

Tandy 1000 SL,TL & TL2

Tandy 1000EX, 1000 HX

Tandy 1000 RL, RLX

First Released: 1980
CPU: 8 bit 6809E 
Clock speed: 0.89 MHz
Bus type: Tandy Proprietary
Data bus width:  8 - bit
Address bus width: 16 - bit


Standard on system board 4K

(early models) or 16K
Maximum on system board 32k

(early models) or 64K
Maximum total memory 64K

ROM: 8K expandable to 16K
Ports: RS232C serial ports,

Mouse/joystick (shared)

Display Screen size: 32 X 16

Resolution: 9 / 256 X 192

Storage : Tape and Floppy

Operating System: Microsoft basic ver 1.1 (built in)



Ok, flashback to around 1983-84. I was begging my Dad to get a computer for the family (I

was only 14 at the time) and it came down to a CO-CO or a (gasp) C-64.  My uncle and his

family had the C-64, and my Cousin and a few friends of mine had this original silver bad

boy, the Color Computer.  A good friend of the family had even heard though the "Radio

Shack grapevine" that an older silver model was found in one of the warehouse and would

let my Dad buy it for a song. 


Buy this time the Co Co 2 had come out and  ' Radio Shack could no longer display the

older units.  For about half the price of the C-64, my dad picked up this great machine, a

tape drive unit, 2 "deluxe" joysticks and a handful of  games.  My love for the 'computer'

was born.  My baby came with a whopping 16 k of ram.  I knew a guy who "piggy-backed"

the ram chips.  I call him and in a short time he  doubled my baby to a staggering 32 K!


One of the best games that came on cartridge for  the Co-Co was "Down Land".  

It was basically Tandy's version of Donkey Kong.  I have never been able to get

past level 10, but my brother got to level 16. I have yet to know anyone who

Finished the game.


Two flavors of the Co Co 1 are known to exist. Although no one can confirm any

differences between the two machines other than a cosmetic change of the label stickers

as noted in the images below.





The Co Co was a very popular seller, so about 1984 Tandy decided to give the Co Co a

sleek new design, drop the familiar "silver" case and give the computer "beige" feel. They

upgraded the processor and bumped up the Ram. They also dropped the "TRS-80" from

the logo and just used "Tandy".




1986 (or sometime around) Tandy again updated the Co Co. They gave it more

expandability (up to 512 k) using a special upgrade board sporting faster RAM chips.. They

again "stream lined" the case and renamed it the "Co Co" 3. This one I am told was the

most popular Co Co. A lot of  "Mods" were done to this machine, with OS 9, you could

even run a GUI interface similar to the Tandy Deskmate software.







The last Co Co ever made was probably the biggest disappointment to most Co Co fans.

Arguably, it was the  most ugliest of the line.  Running at .97 MHz, with only 4K RAM

complete with chicklet keyboard, it was a basic entry level machine.  Although the least of

the line today it is very popular with collectors.. I am not sure why Tandy went away from

the feel of a fully size keyboard, they shrunk it down to the size of a Sinclair computer.

They called this last model the MC-10 (Mini-Color 10)



The most common "add-on" was the cassette deck. This was a full cassette Deck, and RS

must have sold millions, not just for computers. Long after our Co CO was retired, the

Cassette deck was and still is working great and being used today. We only had one saying

when a program was being loaded with it. "Don't bump, breathe or even look at the

cassette deck" otherwise we would have to re-load the program.


One of the first "tricks" I learned on the computer, was to put a music tape in and just type

in "run" and the music would play though the TV's speakers. My parents thought I was a

programming genius.




(c) 2004, 2005 Brian K. Hahn

 All Rights Reserved.