Posts in the “Hardware” Category - page 6

The VS-100 Voice Synthesizer

The Alpha Products VS-100 was a popular voice synthesizer for the TRS‑80, selling thousand of units. Introduced in 1983 by Alpha Products for a price of $69.95, the VS-100 was available for the TRS‑80 Model I, Model III, Model 4, and also the Color Computer. Alpha Products lowered the price of the VS-100 several times; it was reduced to $49.95 in 1985 and $24.95 in 1987.

The VS-100 was a 3″ by 5″ unit that connected to the expansion port of the Model I, Model III, or Model 4.

The Holmes Expansion Mainframe

The Holmes Expansion Mainframe was a popular alternative to the Radio Shack Expansion Interface for the TRS‑80 Model I. Introduced in mid-1982, the Expansion Mainframe offered expansion options in a different manner than its competition. It provided extra features through the installation of special plug-in modules, also sold by Holmes Engineering.

The Radio Shack Double-Density Disk Kit

The original TRS‑80 Model I, when paired with a Radio Shack Expansion Interface, was only capable of single-density floppy disk access. This limitation was addressed by the Percom Doubler, introduced in 1980, which modified the Expansion Interface to add double-density. The Percom Doubler soon became the de-facto standard for double-density interfaces on the Model I. Almost all companies that created double-density add-ons made them compatible with the Percom Doubler.

The Stickeroo Joystick Interface

The Stickeroo Joystick Interface was an Atari-style joystick interface for the TRS‑80 Model I and System 80 computers. Introduced in 1982, the Stickeroo was sold by Micro-80, an Australian magazine dedicated to the TRS‑80 and System 80. (The System 80 was nearly identical to the computer sold in the United States as the PMC‑80.) The original advertisements also mentioned an upcoming TRS‑80 Model III version of the Stickeroo, but that was presumably never produced.

The CR-510 Card Reader

The Radio Shack CR-510 Card Reader was introduced in 1984 at a cost of $1595.00. Aimed primarily at schools, it appeared in the Radio Shack catalog under the headline “Automate Time-Consuming Tasks with a TRS‑80 Computer Card Reader.”

Administrators, teachers, and students can benefit from this new TRS‑80 input device. Automate data compilation, evaluate surveys and polls, or correct multiple choice tests.

The Radio Shack Lower Case Kit

The inability to display lower case characters was a well known deficiency of the TRS‑80 Model I. There were a number of third-party modifications created to address that limitation, the most popular of which was the Electric Pencil lowercase modification. But the Radio Shack Lower Case Kit (catalog number 26-1104) was Radio Shack’s official solution for adding lower case to the Model I.

The Electric Pencil Lower Case Modification

The best known limitation of the TRS‑80 Model I was its inability to display lower case characters. Although the lower case characters were present in the character set, the Model I lacked the extra memory chip needed to store the bit corresponding to lower case.

The significance of this limitation has been exaggerated over time (it’s worth noting that the contemporary Apple II also lacked lower case), but it created a real problem for word processors.

The Percom PHD

The Percom PHD was a line of 5¼″ Winchester hard drives sold by Percom Data for the TRS‑80 Model III, as well as several other computers. Introduced by Percom in 1982, the PHD used what was described as a “smart microprocessor-based drive controller” to allow up to four PHD drives to be connected to the Model III at one time. The Model III version also worked with the Model 4, but Percom never sold a version for the Model I.

The BETA-80

The BETA-80 was an “intelligent” cassette tape system that could store up to one megabyte on a single digital tape cassette. It was sold by MECA as an alternative to an Expansion Interface and disk drives.

The Amdek Amdisk-III

The Amdisk-III was an external dual-3″ (not 3½″) floppy disk system introduced by Amdek Corporation in 1982. The TRS‑80 Model III version was originally priced at $899, but that price was soon reduced to $599 and later $499. Versions were also available for the TRS‑80 Color Computer, the IBM PC, and the Atari 400/800. 80 Micro tested a prototype version for the Model I, but it is unclear if that Model I version was ever sold.