Was the Model I ever sold as a kit?

written by Matthew Reed

Some have claimed that Radio Shack offered the Model I as a kit before selling it as a fully-assembled computer. This is not true. From the very beginning, the TRS-80 was only sold fully assembled. There was never any TRS-80 kit option in any Radio Shack catalog. From the original August 3, 1977 press release:

The latest development in electronics for the home, according to Radio Shack, is a complete, low-cost microcomputer system.

Just introduced by the nationwide electronics store chain is the new Radio Shack TRS-80 Microcomputer System. Not a kit, the TRS-80 comes completely wired and tested, ready to plug in and use.

Here’s another quote from Radio Shack Introduces the World of Computing, a 1977 book that attempted to gently introduce potential customers to computers:

Q. I’m a layman when it comes to electronics. Does the TRS-80 require any wiring or soldering at all?

A. No! Each component of this system is 100% assembled and tested. Some microcomputers require assembly and soldering, but not the TRS-80.

Categories: FAQ


C Campbell says:

Perhaps not the Model 1, but in high school we walked into a pre-engineering class one day to find a dozen TRS-80 Color Computer kits in boxes. The kits were truly kits. Every resistor and capacitor had to be individually soldered to the boards, and an oscilloscope became our best friend. I’m not sure if any of them actually ended up working, but it was fun to build them. I wish I could find one of these kits now!