|Tandy Color Computers|
WWW.8BIT-MICRO.COM ONLINE VINTAGE COMPUTER MAGAZINE
Standard on system board 4K
(early models) or 16K
(early models) or 64K
ROM: 8K expandable to 16K
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
(c) 2004, 2005 Brian K. Hahn
All Rights Reserved.