TRS-80 Model II

From: Ward Donald Griffiths III <>
Date: Mon Feb 23 22:28:04 1998

Lawrence Walker wrote:

(Sorry to take so long to reply -- busy on non-computer stuff).

> There is a circular hole, but it accesses the drive locking
> (parking) mechanism. It seems to be like SCSI with 2 50-pin
> A B Control sockets and 3 A B C 20 pin Data sockets . I have a
> 50-pin line terminator pack for it. The drives have a label saying "
> this unit contains a line terminator " Haven't opened them up yet.
> On the front panel a lock-key turns power on or off. I' ve only one
> key but it seems to work with all 3. It has 2 buttons one labelled
> Protect and one labelled Active. Possibly illuminated (haven't fired
> them up yet.)

Those are 8.4MB drives. Not SCSI, not even ST-506. Those are 8"
Shugart mechanisms in there, 4 heads by 256 cylinders. I forget
how termination worked in those units (haven't seen one in action
in at least 12 years). And yes, the write protect switch and the
active light are illuminated when in use. The number of times I've
wished I had a hardware write-protect switch on a PC...

When the drives are in use and the active light is blinking, those
drives make the friendliest little chirping noise.

> The II itself has a cage for 8 cards occupied by 5 cards, card 1 has
> cables leading to 2 female DB25 "serial port A B' ,card 2 has a
> cable to the int. fdd and one to a M 34-pin parallel printer port,
> card 3 is for the ext. hdd , the like-new card 4 has no cables looks
> like a memory card and card 5 is hard-wired to the CRT board.
> Do you know whether it had some sort of fdd select jumpers ?
> I'll switch cables and see if it will boot off the ext. fdd.

Ignore the Xenix media, you don't have a Model 16 upgrade. The
MC68000 chip would be hard to miss.

> > Note to all: As you visit the swap meets, ham fests, thrift stores and
> > whatnot, I am trying to acquire a bunch of software packages for the
> > Tandy 8" product line, especially the documentation. As Lawrence
> > mentioned in his first message, there is remarkably little information
> > on the Web about this product line, primarily because they were never
> > as popular with hobbyists as the 1/3/4 or Color Computer lines --
> > they were designed, built and marketed as business machines, and when
> > they were replaced by peecees years later, most business just tossed
> > the machines and the software packages into the dumpsters.
> >
> The going price of $ 3500 wasn't an incentive either. I wonder how
> many were sold ?

When introduced in 1981, the $4500 price for the first and $3500 for
each of the other three was considered a good deal, considering what
else was on the market.

Quite a few were sold, which became a serious problem a couple of years
later when most of them were dropping like flies. Tandy's parts
contract with Shugart was one of the worst deals they ever made. At
least the 5/12/15/35/70 MB drives were standard Tandon units and if
need be could be replaced with other vendors' drives, assuming a slight
change to connect the drive logic to the write-protect switch.

> If you want I can catalogue what I have and send you copies when I
> get this thing going.

Thanks in advance.
Ward Griffiths
Dylan:  How many years must some people exist, 
			before they're allowed to be free?
WDG3rd:  If they "must" exist until they're "allowed",
			they'll never be free.
Received on Mon Feb 23 1998 - 22:28:04 GMT

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