Other Tandy machines
Besides making the greatest computers in the world, Tandy also produced some others.
That's not to slight these machines, it's just that they aren't the same as the Models I, III or 4
machines. The Model II was close, but not really.
The first set I'll talk about are the Models 2, 12, 16 and 6000. I actually had a 6000 for
a short while, but the drives were almost dead. I got rid of it for cheap.
The next is the Model 100. This was a great little machine, even though the 8085 processor was
not 100 percent Z80 compatible. Many jounalists loved this rugged little machine.
The next set of machines is the TRS-80 Color computer. This machine was based on the Motorola 6809
processor, not anything like the rest of the TRS-80 line.
Finally, Tandy broke into the PC-Clone business with the Model 1000. This wasn't exactly a clone,
in the strict sense, but a workable machine, nonetheless.
The Model 2, 12, 16 and 6000
These machines were all pretty much "business" computers,
more than anything else. The main difference between them and the others
was in the use of 8 inch disk drives. The Model 2 was a Z-80 based machine,
while the 16/6000 used a combination of the Z-80 and Motorola 68000. The
Z-80 served as the disk I/O processor, and ran the machine when it was
booted in Model 2 mode. Thanks to
Mark Fishman (firstname.lastname@example.org), there
is more information. The following is pretty much verbatim out of an email
message from him:
The release sequence was 2, 16 (also known unofficially as the 16a),
12, 16b, and 6000.
The 16 was essentially the same case and card cage as the 2, with two
double-sided thinline floppies crammed in where the 2 had a single-sided
full height drive. The base unit had one floppy, with the second optional.
The 16b and 12 came out almost simultaneously, with a larger case and a
horizontal cage. There was a new keyboard and a speaker to produce a "chirp"
or "click" when you pressed a key. The floppies were spaced a
bit wider apart. There was a fan on the back to cool the cards. The 12
was a Model 2 with double-sided floppies, basically.
Both Model 16a and 16b had the 68000 processor and extra memory. The
6000 was a reworking of the 68000 CPU board for faster operation; the same
mods could be retrofitted to a 16.
Also, the 16b, 12, and 6000 could have an internal 15MB HD instead of
the second floppy. There wasn't room in the original 16 because of the
The 68000 board ran either TRSDOS-16, a single user single tasking system,
or XENIX, a Unix variant from Microsoft which was later sold to the Santa
Cruz Operation and has been updated to today's SCO Unix for Intel systems.
The Z-80 could run TRSDOS 1.2, 2.x, or 4.x (designed for HDs), or there
was a version of DOSPLUS (called DOSPLUS II) for it. LSI and MISOSYS later
brought out LS-DOS 6.2 and 6.3.1 on 8" floppy for the Model II/12/16/6000
Z-80. One of LS-DOS's design goals was to have a "portable" OS,
with all system services called through the OS so you could run apps on
any LS-DOS box. It's a pity this never had much commercial success, but
there are a number of good Model 4 apps that run on a Model II/12 with
And from James Knox (email@example.com)
>>"The 12 was a Model 2 with double-sided floppies, basically."
This is true, from the standpoint of the software user. Inside,
however, there was quite a bit of difference. The -12 was produced with
the deliberate intent to bring down the price of the -II. What was
several cards (CPU, RAM, Video, I/O) was all put directly on the
motherboard. The basic -12 had NO card cage. [And a whole lot of "empty"
This made the machine much cheaper to produce, but it also made it much
more expensive to upgrade -- since ANY upgrade pretty much meant a whole
card cage and cables and installation. In spite of this, I usually
recommend folks take a used -12 over a used -II. The floppies on most
-II's are usually pretty badly worn (they turn constantly), and only
hold half as much, and are much slower. Also, the power supply in the
-12 is much better than the "original" -II power supply and these
machines don't suffer from "screen shrink" when the disk is accessed.
If anyone has comments to add to what Mark and James have shared, please don't
hesitate. All I can add is that there were several versions of CP/M available
for the 2/12/16/6000, and you can still get Pickles & Trout CP/M 2.2m
from TriSoft in Austin, Texas. Also,
they apparently have their own brand of TriSoft CP/M-68K for the 6000.
Their phone number is 1-512-472-0744, if you want more information. I have
some literature on the way to me, and I'll write more if I learn more.
They also have CP/M software, but their Wordstar and dBase source has
The Color Computer
I owned a Color Computer 3 at one time, and still read some of the web pages out there. Unfortunately,
I sold it a while ago, and don't really remember much about it. Certainly, there isn't anything I
could add to the information that the real Coco enthusiasts have already put together.
All I can do is provide some links to a few pages that looked good to me.
The Model 1000 (and other PC clones)
The made them. That's all I know.
Luckily that's not where I have to end this. There are a number of links out there on the Web, and
I'll link to whatever I can find... :)
Links of possible interest:
The TRS-80 Home Page created and maintained by Pete Cervasio
Copyright © 1998 Pete Cervasio