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  • Greetings and welcome to an LGR thing! And this is the Tandy 1000, one of the

  • more influential PC compatibles of the 1980s, especially in terms of gaming. And

  • this was sold by RadioShack at the end of 1984.

  • *startup fans whir, beeps occur*

  • Not a very loud machine! And it started at a price of $1199 for a base unit like

  • this one with 128 kilobytes of RAM and a 4.77 megahertz Intel

  • 8088 CPU and one double-sided floppy disk drive. There were plenty of later

  • versions of course but this one right here is an original 1000. Specifically

  • this one is the 1000A which was a motherboard revision that corrected a

  • few issues and provided some handy new upgrade options. And yes, I've talked

  • about more capable Tandys like the RL/HD in the past. But I think it's worth

  • taking a closer look at the original model since I find it fascinating and

  • it's also just becoming increasingly hard to find. Plus I just love the look

  • of these original machines they have a very friendly aesthetic and fewer angles

  • and more curves than anything IBM was doing. Which is notable since the 1000

  • was initially advertised as having "more features than an IBM PC for $1,000 less."

  • And it was true! The Tandy 1000 featured superior sound and graphics capabilities

  • compared to the IBM PC/XT, which when similarly equipped could run at least

  • another thousand dollars. Yet, amusingly they accomplished this not by imitating

  • the XT but rather by cloning the IBM PCjr -- which was IBM's ill-fated home

  • computer released in March of 1984. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

  • Because to understand the triumph of the Tandy 1000 you need to understand the

  • drawbacks of the TRS-80 line. You see when RadioShack first started selling

  • the TRS-80 in 1977 they were one of the few big players in the home computer

  • market in the USA, and they had plenty of success with the TRS-80 machines over

  • the next four years. But when the IBM PC came along in 1981 the market was shaken

  • up in an irreversible way. Suddenly the focus shifted from machines like the

  • TRS-80 Model 4 running the CP/M operating system to IBM PCs running

  • MS-DOS. And so begun, the clone war has. Tandy's first attempt at an IBM PC-like

  • was the Tandy TRS-80 Model 2000. Now there's a mouthful of a name. While the

  • 2000 was built to run MS-DOS and sold rather well, almost no programs from the

  • IBM PC ran on it due to its differing architecture and

  • BIOS. Meaning consumers who preferred high PC compatibility looked to its

  • competitors. So Tandy began work on the 1200 and the 1000: two IBM PC compatibles.

  • The 1200 was a PC XT clone geared towards business users and the 1000

  • cloned the exciting new PCjr for the home market.

  • But while the 1000 was highly compatible with PCjr software, Tandy made some

  • smart adjustments to the hardware side of things. They removed the costly and

  • underutilized dual cartridge slots, added three PC bus expansion slots, and

  • replaced the awful infrared chiclet keyboard with a wired a full travel

  • keyboard. Representing Tandy, Ed Judg even described the Tandy 1000 as "what

  • the PCjr should have been" at one point. But being aware of the PCjr's

  • compatibility failings he clarified that by saying "we tried to maintain as much

  • compatibility with the jr and the PC as we could, but if it came down to being

  • more compatible with one than the other we leaned toward the PC." But also towards

  • the TRS-80 because the 1000 was intended as an upgrade path for existing TRS-80

  • owners, featuring ports that were capable of using the same keyboards, joysticks,

  • displays, printers, and various other input/output devices as the TRS-80 line.

  • Though while this was a great selling point for current RadioShack customers

  • what really made the 1000 so successful with PC gamers for a time was amusingly

  • the components of the failed PCjr it was copying.

  • Namely the graphics and sound.

  • *Silpheed plays with graphics and sound being all awesome*

  • Compared to the ridiculously limited MDA, CGA, and PC speaker sound of the PC and

  • the XT, the PCjr (and by extension the Tandy 1000) was miles ahead with its

  • 16-color graphics and SN76489 tone generator. The odd

  • twist of fate here is that while the PCjr was a nasty failure for IBM, the

  • Tandy 1000 went on to become a huge success for RadioShack. So much so that

  • its graphics and sound modes became known as "Tandy compatible" instead. Talk

  • about a final death blow for the PCjr. I love stories like this and I was super

  • psyched to finally play with an original Tandy 1000 as a result. Unfortunately,

  • when I first got this machine, as shown in unboxing a while back, it had a few

  • problems, besides just being a bit dirty. Not only was I expecting it to be the

  • more capable SX model, which it wasn't, but it was also supposed to have a

  • working floppy drive, which it didn't. Thankfully getting inside the Tandy 1000

  • is quite simple. There are just two screws on the front of the case here and

  • then it just slides off, revealing a rather lovely interior. But unfortunately

  • getting to the floppy disk drive is much more of a pain. Everything is attached to

  • this metal assembly that's just really annoying to work with. There are three

  • screws on front, one screw around the side, and then you have to remove this

  • big plastic panel on the back that's covering up more screws. And then two

  • more come out right there. Thankfully they are at least standard flat head

  • screws. Unlike these that are actually attached to the floppy drive itself,

  • which are 7/32 sized hex head screws, or bolts. Not only more annoying to work

  • with but I don't have any tips that can convert to that size that are small

  • enough to fit in this little slot here. So you kinda have to balance it in place

  • and then get your driver in there, it's just it's an annoying thing. Anyway once

  • the floppy drive assembly comes out of there then you can get to the disk drive

  • itself. And then there's just a little metal piece on top of there which

  • thankfully unscrews normally, and you can get into the floppy drive here. And I was

  • just gonna clean the heads with a little bit of a swab alcohol tip thing right

  • there, and hopefully that'll be fine. And while I'm at it I'm gonna replace those

  • annoying hex head things with standard Phillips head screws. Because screw that

  • I don't wanna mess those again. And we'll put in the Tandy

  • version of MS-DOS 2.11 disk here that it came with. And lo and behold it works

  • just fine now! Just put in the time and date, and we can read the directory and

  • do whatever we need to. Yay working floppy drive! Now to get to

  • the cleaning of this and we'll have to remove the disk drive itself to see the

  • rest of the motherboard. And now as I mentioned earlier it's quite a

  • delightful looking thing, I think. Just a very nicely laid out, pleasing board

  • design. It's a nice blend of simplicity and complexity, I don't know I just like

  • looking at this thing. But it would look a whole lot better if it was clean so I

  • got a shop vac here and we're just gonna dust this thing out as much as I

  • can. And hey we can already see things a little

  • bit better here, including the 8088 CPU by Intel here. Although that is indeed an

  • AMD logo on the chip. Yeah this was back in the day when AMD was manufacturing

  • processors for Intel, not just making their own based on the compatibility of

  • Intel. This is an Intel chip under AMD's name. And you can also see that second socket

  • above it and that is a spot to put the 8087 math coprocessor if you wanted. One

  • of the features that was added to this 1000A revision. Now I thought that these

  • little specks were like some more bits of something to be dusted away, but

  • apparently not. They just appeared to be on the board.

  • So really the interior of this thing wasn't too terribly dirty, just had a

  • layering of dust. So I just went over everything with an anti-static brush and

  • just kind of loosened up the crap that was kind of caked on there and then went

  • over it with a vacuum again and everything seemed to be pretty good.

  • And yeah check out the view of the Tandy speaker there, it's a little larger than

  • the one that's on the IBM PC and it's ridiculously loud. Also quite enjoyable

  • is this power switch. Needed a little bit of a dusting as well and yeah. It's not

  • as enjoyable to me as say, the IBM PC's big clunking red one. Still though, feels

  • pretty nice, a lot better than modern power switches. Really the biggest thing

  • that needed cleaning on this machine, at least on the base unit, was the fan in

  • the back. And yes it does have an exhaust fan -- many PCs didn't at the time, but this

  • one does. And yeah I'm just glad that this thing was in such nice shape when I

  • got it. Just a light dusting for everything from the tray bracket metal

  • thing that holds the floppy drives to the

  • plastic in the back of the computer just needed some light dusting. And there we

  • go! And since we're in here may as well do some quality of life upgrades.

  • Starting with this 1MB RAM board from Lo-Tech. I've bought a few of

  • these now and they're really handy for upgrading computers that don't have a

  • lot of conventional RAM. In this case since it's an original 1000 it only has

  • 128K of RAM. Not much at all, so I configured this to upgrade it to

  • 640K. And once its installed in there and you boot up the computer and lo and

  • behold you have the full 640K! Which "ought to be enough for anyone," har har.

  • Unfortunately this does not add DMA to the system so it still lacks that. And I

  • also have another Lo-Tech card here that I want to install, this is the

  • XT-IDE, or really their version of it: the XT-CF ISA compact flash adapter. This

  • right here will allow me to use one of these IDE to CF adapters and then a

  • compact flash card as a hard drive. So you just stick one of those in there

  • then stick the card in place and then attach it to the back. I've got one of

  • these that installs to the rear bracket. You can use any of them but I just find

  • this one to be rather convenient. And then connect it with a cable there and

  • tada! We have a hard disk solution so we can boot directly into DOS without

  • having to rely on floppy disks or anything like that. I'm actually not sure

  • if this will run on the original 1000 but I know it does on the 1000A. And

  • yeah this is not one of the computers that has DOS or Deskmate or anything

  • built into the ROM, you needed to boot from something. So this is a nice

  • convenient solution in my case. And yeah check it out: now we can boot into

  • GW-BASIC from the DOS installation that I put on the compact flash card, allowing

  • me to run one of my "favorite" programs of all time. And we can also run Tandy

  • Deskmate version 1.01 which this came with. Now this is just a

  • text-based version, this is before Deskmate went all graphical. It's just in

  • black and white, it's incredibly simple. But it does allow you to view files for

  • text and print out things that way, and also allows you to manipulate some

  • worksheets to do budgets and stuff, and kind of a Rolodex filer system for your

  • clients, and a calendar for your agenda. You know, business-oriented kind of

  • home management office type of stuff. It was a nice bonus and came with Tandy

  • computers for a very long time. Although every single one of them that came after

  • this were better, this one is darn simplistic. Yeah I gotta cleanse my

  • palate a little bit with a game here let's try out Paku Paku!

  • *Pac Man-like sounds play*

  • *yep, sounds are still playing*

  • Oh yeah that is awesome, I love how versatile this game is even

  • though it's not necessarily using a whole lot that is specific to the Tandy.

  • In this case it is using the Tandy / PCjr sound. But it's actually using

  • the 160x100 16-color [text] mode of CGA here. Whereas something like King's

  • Quest 2 is actually using Tandy sound and graphics and just looks and sounds

  • amazing, check it out.

  • *subjectively amazing graphics and sounds proceed to play*

  • All right well now that we know everything is working fine then it's

  • time to get to the rest of the cleaning process. And yeah the case needed a

  • little bit of attention, there were some scuffs and grimy bits. And you could

  • tell where fingerprints had kind of touched a few places a little too much

  • over the years. So yeah just a little bit of basic cleaning with water and vinegar

  • and then just going over that very lightly with a magic eraser to pick up

  • any of that excess dust. Because this is one of those plastic cases that's not

  • painted, but it does have a pattern in there that mimics kind of a powder coat

  • paint. So you don't have to worry about lifting paint off of there you can just

  • sort of scrub and get the dirt out of there that way with a magic eraser.

  • It works pretty well in my experience as long as you don't go too hard. Honestly

  • sometimes even like, just water and a microfiber cloth and a tiny little bit

  • of baking soda will do the job, anything that's just a light abrasive

  • should work fine. The keyboard itself was looking quite nice as well all things

  • considered. It even had the cork feet still intact

  • on the bottom. But then around the front yeah, you can tell there were some little

  • droppages of like, food or drink or something, who knows what. I started

  • scrubbing away with my wood grain toothbrush here and then I noticed that

  • the little doohickeys above the function keys -- these are actually removable. I knew

  • that these were spots where you would slide in overlays to let you know what

  • the function keys did in say, Lotus 1-2-3 or whatever. But I didn't know that

  • this one actually had the little blank pieces installed still. So yeah I

  • just removed those really quick and got to scrubbing away and yeah, that's much

  • better. Time to scrub the rest of this thing down and enjoy the satisfying

  • satisfaction of cleaning old hardware.

  • *satisfying brushing and scrubbing sounds occur*

  • Well I dunno know about you but I'm feeling better. And while I was at the keyboard I

  • wanted to take a look at the switches underneath the keys themselves, because

  • somebody was telling me it's a form of mechanical something or other. I'm just a

  • keyboard geek so I always want to check it out. This looks a little bit different

  • than a lot of the photos that I've seen online but apparently these are Fujitsu

  • leaf springs, the third generation of them. They're not clicky keyboard keys

  • but they are pretty darn satisfying. They're very light to the touch but

  • they're not too light, and they're not terribly loud either. I mean they're just

  • pretty decent keyboard keys for the mid-80s like this on a computer that was

  • cheaper and didn't do buckling springs. I'm also quite fond of the way these

  • little feet in the back flip up: you actually press down on them from the top

  • of the keyboard and then rotate them around to make them do their thing.

  • I don't have any other keyboards like this and it amuses me. And no, in case you're

  • wondering this does not come with a mouse. That was still considered an

  • optional peripheral at the time. And it wasn't uncommon to see people using a

  • light pen instead, which it has a dedicated port for in the back of the

  • computer, right next to these RCA outputs for connecting to a TV instead of a

  • monitor. That's not to say that mice weren't available because they certainly

  • were, especially a couple years later. Now the original Tandy 1000 could also make

  • use of the TRS-80 Color Computer mice but this one is pretty much just your

  • standard 9-pin serial connector and works just like a regular Microsoft

  • compatible mouse. And yeah after wiping everything else down with a little bit

  • of water and vinegar once again and then inserting those little overlays into the

  • top of the keyboard right back where they used to be, everything is back in

  • order and it's a very clean-looking Tandy 1000 personal computer keyboard

  • once again! Now onto the monitor, which in this case is a Tandy CM-11 CGA and

  • Tandy compatible RGB monitor. And it's looking a bit dirty, especially this spot

  • right here where there's some sticker residue that looked rather stubborn.

  • Thankfully though this is not a problem, just gonna be using some Goo Gone

  • (not sponsored) and rub it in there. Let it soak for a minute then then just kind of

  • rub it out and then repeat quite a few times over the course of about 10

  • minutes. And there we go, it goes away eventually and you're left with a nice

  • clean looking CM-11 monitor. Well at least it will be once I wipe down the

  • rest of it. It was uh, quite caked in just dusty residue.

  • Uou couldn't really tell until you started wiping it down with paper towels

  • and then you looked and you're like "wow everything is really dark brown." So yeah

  • much cleaner now, everything is looking good, it is time to set this thing back

  • up and enjoy some games. So enjoy!

  • *lots of game sound effects and music play through the Tandy speaker*

  • *they just kind of keep playing for a while here*

  • Well that's about it for this video of the Tandy 1000 Revision A! I think it is