Laptops

Cracking Open the Tandy Model 100

17 comments
richardwmckenzie
richardwmckenzie

I used one for several years back in the 80s and wrote several programs for it. I had a Model 100 and a Model 102 for several years before I gave them to one of my brothers. Brings back memories.

SandyT
SandyT

Instant boot-up, solid-state file storage, long battery life - the Model 100 had specs most modern laptops could envy.

kik
kik

I had one and loved it.It simply worked. I had mine with the 32 k ram and the 4 aa bateries lasted weeks. I used it for all sorts of things until it finally died. but what a great laptop!

swidmer
swidmer

The Tandy was not...the Epson HX20 was and It had a host of extras like built in printer and 4x20 physical LCD but 25x80 virtual screen - 5 program memory regions, built in microcassete for loading and saving programs and couls be connected to a portable accoustic coupler 300 bps modem - very cool indeed in its day.

yooper
yooper

I have a mint condition model 100 and I notice when I save something I sometimes hear a clicking sound, actually, it's just a quick click or two. What mechanical device within the computer could be making that noise? I know there's not a hard drive installed or floppy.

nwoodson
nwoodson

.....And I want to remind everybody that IBM was "responsible" for the home computing revolution. isn't revisionist history (and the power of advertising) a wonderful thing.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

You're right. I double-checked. The Epson HX-20 started shipping 2 years before the Tandy 100. It just didn't start gaining traction until 1983 when the Model 100 came out. That said, I'll stick by the qualifier of 'first POPULAR computer' that was truly portable. Tandy made a mint off of the Model 100 and it's successor the 102. The 200 never gained the traction that it probably should have.

online
online

I had an HX20 for a brief time, as well. I got it used, and it rolled over and died after a few weeks. You win some, you lose some...

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

I have to get one so we can crack it open.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

There is a mechanical device in there. That would be the relay for the modem. The built in modem is capable of generating a rotary dial through the built-in relay you'll see on the system board in the upper left hand corner. The clicking may also be coming through the speaker. The Model 100 we used for this cracking open was a little flaky before I popped it open and it made the occasional snap and pop through the speaker that sounded like a click.

bshaffer
bshaffer

Mine had 24K of RAM, (upgradable to 32K and that's Kb not Mb), a connector for audio tape for backup, an interface for a barcode reader, (never really caught on), a 40x8 text only LCD screen that was in reality 4 - 80 character lines wrapped, an onboard 300 baud hi-speed modem, an address book and a very buggy version of GW-Basic. I still have it. I used mine to write a matrix calculator for linear algebra and for remote computing (through a Gandalf switch no less) I connected to a CDC mainframe so I could write assignments and projects in LISP. It helped me graduate UMASS/Boston in 86. And I speak very clearly now thank you, no more LISP. -B-

larryekaufman
larryekaufman

I was a programmer/analyst working for Bechtel Corporation at the time I purchased mine. I supported payroll systems at international jobsites. My model 100 went with me to Papua New Guinea, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. I almost cried when it gave up to ghost.

technorex
technorex

As a younger SYSOP I supported reporters using them. Never had to reboot it. Turned it on an it worked. IT is still fun. (But not as much) Thanks for the memories.

online
online

Of all the computers I've owned over the last 25 years, the Model 100 is the only one that rates on the nostalgia meter. I bought mine (actually a Model 102) near the end of its product life. It freed me from the desktop, and I've never been without a laptop since. I tricked it out with as much memory as it would take (an expensive proposition at the time) and several option ROMs. Good times.

online
online

It might not have gotten much traction, but I believe Tandy patented the clamshell design, so they probably raked in the royalties for a long time!

yooper
yooper

Thanks for the reply! The source of the sound is coming for ther bottom of the unit near the access panel expansion port (ROM) I sounds like a relay now that you mention it, but more like a floppy drive or along those lines. It only occurs once and a while.