So, it’s finally here. My very own TRS-80 Model 100. I was surprised how solid this machine was the minute I un-boxed it. I could tell that this thing was durable and truly made with quality parts. The picture above was after I gave it a simple cleaning. Not only was this thing gunky, it does have some yellowing. Nothing Retr0brite can’t handle, but that will be for a later post.
The keyboard really impressed me as well. It has a familiar feel to it; it reminded me of my old 486 keyboard actually. In addition to giving the housing a nice clean, I really went to town on the keyboard. Gently, I was able to pop off all the keys and give them a good soak in dish soap. After lightly scrubbing the keys, I dried them off and handled the gross part, the felt lining & circuit board. The felt had dead bug carcasses, dust, grime, and finger nails on it. I used box tape to pull away the filth and used alcohol and a Q-Tip to clean the PCB underneath. I regret not recording this process as it was quite interesting. Although it was the back of the PCB, there were through-hole diodes all over the place.
As you can see, the keys popped right back in and have a nice clean surface. I still notice some slight yellowing on the labels of the keys themselves. Although Retr0brite can be used on them as well, I would like to read up on the durability of labels as I would hate to rub / burn them off somehow.
Overall, I’m really happy I picked up this baby for $40.00 with free shipping. The seller didn’t really know what he had, and was just trying to get rid of it. If you’re looking for a TRS-80 Model 100, avoid the auctions that sell for ~$200. There’s no reason to pay that much unless the unit has been restored or upgraded.
A few concerns about this model that I didn’t anticipate:
- LCD Display: awkward, requiring that you use a contrast knob to adjust depending on your angle to see clearly
- Arrow Keys: very odd rectangular keys at the top right side
- ROM Panel: in the back, you can upgrade the ROM, let it is very difficult to remove this panel without breaking it
At the end of the day, this is a great machine. I can really see myself falling in love with this thing after awhile. Also, I can’t imagine how cool it would have been back in 1983 to buy this. My version of the device went for $1399.00 brand new. That’s like a Macbook Air! Anyway, I’ll be sure and share the wealth once I finish cleaning her up and start writing software for the 8085.
In advance, I’ll let you know that I’ve been playing around with the idea of writing my own version of basic for *80 architecture. If done right, there would be minor adjustments for the Z80 and 8080 CPUs. Just a thought anyway.