39-year-old Radio Shack laptop computer will get new CPU, retains unique display

A 1983-era TRS-80 Model 100 as action hero, exploding onto the scene.

Enlarge / A 1983-era TRS-80 Mannequin 100 as an motion hero, dramatically exploding onto the scene. (credit score: Radio Shack / Benj Edwards)

Confronted with a damaged Radio Shack laptop computer from 1983, IEEE Spectrum editor Stephen Cass did not throw it away. As an alternative, he pulled out the logic board and changed it with a contemporary microcontroller so he may management the classic display. Cass wrote about his journey intimately for Spectrum final week.

Cass carried out his operation on a Radio Shack TRS-80 Mannequin 100—one of many first laptops ever produced—which encompasses a one-piece “slate” kind designed by Kyocera and launched because the NEC PC-8201 in Japan. Its declare to fame was not solely its small moveable dimension (at 2 inches thick and three.9 lbs), however having an important keyboard paired with its means to run for as much as 20 hours on 4 AA batteries.

The Mannequin 100 included a 2.four MHz Intel 80C85 CPU, eight to 32Ok of RAM, and an eight-line, 40-character monochrome LCD with no backlight. It does not sound like a lot in comparison with right this moment’s moveable beasts, however journalists cherished the Mannequin 100 as a result of they may comfortably write tales on the go utilizing its built-in textual content editor. It additionally included Microsoft BASIC, a terminal program, and an tackle ebook in ROM.

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