Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

TRS-80 Model I

TRS-80 Model I

Speed1.77 MHz
Memory4 KB

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Tandy/Radio Shack


Release Date: 8/1/1977
Manufacturer: Tandy/Radio Shack
Donated By: Jim Thomson
This was Radio Shack's first personal computer, designed in the late 1970s when not much else was available in 'assembled' form. It shipped with either 4 KB or 16 KB of RAM and the Level 1 BASIC was very limited, allowing only 26 number variables, 2 string variables and one array variable. The monitor that came with it was actually an RCA Black and White television with the TV guts removed. You could expand the RAM on the unit and interface cassette drives, disk drives and a serial port. The flaky connections on the expansion boards and serial ports however, led to the eventual nickname "Trash 80".

User Comments
Anonymous on Monday, June 25, 2018
This was my second computer TRS-80 Model 1 Level one, I bought it sometime in late 1978 or early 1979. It provide hours of training and entertainment, I modified it from 4k to 16k with chips from an NCR ECR. lots of fun, now 40 years later still playing with computers I'm an IT Network Manager. Great to see someone preserving these early machines.
Tony G. on Saturday, June 3, 2017
My first computer in 1978. Learning to code in BASIC then launched a huge interest in programming that continues to this day.
Tony Lelieveld VE3DWI on Thursday, January 30, 2014
I remember the "Trash-80" very well. It was my very first computer which I purchased in 1978 (I think). I bought the Model-II with expansion interface but without the monitor as I had a small Black and White TV which I modified the same way Radio-Shack did theirs by separating the TV and Video circuits. I soon got tired of using the cassette tapes for loading and saving programs. I purchased a "Dual-Head-Floppy Drive", bought good quality discs which could be used on both sides, and was loading and saving programs and data in seconds. Since the drive was connected to the "Parrallel printer port" it was very fast compaired to the "Commodore" computer drive as it used the "serial port" which slowed data transfer considerably. I used to write programs in "Basic" with "Peek / Poke" machine language modules imbedded for our kids to help them in math, spelling and other learning skils. If they did better than 70% they could choose to have Choo-Choo trains, or other fun stuff, ride across the screen with basic block graphics. This was a lot of fun for them and they surely improved those skill. There was a TRS-80 computer club held at the Elmira High School started by a teacher who's name I can only remember as "Richie". We learned from each others experiences and mistakes and we always looked forward to these evenings. One High School kid wrote, in Machine Language, his own game where you had to shoot Aliens and as you became better at it the Aliens appeared faster and more numerous. My kids fought over computer time to play this game. When I ended up in Wawa working for CBC as a Remote Area Transmitter Tech, we called ourself RATT's, I wrote an inventory program, with embedded machine language sorting modules, to make keeping inventory a lot easier. As I think of what I paid for that equipment then, with that money I would be able to buy a multi-core super fast machine now. But the fun and learning experience we had made it all worth while. Aaaah the good old days.
Mel Bailey on Wednesday, August 28, 2013
By buying the very first personal computer, a TRS80 Model 1 from Radio Shack in 1975, I became Canada's first personal computer pioneer by starting my own business (Central Consulting in Surrey B.C.) where I wrote TRSDOS-Basic computer programs for government and small local businesses. In 1990 I was invited to work for IBM is the USA and went on to work for all of the computer companies except Microsoft. I retired in Miami Florida in 2010. See more history at
Panzer -Volnteer- on Monday, May 24, 2010
It was my grandfather's first computer, my dad's first computer, I don't remember my first computer, but I wouldn't be surprised of ot was this!!
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