[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The TRS-80 Model 12

November 10th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

TRS-80 Model 12 Ad - 1983(click for full advertisement)

I actually have a TRS-80 Model 12, although I don’t have a hard drive for it. I bought it at a flea market back in 2000-2001 for $20. It had been used for corporate accounting, payroll, spreadsheets, etc. for some years, and it came with a bunch of 8-inch disks and a huge dot-matrix printer. Sadly, the 8-inch drives on my unit both failed some years ago, although not before I got a chance to load up BASIC and tinker around with a spreadsheet. I haven’t gotten around to fixing them yet, but I’ll probably give it a shot some day.

[ From Popular Computing, March 1983 ]

Discussion topic of the week: Here’s a good one: How many of you readers out there have used systems with 8-inch floppy disks? If you have, tell us about the computer and your 8-inch floppy stories.

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17 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The TRS-80 Model 12”

  1. R. Troy Says:

    Hey Benj, What year was this ad? Seems like a 12 Mb HD would be pretty amazing for the time. I don’t know about the $3600 price tag though.

  2. Jurgi Says:

    Used? Damn, I saw 8″ floppy. Once. 🙂

  3. Benj Edwards Says:

    R. Troy, this ad is from 1983, and yes, a 12MB HD was pretty impressive back then. The ad says the “Complete Hard Disk System” (I presume it includes a controller card too) was “only” $6893 — equivalent to $15,141.28 in 2008 dollars. Yep, that sounds about right. 🙂

    (Just for future reference, I always put the year and source of the scan in brackets near the bottom of the post.)

  4. Kitsunexus Says:

    “8-inch floppy stories” is going to bring in some [i]INTERESTING[/i] hits from Google…

  5. Guy Says:

    I’ve never even SEEN an 8-inch floppy in person.

  6. Ben Says:

    I’ve got 2 boxes of 8″ floppies, but have never gotten a drive to make any use of them (yet). More of a novelty item.
    If you’re interested, there’s a 15M HD on eBay right now, with key. A liteele costly, though. Ends 11/24. A couple of 5 1/4 and 8″ drives, too. Just search trs-80.

  7. jeff Says:

    Ages ago I worked with IBM big iron, (a 4381, if memory serves) which had an 8-inch floppy drive and a single disc for rescue-style emergency booting. It would have to be an emergency if all of your disk drives and tape drives failed. But I guess that’s the mainframe way: super-extra-trippple redundancy.

    In all my years there, we never had to use the floppy.

  8. Warallen Says:

    I’ve never heard of an 8 inch floppy.
    But I have lots of 3 1/2 & 5 1/4 laying around.

  9. myce Says:

    I have an old 8 inch drive (plus enclosure) from Commodore at home. Can’t check the model right now as I’m in the office but it should be a 8280. It looks like this (http://www.zimmers.net/cbmpics/dlieee2.html) or this (http://www.zock.com/8-Bit/D_CBM8280.HTML). I picked it up some years ago when I went to pick up an empty Apple ][ motherboard.

  10. Brian Deuel Says:

    Before we got TRS-80 Model 3s at school, we had Model 1s with 8″ floppy drives. If you opened the drive latch just right, you could launch those floppies a good 20 feet!

    Eugene Jarvis had a Motorola Exciser that VidKidz used to write the code for the coin-ops Stargate and Robotron. That had an 8″ floppy drive. The later blue box emulators that Atari used to write their coin-ops also had 8″ floppy drives (the earlier ones had paper tape!).

  11. Brian Deuel Says:

    Sorry… that was a “dual 8″ floppy drive 1MHZ 6809 Motorola Exorcisor development system”


  12. Derek Quenneville Says:

    I’ve only seen an 8 inch drive in use once, at a heating/cooling company in 1991. I think they were running an old version of FoxPro or FoxBASE.

  13. Zoyous Says:

    In the mid-80s, our family had an Apple ][e. One of our cousins sent my brother and I an Infocom game (I don’t recall which one) formatted for IBM PC on an 8″ floppy. I guess she thought there was just one software format that was interchangeable across all systems, or just wasn’t clear on what type of computer we had. Anyhow, that was the first and last time I saw an 8″ floppy.

  14. Dr. Iccapot Says:

    It was 1984 or 1985 when, for the first time, I ‘played’ with an Honeywell microSystem 6. I used it for about two years, while teaching COBOL in training courses for high school students. If i remember correctly, I used its 8″ disks just for booting…

  15. JayP Says:

    The local community college where my dad instructed Numerical Control machine tools had a system for computer aided machining. It was branded as a Bridgeport (as in the machine tools), had a color monitor with 2 8″ floppies.

    No hard drive, had to swap disks every 5 minutes or so. At the time, all I wanted to do was play Pacman.

  16. Frankie P Says:

    8″ floppies……Back in the mid-eighties I used them everyday for backups on an IBM System 36. Them was the days!

  17. Nicola Says:

    Never seen one either, but I’d love to get my hands on a little part of history…. one day

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