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Vint
December 9th, 2009, 07:25 AM
Post is a bit 'windy' - but here goes:

A little over a year ago I posted a question as to 'which is better; Radio Shack MC-10 or the Timex 1000'.

Search 'TRS80 MC-10 vs Timex Sinclair 1000'
Ref: post quote = Now I realize, that from a historic standpoint the Sinclair's in ZX80, ZX81, and even the Timex 1000 will always take the nod. I'm talking from a - "Hey, I'd actually like to use the thing once in a while" ability. Isn't the MC-10 more useable?

Which is 'better' - - the TRS80 MC-10 or the Timex 1000? Any opinions?

Well, that post generated some interesting responses, but specifically what I was looking for was, as I stated,
"Hey, I'd actually like to use the thing. . ."

Finally, after a year I've won an MC-10 off eBay. I stood firm the past year in not wanting to spend more than $25. including shipping, and the RAM pack, simply because it wasn't worth more to me than that. I lost a lot of bidding bouts but finally won an auction for a boxed MC-10 with the 16K RAM pack and manual. It was most important to me that the auction 'also' include the 16 RAM pack.
The problem was that it was untested. I've only taken chances twice on eBay with 'untested' items and got burnt both times. So, I knew better - but after a year of following MC-10 auctions I was frustrated - so I bid $10. and won. The unit was untested and also had 3 wires sticking out the back next to the RF video out. (Not a good sign.)

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/picture.php?albumid=14&pictureid=402

When it arrived, I hooked it up and, big surprise, it didn't work. I opened the case to see what the 3 wires were hooked to.

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/picture.php?albumid=14&pictureid=405

They ran to a 7805 voltage regulator. I unsoldered the wires and reattached leg one of the 7805 to it's proper place on the circuit board and fired it up again.
It worked, and with the 16K RAM pack installed the PRINT MEM is giving me over 19K of spacious RAM to play in :)

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/picture.php?albumid=14&pictureid=404

Now that I can actually test for myself an MC-10, I say the chicklet type keyboard is so much better than the Timex 1000's membrane one, plus the ability to use either the keys or keywords, the reset switch, the on/off switch and the stability of the 16K RAM pack, all add up to a far better machine, 'in my opinion'. Besides it's color too. So now that I have an MC-10, I can give a qualified nod to it as the better machine in an 'all around' comparison. The Timex 1000 may be more collectable, but certainly not more 'usable'. I like to dig out my vintage 8-bits and actually do some BASIC programming now and then. For that the MC-10 wins hands down. Your mileage may vary. It depends on your hobby or collecting 'slant' or your interest. It brings to light the saying that - "One man's trash is another man's treasure" :) I needed a spot filled in my collection, (for a very small computer), that was vacated by the loss of my, 'shall I say' useless Timex 1000, and the MC-10 fits the bill. I think my biggest complaint about the Timex 1000 is the keyboard. (Most just quit working after a time.)
Besides, I've always been partial to Radio Shack, and their goods. I spent a goodly portion of my earnings in those stores during the 70's, on electronics.

Zachary
December 9th, 2009, 09:00 AM
Glad to hear you could fix it. I've never had an MC-10, though I did have an original TRS-80 Color Computer for a couple years, as well as a Timex/Sinclair 1000. The MC-10 is a nice-looking machine, and yes, probably a lot more useful than a T/S 1000. I found that the Timex's membrane keyboard wore out much too quickly, whereas I actually got used to touch-typing on the TRS-80 Color Computer's "chicklet" style keyboard.

Darshevo
December 9th, 2009, 09:48 AM
My first computer was an MC-10. I wrote a choose your own adventure type program based on the Iliad on it. I picked one up off the bay myself not too long ago. Mine was a fair bit more, $40 including shipping and I didn't get the ram expander.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for that little fellow. Chances are mine will never get out of the box again, its main job is display and nostalgia now.

Hard to believe that I ended up with that unit because at the time it was marked down to $49.95. I was able to scrape that much together (I was all of maybe 10 or 11 at the time) The additional $50 a Vic-20 would have cost me seemed like an insurmountable amount of cash at the time.

Shoot... now I have to go start shopping for a ram expansion :D

-Lance

Tupin
December 9th, 2009, 03:08 PM
I have one of these, but sadly, no power supply. It uses a weird one, too. Anyone have a spare one?

tezza
December 9th, 2009, 03:11 PM
Congrats on getting it going Vint,

Despite the two machines being low cost "home" units I think comparing the ZX81 (T1000) with the Tandy MC-10 is bit like comparing apples and oranges, primarily because the MC-10 came out quite a bit later. Things were developing very quickly at that time and a straight shoot-out comparison is only fair when both are released at a similar time. Even then, the price also need to be taken into account when considering value-for-money .

Personally, as a user I loath the ZX-81 keyboard and limitations and don't play with it. But, at the time it was about the only machine within the range of families and gave lots of people (especially Brits) their first taste of computing. In that way, it is of historical significance, more so than the TRS80 MC-10.

Tez

bugman2112
December 11th, 2009, 09:09 AM
I just picked up an MC-10 at an antique store. One with several sheds filled with all kinds of stuff and your free to dig in yourself. After spending about 2 hours looking for anything computer related, I finally found the owner and asked him if he new of any computers within. He went right to a large pile and dug up a MC-10. Box, manual, power supply, cassette cable. I had no idea what it was worth or anything about it. But I would have been bummed to not walk away with something. Paid $20 for it. Kinda neat, its the only TRS-80ish computer I own. Didn't quite satisfy my fantasy of digging up an apple I or Altair, but hey. There was a VIC-20 there too, but I passed on it since my friend had one in grade school and I didnt like it much (but omega race on it was cool!)