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Thread: Got two TI99/4As, what can I do with them?

  1. #1
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    Default Got two TI99/4As, what can I do with them?

    I was given a pair of TI99/4A computers but I have zero experience with these things. What can I do with them? How do I get software on there?

  2. #2

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    With the unexpanded TI, you're limited to cartridges and tape. You may be able to use audio files of tape programs with it, see https://retrocomputing.stackexchange...-audio-devices inter alia.
    I use my C128 because I am an ornery, stubborn, retro grouch. -- Bob Masse
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  3. #3

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    I don't really dislike the TI-99, but I do think it's anemic and a pain to use. However, the FlashROM99 is quite useful for seeing what sort of software runs on an unexpanded one. It's not too expensive if you assemble a kit yourself. If you get a TIPi and some more RAM you could browse the internet.

    In my opinion getting software to one via floppy disk isn't worth the investment, but I have sent audio files to it directly from any modern PC's headphone port.

  4. #4
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    With just the consoles themselves, the most useful/fun software would be on cartridges. TI-Invaders, Munchman, Super Demon Attack, are OK games. Also Parsec, especially if you have a speech synthesizer.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb Hansberry View Post
    I don't really dislike the TI-99, but I do think it's anemic and a pain to use. However, the FlashROM99 is quite useful for seeing what sort of software runs on an unexpanded one. It's not too expensive if you assemble a kit yourself. If you get a TIPi and some more RAM you could browse the internet.

    In my opinion getting software to one via floppy disk isn't worth the investment, but I have sent audio files to it directly from any modern PC's headphone port.
    So is the FlashROM99 a cartridge with a SD card slot for piling on software? That's definitely the kind of thing I'd be looking for, that and RAM expansion.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by itsvince725 View Post
    So is the FlashROM99 a cartridge with a SD card slot for piling on software? That's definitely the kind of thing I'd be looking for, that and RAM expansion.
    Yup! It can hold as many images as you'll ever need on one SD card (though you might want to have a few on hand in case it doesn't like one). I have one and it's pretty convenient. I liked Munch Man, Parsec, and Hunt the Wumpus (though I have the actual cartridges too).

    I've never really looked into getting the 32k ram expansion without the PEB so maybe it's not too bad, but the one in the PEB (with needing to buy the PEB too) is expensive.

  7. #7
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    So I also have a couple TI-99/4A's and the flashrom cartridge. Just to add to this, the flashrom cartridge just lets you run cartridge games. There are maybe about 100 of them that'll run on an un-expanded machine. I'm not sure if there was actual disk based software, but if there was, it doesn't run on the flashrom... it really is just to run cartridge software. The good thing is you can usually get a flashrom 99 for around $40. The Finalgrom is a little better but it's twice the price. Without the expansion though, you'll be pretty limited in what you can do with them. Like the CoCo, I wasn't very impressed with it, but unlike the Coco (2 and earlier), at least it has built in composite video so that's a plus, I guess. Plus the silver one looks kinda nice and some of them have a decent keyboard (there are about 3 different keyboard types - one is alps, one is some other brand, and one of them is crap).

    I do have the speech module and the extended basic, so that's a bit entertaining to play with for about 5 minutes. Like Caleb, I wasn't impressed enough with the system to consider spending more money on the accessories like the 32k module or the NanoPEB, though.
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA

  8. #8

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    Ralph Benzinger's FlashROM 99 has been superseded by the FinalGROM 99. Like the FlashROM 99, the FinalGROM 99 supports ROM images but also supports GROM images and mixed images of up to 1MB in size that uses the write-to-ROM bank switching scheme. It does not require the PEB (Peripheral Expansion Box) and runs on both PAL and NTSC consoles, including modified consoles with an F18A. It also runs on V.2.2 consoles which have a third party cartridge lock out and enables those to run ROM-only programs. You can find them on Ebay and Arcadeshopper.com.

    Jedimatt42 has created several enhancements for the TI-99/4A. There is the Sideport 32k, TI99UsbKeys, and the TIPI. Information can be found HERE.

    Tursi the creator of the Classic 99 emulator, has recently ported Dragon's Lair to the TI-99/4A. There are many current YouTube review videos about it. His site is HERE.

    If you are looking for games, then check out this SITE.

    There are still active communities of TI99ers, like the ATARIAGE and Facebook TI99ers.

    This should get you started. If you have any questions let me know! Have fun and enjoy your consoles.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngtwolf View Post
    So I also have a couple TI-99/4A's and the flashrom cartridge. Just to add to this, the flashrom cartridge just lets you run cartridge games. There are maybe about 100 of them that'll run on an un-expanded machine. I'm not sure if there was actual disk based software, but if there was, it doesn't run on the flashrom... it really is just to run cartridge software. The good thing is you can usually get a flashrom 99 for around $40. The Finalgrom is a little better but it's twice the price. Without the expansion though, you'll be pretty limited in what you can do with them. Like the CoCo, I wasn't very impressed with it, but unlike the Coco (2 and earlier), at least it has built in composite video so that's a plus, I guess. Plus the silver one looks kinda nice and some of them have a decent keyboard (there are about 3 different keyboard types - one is alps, one is some other brand, and one of them is crap).

    I do have the speech module and the extended basic, so that's a bit entertaining to play with for about 5 minutes. Like Caleb, I wasn't impressed enough with the system to consider spending more money on the accessories like the 32k module or the NanoPEB, though.
    Yeah, I got two silver ones, one with black keys and the other with beige keys, and the beige keyboard definitely feels inferior. It seems like there was somehow 3 hardware revisions in 4 years (silver with black keyboard, silver with beige keyboard, beige with beige keyboard).

  10. #10

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    There were several manufacturers of keyboards that provided them depending upon where they were assembled along with which year. The best in my opinion is the Alps keyboard made in Japan (Usually denoted by the rounded number three key and has a green PCB) these keyboards usually need to have the contacts cleaned under the key caps. Then there was the stackpole keyboard (green PCB, number three key is not rounded and the keys are squarish) when you remove the key cap the stackpole has a plastic green square that the cap fits into. These can crack at the corners and need repair. The Mitsumi keyboard is usually identified by the brown PCB (look through the vent holes on the bottom of the case). This keyboard has a mylar plastic membrane. Over the years the silver contact paint sticks or wears off and they need to be taken apart carefully and cleaned and/or conductive paint re-applied. Back in the day these keyboards were more durable than the stackpole, so they were more popular. There was also the Futaba keyboards which had key switches, just not as good as the Alps.

    Hope this helps.

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