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Thread: Why did RS place a power key switch on external HDs?

  1. #1
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    Default Why did RS place a power key switch on external HDs?

    I know answer to my question in title, but sometimes to make a statement it is best to pose it as a question.

    I have a statement as to why it is important to remember in historic content why key is there. There is one VERY rare piece of TRS80 hardware, if it even exists at all today that ties it all together.

    Yes it did of course provide a level of data protection in office.

    But that was not primary reason it was there and another piece of hardware rounded this real purpose out.

  2. #2

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    So... this is a riddle? Not a question?

    You already know the answer?

  3. #3

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    When you don't want anyone to overtake your position on the Armored Patrol high score list, you resort to extreme measures.

  4. #4

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    I know it's important. Critical enough that my FreHD requires a key to fire it up.


  5. #5
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    Little known trivia: Radio Shack was reluctant to release a hard drive for the Model I because the only prototype they could cook up needed to be cranked over by hand and it kept breaking users' arms with misfires.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  6. #6
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    My first TRS-80 hard disk system was an Enhanced Model II (model 16 upgrade installed) with two 12MB disks, a primary and a secondary; the secondary drive didn't have a power switch, but was controlled by the switch on the primary.

    So, while I don't know if secondary disk units are the rare hardware the OP had in mind, the official Tandy-documented recommendation was to remove the power key during operation, to keep the units from being accidentally turned off. (Page 9, "Hard Disk System Startup TRS-80 Model 4/4P" ). So it makes sense to provide a key switch for power to lock the power on against accidental turnoff.

    An accidental hit on a power button would potentially cause the loss of a large amount of data.

    Near the end of the Model 4D's life, there was a different, smaller, case used that had a more conventional switch.
    --
    Thus spake Tandy Xenix System III version 3.2: "Bughlt: Sckmud Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"

  7. #7

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    The 8MB hard drives had key switches even on the secondaries so power up/down of a multi disk setup must have been fun.

  8. #8
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    That's pretty interesting; I didn't know that tidbit.
    --
    Thus spake Tandy Xenix System III version 3.2: "Bughlt: Sckmud Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torch View Post
    I know it's important. Critical enough that my FreHD requires a key to fire it up.

    This is one of the best custom FreHD enclosures Iíve seen!

  10. #10
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    Way back when,,,,,when microcomputer market started Radio Shack found themselves flooded with requests.

    There is a market known as turnkey. Turnkey still exists today and can be from buying a computer to buying a hamburger franchise.
    Basically it means all you need know how to do it turn a key, your VAR will take care of rest and make it simple.

    I have worked for a couple vertical market turnkey operations (Reynolds & Reynolds, ADP, COIN, Display Data etc). Most important thing we had to maintain for customer was all they needed to know in turning system on and even IPL was, turn the key stupid ( I added stupid part myself).

    Turnkey is a big industry and at that time only expensive computers had keys. RS CPUs were never designed with this and as time went on they had many requests from turnkey VARs.

    Solution was a power strip (I have been looking for RS P/N) that had one port for computer and rest for attachments.

    Anything plugged into computer port, when powered on or off powered all other power ports on/off.

    VARs everywhere were using TRS80 computers for what used to take computers like Microdata 1620s etc.

    A TRS80 used in turnkey systems greatly reduced costs. This outlet strip which I used to have one but no longer, was key to whole thing.

    It allowed HD key to power on HD, CPU, printer etc thus being truly turnkey.

    RS had internal advertisement to VARs that this arrangement made a true turnkey system when VARs software and support was added to package.

    Neat but forgotten detail of TRS80 history.

    Anyone still have one of these power controller?

    Daniel Boone

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