Forum Rules and Etiquette

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Tandy 1000 EX DeskMate only in B&W?

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    Tandy 1000 EX DeskMate only in B&W?

    Just picked up a really nice 1000 EX to play around with. I bought a new one when I was in high school and had a lot of fun with it,

    Unfortunately I don't have a CGA monitor yet and they seem to be very rare these days. I'm currently using the composite output with a small LCD TV and the text is sort of ok.
    When I load DeskMate, everything is black and white...very crisp sharp black and white with no rainbow effect like the text in DOS. Going to the color settings within DeskMate only changes shading.
    I've tried different cables and 2 other TVs (CRT) with no change. I also tried the different Function key modes at start up as well as different Mode settings within DOS.

    Now if I go into BASIC, I can change text, background and border colors. I have a few games and they also play in color.

    Does DeskMate default to monochrome when using the composite output? Or am I missing some kind of configuration on the DOS disk?

    Back in the day, I bought the RF modulator with my EX and hooked it up to my 13" color TV. An hour later I returned it to Radio Shack and spent my last dime on a CM-4 that was on clearance.
    For the short time I used the composite output with the modulator, I seem to recall DeskMate looking horrible, but at least in color.

    Try pressing F2 after turning it on to start it in TV mode. More info here:


      If Deskmate does automatically default to killing colorburst when starting I have to hand it to Radio Shack, that was actually a brilliant thing to do. Color composite text at 80 columns is not only terrible on color monitors it turns completely into digital garbage on monochrome ones. Guessing their assumption was that if you were using composite chances were good you had a VM-(whatever) mono monitor on it.
      My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot


        Tried all the start up F modes and modes through DOS with no luck. Once DeskMate starts, it seems to resort back to 80 column mode but in B&W.
        I did try through another TV (55" Plasma) which gave me color, but it's so bad, it may just be artifacts. My 5 and 12 volts were a little low, tweaked it back up and still no difference.
        Odd that it's only DeskMate that does this. Maybe my copy is corrupt?

        Trying to find a CGA monitor within a 150 miles or so. Found two potential CM-5s, hopefully I'll get a response.

        Aslo ordered a couple of ISA adapters off Tindie so I can use an xtide. Anyone have luck using this one with an EX?


          Which version of DeskMate are you using?


            Originally posted by vwestlife View Post
            Which version of DeskMate are you using?
            Personal DeskMate 1000EX. They're the factory original floppies that came with the computer.


              Received no replies for Craigslist CM-5 or the eBay one for local pickup. I did manage to find a Magnavox on FB marketplace and picked it up. $100 was more than I wanted to spend, but anything pre VGA is pretty much gone. It's one of the many variants of the CM8833 or 1084 and seems to be compatible with nearly anything from back in the day. This one has standard 9 pin CGA connector with the analog/TTL switch, composite, the extra chroma jack and stereo speakers. Very clean inside, so it seems to be a low hour unit.
              Hard to capture on camera, but the picture is better than most VGA monitors I've owned and the convergence is probably the best I've ever seen on any CRT. Oh yeah, I also tried DeskMate through its composite input and it came up B&W too. Not so on TGA.



                Post a picture of the BW Deskmate.


                  Tried all the start up F modes and modes through DOS with no luck. Once DeskMate starts, it seems to resort back to 80 column mode but in B&W.
                  I did try through another TV (55" Plasma) which gave me color, but it's so bad, it may just be artifacts.
                  80 column-mode in color over composite isn't possible due to the way color works and bandwidth limitations. Tandy probably knew that and forces b&w automatically in DeskMate.


                    My 1000SX only outputs 80-column mode in composite color if the border color is set. If the border is black, it's black & white only.


                      Originally posted by keenerb View Post
                      Post a picture of the BW Deskmate.


                        Originally posted by vwestlife View Post
                        My 1000SX only outputs 80-column mode in composite color if the border color is set. If the border is black, it's black & white only.
                        I don't recall my EX or HX behaving like that, although I suppose I could drag the EX out and verify. My recollection is it's perfectly happy to output terrible color composite text starting from the XTIDE BIOS messages onward.
                        My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot