Brendan's Classic Tandy Color Computer Series

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Tandy Color Computer 3        (CoCo 3)

Several years after getting my CoCo 2, I remember the CoCo 3 coming out and being displayed prominently at the local Radio Shack with the interference-free RGB (as opposed to the channel 3 or 4 tuned composite) video on the recommended CM-8 monitor. For a long time, I saw no reason to upgrade, and, during the heyday of the Color Computer, I never replaced my trusty CoCo 2. However, I felt that someday, should the opportunity avail itself, and if the price was right, I might just have to get one.

Unlike today, it took a fair amount of time after it was introduced for specific CoCo 3 software and hardware to appear that truly leveraged its capabilities, such as the faster clock rate of the 6809E, the 128k built-in RAM (upgradable to 512k by Radio Shack), the enhanced graphics modes and RGB video output, and the extra keys on the keyboard. Naturally, one of the big benefits of the CoCo 3 was that it was mostly backwards compatible with the CoCo 2, so new users had access to most CoCo 2 peripherals and software they cared to purchase, and users upgrading from the CoCo 1 and 2 could use most of the peripherals and software they already owned.

By the time the CoCo 3 had dropped enough in price to warrant getting one, they were quite hard to find and I had decided that it would also be necessary to get all of the upgrades for it, including a hard drive and controller to facilitate the use of OS-9. (Understand that I had used OS-9 level one a fair amount on my CoCo 2 and found the amount of floppy drive seeking to make use fairly cumbersome.) Finally, in 2001, I found one for about $15 at the Austin Goodwill Computer Works store - it appeared to be in mint condition, and playing with it as soon as I got it home proved it to be. I almost immediately ordered a Hitachi 6309 upgrade with the driver buffering and input isolating Pro-Tector, 512k RAM upgrade (from the stock 128k), SCSI controller (with RGB-DOS in ROM to allow me to continue using DOS, too) and hard drive with NitrOS-9 preinstalled, and AT-keyboard interface all from Cloud 9 (highly recommended, by the way). While waiting for the upgrades to arrive, I found out how to upgrade my Multi-Pak to work with the CoCo 3 and did that modification (so my floppy disk interface would work reliably at the same time as other peripherals).

While I have had time (as of the beginning of 2002) to install all of these upgrades from Cloud 9 and try all of them out (they work great - more about each coming later), sadly, I still haven't had much time to do more than a few simple things with the CoCo 3. (Too much work, too little play!)

My CoCo 3 setup on my old custom-made CoCo 2 computer desk.

Here are my CoCo 3 only software-only Program Paks:

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