Author Topic: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's  (Read 979 times)

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Online EEVblog

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EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« on: August 22, 2019, 10:28:13 am »
Go back in time to 1980 and a look at what consumer electronics and parts were available from Tandy in the UK.

 

Offline jancumps

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2019, 10:41:47 am »
Aaah I drooled over these magasines too.

Here's one object I have:


...  and I still use a tape deck, for the fun of it:


 

Offline jancumps

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2019, 10:55:55 am »
a small overview of what I had/have from Tandy:
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 10:59:42 am by jancumps »
 

Offline Tandy

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2019, 12:40:34 pm »
For anyone that is interested you can get a pdf copy of the first Tandy UK catalogue (1974) from https://www.tandyonline.com/catalogues
For more info on Tandy try these links Tandy History EEVBlog Thread & Official Tandy Website
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 12:49:43 pm »
Interesting (will watch later) but why is this in de 'jobs' section?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 01:56:01 pm by nctnico »
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Offline rhodges

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 03:27:07 pm »
Here are some meters...
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Offline MarkL

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 07:05:45 pm »
I still have a Micronta DC power supply that sits on my bench.  I reach for it often for non-precision tasks becasue it's just so easy to use.  It's on the order of 45 years old.

Growing up, our house was a collection of Radio Shack audio equipment, scanners, CB radios, antennas, phones, speaker phones, answering machines, etc, etc.  I spent hours and hours in the stores perusing and memorizing the available parts hanging on the hooks.  And the catalog, which came out in September every year, was taken to school and ogled instead of paying attention.  I made sure to get more than one copy since I often ended up losing one to an unhappy teacher.

In the US, Radio Shack had several types of kits.  The most basic one was called "Science Fair P-Box" which were like a perfboard but made out of plastic.  I built a large number of these and learned more about electronics than from the 50-in-1.

It was impossible to not melt the plastic while soldering, and some instructions even had you enlarge holes with the soldering iron.  Aaahhhh... the fresh smell of plastic smoke filled with carcinogens.

  https://hackaday.com/2018/12/14/retrotechtacular-remembering-radio-shack-p-box-kits/

  http://my.core.com/~sparktron/pbox.html

 

Offline Tandy

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2019, 07:30:25 pm »
It was impossible to not melt the plastic while soldering, and some instructions even had you enlarge holes with the soldering iron.
Yes the P-box was made from polystyrene that has a very low melting temperature, a bit of a design flaw really.
For more info on Tandy try these links Tandy History EEVBlog Thread & Official Tandy Website
 

Offline edpalmer42

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2019, 08:04:53 pm »
On my bench, the  DMM I usually go for is still my Micronta from 1986.  It just works! 



https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/radio_shac_micronta_digital_multime.html

Ed

 

Offline blackbird

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2019, 08:09:33 pm »
I recognized a lot of things from the catalogue Dave browsed through, as a kid visited Tandy on a regular base with my father. A number of items from this very catalogue my father have used and some of them he still has and are working fine.

One of the items I still use, the Micronta battery tester from page 101 (https://youtu.be/CWxTCQf5gOU?t=809).

817431-0

 

Offline 22swg

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2019, 09:40:03 pm »
Great trip down memory lane Dave . I think Tandy were rather expensive... remember when the closed down .. practically gave the stuff away.  I usually had to mail order from Uk store ' Maplin ' they had a great magazine and thick catalogue and parts were reasonable.. I had to wait a week or more for them though.... I am well over 3 score years and ten , but still active with my soldering iron !   
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Offline MrMobodies

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2019, 11:19:43 pm »
In that catalogue on page 80 or 9.39 in the video I recognised something I brought down the bootsale last year and I think I paid £5 for it.

Science Fair 150 in 1


The bulb that came with it didn't seem to work even when powering it up outside the holder didn't look broken inside but I can't find that now.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2019, 11:33:14 pm by MrMobodies »
 

Offline mcovington

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2019, 11:41:26 pm »
That episode brought back a lot of memories!   I bought a lot of things from Tandy in the late 1970s both in the USA and during a year in the UK.   And I still have, to this day, a working turntable, cassette deck, and open-reel tape deck.

I saw telephones (very American-looking telephones) in that 1980 British Tandy catalogue.  Were Brits allowed to buy their own telephones in 1980?  I saw no sign of that in 1978.  Also no tone dialing in the UK in 1978 (though the USA had had it since 1964). 

Side note for Dave: I presume your son Sagan is named for the astronomer.  I heard the real Carl Sagan lecture at Sydney Uni in 1973, at the International Science School, now known as the Messel Science School.  And I've been wanting to get back to Australia ever since!
 

Offline tyoung489

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2019, 01:26:20 am »
In the USA, Tandy’s electronic division was Radio Shack. The Tandy side sold leather crafts, kits. I purchased & sowed 2 moccasins kits, and a leather wallet. The Tandy Leather somehow survived the bankruptcy. https://www.tandyleather.com/en/

When the TRS-80 came out I walked to the local Radio Shack for its introduction. There was someone from the HQ doing a demonstration. I believe it cost $599 and came with 1K of ram. You could buy additional RAM for $100 / 1K, up to 16K. I wondered to myself if I could ever one day in my life afford a computer with 16 K of  RAM. A few weeks later I was able to sit down in front of a TRS-80 and play with the Basic. I went through entering a little program. I asked the salesman how do you save the program? He said you don’t. So every time you wanted to use the computer to do something you had to retype the program in. Later on someone came up with a hardware hack to add a $20 audio tape recorder to store programs on. When Radio Shack started selling the “Digital Tape Storage” accessory I think they wanted $60 for it.

I asked when the prices would come down, he said he didn’t think he’d ever get cheaper, but they would be able to do more for the same cost.

For electronic kits we had Heathkit, our neighbor worked at Autonetics in Anaheim wiring on guidance systems for the military. He had built the top of the line Heathkit HiFi system. Just before stereo came out.

I built one of their little multimeter about like the one you bought from Tandy. Also built an automotive engine analyzer, that I might still have. It was basically a multimeter with a shunt for testing batteries. 
 

Offline johnlsenchak

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2019, 04:27:51 pm »

I  spent thousands  of  hours using mine, and learned  a hell  of a lot  connecting  up the spring  post  8)
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Offline gardner

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2019, 02:35:19 am »
I still have a couple of germanium transistors salvaged from my original 100-in-1 kit from the 70s.

In retrospect, I'm not sure how much I really learned about electronics from that kit.  I think it maintained an interest, but it was not until I had a bag of transistors, TTL logic chips and LEDs and a breadboard that I really *learned* much about what was going on in the circuits.

Anyone remember the "engineers notebook" series?  I still have at least one of these.
--- Gardner
 

Offline vk3yedotcom

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2019, 08:23:32 am »
A thing about Tandy is all the number of 'house brands'.

Eg Realistic - radios/CB/audio
Optimus - speakers
Archer - components
Science Fair - beginner kits
Micronta - test gear
Safe House - security
Genexxa - newer audio
etc

This is something that DSE would later copy. Eg Digitor, Koolshades etc in the '90s and '00s.

Anyway here's a demo of a more recent ('90s?) Tandy electronic kit



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Offline ggchab

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2019, 08:56:00 am »
I still have the "Engineer's Notebook II"  :)
 

Offline ggchab

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2019, 09:22:13 am »
and this multimeter
 

Offline xmetal

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2019, 11:45:06 am »
Anyone remember the free batteries you could get? I think it was one a month if I remember correctly. (Edit: I posted this before I watched the video) :-[

We still have a Realistic FM/AM/LW radio which is still working and is in the kitchen and on at this moment. Quite well made. I think the first logic probe I got was from Tandy.

I've still have some of the free torches somewhere but I don't use them anymore.

I built a metal detector kit. It was better at picking up large items like fridges. Pretty useless for coins and artefacts unlike my modern metal detector gear.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 12:17:59 pm by xmetal »
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1240 - Tandy In The 1980's
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2019, 02:09:58 pm »
I had some old stuff buried and found these:


I also have an assortment of the catalogues of the day, including some from Dick Smith including the 1974/5 4th Edition and 1975 5th Edition.  These were before glossy covers with ordinary paper used.

... and not a mention of anything computer related.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 02:16:28 pm by Brumby »
 


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