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tandy wp2:

Tandy WP2 (Radio Shack Cat# 26-3930A)


quick facts

Overview Photograph Tandy WP2
FCC ID HQ826-3930
Model or Part # 26-3930A
My unit's vintage Serial #UA031656 and UA026929
CPU NEC 78008 (Z-80 compatible)
Memory 32K SRAM (battery backed-up, expandable to 64K or 160K), 256K of ROM.
Operating System Citizen proprietary word processing package; also includes simple terminal emulator program and telephone directory/calendar software. The OS menus have hooks to let you run external programs, but there's no way of editing these programs on the WP2 itself; you would need to cross-compile them on an external machine and either send them over RS232 or put them on a memory card.
Ports 9-pin D male RS232-compatible port (wired as DTE), 25-pin D female Centronics-compatible printer port, cassette port, DC input jack, 8-pin DIN cassette port, proprietary memory card port.
Video/audio output Internal 480x64 pixel monochrome LCD, capable of displaying 80 columns x 8 lines of text. There is also a tiny piezo buzzer mounted in the battery compartment, but I've never heard it make a sound (maybe it's only used for alarms).
Available peripherals 32K, 64K and 128K "IC Memory" cards; AC adapter; printer cable. The cassette port was compatible with the datacorders Tandy used to sell for their TRS-80 range of computers; you could also use the device with a standard cassette recorder given an appropriate cable (also sold by Tandy).

The WP2 is essentially a Tandy-branded version of a Citizen portable wordprocessor called the CBM-10WP. It has a brother, the WP3, which is (apparently) exactly the same product, badged for the Canadian market. I can make an educated guess that the WP3 also has spellchecker differences. I don't have a long history with the WP2 (although I do recall it from Radio Shack catalogs in my childhood); I acquired two units from 8bit-Micro.com as part of a small technical research project I'm doing. Actually, I wasn't aware of exactly what capabilities the WP2 had; I was originally looking for a couple of Amstrad NC100 computers, but they're hard to acquire in the United States. The WP2/WP3/CBM-10WP are little brothers to the NC100; although they share a lot of design elements, they're not software-compatible and lack a lot of the features I wanted out of the Amstrad unit - and so my quest continues. As a side note, if you have a couple of NC100s you'd like to sell reasonably cheaply, please email me and perhaps we can come to some arrangement.

The WP2 runs off four "AA" cells, with a CR2340 lithium coin cell for memory backup. My units came from 8bit-micro with 64K of RAM installed (32K is soldered on the mainboard, 32K is provided by a socketed DIP-package 62256), and the AAs last for about 19 hours in this configuration. I don't know how long the coin cell will last once the main battery goes dead. Note that for $5.90 you can buy a 628128 128Kx8 RAM chip to replace the 32K expansion chip; that takes you to a total of 160K internal RAM. The word processor is limited to a maximum file size of approximately 22K; the remaining memory is used as a RAM disk. From this we can make a reasonable inference that the device keeps 32K of ROM (or less) banked in, and probably 24K of RAM, of which some is display memory, plus memory-mapped I/O.

Take a browse through the photos below (clicking any photo, including the one up top, will take you to a larger version in a new window) and you'll see that the WP2 is elegantly laid out and well-constructed. The keyboard is a full-travel Mitsumi module; it has a very nice feel and is well-suited for long-distance typing. The unit overall is light and slim and fits easily into a spare space in your briefcase. For more subjective review-type information, please refer to my little research project.


downloads

There isn't much available for download regarding the WP-2; it wasn't a very well-supported machine and really there isn't much you can do with it, since it has no inbuilt programming language.


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