This is my TK-95, one of my favorite computers in my whole collection. This was the computer that I used the most when i was a kid (along with my Hotbit) so it has special sentimental value to me. However, differently than the MSX this one was a very hard to find computer.
In order to get my hands in one of these, I had to do something I don’t like at all: bidding on a South American eBay partner site (Mercado Libre Uruguay – Funny how only the Uruguay version had them available. And weirdly enough, there are still quite a few available there!). There were many reasons for my concern in buying from these sites but most of all was the fact that they don’t use PayPal. So I actually had to send money to a stranger via Western Union and just hope for the best! The clerk at the bank actually tried to convince me that I was just falling for another scam and I had to explain that yes, I understood the risks.
A couple of months later I received the computer and the sight of the package was pretty scary. It was almost completely destroyed since the seller used a cheap soap box(!) with even cheaper newspaper as padding. To my surprise, the computer was intact! It looked solid and the only broken piece was the power supply which was the least of my concerns (I knew I could use the same Radio Shack substitute I use for my TK-90X).
Unfortunately, once I turned on the computer I could only see garbage. My heart sank and I thought I would have to eat my losses and start my search all over again. But then as I tried to find any info that could help me figure out what was wrong with the computer I fortunately found Victor Trucco’s website. Victor is a specialist in Brazilian Spectrums and I could see that he had dealt with many similar cases. So, I contacted him and decided to double down on my bet. I shipped the dead TK-95 back to Brazil and again hoped for the best.
Another couple of months later I received it back and voilà! I finally got a functional TK-95 in my collection. You can actually follow Victor’s description of how he fixed my computer in his website. He even added a new composite output to the box which is a big plus since finding the right RF frequency in my American TV was a pain in the neck. Victor is just a great guy, I definitely recommend him beyond any doubt!
Technically the TK-95 is pretty similar to the TK-90X with the plus being the nice keyboard. And even though the keyboard is still not as great as the full Querty for MSX or Apple, it is much better than the Spectrum +/128 keyboards. Another funny thing I’ve just found about is that Microdigital apparently was ‘inspired’ by the design of the Commodore Plus/4 when creating the TK-95. Check it out:
But besides the case and keyboard, this is really very similar to a 48Kb TK-90X. So much so that my start up screen shows “TK-90X Color Cumputer” instead of the expected “TK Color Computer” (Victor suspects that this was just an error in production – the ROM chip seems to be legit).
|BUILT IN LANGUAGE||Sinclair Basic|
|KEYBOARD||Full stroke 57 keys|
|CPU||Zilog Z80 A|
|ROM||16 KB (Basic & OS)|
|TEXT MODES||32 chars. x 24 lines|
|GRAPHIC MODES||256 x 192 dots|
|COLORS||8 with two tones each (normal and bright)|
|SOUND||1 voice / 10 octaves (via TV set)|
|I/O PORTS||Expansion port, tape-recorder (1200 bauds), RF video out, Joystick, Bus expansion|
|POWER SUPPLY||External 9V DC power supply unit|
|PERIPHERALS||all of the Sinclair and third sources peripherals|