Thomson TO 8D

This might be one of the most unusual machines I have in my collection. The Thomson TO 8D is the successor of the Thomson TO 7/TO 7/70 family. Thomson computers seem to be the equivalent of the BBC computers in England – a lot of French schools had them. The TO 8D was compatible with most members of its family (Thomson TO 7, MO 6, Thomson TO 9 and Thomson TO 9 plus). The D in this model means that it has a 3.5 disk drive as you can see here:

The TO 8D has three basic versions in ROM : Basic 1.0 (same as the TO7), Basic 512 and Basic DISK. Almost all memory was accessible with basic thanks to a transparent 16 KB bank switching mechanism. Up to 17 programs can be loaded simultaneously in memory and it is possible to switch between them. Also in ROM are programs for managing disk files, configuring color palettes and other options. Here is the option menu you see when you switch on the computer:

This computer uses the Motorola 6809E processor, same as the CoCo 1 and 2 (a slightly different version was used in the FM-7). Another interesting thing about this computer is its keyboard. Instead of the usual QUERTY model we see in the US and most of Europe, this one is an AZERTY:

I am still learning how to operate this computer but so far it looks pretty interesting. It seems that a lot of software makes use of its light pen which is pretty unusual. I was lucky in getting one of these light pen for cheap so now I just need to figure out how to configure it!

Anyway, this is a pretty cool computer from 1986 and my first from France. Here are the specs:

NAME   TO 8 – TO 8D
TYPE   Home Computer
ORIGIN   France
YEAR   1986
KEYBOARD   AZERTY full-stroke keyboard, upper and lower case, 81 keys
CPU   Motorola 6809E
RAM   512 kb
VRAM   16 kb
ROM   80 kv (BASIC 512, BASIC 1.0 MICROSOFT)
TEXT MODES   40 x 25 (16 colors) / 80 x 25 (2 colors)
GRAPHIC MODES   160 x 200 (16 or 5 colors), 320 x 200 (2, 3, 4 or 16 colors), 640 x 200 (2 colors)
Colors 4096
SOUND   4 channels, 7 octaves (6 bits DAC)
I/O PORTS   Memory expansion bus (256kb), expansion connector, external disk-drive, Centronics for printer, Video output (SCART), UHF video out (export models), 2 joystick/mouse connectors, light-pen, audio output, cassette interface, cartridge slot
BUILT IN MEDIA   3.5” disk-drive (640kb)

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