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Tandy 1000 POS systems (mid to late 90's)

acadiel

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
264
I worked back at Radio Shack from 96-99 (or thereabouts), back when they had a back end XENIX system (with dial up modem and tape backup), and they had three POS systems up in the front; all using the VM5 (TTL - 9 pin monochrome green) monitor, and apparently, a diskless Tandy 1000 TL type system.

The Tandy 1000 system they used looked exactly like the chassis from a Tandy 1000 TL - there was no floppy drive; there was a blank where the drive would be. It booted up into some kind of serial mode that hooked into the back office Xenix system. It posted and everything, and immediately went into serial mode as a dumb terminal.

Just for kicks and grins, we did the CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-V on boot (which switched between the TTL monochrome monitor mode for the VM5 and the color TGA graphics monitors), and yeah, we got the sync issue until we switched it back. So, it had somewhat of the vestiges of the Tandy 1000 TL series.

I'm gathering it had a boot EEPROM in it that, instead of Deskmate, had a terminal emulator for their POS system. Try as we did, we were never able to CTRL-C the thing on boot to get to any type of DOS.

Does anyone know about this particular Tandy 1000 variant, how it came it about, what it was designated, etc?

BTW, the dot matrix printer we printed the RSU, Corporate charge, and other one-off orders on that printed carbon copies looked almost like an Okidata, but it was a Tandy.

I remember when they replaced the Tandy 1000 POS variant with PCs in late 1998, and they were IBM PCs that simply booted into DOS and into an terminal emulator; the systems acted the exact same way until they fully replaced the back end system with a (SCO?) system and deployed the ACR system. And boy, that was interesting. It was like a hybrid of a GUI and some of the old screens from the XENIX system.

Anyway... brain dump. I'm being nostalgic.

Edit: This was it! (But no floppy drive) Looked exactly like a 1000TL. https://books.google.com/books?id=t...=onepage&q=tandy point of sale system&f=false

Edit 2: Here's one of the guys responsible for their POS system. Some good history in his writeup. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rickypike
 
Last edited:

SirThoreth

Member
Joined
May 1, 2014
Messages
12
Location
San Diego
I worked back at Radio Shack from 96-99 (or thereabouts), back when they had a back end XENIX system (with dial up modem and tape backup), and they had three POS systems up in the front; all using the VM5 (TTL - 9 pin monochrome green) monitor, and apparently, a diskless Tandy 1000 TL type system.

I remember those very well. Sadly, I could never convince my boss to let me try to hack one. ;)

BTW, the dot matrix printer we printed the RSU, Corporate charge, and other one-off orders on that printed carbon copies looked almost like an Okidata, but it was a Tandy.

I think they were relabeled Okidatas, actually. In fact, by 1996 or so, we were running actual Okidatas, and when I left a year later, were on our second one. We used to joke about what'd happen when Fort Worth finally ran out of the old Okidatas in their warehouses.

I remember when they replaced the Tandy 1000 POS variant with PCs in late 1998, and they were IBM PCs that simply booted into DOS and into an terminal emulator; the systems acted the exact same way until they fully replaced the back end system with a (SCO?) system and deployed the ACR system. And boy, that was interesting. It was like a hybrid of a GUI and some of the old screens from the XENIX system.

Oh, that sounds like fun. I left late '97 - early '98 (must've been just after the '98 catalogs shipped), so it sounds like I missed out on a lot of joy.

Anyway... brain dump. I'm being nostalgic.

Edit: This was it! (But no floppy drive) Looked exactly like a 1000TL. https://books.google.com/books?id=t...=onepage&q=tandy point of sale system&f=false

Edit 2: Here's one of the guys responsible for their POS system. Some good history in his writeup. https://www.linkedin.com/in/rickypike

Check out pages 12-13 of the Radio Shack 1991 Computer Catalog:

http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/catalogs_extra/1991_rsc-22/

They show a standalone Tandy 1000 TL/2 with POS system software, cash drawer, and printer.

I wish I knew when Radio Shack switched to using those for their POS system. I didn't start working there until '94, and they were already using them at the time. I wonder if, kind of like the earlier POS system with the Tandy 2000, it was just a case of having a bunch of leftover Tandy 1000 systems after they sold their production lines to AST in '93.
 

wesleyfurr

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2009
Messages
606
Location
Virginia, USA
Very interesting.

From reading commentary somewhere long ago from someone in the know, it sounds like Radio Shack did a number of odd models...I can easily see where they could have produced a modified TL type system for internal use. I wonder if any are left around anywhere...or if that was the sort of item the store was required to physically destroy before placing in the dumpster...

Wesley
 

vwestlife

Veteran Member
Joined
May 2, 2008
Messages
5,122
Location
central NJ
It was likely done to use up unsold inventory of Tandy 1000s, after the proliferation of 386SX machines with VGA and Windows 3.x made them obsolete.
 

acadiel

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
264
We actually disassembled one of the POS units by taking the outer casing off of it... there wasn't any storage in it at all.. just a Tandy 1000 TL'ish motherboard. No peripheral cards, no hard drive, no floppy drive.

My guess was that (above), it had a flash RAM chip that had a terminal emulator program that it directly booted into instead of DeskMate. Probably so quick to boot, that CTRL-C'ing it wouldn't work. It was hooked up with three connections; power, serial, and monitor. The old PoS system was entirely text based...

I'd love to pick the guy's brain on LinkedIn about it to understand the old system, but I have no connections to him.
 

PeterNC

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
2,694
Location
Miami, FL
They were never really successful I think. IBM has had the POS market cornered for decades.
 

vwestlife

Veteran Member
Joined
May 2, 2008
Messages
5,122
Location
central NJ
I do remember seeing the Tandy MDA monitors on the Radio Shack terminals well into the late '90s, but I never got to see what machine was running them.

Many POS terminals are still text-based even today, although by now most are using flat-panel color VGA monitors.
 
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