A Tribute to the Compucolor II
The Compucolor II
The Compucolor II computer was produced by Intelligent Systems Corp. (ISC), of Norcross, GA. It was a personal computer version of an earlier computer aimed at the professional market, the Compucolor 8001.
The Compucolor II was powered by an Intel 8080 CPU running near 2 MHz, and came configured with 8 KB, 16 KB, or 32 KB of RAM. The most distinguishing thing about this 1978-era product is that the computer was built in the housing of a small color television body, giving it the ability to generate eight color combinations of text and character-block graphics. Another significant feature was an integrated 5.25" floppy disk.
You'll find more information about the Compucolor on the other pages of this website.
Why Memorialize the Compucolor II?
Back when I was 14, I had just started learning about computing and computers, using the high school's Wang 2200 computers. These were reliable machines with an extensive BASIC dialect, but they were very buttoned down: monochrome, 64x16 display of the standard ASCII character set. Most of us wrote games, but there is only so much you can do with 8 KB of memory and that boring CRT.
Very colorful ads for the Compucolor II showed up in Byte Magazine, Popular Computing, and other similar magazines. The Compucolor was sexy! BASIC in ROM, integrated CRT, built in floppy drive, and color (!) at an attractive price. I spent a lot of time contemplating how I would ever save $1500 to get one for myself.
As a 14 year old mowing lawns for $3 per lawn, I never did save enough money to fulfill the dream, and after a couple years, the Compucolor II faded from the scene as well.
I finally obtained a Compucolor II of my own in 2002, courtesy of a gentleman named David Jeppeson. The machine worked only intermittently, but it did contain a ROM that I could capture. Years of haunting ebay turned up more Compucolor documents and floppy disks. Finally, I had enough to write an emulator for the machine, but every time I committed myself to the project, something always interceded. It took only 11 years to finally do it.
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Please contact me if you have any brochures, manuals, media that isn't already archived here. I'm more than happy to pay shipping for anything you are willing to donate.