Price:US $1450.00
CPU:Zilog Z80A @ 4MHz
Ports:parallel, serial port
Display:80 X 24 text b/w or color
 480 X 192 graphics
Storage:cassette, floppy drive
OS:Microsoft BASIC in ROM

The LNW80 computer was LNW's attempt to take advantage of the success of the TRS-80 Model I, a very popular and inexpensive computer system first released by Radio Shack in 1977. While claiming to be fully hardware and software compatible with the TRS-80, the LNW80 has additional circuitry to expand its features and capabilites.

LNW Research Corp. was formed and run by Gene Lu, Michael G. Norton, and Ken Woog.
  • Their first product was an "expansion system" for the TRS-80 to increase its limited capabilities. According to magazine advertisements, this was first offered as a kit in January of 1980 for only $69.95, but the purchaser would have to buy all of the required integrated circuit chips (ICs) and assemble it in order to create a functioning device.

  • In November of that same year, LNW offered the LNW80 TRS-80 clone computer. This single, bare circuit board cost only $89.95, but again would require hundreds of dollar of additional components to complete the assembly.

  • In October of 1981, another accessory for the TRS-80 was released - the "LNDoubler", which allowed the use of double density-floppy drives instead of the more limited single-density drives.

  • Eventually all of their products - the LNW80 single-board computer, the expansion interface, and the LNDoubler, would be combined into a single case, fully assembled, as the LNW80 computer, for $1495. A kit version was also available for approximately $900.

  • In addition to the TRS-80's features, the LNW80 has a higher clock speed - 4MHz vs. 1.77MHz, but is capable of stepping back down to 1.77MHz for compatibility reasons.

    The LNW80 features include cassette I/O operations at 500/1000 baud, a real-time clock, both serial and parallel ports, and a floppy drive interface for either 5 1/4 or 8-inch floppy drives, none of which exist on the original, unexpanded TRS-80 Model I.

    While the LNW80 also has support for color and higher resolution graphics, these are of limited use since they are not supported by original TRS-80 software applications.

    LNW eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1984 after, rumor has it, a robbery of their warehouse in which most of their inventory disappeared. The inventory reportedly eventually surfaced at an all-LNW repair facility in Southern California.

    Related Links

  • LNW80 Page from F.J. Kraan
  • old-computers.com

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