Texas Instruments CC40

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Thu Apr 24 11:32:19 CDT 2008

On Apr 23, 2008, at 12:04 AM, Jim Battle wrote:
>>   I just remembered that I'd wanted to mention this, but things  
>> have been busy and I forgot.  My mother knows of my fondness for  
>> antique computers, and she keeps her eyes open at thrift stores  
>> and related places.  She picked up a Texas Instruments Compact  
>> Computer 40 for me and presented it to me for my birthday a month  
>> ago.
>>   I had never heard of this machine, but now I've done some  
>> reading and I've played with it a bit.  It's pretty neat!  Has  
>> anyone else here messed with one?
> They are pretty common on ebay -- in fact, they often show up NIB,  
> often for under $50.  Tell your mom to try harder next year.  :-)


   Well for Christmas, she showed up here with an Osborne-1 with  
manuals, software, an external (green-screen) monitor, and an Epson  
RX-80, including all cables, all in near-perfect condition!   
Apparently she scored that system at a thrift store for something  
like ten bucks.  One can't argue with that.

> Actually, it is quite impressive that she identified it as  
> something interesting.

   She has a good eye for stuff like that.

> If you like the CC40, keep your eyes peeled for the TI-74.  It is  
> basically a CC40 with a few enhancements stuffed into a largish  
> calculator format, instead of a miniature laptop.

   Hmm, interesting, I'll look for one.

> One thing that is charming about it is TI's BASIC.  Microsoft so  
> dominated the 8 bit micro world with its BASIC that most such  
> machines kind of bore me because they are all so similar.  The CC40  
> and TI-74 BASIC are highly similar to the advance BASIC of the TI  
> 94/A, so I'm told (I've never used one) even though they have  
> different uPs.
> What is cool about the BASIC?  Long variable names, proper  
> subroutines with local variables, good extensability.  There is a  
> lot more, but I don't have the manual at hand to refresh my memory.

   Subroutine-local variables in a BASIC interpreter??  Wow, that's  
something I'll need to try.  That's cool.

   I agree with your take on Microsoft BASIC.  I think it is a good  
BASIC, but it's just so common, on so many different types of  
systems, that it has become "old hat".  I have been working (off-and- 
on, very sporadically) on extending the BASIC used in Intel's 8051AH- 
BASIC chip with some new functionality; I'm interested in studying  
unusual BASIC features.

> The hexbus interface is pretty cool too, really well thought out.  
> Recently I scored a rare wafertape drive for the CC40, although I  
> haven't tried it out yet ... too much work to address first.

   Are there specs available for hexbus?

> Going a bit further down the line, some European TI employees  
> formed a company to make a microcomputer, called the Exelvision  
> EXL100.  It contained two 70C20 (or similar) microprocessors, from  
> the same family as the CC40 and TI-74.  It has an enhanced version  
> of the same BASIC. This is a real micro, with a color PAL output,  
> IR keyboard and joysticks.  I have a EXL100 and a number of games,  
> but no floppy subsystem (yet).  Perhaps in the distant future I'll  
> write an emulator for it if someone doesn't beat me to it. It seems  
> like an interesting machine.



Dave McGuire
Port Charlotte, FL

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