The Coleco Adam was introduced as the follow-on computer to the
popular ColecoVision game console. It was announced in June 1983 at a price
of $600, though the price rose by the time it actually shipped. In fact,
you could even buy expansion modules to turn your exisiting ColecoVision into
a full Adam, dubbed the Expansion Module #3. The Adam has a digital data drive
built in, as well as 3 expansion slots and room for another data drive. With
the Adam, the main cpu module takes it's power from it's printer, so with a
stock Adam, it's impossible to use the system without also having the printer
powered on. What a printer it is! It's big, heavy, very noisy, and is a
daisy wheel. On powerup, it puts out such a magnetic surge that it is said
any tapes you leave in the data drive on powerup will be erased! There is
even a label placed on top of the cpu unit that warns against this.
Thankfully, through aftermarket suppliers, it is possible to add a paralell
port to the Adam for use of normal printers and to replace the printer with a
stand alone power supply unit. One interesting thing about the Adam are the
two reset switches that flank the single cartridge slot in the top of the cpu
unit. One resets the CPU, while the other resets any game cartridge that is
installed in the slot. On bootup, if no cartridges are installed, the Adam
boots a simple wordprocessing program from ROM.
The latch assembly pops off of the top of the digital data drive
quite easily, so it's quite common to find an ADAM that is missing the upper
portion of the drive which makes up the latch. The tapes used by the
digital data drive were specially formatted for use by the ADAM, and I have
yet to see a means by which the user could format them on thier own, as
they were generally bought pre-formatted. A number of interesting items were
available for the ADAM, including floppy drives which could hold 160k or more,
and both a steering wheel and pedal combination, which came with the game 'Turbo'
from Sega, and an adapter which would allow you to play Atari 2600 games in the
ADAM or ColecoVision. The ADAM was able to run all of the ColecoVision cartridges.
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