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Tarbell Electronics -- History

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Tarbell Electronics burst on to the S-100 scene in 1977 with its Cassette Interface board.  The company was setup by Don Tarbell. 

The influence this board had on the development and popularity of the early S-100 bus is often overlooked. While there were other cassette interface boards at the time notably those of MITS, Processor Technology and TDL they never attained wide spread use. Primarily because they were either hardware specific to those manufactures or read data slowly.   Many the Tarbell tape that was pass back and forth at user group meetings. For a short time even commercial S-100 based computer software was sold on cassettes in "Tarbell format".

All this quickly changed with the introduction of the Floppy disk -- particularly the mini-floppy.   While Tarbell Electronics did come out with a single density board and later a double density one (see below), they were late to do so and lost market momentum for data exchange between S-100 computers.  Northstar had the initial lead giving way later to many CP/M soft sectored S-100 boards.

In 1981 Tarbell came out with a complete computer system consisting of a Z80 CPU board, their FDC and a 32K static memory board all in their own S-100 box. Their CPU card had two RS-232 ports and a "memory management" feature allowing the mapping of 4K blocks or RAM on to 1MB address space (similar to the IAZ80-II board).

Tarbell Electronics itself was located on S. Lapwood Ave, Carson, CA.  Don Tarbell himself sadly died on May 19th 1998.

I can find no further information about the company or what happened to it. 
If anybody has any information they would like to share please let me know.

Tarbell Electronics S-100 Boards
Cassette Interface     Single Density FDC      Double Density FDC       32K RAM      Z80 CPU Board


This page was last modified on 06/06/2015