THE 1979 TI-99/4 CONSOLE PACKAGE Listed
below are all the items that came packaged with the TI-99/4 in 1979.
that these are all items that were packaged with a 1979-made system and
not one from 1980/1981. Even
though some of the items here may look similar to their
carry 1979 manufacture dates, print dates, and/or copyrights.
TI stamped the bottoms of all the TI-99/4 consoles (along with its
retail box) with manufacture dates
that showed the week and year of production. If a TI-99/4 console/box
had a stamp
of LTA4579, then it would have been manufactured in the
45th week of 1979 (November 1979). Click here to see a table of the
1979 manufactured items that I have in my collection along with their
1979 TI-99/4 Console Box
is the original box that the TI-99/4 came packaged in back in 1979. As
can be seen, the box is entirely different from the TI-99/4A's, lacking
the full color images and detailed product information. The one thing
that this box does have going for it though is the carrying handle on
the top that makes it much easier to handle. One other thing to note is
that all TI-99/4 boxes are stamped with both the serial number of the
console inside as well as an LTA date code. The date code on the box
signifies the date that the unit was shipped from the TI factory, which
means that it usually is later than the date code found on the 99/4
console that came with it.
[This photo is from Mainbyte's
TI-99/4 Page as I do not yet own this item].
1979 TI-99/4 Console
page wouldn't exist if it were not for the computer pictured on the
left. This is the original TI-99/4 and as can be seen is very different
physically from the TI-99/4A. The main difference is in the keyboard,
which is made up of chiclet keys and has orange Shift and Enter buttons
(I always thought the 99/4 looked cooler because of the 2 orange keys).
Also, the metal casing on the unit was of a darker cast than that of
the brushed stainless steel look on the 99/4A. One notable feature of
the earlier produced 99/4 systems is that they came with an earphone
jack which was eventually removed sometime in mid-late 1980. In
addition, it appears that 1979 builds of the computer had a smooth
shiny plastic bottom (same as the plastic found on the back sides of
the 99/4) instead of a textured bottom which can be found on later
builds of the 99/4 and all 99/4A's. The 1979
made consoles will
have an LTA date ending with 79 stamped on the bottom of the unit (such
as LTA 4879, which means the computer was manufactured in the
week of 1979). If you have a system that ends with 79, then you have
one of the first year models!
1979 User's Reference Guide
manual pretty much describes all the things a TI-99/4 owner needs to
know about his/her console, with some BASIC type-in programs thrown in.
On the outside this might look like the standard TI-99/4 User's
Reference Guide that was packaged with all 99/4 consoles from
1979-1981, but the one pictured to the left carries a 7/79 print date
(meaning it was printed in July 1979). TI apparently made 2 revisions
to the 99/4 manual in 1980, but it's not known what the changes were.
In addition to the print date found on the inside back cover, there is
also a part number on the back which shows the version you have. This
manual here carries part number 1015963-1 ("-1": version 1) and a 1979
copyright date, and only 1979.
1979 User's Reference Guide Addendum
This addendum came packaged with the 1979
version of the User's Reference Guide and listed errors that had been
discovered. There are three problems mentioned in the addendum, the
first relates to wrap-around line numbers when printed on a printer.
Apparently if you print out a Basic program listing with line numbers
that wrap around onto the next line it comes out garbled. Another issue
mentioned has to do with an error in the Character Definition program
listing on page 186. The final correction is for the overlay that came
packaged with the 99/4 console. The 1979 version of the User's
Reference Guide has a drawing of the overlay that shows a "CMD" key
(Shift-V) and "FWD" key (Shift-Enter). TI changed the "CMD" function to
"PROC'D" (Proceed) and completely removed anything dealing with
Shift-Enter. This addendum carries part number 1037194-3.
[Image compliments of Bill Gaskill's TI-99 Cartridge Collection Kit.
Used with permission].
1979 Beginner's Basic Manual
is probably the hardest item to tell the difference between the TI-99/4
and TI-99/4A versions, since it looked exactly the same from 1979 all
the way up to 1983 when the 99/4A was discontinued. However, there are
two quick ways of knowing if the version you have is the 1979 TI-99/4
way is by looking at the bottom of the last page of the Index where
there would be a print date. The other way to tell is by looking at the
part number, which is 1037107-1 for all 1979 printings.
Most likely the only difference between the 99/4 and 99/4A Basic
Manuals were references to the keys pressed to do certain functions.
This manual here carries part number 1037107-1 and a 1979 copyright date,
and only a 1979 copyright.
1979 BASIC Reference Card
like the 99/4A, the original TI-99/4 came with its own BASIC Reference
Card which provided brief explanations on what commonly used commands
in TI BASIC did. I'm not sure of all the differences, but can tell you
that the one packaged with
the 99/4 said "TI-99/4 BASIC Reference Card" (instead of TI-99/4A) and
had a 1979
copyright date instead of 1981. Besides that I have no idea on what the
were, but it probably lies in the keystrokes used to activate certain
functions. This item carries part number
1979 Read This First! Manual
this booklet on the outside might look the same as all other Read This
First! manuals out there, the 1979 version had a number of differences.
The main difference is that it talks about unpacking the 13" TI monitor
and has a whole detailed section on how to set it up. Note that this
manual only talks about the monitor and not the RF Modulator, since
that was not released until 1980. It's also worth mentioning that the
drawings inside the booklet resemble the TI-99/4 versions of items and
not the 99/4A's (such as the User's Reference Guide). This manual
carries a 1979 copyright date (and only a 1979 copyright) as well as
part number 1037108-1.
1979 Keyboard Overlay
was the overlay that came packaged with the 99/4 back in 1979, showing
the user all the special functions that could be accessed by holding
down Shift along with another key. All the main functions are
represented here (Quit, Begin, Redo, Erase, Aid, Delete, Insert, Back,
Clear, Proceed, Up, Down, Left, and Right). Even though a few game
titles came packaged with their own overlays showing additional
functions, this one was the standard version that could be used in
almost everything. The part number for this item is 1015992-1.
1979 Power Supply
power supply that came packaged with the TI-99/4 in 1979 differs from
that of the TI-99/4A's, so you should be careful when plugging in your
system since a 99/4 transformer could ruin a 99/4A console. As far as I
can determine, all 99/4 power supplies have a silver TI logo drawn on
the top with the transformer
directly into the wall. It seems that this silver TI logo is one of the
giveaways for a 99/4 power supply, since the 99/4A ones I have seen
have the logo engraved, not drawn on. Each power supply carries model
number AC9500 and has the following input/output: Input: 120VAC, 60Hz;
Nominal Output: Pins 1,2 16VAC, 36.0VA / Pins 2,4 8.0VAC, 1.0VA. Each
power supply also has a date code stamped on the bottom of the unit in
white, such as 7950 (50th week of 1979) or 12-79 (December 1979). The
scheme TI used to indicate production dates on their power supplies
seems to vary depending on the plant it was produced in.
1979 Cassette/Joystick Port Plugs
the weirdest items packaged with the TI-99/4 in 1979 were these rubber
port plugs made to cover up the cassette and joystick ports when
not in use. Apparently these would help keep the ports from being
damaged. I had these things lying in a drawer and was about to throw
them away until I ran across a picture of them plugged into the
console. I'm sure many people just threw these things away.