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The front of the Telcon Zorba Computer

Description
Manufacturer Telcon Industries
Model Zorba
Date Announced 1983
Date Canceled 1984
Number Produced Unknown
Country of Origin USA
Price $1,600
Current Value $10-$250
Specifications
Processor Zilog Z80
Speed 4 MHz
RAM 64K
ROM 4K
Storage 5.25" floppy disk
Expansion N/A
Bus N/A
Video Built-in 80x24 monochrome text
I/O Parallel, Serial
OS Options CP/M
Notes The Zorba in my collection is basically new-in-the-box. It came with all of the original packaging, documentation and disks.
Related Items in Collection Manuals, training tapes, software
Related Items Wanted Additional Zorba software


The Telcon Zorba was a late entrant into the world of CP/M portables. By the time it was introduced the Kaypro and Osborne machines already dominated that market and the Compaq, along with others, were making inroads into the DOS portable marketplace.

These factors probably contributed to the short production run for the Zorba although it's quality and it's ability to read disks from almost any other CP/M system helped it become fairly popular while it lasted.

The Telcon Zorba with the case closed

The Zorba packed up nicely into a case about the same size as the old Osborne 1.

The Telcon Zorba computer cover

The Zorba's also came with 5-sided slipcovers to protect the outer case from damage. The handle poked through the top and a strap ran under the keyboard to secure it further. There was a side pocket big enough to hold disks and some documentation.

The Telcon Zorba disks

These are the 5 original disks that shipped with the Zorba. A CP/M master, Wordstar, MailMerge, CalcStar, and more. As you can see, this machine is pristine enough to have its original drive protectors included.

The entire Telcon Zorba collection

The machine also came with a full set of manuals for the machine and the MicroPro software as well as a "Learning the Zorba" tutorial on tape.


(Submitted October 6, 2011 09:04:27 by Randy)

Wow, a walk down Memory Lane.. I just want to say Hi to Bob, George, Grant, Thomas (Telcom) and Alain (Modcomp). I was in test at Telcom for a couple years then moved onto Modcomp when I had had enough of Syd and Fran, I remember Fran would walk around the plant in spandex pants and often have her hands in them scratching her backside. I very unique couple, indeed. I don't remember the name of the guy that they hired to drive the truck, their car, and do lawn work at their house. He seemed like a really nice guy that took alot of crap from the Simons. I would love to say howdy to any of you guys again... Drop me an email. I might still have a original 6 CRT hanging around, but Alain would need to get out his tube of RTV again..lol


(Submitted April 14, 2011 11:54:33 by Erin)

I have a Zorba with many disks and some manuals that I'm looking for a good home for. This was my first computer that apparently cost my parents over $1000 used. Unfortunately, when I plugged it in today the screen works but it can't ready any disks (disk error 10H: Track 00, Sector 01.) If you are still interested, send me an offer.


(Submitted February 3, 2011 19:37:53 by Ronald)

Well PJ i've been looking for an old portable for a while but i'm not sure what i could offer you, I might be able to scrounge up a few bucks worth of pocket change, I dont have a job yet. But i'll see what I can do.


(Submitted January 22, 2011 16:50:11 by PJ)

I have a Zorba thats been sitting in the closet for about 10 years. The screen used to work but just now I attempted to boot and there was no display. When I hit reset I see a hint of text but then nothing. I have no software for it. If anyone is interested enough to send me a few bucks for shipping, drop me a line.


(Submitted October 8, 2010 06:17:17 by (a href=mailto:5xjat5xjdotcom)Roy Goodell(/a))

zorba gc-200 serial num 0014 looking for good home working w/manuals, disks etc roy, www.5xj.com


(Submitted November 22, 2009 20:10:42 by Larry)

I just acquired a Telcon Gemini it looks almost like the Zorba. I am looking for the Original manuals and software plus the leather cover and VHS cassette tape that was provided. Plus any parts or broken Telcon computers.

Thank you all in advance

Larry


(Submitted September 3, 2009 16:25:46 by Ben McAllister)

Email me if you have a working Zorba WITH DISKS you would like to sell. b


(Submitted June 2, 2009 20:09:47 by Larry)

I have a real nice Zorba. I need the original disks that came with. Does anyone have any and or accessories.

I would really like to get mine going


(Submitted May 7, 2009 07:59:54 by George Cole)

To Lucky----- Who are you trying to kid??? Syd and Fran were/are morons -- overbearing, demanding and rude---

The most sneaky people I have ever met..

Others followed after the Zorba came along -- (wannabe importants)

I was Vice President of Telcon for many years, and the orig designer of the Zorba and MANY other Telcon products..

Many claim to be... I have the orig schematics and proto w/w board which was created in my garage in North Lauderdale... Not by the staff who came later.....

So I read these blogs laughing at the people who claim to be the great knowledge base of Telcon Industries...

I do remember Grant -- Good programmer -- I rec a lot of early Atari games from him and information on how to mod the box to use eproms.. My sympathy to the people who came later and had to tolerate those two...

George Cole Vice Pres. Telcon Industries Ft lauderdale, Fla


(Submitted April 8, 2009 23:18:51 by Peter Cole)

I have a Zorba which appears to still be in working condition. If anybody is interested it is yours for the shipping.


(Submitted April 3, 2009 09:47:24 by Scott)

One of the first computers I programmed on in GWBASIC. Recently inherited it from my late step- dad who purchased it new. Still runs great! (Just got through reading through some old WS docs.) Have manuals but can't find the cover. : ( Think I might hang on to it for a while, but welcome inquiries.


(Submitted April 2, 2009 11:06:57 by Brian)

I had one of these as my fist computer, I seem to remember the hard plastic shell being browner.. I would love to get one of these again. In MA, cannot afford allot of dollars or cents brian@nerdiie.net


(Submitted August 4, 2008 17:50:33 by Lucky)

Was I wearing rose glasses for a couple of years? What about everything from barbeques, showers, holiday events, birthday parties, baby showers and more? Syd & Fran kept an open door with endless encouragement & emotional support. Syd’s endless innovative & creative ideas provided opportunity for everyone to be a star. Fran keep him grounded while running the business. At times they were loud and crazy but always together. Telcon during the Zorba days was fine, the pay good, the owner's were no different than any other husband/wife business and until I read this site I thought the group I worked were excited to be part of the Zorba history. I wonder if the negative comments here have come from the green eye monster within. After all, Syd and Fran Simon were in their 40's when they sold the business based on the Zorba (still in the R&D stage) for $5 Million and retired. That was an achievement that not many can match.


(Submitted March 19, 2008 12:43:16 by Robert)

I have a Zorba with all original docs. that was modified to run MS-DOS. The internal screen does not work but have external monitor that works. Also have all of the Oracle of Zeus and other manuals. I don't want to throw this computer away if someone wants it. Just pay the shipping cost and it yours.


(Submitted November 4, 2007 11:44:46 by Dave Fletcher)

I worked and traveled with Sid and Fran for a few yrs He always said you cant sell beggals from a empty push carti guess wash.DC will never forget the ZORBA here.....


(Submitted October 28, 2007 17:21:58 by Paul Bertino)

I have a zorba portable that I would like to sell, pjsicon@aol.com. Thanks


(Submitted October 28, 2007 18:29:32 by Paul Bertino)

I have a zorba portable that I would like to sell, pjsicon@aol.com. Thanks


(Submitted September 3, 2007 22:31:38 by John Iler)

What wonderful memories I have of this series. The disk drives were the weak link and they were proprietary, which made it awful to try to replace. The quad drives would write disks that could be read by other quads, but other Zorbas with DS/DD disks would often find that their drives would crank and crank trying to read DS/DD disks written by the quad drives. They were the BEST door stops money could buy in the early 90s!


(Submitted August 19, 2007 16:27:47 by HKS)

I've been reading the Zorba comments with interest and concur with the observations on the Simons. My company is did the CPM bios for the Zorba. It was an interesting project.


(Submitted May 16, 2007 14:14:35 by Philip Anderson)

I have a Zorba computer with a 9 amber screen and dual, quad density floppy drives. This was my second Zorba computer. This machine starts up and displays the Zorba logo but, as best I can determine, the floppy drives need to be realigned. Same thing happened to my first Zorba but was able to send it back to the factory to get it repaired. I would like to sell this Zorba computer along with the manuals, schematics and software. Contact me at: anderson@pplant.msu.edu


(Submitted April 3, 2007 16:20:37 by Bob R)

Sid Simon and Frannie Simon what a pair they were. The previous poster is actually being polite in his description of them. The daughter was a real gem too. The biggest thrill at Telcon was when the bank would actually cash your payroll check. On more than one occasion they didn't.


(Submitted April 1, 2007 13:12:00 by Thomas Bonge)

Sid Simon was an ass and his wife was a bitch. He was about 5'6 and a fat dumpy little pig. She was about 5'10 and thought she was still the raving beauty she must have been 10 years earlier. He drove his workers unmercessly and when they couldn't work any longer she started throwing her tits around to get them to work harder. When they would walk together she would be looking down at his bald head.

But that was one FANTASTIC machine.

Anyone have a brown working model for sale?


(Submitted January 10, 2007 14:46:43 by Steve)

I have found two ZORBA's at work and have no disks. Both are GC-200 with 7 screen. Is there a way to get a boot disk?


(Submitted August 28, 2006 13:47:34 by charlie oliver)

i have one and it is working , but soo hard to do much stuff with it , it is fun though. i collect computers in st.louis mo.usa.Charlie


(Submitted May 8, 2006 13:36:38 by John Evans)

Greetings,

I owned a Zorba model 7 from about 1983 until 1985. It was my second computer (first was a kit built Northstar Horizon) and a very nice workhouse. My wife used it to produce her MS thesis having it connected to a typewriter with parallel interface. If I could own another complete Zorba system, I would.


(Submitted May 6, 2006 14:21:54 by Harry Zandbergen)

Just to let everyone know. I created Zorba web site at www.zorba.z80.de

Feel free to contribute any info you have.


(Submitted May 2, 2006 14:49:15 by Grant)

Hi, just stumbled across your page - dusting off old memories - I was a contract engineer to Sid Simon prior to the Zorba release, I wrote the BIOS and although the hardware was complete, I fixed a few things. I remember Sid always saying when will we be done? - I added the baudot (5 level) decoding capability to make it compatible with his news terminals but it took some time. A few years later a friend and I formed Advanced Concepts Engineering and made hard disk add-ons for most desktop and portable CP/M machines including the Zorba, both external and internal, 10 and 20 mb. I don't recall selling any Zorba kits, the Kaypro and Osborne were too strong by then. One other remembrance, when the first lot of Zorba cases arrived from the molder, I was in the building when they were opened and everyone said BROWN!!! expecting something more techlike. Sid's wife chose the color and nobody knew until they arrived. So brown it was. -Grant


(Submitted March 6, 2006 10:57:36 by (a href=mailto:randy1bnospamAtcomcastdotnetdontspam)Randy(/a))

Paul O'Nolan, I remember you from ZEUS days. I still have the ZEUS t-shirt. I did software mods for the Zorba, my first and last foray into assembly language programming.


(Submitted January 13, 2006 12:12:56 by Jim)

I have a Telcon Zorba however it is slightly different than the one you have pictured here. I understand that at one time they produced a version where the drive bays and the screen were swapped, possibly to allow the installation of a larger 9 in. screen. Also the circuit breaker is relocated to the left side of the panel between the reset switch and the power connector. If you would like pics and more information on this variant, let me know. jrosstheman(at)bellsouth.net


(Submitted December 22, 2005 14:58:40 by Alain)

I had worked at ModComp (Modular Computers)with Randy during the Zorba production days. I spent way too much time gluing small ferrite magnets along the yoke of the small displays to straighten out the image. The Zorba was an incredibly labor intensive microcomputer to produce, even at that time. I just dropped off my Zorba at our local recycling center today.


(Submitted September 12, 2005 16:52:38 by Brad Mathews)

Ahhh.... fond memories! The Zorba was my second computer (after C64). I got a very early one, heavily discounted, because my computer teacher knew a bigwig at Telcon. I guess they wanted to seed the education market - I was in high school at the time. I spent most of my time with C-Basic which seemed like I finally had a real programming language to me because you could actually complile it!

I used it until 1987 when I sold it for $200.

- Brad


(Submitted June 23, 2005 06:43:37 by Ram Meempat)

Dear John: I wish I could help you, but the only way I can do so is unload those monsters from your back if you pay me $100 for each. It's a deal!


(Submitted June 23, 2005 06:24:29 by Ram Meempat)

I was given a Zorba free of cost when a left my job at Modular Computer Systems, Ft Lauderdale in the yeat 1986. I had a whole lot of problems to use that monster and finally my son in law rescued me by taking away the thing to play with it. He too got sick of it and I guess it is lying somewhere in his garage.


(Submitted June 5, 2005 10:40:17 by Paul O'Nolan)

Greetings to old Zorba friends if any find this. Found this while browsing and it brings back memories.


(Submitted April 22, 2005 11:11:21 by LaVay)

Just dug up my Zorba (had two...traded one about 15 years ago for some software). Discovered all my disks are gone except one Wordstar/Spell Star disk. Any chance of getting a boot disk from someone so I can see if this thing will get past the initial startup message.

Thanks.


(Submitted April 22, 2005 11:10:48 by LaVay)

Just dug up my Zorba (had two...traded one about 15 years ago for some software). Discovered all my disks are gone except one Wordstar/Spell Star disk. Any chance of getting a boot disk from someone so I can see if this thing will get past the initial startup message.

Thanks.


(Submitted April 9, 2005 20:06:42 by Randy)

More.. The Zorba was solid, but very costly to produce.The cases were always a problem and took many hours of rework to get then to fit right the Keyboard in the top was my idea. But I wanted a slimmer one that could be stored in the top and removed. then the software would be stored in the top (lid) also. I was shocked to see the pictures. The Zorba died because of the costs to build it and the delays to get it finally FCC approved. I left Modcomp in 1984 and have never seen one again until tonight. Thanks for the pictures Randy


(Submitted April 9, 2005 19:58:49 by Randy)

In 1983, Sid Simon, Owner or Telcon (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) sold the Rights to the Zorba to ModComp, Modular Computer Systems. The case was changed from brown to Black. I was surprise to see the brown one, When I worked there (Telcon), only been a few dozen of them had been sold. By the time Zorba was sold to ModComp, I was working as an engineer with Modcomp and dreaded the day I was told that we would be required to make the Zorba FCC compliant. The only way to do this was to coat the inside of the case with an RF shield and to have a special AC cord made. the AC cord was designed by an associate of mine Vern Hargeaves, who also worked at Modcomp. The Zorba was sold to Modcomp for 5 million dollars. I was in charge of the video portion and getting the CRT's to work. we had tons of them that we had to glue (RTV) magnets to the tube just to get the text straight. More later... Randy


(Submitted February 27, 2005 05:32:15 by Jim)

I have two Zorbas with some software. One works and the other needs a video chip which is insertable. These are left over from a shortlived dealership in 1984.


(Submitted December 13, 2004 21:45:20 by (a href=mailto:)Hemorah(/a))

I'll like to buy them for $3.00 each. Do you live in New Zealand?


(Submitted November 27, 2004 10:06:19 by Jeff R.)

To John M. I tried to Email you but your address must have changed. I saw your post about having 2 Zorba's. How much would you like to get for them? and what shape are they in? Do you have everything for them? If your interested I could do a trade... I have some Kaypros, with documentation and software, a Visual 1050 with Docs and software, Superbrains, Apple Macintosh (original type), CoCo's, Commodore 64, Atari ST, and TI 99/4a. Also have some laptops... Epson HX-20 (non working), PX-8 Geneva (Cp/M machine), Tandy 2820 HD (unknown if working-no power supply). Thanks! Jeff R. in Texas


(Submitted October 26, 2004 22:50:58 by Michele)

I'll like to contact You John, but Your email still not working [(jamc@bendcable.com) is not a valid mailbox]

Michele


(Submitted October 26, 2004 18:11:35 by Erik)

My webmaster email will work. I suspect that Johns will as well. . .

Erik


(Submitted October 26, 2004 16:18:39 by (a href=mailto:)M(/a))

I'll like to contact You .... if Your email will work..


(Submitted October 22, 2004 18:03:51 by John M)

I have two Zorbas with all the docs and S/W I have no use for them. If any interest I can make a great deal

JM

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