Dragon 32

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Dragon 32
Dragon 32
OS Microsoft Extended Colour Basic 1.0
CPU Motorola MC6809E, 0.89 Mhz, 8 bits
RAM 32 kB
ROM 16 kB
Other chips MC6821 (PIA), MC6847 (VDG), MC6883 (SAM)
Graphic modes
Text modes
Ports Centronics, cartridge, 2 joysticks, RF-out, monitor, cassette

Released in the autumn of 1982, the Dragon 32 sported a set of features that made it stand out from it's competitors like the Oric1 or the Jupiter Ace. The full sized quality keyboard, combined with a comprehensive Basic interpreter made the Dragon 32 the choice of many a first time computer buyer. Being a "clone" of the American Tandy Color Computer, there were already a vast amount of software, readily available for the Dragon 32 at it's launch. Converting software from the CoCo to the Dragon 32 was a rather easy task for UK software houses, and Dragon Data themselves and Microdeal, the main independent Dragon software house, competed in getting the european rights to software from US CoCo software developers like Tom Mix, Spectral Associates and Mark Data Products.

Different versions

There were several versions of the Dragon 32, although most of the differences were internal, and not visible to the average users. Several revisions to the main-board and the power-board were issued, some to improve stability/durability, and some to ease production or to accept different components. The main boards are marked with what version they are. The most noticable external revision is that newer versions of the case has the cutout for the Dragon 64's RS232 port, even if the port it self, of course, is not present. There were also a couple of branded versions of the Dragon 32, including the Finlux Dragon and the FarmFax Dragon. Both were plain Dragon 32's just with an added label.
There were also revisions to the boxes the Dragon 32 was delivered in. The very first Dragons came in a white box with red lettering, as well as pattern of small red dragons on it. It was the same style used for the early software boxes as well. Later boxes were black and had more advanced artwork. The first version of the "new breed" had a family sitting in front of a Dragon 32, with a drawing of a house on the screen. This version of the box seems rather rare, as it was quickly changed to the latest version, with the same family, only the picture on the screen was now a game of Cyrus Chess. The two first versions weren't really boxes at all, they were only "sleeves" that held the poly inserts together, while the latest box was a real box that could be closed around the poly.
The first load of Dragon 32's were made at the original Dragon Data premises in Swansea. Later they moved production to Port Talbot, where the 32 was made alongside the Dragon 64 (and the first batch of "Dragon by Tano"). When Spanish Eurohard SA bought Dragon Data, the production of both 32's and 64's were moved to Spain, where they were also the upgraded Dragon 200 were made. The "Made in Spain" Dragon 32's were never sold in the UK.

Dragon Data on the future of the 32 in Dragon User magazine, July 1984

Dragon Data is presently developing a lot of new products in order to enhance its existing range. When asked about a micro to replace the Dragon 32 following the news that Boots, the High Street retail chain, may pull out of selling the Dragon and is negotiating the future of the 32, Derek Williams would not commit himself. He said simply that "we are going to stay in the High Street", while Steve Davis, Dragon Data's Marketing Assistant said that the 32 is popular overseas and that Dragon Data will continue to market the 32 as long as there is a demand for it.

In-box contents/accessories

The Dragon 32 was delivered with the following accessories:

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