Thomson TO7


The Thomson TO7, also called Thomson 9000[2] is a home computer introduced by Thomson SA in November 1982,[3] with an original retail price of 3750 Franc. By 1983 over 40000 units were produced.[4]

Thomson TO7
Thomson TO-07-IMG 0414.jpg
Thomson TO7 computer on display at the Musée Bolo, EPFL, Lausanne
DeveloperThomson SA
TypeHome computer
Release dateFrance: 1 December 1982; 39 years ago (1982-12-01)
DiscontinuedMay 1984
Units soldMore than 40000 produced
MediaCassette tape, MEMO7 cartridges
Operating systemBASIC (in cartridge)
CPUMotorola 6809 @ 1 MHz
Memory22 KB RAM, 4KB ROM, 16KB cartridges
Display320 x 200, 8 colours (2 colour constraint for each 8x1 pixels)
GraphicsMotorola MCA1300 gate array on TO7/70[1]
SuccessorThomson TO8, Thomson TO9

The TO7 is built around a 1 MHz Motorola 6809 processor. ROM cartridges, designed as MEMO7, can be introduced through a memory bay. The user interface uses Microsoft BASIC, included in the kit cartridge. The keyboard features a plastic membrane, and further user input is obtained through a lightpen. Cooling is provided by a rear radiator. A standard television can be used as a monitor using a RGB SCART (Peritel) connector, with a resolution of 320x200 (with 2 colors for each 8x1 pixels).

The TO7 prototype, called Thomson T9000, was developed in 1980. The differences regarding the production model are a different startup menu and buggier BIOS.[5]


The Thomson TO7 runs on a Motorola 6809 processor clocked at 1 MHz and features 22 KB of RAM (8 KB used as video memory) and 20KB of ROM (4KB for the monitor and 16KB on MEMO7 cartridges).[6]

As common on home computers designed to be connected to an ordinary TV screen, the 320 x 200 pixels active area doesn't cover the entire screen, and is surrounded by a border.[7] Graphics were limited to 8 colours (by combination of the RGB primaries) with proximity constraints (2 colors for each 8x1 pixel area).[6][3] The video output is RGB on a SCART connector, with the refresh rate being 625-line compatible 50Hz.[6]

Audio featured a single channel sound generator with 5 octaves. A "game expansion" was capable of four channel, 6 octaves sound.[2]

The keyboard has 58 keys and includes arrow keys.[2]

Besides cartridges, the machine used cassette tapes for file storage.[2]

Thomson TO7/70Edit

An upgraded version, the Thomson TO7/70, was released in 1984.[8] Among improvements RAM was increased to 64 KB from 22KB - "70" on the version name stands for 64+6 (64KB RAM + 6KB ROM).[9] The 6809 processor was replaced by a Motorola 6809E and the color palette was extended from 8 to 16 colors.[10]

Graphics were similar to the Thomson MO5[11] and generated by a Motorola MCA1300 gate array.[1] capable of 40×25 text display and a resolution of 320 x 200 pixels with 16 colours (limited by 8x1 pixel colour attribute areas).[12][13]. The colour palette is 4-bit RGBI, with 8 basic RGB colours and a intensity bit (called P for "Pastel") that controlled saturation ("saturated" or "pastel").[7][14]

Software developed for the TO-7 can be run on the TO-7/70, but the reverse is not possible.[8]


  1. ^ a b "TO7-70 Circuit Diagram".
  2. ^ a b c d "OLD-COMPUTERS.COM - TO7".
  3. ^ a b "Thomson TO7 Emulation in MESS".
  4. ^ "Thomson TO7".
  5. ^ "Thomson T9000 Emulation in MESS".
  6. ^ a b c "Manuel Technique du TO7 et TO7-70" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b Oury, Michel (1985). "Manuel Technique du MO5" (PDF).
  8. ^ a b "OLD-COMPUTERS.COM : TO7/70".
  9. ^ "Le Guide du TO7/70" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Thomson TO7/70 Emulation in MESS".
  11. ^ "Microton 5, March/April 1986" (PDF).
  12. ^ "OLD-COMPUTERS.COM : MO5".
  13. ^ "documentations:hardware:mo5 [DON'T PANIC]".
  14. ^ "documentations:devices:gate.arrays [DON'T PANIC]".