Whatever happened to …

… Commodore PET?

In my line of personal computers that I’ve used, this one would be placed between the Radio Shack TRS-80 and the IBM PS/2.

It wasn’t a computer that I personally owned but rather was purchased at the recommendation of our computer consultant at the time.  We ended up with a bunch of 8032s – the business line of the product.

They weren’t portable by today’s standards but they could be placed in a seat in the car to take home to learn its ins and outs.

For us in Computer Science, it was used for programming.  BASIC came on the machine in ROM and a couple of the earlier models had a tape recorder for storing programs from one day to the next.  Later on, we had a floppy disk drive that we were able to network to a number of the computers.

Since every school in the Essex County Board and the Windsor Board has PETs, it was a common computer to bring to our computer league competitions.  Each team brought their own computer and the playing field was relatively level.  Some schools brought 4032s and so the problems were created with that computer’s settings in mind.

The computer was also terrific for teaching about the innards of a computer as well.  Unlike today’s fascination for miniaturization, when you looked inside, you could easily point out the various components.  The computer itself actually came with a metal rod that would let you tip it open to poke around inside.  Speaking of POKEing, this was another feature which allowed for easy access to memory locations by POKEing content directly into them.   And, it was kind of neat to be able to PEEK at a location and see what was stored there.

For a Sunday, your thoughts…

  • do you remember using a Commodore 8032?
  • in addition to the 8032, there was a 4032 and a 4016.  Do you know the significance of the numbers?
  • what does ROM mean?
  • could you imagine storing software on cassette today?
  • the Commodore 8032 wasn’t exactly colourful.  How would you describe the screen?
  • if you had access to a Commodore 8032, did you buy any commercial software to run on it?

As always, I’m looking for people who have fond memories of these things.  Please let me know in the comments.

This post originally appeared on:


If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.


3 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. They had some when I was at Stuy as a student (class of ’84). I never used them. We used the brand new Apple II computers for the brand new APCS class in 83-84 and the IBM-1130 with punchcards for the other classes.

    When I started teaching at Seward Park we had a bunch of PETS and used them for Basic. APCS was done in the IBM-PC lab. I don’t remember the model numbers but I think I remember that at least one style had a membrane keyboard.

    There was also the SUPER-PET which came bundled with a bunch of languages.

    Funny how Apple had one line of computers that they marketed to the home and to the schools, so did IBM, and Tandy/Radio Shack but Commodore on the one hand had these clunkers but on the other had the Vic-20 and Commodore-64 whcih went head to head with Apple and Atari.

    Liked by 1 person

Please share your thoughts here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.