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The Exidy Sorcerer Computer

Manufacturer Exidy Inc.
Model Sorcerer
Date Announced 1978
Date Canceled Unknown
Number Produced Tens of thousands
Country of Origin USA
Price $800+
Current Value $200-$500
Processor Zilog Z-80
Speed 2 MHz
RAM 8K-32K
ROM Unknown
Storage Cassette Tape or disk
Expansion Expansion ports or optional S-100 expansion chassis.
Bus Proprietary or S-100
Video 64 x 30 characters, 512 x 240 graphics
I/O Serial
OS Options CP/M
Notes The Exidy Sorcerer in my collection is the machine and the S-100 expansion chassis with nothing else.
Related Items in Collection None
Related Items Wanted Cartridges, especially BASIC, documentation and software

The Exidy Sorcerer was an early "all-in-one" computer manufactured by a company that originally specialized in arcade games.

The Sorcerer was a Z-80 based machine that used ROM cartridges to add functionality. These cartridges were actually 8-track tape cases fitted with circuit boards!

The Sorcerer was more popular in Europe than in the US although plenty of examples were sold in both places.

The Exidy Sorcerer S-100 Expansion Interface

Exidy offered an expansion chassis for the Sorcerer that allowed the user to add standard S-100 cards into the machine.

The interior of the Exidy Sorcerer Expansion Interface

As can be seen here, the expansion chassis added room for six S-100 cards. Memory and disk controllers were typical additions to systems like this.

A photo of the Exidy Sorcerer screen

The Sorcerer in my collection is fully functional and boots right up into the ROM monitor. Eventually I hope to have a few ROM modules to expand on this capability.

(Submitted January 8, 2012 18:20:53 by Warren Ferris)

I have an Exidy Sorcerer computer with an S100 plus 2 flopy drives an a few floppy disks with a munual it is for sale. Any offers - it is in Australia.

(Submitted August 12, 2011 12:58:29 by Charles Wangersky)

There were at least two revisions of the Sorcerer. The I could hold up to 32K RAM and had the power supply on the mainboard, the II up to 48K and had a daughterboard for power. The 5v power pin for the daughterboard would perpetually oxidize and fail, needed to be buffed to clean the oxide off every 6 months or so.

(Submitted February 5, 2011 18:35:11 by ClausB)

In 1982 I worked for a computer store that sold Ataris, Vector Graphics CP/M machines, and Exidy Sorcerers. The owner gave me a blown Exidy motherboard. I unsoldered all the ICs, soldered in sockets, replaced the ICs, and modified it for 64K DRAM. I added a different keyboard and modified the Monitor PROM to suit. It worked and I planned to make it a CP/M machine but never finished the BIOS. I still have it but have not powered it in a while.

(Submitted February 1, 2010 10:51:19 by (a

Part 2:

After that, I wrote an assembly 'library' that implemented a 2D and 3D graphics subsystem that the BASIC could call (using the USER function) to draw on the screen as though it were bit-mapped. This included mapping a 3D space to a 2D rectangle on the screen using either straight projection or perspective projection. I even had different line types defined.

I had a BASIC application that would draw 3D polyhedrons with or without hidden line removal (or with hidden lines dashed or dotted). Once the SRAM circuit was working, I was able to draw side-by-side stereo pairs of a variety of polyhedrons, and even get them to 'rotate' -- VERY slowly, about 1 frame every 2-5 seconds, depending on complexity.

At about that point, I lent it to a friend. His car later caught fire, and the Sorcerer in the trunk was a casualty. Too bad -- wish I still had it!

(Submitted February 1, 2010 10:50:39 by (a

I bought a Sorcerer in 1979 for $800, including a memory upgrade to 32k. (Still have the canceled check, but the machine burned up in a friend's car in 1982..)

I modified my hardware after studying the video generator circuit diagrams. I made a two-sided circuit board that would read a port and change the ASCII character PROM to an equivalent-sized SRAM...

This let me program all 256 8x8 characters, not just the upper 128. A small program would copy the PROM, switch to the SRAM, then copy the ASCII coding back to the SRAM. The first 32 characters were not displayable anyway, and by sacrificing the lower-case letters, the graphics capability was greatly enhanced. I even created several different fonts I could set programatically. (Only one at a time could be used, though!)

(Submitted August 2, 2009 15:52:43 by (a href=mailto:)Allan Schrum(/a))

The first Sorcerer would run very hot. I redesigned the Sorcerer to handle 48K of memory and moved the power supply to the back of the case. This solved the heat problem and provided more memory.

(Submitted October 4, 2008 02:09:36 by ab gobets)

In my message I say having the exidy in 1969, but of course this must be 1979. Slip of the finger.

(Submitted October 3, 2008 15:17:33 by Ab Gobets)

As part of my job I got an Exidy in 1969. Ive used it for a couple of years. I used a database program named CADAS which stored data on cassette tapes. I think CADAS was short for CAssette DAtabase System but I do not know for sure. Does anybody know where the word CADAS stood for? I plan to write a story about my personal computers and should like to have it right. Thanks in advance.

(Submitted March 31, 2008 20:16:56 by Michael Ward)

Thanks, Eric, for your comment. The S-100 board was just the board, no box; some years ago I sold my unit of the actual S-100 box, and a 300-baud modem card, at the Foothill College electronics flea market.

I had originally bought the Sorcerer because I liked its hardware architecture and port design. I was setting up run an RS-232 link to a Compugraphic typesetter. The typesetter died too often, and shortly thereafter high-quality laser printers made the whole system irrelevant. But I learned many things from this enterprise.

(Submitted March 28, 2008 20:30:26 by Erik Klein)

I'd say that the value of a working sorcerer is still probably towards the high end of the $200- $500 range. The carts, docs and, especially, the prototype expansion module add to that value.

I would think that a valuation at or above $1,000 (due to the prototype, which is rare) would be fair.

(Submitted March 28, 2008 19:15:45 by Michael Ward)

What's a good value for a Sorcerer II these days? Still $200-$500?

I donated my Sorcerer II to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View CA in December 2007. Included with it were various cartridges, cassettes, manuals, and what looked like a prototype S-100-box motherboard.

They didn't have a good working Sorcerer, so were happy to get it. Those of you with related materials may want to check with them to see if they would want your stuff.

Now I'm doing my taxes and trying to figure out a reasonable deduction for the donation. The CHM doesn't give you a valuation when you donate; you have to chase it down yourself.

Anybody sell one recently?

(Submitted September 4, 2007 10:33:29 by martin)

yep remember this there were 2 props one was my video chip went it was fixed then they us to cut out and a lot of retailers in the UK lost interest they fixed this though one thing i hated thouth with mark 1 datasette was they had some matallic wire sticking out bck it gave me an electric shock once think they were produced in the late 1980s in australia it was great though

(Submitted August 21, 2007 13:19:34 by Paul Terrell)

You should add parallel port to your I/O spec. We wanted the customer to have full computer functionality with the basic unit so we built in cassette storage, serial communications and parallel printer as well as video with the most bandwidth we could deliver and still be attached to a B&W TV through an RF Modulator which was the cheapest solution to a monitor in those days. It was that reason we didn't design an 80 column screen which the more professional computers had.

(Submitted March 21, 2007 17:09:12 by Dave Cooke)

I have a couple of the keyboards and PROMS and an S-100 bus and dual 16sector hard drives . . but not the monitor. .. but I also have the voice I/O module from and third party around the same time . . . really learned my BASIC and Z-80 programming skills on it

Interesting bit of trivia is that Scorcerer was the FIRST personal microprocessor to do satellite tracking predictions . . . I know because a friend and I formed SAT TRAK International in Colorado in 1977 78 and sold the software in Byte magazine for $19.95 . . still have copies somewhere if anyone want to play with it.

Still got some of the original boxes too.

Let me know if there's a user group or guys who still use them

(Submitted January 18, 2007 15:47:14 by Paul Terrell)

The Exidy Sorcerer was first shown at the Long Beach Computer Show in April 1977. There was a 4,000 unit back order generated at the show and first units shipped in June of 1977. I know this because I drove the truck from Sunnyvale Ca. to the show and took the orders. I was not involved in building and shipping but I did have a party when we shipped the first unit.

(Submitted November 24, 2006 18:07:08 by Nic Franz)

I have an Exidy Sorcerer computer in its original box. It was my first computer SN 122678- 372-16K. I have the basic cartridge, the Z80 assembly cartridge, an audio cassett recorder for storing my programing and perhaps a few other things.

I wrote some softwear to use the machine as a side-scan sonar display; utilizing the definable grafics capability that it has. It worked to the degree that I had gone with it. Is it for sale????

Nic Franz

(Submitted November 14, 2006 21:31:27 by Terry)

I bought a Sorcerer II in 1980; only got rid of it a couple years ago. It was my first machine; I had the expansion bus and the external 5 1/4 floppy drive. Came with CPM and the cartridges, 48k ram. A buddy of mine in the Navy bought one at the same time.

(Submitted September 3, 2006 03:20:23 by Urs Wyder)

A sorcerer was my first computer too. The reason I have choosen a sorcerer was a special ability: beside 128 fixed characters, there were additionally 128 characters, which could be programmed randomly. Each character was a 8x8 matrix, where every single pixel of the 64 could be turned on or off. By putting together these 128 character the sorcerer was capable of drawing pixel-graphics on the screen. Urs Wyder CH-4057 Basel / Switzerland

(Submitted August 19, 2006 16:20:59 by Sue Davis)

I have an Exidy Sorcerer and user manuals if anyone is interested.

(Submitted August 12, 2006 14:44:44 by Jeff)

I think you may have your date of introduction wrong. I was a freshman in High School when my father was bringing an Exidy Sorcerer home at nights to learn how to program it for his job as a teacher. That was in early 1977. My interest in programming it convinced my parents to buy a computer. They bought an Apple II a couple of months later right after it was released.

The Exidy had a couple of issues. It got so hot after an hour or so, that it would actually burn you if you touched it. The ROM cartridges were also very sensitive. If you looked at them te wrong way, they would lose contact and you would have to re-start the computer. However, it was my introduction to computers and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for it.

(Submitted May 2, 2006 22:27:07 by Jude)

I have lots of parts to a Exidy Sorcerer Would there be anyone who would use them

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