Texas Instruments Music-Star (Prototype)

Date of introduction:  (1988) Display technology:  
New price:   Display size:  n.a.
Size:  9.1" x 11.1" x  1.2" 
 231 x 282 x 30 mm3
Weight:  18.2 ounces, 515 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  4*AA cells Date of manufacture:  wk 35 year 1987
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  USA
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TSE50C4X-1GB, TMS27C128
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner
    Download manual:   (DE: 14.6M Bytes)

The Music-Star educational toy was introduced in 1988 for the German market, about two years after the English speaking original Speak & Music and its International siblings La Musique Magique (French Voice), Fonillo Suonaparla (Italian Voice) and Speak & Music (British Voice). It is based product on Texas Instruments' speech synthesizer technology and generates a lot of different sounds and stores them into an internal memory to replay. 

Dismantling this early Music-Star prototype manufactured in December 1987 88 by Texas Instruments in the United States for the German Marketing Department in Freising near Munich  reveals a big surprise - it uses two printed circuit boards (PCBs) crammed into the housing.

The Main-PCB looks very familiar to us, it is actually from the original Speak & Music with both the TMS50C40/CM54129 Voice Synthesis Processor (VSP) and CF60034 Port-Extender not populated and wired directly to the second PCB.

The second PCB with rather unusual looking Integrated Circuits (ICs) is labeled "50C42 Emulator" and sports some small switches and a large but unused connector.

The 50C42 Emulator PCB and uses two ICs:

TSE50C4X-1GB: TSP50C4X Bond-Out VSP (Voice Synthesis Processor) with 8-bit microcontroller and external ROM for both program and voice and 128 Bytes + 16 Nibbles RAM in a large PGA housing
TMS27C128: EPROM (Erasable Programmable ROM) with 16k Bytes capacity in a ceramic package

Comparing the short-lived TMS50C40(A) introduced in 1986 and its successors from the TMS50C4X Series introduced in 1987 shows quite a few differences including a more flexible I/O Port structure of the latter parts. We assume that the CF60034 used with the Speak & Music and its siblings is a simple Port-Expander for the TMS50C40 to sample the keyboard of the toys.

A total of 12 well-known German children songs are stored inside the memory toy:

Ihr Kinderlein, kommet
Was soll das bedeuten
Ich geh mit meiner Laterne
Fuchs, Du hast die Gans gestohlen
Weisst Du, wieviel Sternlein stehen
Wer will fleissige Handwerker sehen
Es tanzt ein Bi-Ba-Butzemann
Ein Männlein steht im Walde
Es war eine Mutter
Alle Vögel sind schon da
Im Märzen der Bauer
Winter, ade!

Other products in the Speak & line cover spelling and reading words. Compare this Music-Star with Speak & Math, Speak & Spell and Speak & Read.

The Music Star is featured in the Texas Instruments Deutschland GmbH leaflet Spielen macht schlau dated 1991.

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© Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.