Texas Instruments Speak & Spell (Type 4)

Date of introduction:  1986 Display technology:  Fluorescent
New price:  Libraries: $17.95 Display size:  9 alphanumeric
Size:  10.0" x 7.0" x  1.3" 
 254 x 177 x 34 mm3
Weight:  16.7 ounces, 474 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  4*C cells Date of manufacture:  wk 29 year 1989
AC-Adapter:  AC9199 Origin of manufacture:  USA
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TMC0271, TMC0281/CD2801, CD2350A
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner
    Download manual: (Word List 1981-1992)   (US: 1.8M Bytes)
  (US: 10.0M Bytes))
  (US: 2.9M Bytes)

This Speak & Spell model from the year 1986 sports a slightly changed keyboard design please notice the small TI logo. We know four different designs:

Version Manufactured Word List Keyboard TI Logo
Type 1 1978-1980 Full Button large
Type 2 1980-1981 Full Membrane large
Type 3 1981-1986 Reduced Membrane large
Type 4 1986-1990 Reduces Membrane small

The same technology like this Speak & Spell was used in two other products: Speak & Read and Speak & Math. View the more serious Language products like the Language Tutor.

For the United Kingdom market Texas Instruments just changed the Speech-ROMs and created the Speak & Spell (British Voice), while Radio Shack sold an identical product as Spellmaster.

Later in 1989 the Super Speak & Spell was introduced with a multiline LC-display. Another two years later marketing decided to switch back to the original housing. View the wonderful Super Speak & Spell (91) and don't miss the wonderful "Professor" sold in China.

Don't miss the appearance of the Speak & Spell in the movie E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial. Do you know Qubais Reed Ghazala? Get more tunes from your Speak & Spell with circuit-bending.

Dismantling this Speak & Spell manufactured in July 1989 by Texas Instruments in the United States reveals a design centered around three Integrated Circuits:

TMC0271: 4-bit microcontroller with 2k*9 Bits ROM and 9*64 Bits RAM
TMC0281: TMS5100 VSP (Voice Synthesis Processor)
TMC0350/CD2350A: TMS6100 VSM (Voice Synthesis Memory) with 128k Bits

The Speech-ROMs of the Speak & Spell vary depending on the production date. Starting in 1981 the Word List was significantly reduced, differences in the voice tunes of the 1991 models are not known:

1979: TMC0351 and TMC0352
1981: TMC0350/CD2350(A)
1990: TMC0350/CD62175

An inside view of some dismantled Speak & Spell products could be found here.

In 1986 we knew a total of 10 different plug-in modules for the Speak & Spell, a comprehensive overview including the wordlists could be found here

The Speak & Spell is featured in the Texas Instruments Incorporated leaflet Follow the Learning Path dated 1991.

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If you have additions to the above article please email:

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