Toys of the Eighties, Armatron
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A little crane-like electronic toy from Radio Shack that you controlled to make it pick up small objects.
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User Stories and Comments

The following are comments left about Armatron from site visitors such as yourself. They are not spell checked or reviewed for accuracy.

BoMbSoVeRBaHgDad - April 13, 2007 - Report this comment
I hnad this toy and had all kinds of fun with it for some reason. I guess in the 80,s we still had imaginations
Bob - August 30, 2007 - Report this comment
Just got one of these. Rescued it from a heap. For the most part it still works though I need to realign some of the gears. I keep you posted on its progress.
hazard - November 22, 2007 - Report this comment
Pretty cool toy. If you search google, you can find the page of Crabfu Steamworks, who converted one to steam power. The article gives interesting insight into the construction of the toy.
Chris B - December 14, 2007 - Report this comment
I too found one this year on the good ole eBay. I had played with mine for hours on end it seemed when new. I don't remember what I ever did with it, but if it suffered the fate of most of my toys, then it was torn apart when it began malfunctioning so that I could fix it. My new acquisition seems to have suffered the same fate as most, one gear is popping and making the "GRIP" function jump a bit, but it is still fun. I had bought mine from a seller in Louisiana and they apparently saw some water from storms as the original box is pretty badly water stained and it still had the OLD Radio Shack batteries installed. They exploded acid all over the battery box and ruined the contacts, but I have rewired it to accept double A batteries instead.
anthony - January 15, 2008 - Report this comment
I just got mine yesterday at goodwill. after about 45 minutes with a screwdriver i got it working and all the gears to stop sliping.
Rob M - April 02, 2008 - Report this comment
Oh man. I LOVED this thing. I wore the motor out twice, with my dad I learned how to solder, disassemble and reassemble this thing (MANY intricate parts) as a little 6 year old kid!
The Artist - June 06, 2008 - Report this comment
Finding this site is a big walk down memory lane. I have to give it to my old man, I used this thing to play him at a game of chess when I was a kid. I can't even imagine how long it took to finish, but he hung in there with me.
itsjustme - June 24, 2008 - Report this comment
My brother had one of these!! we would play with it for hours!!
djcassidy - July 09, 2008 - Report this comment
i still have mine in perfect working order. ahh, yes it was a cool toy at the time -seemed so hi-tech!
A Bills child from the 80's - July 15, 2008 - Report this comment
I had (still have somewhere) a light gray one back in the day...I remember seeing a big robotic on tv at a science and technology showing. Then I got a minature robot arm (my armatron). I thought I was one of the men I saw in the white laboratory coats LOL!!!! Once again..Love this website!!!!!
Sara - September 04, 2008 - Report this comment
I had one of these from radio shack! I completely forgot about it until now. I would play with for hours....I would try to make hold my fork to eat dinner or hold my toothbrush and brush my teeth. The clamp eventually gave out and would make that annoying clicking sound and turn only a quarter inch. That toy was awesome!
john cooper - September 11, 2008 - Report this comment
this was a great toy i loved mine and still have it it is too bad they dont come out with a similiar one with a few updates we played with it for hours great clean fun for kids
Yttermayn - September 16, 2008 - Report this comment
I still have this thing. They came out with another one several years later that was mobile, and you used a remote control with a wire to run it. I wanted to get one but money and opportunity never coincided. :-(
Stacy - November 30, 2008 - Report this comment
I am ordering the "Robotic arm kit" from this Christmas. It is very similiar.
Holly - December 03, 2008 - Report this comment
My husband still has his at my mother in laws house. Our little girl plays with it everytime she is over there
Roger - December 24, 2008 - Report this comment
I've been a heavy equipment operator for over 30 years. When I was 20 I bought one cause it was cool. Real excavators that I ran at the time were manuel controls. Now they are pilot controls just like the armatron they were ahead ot there time. I still have mine I still get it out 50 something and still playin.
Matt - December 24, 2008 - Report this comment
Remember how awesome Radio Shack used to be? You could get all kinds of electronic lab kits and stuff....anyway....this was, as Ralphie put it, "The best Christmas present I ever got or ever would receive." Probly the only time Santa actually brought me exactly what I asked for.
Tony - February 15, 2009 - Report this comment
I got my Armatron for Christmas about 23 years ago.I wore out so many batteries in that thing.I used it for everything. My Mom had a big set of Dominoes and I used to build (in my mind)entire cities complete with skyscrapers and dinkie cars for traffic. Then I taped a 'Bonker'(big marble) to a piece of string and used it for a wrecking ball.I'd destroy the whole city,and do it all over Hours and hours of fun !! Still have mine in the original box with all the original pieces. Saving it for my son who is 1 year old right now. Wonder how much it's worth nowadays? :0)
Matt - February 18, 2009 - Report this comment
This was an awesome toy. Being impatient with it's slow movement, I learned how to jump the contacts and hook it up to 6-volt lantern batteries in series to speed it up! Unfortunately, I think this is what burnt out the motor :(
Rob - July 14, 2009 - Report this comment
I got one of these for christmas in about 1981. the motor burned out so i replaced it in 1994 and i still have it now in the origanal box. Had it out last year and i can still operate it as well as i could years ago. i'm now 32 years old it's like riding a bike you just never forget!!
blair - August 16, 2009 - Report this comment
I have one that is at least 25 years old and still works! Does anyone know how to dissamble one ?
steve - September 19, 2009 - Report this comment
you start by unscrewing the center screw! this one screw holds the hole arm to the base! so dont pick it up by the arm! you will see all the in ternal gears this thang was a machanacal work of art to run on one or two moters!
Jeff - November 06, 2009 - Report this comment
Just a quick question...I picked one up at an antique store for $5.00 because it did not turn on, took the back off, fixed a loose wire and it works! I read above that some people have had problems with the claw skipping when the grip is opening and closing and were able to fix it by aligning the gears to keep them from slipping. Mine does that as well. Are there any markings on the gears that show the proper aligment or is it just trial and error? This toy is very cool by the way, I am sure this inspired a lot of kids to grow up to become engineers or scientists.
Andrew - December 21, 2009 - Report this comment
The Armatron was licensed to Radio Shack by Tomy; Tomy first manufactured it, but then Radio Shack picked it up while Tomy dropped it from their lineup. Many more were created by Radio Shack than by Tomy, but it was originally another Tomy robot toy (though not really a part of the Omnibot line).
George - December 24, 2009 - Report this comment
Bought one for my son in the 80's and brought it out the loft last night, box is perfect as is the robot, we are going to have a retro Christmas with all the old toys out again. Amazing how just one drive motor can move the arm in six axis with forward and backwards plus two speed on the raise and rotate arm movements!
zack - June 09, 2010 - Report this comment
I have a working one that I haven't used in ages. Is it worth selling, or should I just keep it in my closet?
Erik Hoberg - June 13, 2010 - Report this comment
I found one at goodwill and it still works. But the clamp makes a clicking sound when opening/closing. Really fun time. But the big question I want to know is...... How much is it worth? Oh well... Untill I know its my new favorite toy!
Fat Boy - December 29, 2010 - Report this comment
My neighbor & I each had one & we used to fight w/mini soldering irons trying to melt holes in the opponents plastic parts - great fun. Wish I could find another.
Chris Copperwaite - October 03, 2011 - Report this comment
I recently tried to fire up my old Armatron for my neice, but it had the old batteries which must have ben in there for years. I replaced the batteries but there is no power, The contacts are clean, I have dismantled it and tested the internal contacts but I think the motor has died. Any idea where I could get a replacement motor? I think everything else is in perfect working order since I last played with it about 20 years ago
Jan Griffiths - January 29, 2012 - Report this comment
My second husband had one of these. We had lots of fun with it. I have it now, and it still works just fine. I took it when I divorced him. My husband now plays with it once in a while, but mostly it sits on his computer desk's credenza.
Shawn - October 14, 2013 - Report this comment
I have my armatron up in my closet still. My dad bought it for me for my 7th birthday,30 years ago. I used to pick up my hot wheels cars with it. Was a great toy. Needs a little work, may give it to my son for his 7 th. would never sell it.
jr - April 09, 2017 - Report this comment
I own 9 of these things I must love them

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