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What would you do with a TRS-80 Model 1?


hafner
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Hi all,

 

I may have the opportunity to pick up a Model 1, which is exciting as they are hugely significant computers and have a neat look. However, I never actually spent time with a Model 1 (or any of the related models) back in the day and so I'm not as familiar with them as with Apple IIs, IBM PCs, Commodores, etc. I'm not really a programmer - I tend to mostly play games (even primitive CP/M games on things like Kaypros are great fun) and just tinker.

 

Those of you who have Model 1s or related models, what do you typically do with your machines? Are there any "killer apps," either entertainment, productivity, or something else, that really define the early TRS-80s and that would help me get the full experience? Also, any modern best practices in terms of getting software on them, similar to a CFFA3000 for Apple, Ultimate 1541 for Commodore, or XT-IDE for PCs? I've poked around some of the resources online, but much of it seems pretty old.

 

Any help or advice would be appreciated!

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Play games. Play games. Type in BASIC listings of games. And play games. :)

If you enjoy even CP/M games, you'll like the TRS-80. I have some original tape software but otherwise I just load .WAVs from my soundcard. There are also a lot of disk games that I unfortunately don't have access to, since I don't have an expansion unit. There are a couple of devices available that simulate hard disks and disk drives, though, so there are options; they're just kind of expensive.

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When I first got a Model III after all these years (first computer I ever used in the 4th grade) was excited to learn that there were some pretty good, but primitive of course, versions of popular games. As impressive as they may be though, was more of a curiosity/novelty that didn't hold my interest for long. Would have no real desire or need to back to using one, but suppose I might get a kick out of playing some of the text adventures. As old games go, probably held up better than the mono and blocky primitive graphics type.

 

The TI-99/4A is my goto when I need a vintage computing fix. :)

 

BTW: might want to check out Ira Goldklang's TRS80 site. He was instrumental in helping me out when I needed a manual and some software.

 

http://www.trs-80.com/wordpress/

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Thanks for the help! Much appreciated.

 

> I have some original tape software but otherwise I just load .WAVs from my soundcard.

 

This is very interesting. I believe for the Apple II you can actually load software from your phone through the tape port - I'll have to look into whether that's possible in this case. It's pretty amazing that after years of floppy drives and hard drives, the tape method could be the easiest and most powerful to get access to a huge amount of software after all.

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Thanks for the help! Much appreciated.

 

> I have some original tape software but otherwise I just load .WAVs from my soundcard.

 

This is very interesting. I believe for the Apple II you can actually load software from your phone through the tape port - I'll have to look into whether that's possible in this case. It's pretty amazing that after years of floppy drives and hard drives, the tape method could be the easiest and most powerful to get access to a huge amount of software after all.

Yes, it's the same principle. It's just audio. Soundcard, phone, CD, tape, whatever, as long as the TRS-80's cassette cord can plug into to it and the sound is clean, it's good to go.

 

Note that larger games will be subject to longer load times and RAM requirements that a stock Model I may not meet. Without an expansion interface, the TRS-80 Model I tops out at only 16K (though I'm sure some gifted modder out there somewhere managed to cram more into it at some point), which should be fine for the vast majority of tape games, but some may require 32K (I think Frogger and Zaxxon do, for instance).

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You can use a PC soundcard and "Play Cas" to load programs via the cassette interface. http://knut.one/PlayCAS.htm

 

If you have an expansion interface, the best solution is a FreHD hard drive emulator: http://ianmav.customer.netspace.net.au/trs80/emulator Note the various price points depending on how much soldering you want to do. It also has several sub options:

Boot using a floppy.

Boot directly by replacing the TRS-80 ROM

And you can get a Quinnterface to boot directly without an expansion interface or floppy drive. And it even gives you a full 48K of RAM (listed on the FreHD page).

 

With the right hardware on an old PC you can get emulators to write floppy disks. And there are floppy disk emulators that I believe will work.

 

Perhaps most associated with the TRS-80 Model 1 are the Leo Christopherson games such as Android Nim, Snake Eggs, Bee Wary, Duel 'n Droids and most especially, Dancing Demon.

 

The best known and earliest arcade game clones (ish) are the Big 5 Games: Super Nova (Asteroids), Cosmic Fighter (Astro Fighter), Attack Force (Targ) and Galaxy Invasion (Galaxian).

 

Later on Wayne Westmoreland & Terry Gilman made some very polished games: Sea Dragon, The Eliminator (Defender), Armour Patrol (Battlezone), Zaxxon and Frogger.

 

My personal favorite is the 4K wonder "Time Trek" (rebranded as "Space Warp" when sold in Radio Shack stores).

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You might want to check out the TRS-80 group on yahoo.
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TRS-80/info

And you can look into an IDE interface. It's untested on the Model 1 but the latest versions *should* work.
https://www.lo-tech.co.uk/wiki/Trs-80-ide

There is also the MISE (Model I System Expansion) but the project web page is missing at the moment.
Here is a demo:



*edit*

Site is back up.
http://bartlettlabs.com/MISE/

Edited by JamesD
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Wasn't Time Bandit originally released for the Model series of machines?

The TRS-80 Model I/III version of Time Bandit was the first.

Graphics are a bit primitive compared to later versions but gameplay is the basically the same.

The maps are supposedly different on the ST and Amiga versions, I'm not sure about the coco version.

 

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I just picked up a 16k level2 Model 1.. decided on the "clearly superior" FreHD and quinnterface board setup in the nice fancy box.

 

Works great out of the box, auto booting my model 1 with newdos80, dos plus and ldos from the FreHD and ads 32k ram to the system as well without the big honking expansion box.

 

running games I've downloaded from the various websites on the model I without much effort at all :)

 

Greg

post-25598-0-90647000-1464229448_thumb.jpg

Edited by arcadeshopper
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a 16K Level 2 Model I, but the monitor for it has a vertical issue and I can't get it to stay stable. I have two other monitors given to me 15 years ago, but one is basically dead and the other is even worse on the vertical than the monitor I got with my Model I.

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  • 2 months later...

Sweet! What would I do with a TRS-80 system?

Set it on on the desk. Look at it. And write stories about the future, either on it or on a modern PC.

 

For starters, while the graphics are not as good as a TI-99/4A for instance, the screen size for text is larger, even more so on a Mod IV.

The BASIC is much better that of the TI and it executes much faster. Since it has a real DOS, you would have real easy access to all of your programs, especially if you used a MISE.

 

Practical applications? Hey, it's an antique like any other "Classic Computer", but it did have some killer BBS software BITD and you could probably run a real nice bulletin board system on it. It's been a long time, so I don't remember the name of the software, but the software I ran was all in BASIC and it allowed me to make some real nice modifications to customize the board.

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I have a Model I, it sits in it's boxes in my storage unit.
It's just the Keyboard and monitor and I have no disk drives.
I only keep it because it's what I learned to program on.
I have this idea that someday I'll wire up an internal RAM/CF/Z180 expansion board so I don't need the expansion interface, it can run faster, and it can have extra RAM.

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