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NEC Trek PC-6001A


rkindig

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I recently acquired a NEC Trek in a barn find.  Boxed, in great condition, and fully working!  I’m trying to find more information on this machine, such as:

- forums

- modern upgrades

- emulation

 

Does anyone have more information on the machine?  There’s a dearth of information on the inter-Webs.  Seems like the NEC PC-6001 was popular in Japan, but the PC-6001A (American version, called the NEC Trek) was not popular over here at all.

 

Thanks!

 

Randy Kindig

host Floppy Days Podcast floppydays.com

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I know of two emulators for the PC-6001A. Virtual NEC Trek was last updated in 2006. It is in English and incorporates a number of cartridge and cassette images for proper use. A search for vnectrek should provide a download of questionable provenance; the official download site is a long dead Geocities page. The other is for Android. I have not tried that one since all the settings pages are in Japanese. One of the screen shots does show a PC-6001A option. 

 

I did snag copies of manuals from a VCFED thread about 5 years ago which also showed newly designed cartridges for RAM expansion. 

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On 12/17/2022 at 5:28 PM, rkindig said:

I recently acquired a NEC Trek in a barn find.  Boxed, in great condition, and fully working!  I’m trying to find more information on this machine, such as:

- forums

- modern upgrades

- emulation

 

Does anyone have more information on the machine?  There’s a dearth of information on the inter-Webs.  Seems like the NEC PC-6001 was popular in Japan, but the PC-6001A (American version, called the NEC Trek) was not popular over here at all.

 

Thanks!

 

Randy Kindig

host Floppy Days Podcast floppydays.com

Nice.  Don't know much about NEC computing stuff.  I know LGR has done an episode or two regarding some of their machines.  Hopefully you can do a episode or two on this machine for the podcast sometime.

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8 hours ago, Hwlngmad said:

Nice.  Don't know much about NEC computing stuff.  I know LGR has done an episode or two regarding some of their machines.  Hopefully you can do a episode or two on this machine for the podcast sometime.

That’s the plan!  If I can find out enough about it.  Else I’ll be making up stuff :)

 

Randy

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20 hours ago, Krebizfan said:

I know of two emulators for the PC-6001A. Virtual NEC Trek was last updated in 2006. It is in English and incorporates a number of cartridge and cassette images for proper use. A search for vnectrek should provide a download of questionable provenance; the official download site is a long dead Geocities page. The other is for Android. I have not tried that one since all the settings pages are in Japanese. One of the screen shots does show a PC-6001A option. 

 

I did snag copies of manuals from a VCFED thread about 5 years ago which also showed newly designed cartridges for RAM expansion. 

I found the emulators.  Unfortunately, both are for DOS/Windows and I”m a Mac guy.  Anyway, thank you for the info.  It’s something I can use.

 

I have the original manuals with the machine, so I’m good there!

 

Thanks

 

Randy

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/19/2022 at 6:55 PM, rkindig said:

I found the emulators.  Unfortunately, both are for DOS/Windows and I”m a Mac guy.  Anyway, thank you for the info.  It’s something I can use.

 

I have the original manuals with the machine, so I’m good there!

 

Thanks

 

Randy

I keep hoping someone scans the manuals for these.  I had a set with mine but they got destroyed.

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There isn't a PC-6000.  They have the PC-6001 with a chicklet keyboard, and the PC-6001A & TREK that have a regular keyboard.
PC-6000 series just means all those models.
The PC-6001 MKII is backwards compatible but adds new graphics modes, so I guess some of the manual would apply to it as well, but it came later.

 

 

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I have a couple Japanese PC-6001s (PC-6001, PC-6001mkII, PC-6601SR/Mr.PC) but no 6001A/TREK yet. RAM expansion is fairly easy to build: I wired mine on a protoboard cartridge I made, but I've been tempted to design a ready-to-go RAM/ROM cart as it's also very straightforward with the dedicated select lines.

 

For an emulator, I've been using PC6001VX on my Mac.

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48 minutes ago, SlidellMan said:

You sure got lucky on that PC, and do you have any photos or videos to show?

I've got a couple blog entries which all have some attached photos:

It is funny, at one point P6s were very cheap/relatively unknown, and now they are starting to go up in asking price like all the other 80s machines on Yahoo! Auctions Japan. I'm not sure what's going on, as I definitely don't see more "activity" about them on the internet.

 

There's a couple things I've been working on, very slowly because other things keep getting in the way:

  • Using a Raspberry Pi Pico to convert the 15kHz 15-colour RGB+Intensity output from the PC-6001mkII and onwards models to 31kHz VGA (maybe about 40% done; Japanese hobbyists have used a sea of 74 logic or a FPGA to do this but I think the Pico is fast enough)
  • The same as before but using a modified cable for the RGBtoHDMI board (this works; I need to configure the palette and finish the writeup)
  • Keyboard adapter/clone keyboard for the PC-6601SR (the computer accepts both wired and wireless infrared keyboards; my keyboard adapter is pretty sketchy but it does work)
  • A serial-port board that fits into the internal expansion slot (I think I've got this one figured out electrically, but not physically, and will have to prototype a few different board layouts until I get the dimensions right)
  • A Gotek mount and "boot drive switcher" board for the PC-6601SR, so I can toggle between booting off real disks or disk images
  • Dumping the 8049 on the original PC-6001 motherboard to try and revive another hobbyist's sickly PC-6001A, as well as improve compatibility on MAME
  • Repairing a damaged PC-TV151 monitor, which is the companion CRT to the PC-6601SR; it has 8- and 15-colour digital modes, JP21 analogue RGB, composite input, Japanese RF, and allows the SR to remote control it for channel switching, computer graphics superimpose, and other features. I've repaired a broken power switch on this one, which has revived something in the low voltage side, and I haven't had a chance to figure out why the high voltage won't switch on. CRTs are still a little scary to me.
  • A whole second PC-6601SR that I managed to win shortly after Christmas, which has a bunch of special cables  (for instance, the PC-TV151 computer cable) that need reverse engineering
  • Some PC-6601 floppy games don't work properly on my PC-6601SR, and I think they are probably bad dumps, but I can't figure out why.

 

A lot of these projects get some sporadic progress and then get roadblocked or put aside for months at a time, so don't expect anything quick :)

 

Some other recent discoveries that I'm aware of in the P6 scene:

  • Another hobbyist has located an Al-Warka PC-6001 (the Iraqi government issued licensed clone of the NEC PC-6001mkII) and is preparing to dump the Arabic BASIC cartridge and English(!) BIOS ROMs
  • Lots of interest in NTSC artifact colour in the Japanese community (the 6847 on the original models has CoCo-style artifact colour tricks, which is not supported in the 8- and 15-colour digital RGB modes for obvious reasons.)
  • Various fun game ports, like this very nice version of Tetris.

 

I don't have any articles up about my prototyping board yet, but I've attached the pinout and a picture of the board.

pc6001-cartridge-pinout.png

pc6001-cartridge-v2.jpg

Edited by leaded solder
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12 hours ago, leaded solder said:

I have a couple Japanese PC-6001s (PC-6001, PC-6001mkII, PC-6601SR/Mr.PC) but no 6001A/TREK yet. RAM expansion is fairly easy to build: I wired mine on a protoboard cartridge I made, but I've been tempted to design a ready-to-go RAM/ROM cart as it's also very straightforward with the dedicated select lines.

 

For an emulator, I've been using PC6001VX on my Mac.

Would LOVE to get some sort of memory expansion for the NEC TREK!

 

Sounds like you have a lot of great projects going on around this platform.

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  • 9 months later...
On 2/4/2023 at 8:11 PM, leaded solder said:
  • Another hobbyist has located an Al-Warka PC-6001 (the Iraqi government issued licensed clone of the NEC PC-6001mkII) and is preparing to dump the Arabic BASIC cartridge and English(!) BIOS ROMs

Wow! That would be really cool. I hope you can do it.

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