This TRS-80 Model 1 Emulator Runs on Your PIC32!

Most retrocomputing enthusiasts are well-acquainted with using emulators to run simulated versions of vintage home computers. But, that…

Cameron Coward
2 years ago

Most retrocomputing enthusiasts are well-acquainted with using emulators to run simulated versions of vintage home computers. But, that generally means just running it completely in software on a PC that’s powerful enough to handle the virtual system in question. Dedicated solutions that aren’t running on top of another OS are more complicated, but have the benefit of being standalone. Now, thanks to Ziggurat29’s project, you can run a TRS-80 Model 1 emulator on a dedicated PIC32.

British readers who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s probably used iconic computers like the ZX Spectrum or BBC Micro. But, in America, Radio Shack’s TRS-80 was king of the hill, and was the best-selling home computer when it was discontinued in 1982. Ziggurat29’s TRS-80 Model 1 emulator recreates that experience nicely on a PIC32MX processor that has been broken out through a Schmalzhaus UBW32 and a Dontronics UBW32-MCC.

Those breakout boards provide VGA and PS/2 ports, along with an SD card slot and power connectors. The emulator can load tape and disk images from the SD card, just like if they were being read from the actual hardware. It seems to be stable, and runs with the correct timing for the software to be used as intended. If you’ve got a PIC32 — or want to experiment with one — Ziggurat29’s TRS-80 emulator looks like a great way to experience the joys of retrocomputing on a legendary home computer.

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