A Network Card For The Trash-80

Around these parts, [Peter] is well-known for abusing the TRS-80 to do things it should never do. You can read Wikipedia on the TRS-80, you can look at Google Images, and you can browse the web. As with any retrocomputer, there are limitations for what you can do. To browse Wikipedia, [Peter] had to set up an AWS instance which translated everything and used serial to IP converters. It can be done, but it’s hard.

Now, after seeing a few interesting projects built around the ESP32, [Peter] built a network card for the TRS-80. It’s called the trsnic, and it’s a working network card for almost all the TRS-80s out there, with the eventual goal of supporting the TRS-80 Model I / II / III / 4 / 12 / 16 / 16B and 6000.

The idea for the trsnic comes from [Arno Puder]’s RetroStoreCard, a device that plugs into the TRS-80 Model III and connects it to a ‘personal cloud’ of sorts that hosts and runs applications without the need for cassettes or floppys. It does this with an ESP32 wired up to the I/O bus in the Model III, and it’s all completely Open Source.

[Peter] took this idea and ran with it. Thanks to the power found in the ESP32, real encrypted Internet communication can happen, and that means HTTPS and TLS.

Right now, documentation for the trsnic is limited, but the project does exist and building it is as easy as stuffing some headers and DIP sockets in a PCB and soldering them on. There’s a bit of work to do on the ESP32 code, but if you’re looking for a network card for your Trash-80, this is the one that works now.

16 thoughts on “A Network Card For The Trash-80

    1. Yeah, but that wouldn’t scribe your computations upon the universe as deeply. Gimme them old chips throwing around RICH CHUNKY AMPS any day…at least for this purpose.

      btw, #k5 alumni live! long time no see.

  1. I do wonder what the intention with that PCB layout was. It has to be on purpose, you would have to really try to get to that kind of chaos by accident with any of the usual EDA tools. It kind of looks like its just all straight lines without any enforced angle.

    1. Maybe in all the turmoil over Eagle, he decided to switch to LibreOffice Draw? [grinning, and I’ll be suitably impressed if that’s really the case]

      I’m going to have to put an ESP on an S-100 card if I’m ever going to qualify as “cool”.

    2. He doesn’t say but I have seen projects at my company that look like that. Dude used ExpressPCB. Cardinal or generally accepted angles meant nothing to that software. Traces went everywhere just willy nilly. So I am guessing this guy either used that or another ultra basic layout tool and didnt want to take the time to do it in Eagle or KiCad

    3. I think this is what you get when software folks design hardware. The original design was breadboarded on one of those waffle-style breadboards and apparently there is some website where you can graphically enter the breadboard connections and it produces the layout and that was how this was done. Arno presented this at Tandy Assembly 2018. Yeah the PCB ain’t pretty but it was an interesting tale. There is a much nicer PCB design now available in the TRS-IO project.

  2. As a TRS-80 veteran getting back into assembly development on a Model 4P, this is very exciting! I look forward to trying one out.

    To all the armchair quarterbacks here picking on PCB layout: Something great has been accomplished and It should be celebrated! Don’t forget that when you make your critiques.

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