A Trash-Steam-Machine-80

Sometimes for a retrocomputing enthusiast it can be challenging to see a surviving machine gutted and used for another purpose. But in the case of [Tom Pick]’s Radio Shack TRS-80 based Steam Machine PC we can forgive him, because it began with a very unpromising machine that had most definitely seen better days.

The TRS-80 in question is a Model III, the all-in-one console device with a numerical keypad, CRT monitor, and dual 5.25″ floppy drives built in. This provided plenty of space for the components of a modern PC with a 12″ LCD monitor. The PC itself is a run-of-the mill 2.6 GHz Pentium and nothing exceptional, but its input devices are of note. The keyboard is a Red Dragon mechanical item which has been made to look the part in place of the old Radio Shack item with a set of custom colour-coded keycaps, while the pointing device in a particularly neat touch is a modern Radio Shack-branded mouse. The boot screen is the proper Radio Shack logo from the TRS-80’s heyday, meaning that if you didn’t know any differently you might think this was meant to be. Sadly the two floppy drives are unconnected, though we’re sure it would be possible to make a modern PC see them for a bit of 360k storage goodness.

We don’t see as many projects featuring the TRS-80 series as we should, and the model III is a particular rarity. Far more common in these pages is the portable Model 100, most recently gaining a cellular connection.

24 thoughts on “A Trash-Steam-Machine-80

    1. Me as well. I worked at Radio Shack during high school in the late 70’s. Wrote my first Lunar Lander program on the CoCo. Later, I owned a Model 4 with the high-rez graphics upgrade.

    1. Yes, even 8″ drives if you make an adapter. A handful of (typically industrial type) motherboards still have the 34 pin header. Otherwise, buy a USB floppy drive and harvest the controller out of it.

      The stock drives on a Model III were single-sided ones, weren’t they? So it’s be 180K disks. Something makes me think that was a supported configuration at least in the MS-DOS 3 era.

  1. I always thought that the TRS-80 looked like a computer “should” look, maybe he could install a couple of BluRay drives in place of the floppies, I mean the rest of it has been gutted, why not?

    1. If you look on my project page you can see it still has the dvd installed its just covered up by the case, I really would like to get the floppies hooked up just to make it all functional.

  2. I loved the deign of the TRS-80 Mod 3 but could never save enough to get one, I finally got the shell cheap enough and I put an MacMini inside with a 13″ laptop screen for the monitor added 2 USB 3.0 hubs and a USB 3 Apple DVD burner in one of the holes for the old Floppy drive, I added an Apple G3 keyboard in the keyboard space so it looks like the TRS-80.
    I call it “MacTRS-80”

  3. that right there was the first PC I got to work with for any significant project time. We had ones with one drive whilst in 3rd grade, and by jr high had access to the dual disc version

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