TRS-80 Luggable Gets Fresh Face, New Gear

It’s true that this TRS-80 Model 4P “luggable” was in better shape than many of the vintage machines that pass through the hands of [Drygol], but that doesn’t make the end result of its refurbishment and upgrade process any less impressive. After all, not every rebuild has to be a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

No, the case didn’t have to get pieced back together by hand, and the board didn’t need to have half of its traces recreated. But the outer plastic was certainly in need of a good retrobright treatment, the keyboard was overdue for a cleaning, and the capacitors in the PSU were predictably due for retirement. After [Drygol] got through with it, the machine was back in like-new condition. But then, we can do a little better than that…

Installation of the new Grafyx board.

So into the refreshed computer went several community-developed modifications, including a M3SE expander that adds Compact Flash and Ethernet support to the TRS-80 and a high-resolution Grafyx video board. In classic [Drygol] style, every effort was made to integrate these upgrades as seamlessly as possible. After struggling for a bit to find a 5.25″ drive that would write a disk the TRS-80 would actually read, all the necessary files to get the upgrades working were transferred over, and the system was booting into TRSDOS.

We’ve covered a lot of [Drygol]’s restorations, and never get tired of seeing how these old and broken machines get a new lease on life once they come out the other end. Whether it’s a relatively easy task of swapping out some dud chips, or using every trick in the book to piece together what’s left of a computer’s case, they always show an incredible level of dedication and attention to detail that you can’t help but admire.

10 thoughts on “TRS-80 Luggable Gets Fresh Face, New Gear

  1. I’ve had one of these for years, a guy who used to use it for work gave it to me when I was a teenager in the early 00’s, my friends and I would get a kick out of booting it up and playing some of the weird games he included.

    Would love to finally restore it. Soldering doesn’t scare me, but the capacitors listed in the service manual don’t quite seem to line-up with the values I see on the board. Would want to get someone with electronic experience to check things over before I risk blowing up the PSU.

  2. Last I checked, my almost-all-original IBM Luggable with Expansion Unit as docking station was still 100% functional. Only non-original parts are a VGA display and a daughter board that lets me switch between 8088 plus floating point and a Z80; which was faster depended on the task.

  3. In high school I played for hours on a TRS-80 model 2 with 16K RAM and cassette storage all at the local Radio Shack store after school. I taught myself BASIC programming and I picked up a knack for computers. This was over 40 years ago. Love thinking back how this changed my future.

    1. That sounds more like a model 1. The model 2 was that hideously expensive ‘business’ system. Not sure if you could even get one without at least one floppy drive.

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