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David Keil's Emulator - Just Plain Entertainment! ... by Brian K. Hahn
OK, so you hit a garage sale or walked into an antique mall and found a old TRS-80 sitting there, you paused and
after giving twenty five bucks you took it home and fired the puppy up. You heard the drives buzz and then . . . . . . .
. . . .Cassette? Now what. You don't have any software. Hey wait, you go on the internet and log onto 8bit-Micro
or better yet Ira Goldklang's TRS-80 Revived Site and find software! But how do you get that software onto disk to
have some fun. Well one thing is to find is a good emulator, and there are a few. One in particular is David Keil's
TRS-80 Model 1/III/4/4P Emulator. If you don't have a 5.25" floppy installed on your MS-DOS/Windows machine, go
back to the garage sale and pick on up. I recommend keeping one around.
I must admit, I have been using Jeff Vavasour's emulator since I purchased it from Computer News 80 in April of
1994. I had a copy of David's emulator on my hard drive for some time now, and until I decided to join in the fray in
keeping these great machine alive, I hadn't tried it. Well David if your reading this.. sorry friend, you really made a
Our review is based on installing and running David's Emulator on an
updated computer with a Pentium 4 @ 1.5 Ghz. with 256MB. RDRAM a
30GB hard Drive and Microsoft's Windows XP Professional installed. A
bit overkill for TRS-80 Model 4 mode but I figured at this time (Feb 20,
2003) this represents the median machine in the marketplace.
David included in his package a readme file that provides the DOS level
of installation giving easy to read command lines to follow. Essentially
you need his emulator and a DISK Image of an operating system such
as Logical Systems LSDOS or RapidDOS for some of the fun games.
( Example: TRSDOS LD4-631.DSK (enter) )
If your running the emulator in Windows as we did, its a simple case of
click and dragging your DOS image over the TRSDOS icon and let go.
Walla! You are now booted in a full screen version of LS-DOS 6.31 with no conflicts in the XP environment. See
Once running you can configure the emulator by pressing F5, and a setup screen appears giving full options
including setting your ports option, sound, drives, keyboard layout and machine emulation selections. We set
oursystem to run in TRS-80 Model 4 with drives, using a SoundBlaster
sound card, PC-Speaker enabled and a PC80 keyboard layout and the
Micro-Labs Hi-Rez Board emulation. Pressing ESC exits any internal
screen the emulator has. Loading a disk or tape is just as easy. Just
ensure that any .DSK image you download and save is on the same
directory you have stored the emulator in.
To load a disk just press F9 and a screen opens showing you four disk
drives. Although four drives show only drive 0 and Drive 1 worked on our
test machine. Using the TAB key one can jump from drive to drive.
Select an empty drive press enter, and a directory of all your .DSK
images show. Its a simple case of using your arrow keys to select the
image you want and press enter. Your returned to the drive screen and
now you will see the drive door closed and the name of the image
installed. Press ECS takes you back to the LS-DOS screen. You see the files on the drive using your internal
listing commands. CAT shows you a width directory and DIR shows you detailed listings. In our test we loaded
Scripsit Pro into the drive and called up the program. It loaded fine and the word processor work any without
keystroke delay. David did a great job of synching the type ahead rate and CPU speeds!
Loading a tape image is just as easy, pressing F11 brings up a screen
image of a Radio Shack cassette recorder. Here we found ample
onscreen help command descriptions. Loading a tape image is a
matter of selecting load and scrolling to the file. It's as easy as that.
We also tested an image of RapidDOS and ran a version of Hi-Rez
Tournament Chess. This ran flawlessly, but if I had one complaint it
was that David's emulator didn't let me win! I lost really bad with only
one pawn and my King against the computers entire force! See
illustrations to see actual screen pics.
To reboot press the F10 key and the emulator reboots the image loaded
in Drive 0. To exit the emulator just press SHIFT-F10 and your out.
What can me simpler?
Don't hesitate to get into 8bit micro-ing, if that's even a word! If your in a
location with lots of snow get online and download your copy today. Visit David's site and get it straight from the
source and support him. (Keil's TRS-80 Model 1/III/4/4P Emulator) It beats shoveling snow. If your living in a tropical
location stop smearing sun tan lotion on your girl and get inside with the rest of us geeks. Blow the dust off your
Model 4, and start using David's emulator to make your boot disks or even better make that Windows machine
useful for a change... ;-)
(c) 2004, 2005, Brian K. Hahn
All Rights Reserved.