It is well documented that Raspberry Pi has helped many old computers to do more than they were ever designed to do, and this project from Darko Mesaros enables a 37 year old TRS-80 Model 102 portable computer to deploy Kubernetes.
Lets be clear, the TRS-80 Model 102 (also known as the Tandy 102) doesn't have the horsepower to deploy and run Kubernetes. But what it can do is become a terminal over a remote connection. To do this, Mesaros needed a little help to get online and used a WiModem32 connected to the TRS-80's RS232 serial port. This serial Wi-Fi modem is essentially an ESP32 that uses old style modem commands to make connections to modern day Wi-Fi devices. Using the TRS-80's built-in terminal application (TELCO), Mesaros was able to set the baud rate to 300 and then issue an AT command to connect the device to their WI-FI AP.
This is where the Raspberry Pi comes into the story. The Raspberry Pi is used as a Telnet server. Mesaros configures the TRS-80 to connect to the Telnet server, and from there they have access to a full Linux OS, one that is more than capable of deploying Kubernetes.
The TRS-80 Model 102 is famed for its form factor and keyboard. Journalists of the era would write out their copy then send it to the news room using a built-in modem and an acoustic coupler (Just like in the movie Wargames). At the time, the 32KB of RAM and Intel 80C85 CPU were enough for journalists in the field. Add to that a 20-hour run time on four AA batteries, and you can see why the Tandy 102 was the go-to portable device of its time.
The project is more for fun than practical, but it shows how the retro community is embracing modern technologies (Raspberry Pi and ESP32) to enhance and bring new features to their retro tech.
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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".
Lets be clear, the TRS-80 Model 102 (also known as the Tandy 102) doesn't have the horsepower to deploy and run Kubernetes. But what it can do is become a terminal over a remote connection.
The title of the article is the exact opposite of what was really done.Reply
Still it’s fun. I loved my TRS 80Reply
Learned assembly and basic on that