View Full Version : My VT510

November 29th, 2005, 08:39 PM
a little while back I picked up a couple of working vt510s and a vt220 that sort of just clicks with some strange power surge. The tube doesn't even light up or emit that wonderful pcb smell. I was disapointed because that was the one that came with a key board. The two vt510s on the other hand did not. It wasn't until recently I realize that it had a PS/2 jack. I'm not a real vintage computer guy. I was excited when the thought came into my mind that I would be able to use it because I heard you could put UNIX on it. I took my stock compaq keyboard I use on all my windows machines and I hooked it up. When I booted it it said "self test okay" and then went to a curser waiting for input but whenever I press a key I get a little blip and nothing comes up. Some keys like alt, ctl, shit don't make that beep and I found some combinations of shift and a letter can enable cap lock, hold, num lock including the actual buttons.

I was just wondering if there was any chance I could get this puppy up and running and if so would I be able to use UNIX on it?


November 30th, 2005, 02:01 AM
Isn't a VT510 just a dumb terminal? I have a VT500 and it is. It has
to be connected to some system as the console. It does not (as far
as I can tell) have the ability to run Unix natively. Since mine is just
a dumb terminal I normally use a PC since I need to load software and
this is one of the only ways I can with most of my systems. So I don't
use the VT500 much.

Terry Yager
November 30th, 2005, 09:16 AM
The VT220 is a terminal, but I don't know what a VT510 is.


December 1st, 2005, 08:31 AM
so I would have to hook it up to a computer, it being a terminal. It has a bunch of "emulators" including some ASCII stuff but there is no way to enter any input.

It has two comm1 jacks in the back. What kind of cables would I need and where could I get a hold of a consol to use with it. I heard somewhere you could use unix. That would be the only reason I'd use it.

If it's really not worth the trouble I'll just put it with the rest of my stuff

December 1st, 2005, 08:52 AM
You could hook it up to a PC first, to see if it works. Hook it to a comm
port that has the 25 pin connector. You should be able to use a comm
cable you can buy at a place like CompUSA. You may need a null
modem inline. Not sure what you would do with it, but that shold
be able to give you an idea if it works or not.

What you mention as "emulators" are not what you are thinking of.
It can emulate most of the VTs, and several other types of terminals.
It does not mean it's a Unix emulator, or pdp emulator.

If there is a way to set it to full duplex you should see characters echo
on the screen. There is a way to enter setup mode, but I forgtet offhand

It should work quite well with Unix.

December 2nd, 2005, 01:53 AM
. Some keys like alt, ctl, shit

A sh*t key??? Oh man I have GOT to get me one of those!

But seriously- here is the manf page on your unit

Not a bad little unit. I've had a Boundless VT525 for awhile now and have decided it will be buried with me.

This would make a great unit to slap on something like a VaxStation, where the monitors are a little tough to find and anything besides pure text is just morally bankrupt.

December 2nd, 2005, 01:59 AM
As always, Google is a great friend in case of uncertainity. This is one of the links I found, to a UK retailer:


As Tradde wrote, the terminal can emulate other terminals and is in that way compatible with many operating systems, even those unaware of the particular terminal type.

If you have several computers, of which at least one is run only as a server and you wish to monitor and manage it sometimes but not "sacrifice" a computer monitor, a terminal may come handy. Also if you have an older type of computer which is not compatible with any modern computer monitor, chances are that it will support a terminal on its serial port. If you find a terminal switch, more than one computer could be connected to the same terminal, but this also holds true for modern monitor/keyboard/mouse switching equipment. At the computer club, we once owned a MCA bus card and a matching serial port expander. The idea was to build a terminal switch out of this, but it failed because we didn't have the right combination of hardware and compatible software.

I can also see from where the misconception that the terminal was the computer came. The first few times I saw a terminal, I thought the same, in particular if the computer or server was far away.