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About RickNel

Basic Information

About RickNel
Location:
Canberra, Australia
Interests:
S-100 machines and peripherals
Occupation:
Writing and Tinkering

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Total Posts
Total Posts
640
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0.17
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2
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General Information
Last Activity
May 24th, 2019 04:57 AM
Join Date
April 24th, 2009
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Recent Entries

Soroc serial terminal recreated - Part 1

by RickNel on January 30th, 2013 at 09:55 PM
More than 30 years ago, I bought a Soroc IQ35 serial terminal as user interface to my S100 IMS 5000SX system. It saw heavy use in tough conditions for about ten years, mainly WordStar, and CP/M database and financial utilities written in Basic or Assembler. By the time the terminal developed a video fault, it was more economic for me to replace it with a good second-hand VT100 than to get it repaired. It went shedwards for the next twenty years.

Next time I looked, the CRT had gone

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Soroc Terminal - Part 2. Remapping a non-standard keyboard to PC

by RickNel on January 30th, 2013 at 09:54 PM
The Soroc keyboard is a sturdy, metal-sprung passive keyswitch array soldered directly onto a PCB, with all traces terminating at a 24pin header joined by a 24-pin strap to the original motherboard. Pin 24 is not used, so there is a matrix of 8 rows by 15 columns. The Soroc polled these matrix lines and delivered internal switch codes to its terminal and display logic.

The re-created terminal would bypass all that logic and instead mate the switch matrix with a PS/2 controller.

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Soroc serial terminal - Part 3. FrankenSoroc's display

by RickNel on January 30th, 2013 at 09:53 PM
After I decided it would be too hard to find and fit a 12" CRT, I found there would also be problems getting a LCD display suitable for the 12" aperture in the cabinet fascia.

First attempts were to reuse one of several 15" VGA LCDs I had lying around, thinking I could just configure the display to run a 640x480 window centred in a 1280 wide SVGA screen. I spent a lot of time, and got a lot of advice from these forums, on ways to do it.

The main limitation

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Soroc serial terminal - Part 4. The software

by RickNel on January 30th, 2013 at 09:53 PM
I wanted to keep the boot time as close as possible to the fast boot of the original ROM-based terminal - basically the few seconds it took for the CRT to warm up. With the available system unit (a Pentium 2 Compag Armada 7800), the software boot process would be:

1. Powerup, BIOS redirects monitor to VGA output port
2. Boot to DOS 6.22
3. Configure text-mode display, 640x480, green foreground, black background.
4. Configure keyboard remapping
5. Launch

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Soroc serial terminal - Part 5. Hardware build

by RickNel on January 30th, 2013 at 09:52 PM
The hardware choices were made on the basis of what I already had to hand. I wanted sealed PSUs rather than putting something like an ATX PSU inside it with a potentially noisy fan. I wanted PS/2 keyboard interface and VGA video out. I wanted fast and minimal boot on power-up.

Old Compaq laptops are not great, but they are plentiful and cheap. The 7800 had a built-in PSU, so I could just patch AC flex from the Soroc AC fused/switched input to an IEC plug for the Compaq, branching

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Updated January 31st, 2013 at 03:51 PM by RickNel

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