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Thread: Serial/Dumb Terminal

  1. #1

    Default Serial/Dumb Terminal

    Hello everyone,
    I am a young teenager who is into vintage computing and I am looking for a serial/dumb terminal in Los Angeles or Orange County California. I dont care how old or new the terminal is, I just want somthing to play around with and learn from. If anybody has somthing they would be willing to let go of for a small price (or no price at all), please let me know and i would be happy to pick it up.

    Thanks,
    Computing81

  2. #2

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    You may know but just in case you don't, a modern PC can be used as a terminal. You just need a USB to serial cable, maybe a null modem adapter, and software. Windows users often use Teraterm. With Teraterm one can connect through the USB port using the usb2serial cable and into most any serial device. (Old PC's, your isp's router modem, etc.)

  3. #3

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    An RPi will do the job too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default

    It is probably important to state what you want to do with the terminal. Different dumb terminals have different capabilities and different text formatting command sets.

    A Windows 9x/ME era laptop with a real serial port can make a decent terminal using either DOS or Windows terminal emulation software software. A big advantage of using a PC is you can store logs or do binary upload/downloads over the terminal/modem connection.

    While a Raspberry Pi or similar might could act as a terminal, some might want to go the other direction and operate a Raspberry Pi over a real dumb terminal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    What they said. There are real "classic" serial terminals that are really dumb--basically a glass TTY (who used that term in their marketing?). No cursor positioning or addressing, nothing other than a screen erase function, carriage return, linefeed and bell. How dumb do you want it to be?

  6. #6

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    I stuck a serial cable to the internal rs232 port on my practically brand-new ASUS motherboard about 2 weeks ago, running Windows 10, so I could interface with my Altair without the need of a USB2serial converter cable. Those cables are not 100% reliable, and can cause false negative test results if you don't have the correct driver for the cable. There are also cheap fake serial cables out there that don't work correctly. Much better to use a serial port be it on a vintage terminal or a modern-er PC with a real serial port. Most all desktop computers still have the port on the motherboard even if there is no visible port on the rear of the box, all you need is the cable. As far as laptops go, many laptops may still have a serial port on the motherboard but I'd find out before you open it up and take it apart

    So to +1 anyone else who means the same thing...if you want serial communications most anything can be used, but it's best to use a real serial port. Either find a nice steady vintage terminal like a Zenith Z19, DEC VT 220, or whatever for the authentic experience, a modern machine, or a tweeter box like a Win 31. thr. Win 98 machine running the Windows terminal program.
    @ BillDeg:
    Web: vintagecomputer.net
    Twitter: @billdeg
    Youtube: @billdeg
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  7. #7

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    Sorry for being rather inactive on my own thread. I am going after the "authentic experience", I would like to find a real classic dumb terminal. Somthing that is extremely basic and doesnt have any more modern quirks or featuires.

  8. #8

    Default

    California is a big place, but if you post in the items wanted section here on this web site someone will have a VT200 or Zenith Z-19 that will work just fine for you. I like the VT220 because they're small and they're "industry standard"...just make sure the keyboard works. I'd offer to sell you one but I am on the other side of the country.
    b
    @ BillDeg:
    Web: vintagecomputer.net
    Twitter: @billdeg
    Youtube: @billdeg
    Unauthorized Bio

  9. #9

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    I'm feeling kinda stupid about only buying one generic terminal back when they were $20 on eBay.

    I have two and use them constantly since 1990. They are invaluable.

    I've been trying to imagine how the one (a Modgraph GX-2000) was being used prior to my acquisition of it in 1992. I could swear we had an X11 display with window manager on it. But maybe we were using it for a proprietary CAD/CAM suite. I have the original mouse somewhere, and I have a graphic tablet that was used with it, although probably not plugged into it. I think it has bad RAM. It would work for a while and then start displaying gibberish. That's how I ended up with it. It does that to this day, but other than writing my own software, I'm not sure how I can use the graphics mode on it these days. It's 4014 compatible but has other additional features. I have the extensive manual for it somewhere, I hope anyway. I haven't seen that in over twenty years.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    New Hampshire, USA
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    If nothing does turn up locally, another option is to build one.

    Geoff Graham's PIC32 based ascii terminal is inexpensive and works very well using a modern VGA screen and PC keyboard.

    icon.jpg

    http://geoffg.net/terminal.html

    I made up some kits in the past, and have a writeup at https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/d...cii32_terminal

    I still have a few bare PC boards left.

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