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Thread: Terminals and consoles

  1. #1

    Default Terminals and consoles

    Hello everyone,

    I have never owned a computer older than a 286, but now I have a chance to buy some very old terminals and consoles with a printer from a local company.

    They have things like DEC VT-100, Decwriter3 LA120, AT&T 2900/715.

    Are these things worth anything and how much? What are my chances of hooking these things up to a system (I've seen some Youtube videos where they connect them to a Raspberry PI).

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
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    I know for a fact that the VT100 and LA120 are normally RS-232 devices, so they'll work with ANYTHING that uses a serial port. They featured current loop as an option. the 2900 I can't even find a photo of and I can't give you any first hand information about them.
    A DECwriter is nice but they are large but VT100's really took off in value in the last 10 years. If you can get one for cheap it's worth the time to recap and use it.
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  3. #3
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    Yes, they have value ("whatever someone is willing to pay for them", eh?). Researching on eBay will be a start. Be aware that shipping cost is a killer...
    Yes, they can be easily connected to a modern MCU like a Raspberry. You just need a level converter to adapt the RS-232 signals on an old terminal to the "TTL" signals on an MCU. And you need to understand things like baud rates.
    Here's an example:
    https://www.sparkfun.com/products/449
    This gadget, plus some appropriate cabling, would allow you to hook up at VT-100...

    Pete

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    If you decide to acquire the DECwriter, ask them whether any fanfold paper comes with it. That is getting harder and more expensive to find.

  5. #5

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    Not sure on the AT&T device, but either of the DEC/Digital terminals are worth it, especially the VT-100. Like NeXT mentioned, VT-100s are highly sought after.
    Collector of all things Digital, but mostly VAXes and corporate knick-knacks (books, mugs, etc).
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    vt100s with keyboards seem in short supply. be very carefull if you ship as an interesting artifact can be destroyed. DECwriters less so but still in short supply...
    Dave
    G4UGM

    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  7. #7
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    We never used VT100s or VT220s with our VAX. It was pretty much C. Itoh all the way. Great terminals, particularly the later ones. Eventually, Wyse and Televideo came out with VT220 compatibles and the market opened up significantly; then it was anyone's game.

  8. #8
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    I'd wouldn't mind picking up a LA120 DECwriter III in decent condition if I could find one reasonably close to me. I spent a lot of hours playing games on one of those in the late 1970s / early 1980s on the first time sharing system I had access to. (I wish I knew what the system was, Maybe a Honeywell 6000 series? I don't remember any details about the operating system).

  9. #9

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    How do you know whether someone has actually used a DECWriter?

    Real DECWriter users know that when there is a pause in the action, the printhead moves out of the way temporarily so that you can see what is at "the cursor."

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