Using a terminal instead of monitor

Discuss the new Altair 8800 Micro

Using a terminal instead of monitor

Postby Nealz » Jan Fri 07, 2011 4:57 am

Hey this look great. Thanks Vince for your hard work.
I'll be ordering one real soon.

Is there a way to use the Altari 8800 Micro with a Serial Terminal?

1. This would be so retro with an old Hazeltine 1420 or Adm 3. (OK guess my age from this info!)
2. Also I don't need another monitor on my desk. Serial would let me use my Mac.
3. A portable luggable Altair. Try that in the 70's!

Can't wait to get mine and maybe assist with implementing this if It doesn't do this out of the box.

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Joined: Jan Fri 07, 2011 4:35 am

Re: Using a terminal instead of monitor

Postby wd5gnr » Jan Mon 10, 2011 11:08 am

I have mine using a USB to RS232 dongle but there are some limitations. The RS232 is on the expansions connector (note the numbering is IC-style not connector style; that is the first row is 1-20 not 1,3,5,7...).

However, the terminal always fires up on a recycle (power or reset). So you will get contention on the RS232 transmit line if you don't do something. Recent versions of the terminal (not sure who has it yet) let you shut the terminal down using Control+F6 but you have to do that on every boot, so you still need at least a keyboard to do that every time. Also you can't do things that require the terminal like read off the SD card.

So a few options:
1) Always remember to disconnect the USB before you reset (that's what I do now)
2) Cut the back panel and use a DPDT switch to connect either the internal terminal or the external terminal (I want to do this, but have not yet).
3) Use the +5V from the USB to auto switch to the USB port.

I have two monitors and they both have DVI and D connectors. I have mine connected to my 2nd monitor's D input. Then I can switch between DVI (my PC's second screen) and D input (Altair). At the moment, I think you pretty much HAVE to have the keyboard at least.
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