[vcf-midatlantic] Looking for a TI Silent 707 1200baud for the VCF Museum

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Tue Oct 18 15:46:41 EDT 2016

> I'm donating a spare PiDP-8 to the museum which has a serial interface
 > that can't go below 1200baud.    If we can find one of the smaller TI
 >Silent terminals that goes that fast, we can hook it up to the PiDP so
 > that we can have it run hands on demos and visitors can take the result
 > with them.  It would be really cool for people to have a takeaway
 > from the museum when they visit.

Here's my view. What you are asking for, is a small terminal and a small 
accompanying printer, which can operate at serial 1200 baud. the problem 
in my view with a TI *thermal* printing terminal, is that thermal paper 
will fade over time; and it gets used up fairly quickly. Rolls cost a 
few dollars each, although I see unused rolls at thrift stores.

How about, an old serial CRT terminal, connected to a serial printer? 
Any of the old dot-matrix printers with serial interface would likely 
work. Some of the CRT terminals are not large. Some of them have an 
auxiliary serial interface for a printer, for the now-obvious reasons. 
Often there's a control code to enable or disable the printer port.

If there's no printer port on the terminal, doesn't matter. The Rasp Pi 
- I mean the emulated PDP-8 - will be echoing input and output. Just 
route the serial out from the "eight" to both the printer and the terminal.

Many dot-matrix printers, were of small footprint. They used 9.5 X 11 
perforated paper (still available I believe) or friction-feed. And they 
used inked ribbons - still available and not expensive at all. I'm 
thinking about some of the Okidata brand printers. the Epsons are a 
little wider. There's the old Apple Imagewriters.

For that matter, there's other printing terminals. Teletype model 43 for 
instance, very elegant. But if the printer jams or runs out of paper - 
well, a seperate terminal lets the exhibit continue.

"Oh, impact printers are too noisy..." Oh, is the Museum in a hospital zone?

Side issues may be, if the "eight" sends more characters that the 
printer can both buffer and print. For the most part, that won't happen, 
if so some serial handshaking may be needed, if the Pi supplies it. One 
virtue of a lower baud rate, is that printers can keep up.

Herb Johnson
Herbert R. Johnson,  New Jersey USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net

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