Getting started with a terminal

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

Getting started with a terminal

Postby alfonzo » February 9th, 2017, 2:04 pm

Hey everyone. I have wanted a piece of computer history for a long time and am really excited about ordering my own Altair 8800 clone, but am new to the Altair and vintage computing in general. Therefore I have a couple of questions I hope you can help a newbie with.

I see that the recommended terminal program is TeraTerm and it looks like ZTerm can work on the Mac, but does anyone have any tips connecting an Altair to a Mac? Anything specific to look out for? Serial looks like another good terminal program for the Mac, but does anyone have any experience with it and the Altair?

Is there anything I need to look out for regarding a serial to USB adapter or will any work? Most are DB9 to USB. Is there any trick in chaining a DB25-DB9 to a DB9-USB adapter? That looks like the option that is being offered along side the clone in the shop, but I wanted to be sure.

Thanks a lot for any help and your patience with novice questions. Looking forward to diving in!
alfonzo
 
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Joined: February 8th, 2017, 2:18 pm

Re: Getting started with a terminal

Postby toml_12953 » February 9th, 2017, 3:36 pm

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome. (Oops! This isn't Cabaret - my bad)

You're in for exciting times! If your terminal program can work with a serial port then most USB - RS-232 adapters should work for you. The only problem I found with modern converters is that they don't like the low speed of 110 baud so I can't use them with a real Teletype ASR-33. Since you're using a terminal emulator, that won't be a problem for you. Mike is a great guy and answers all my questions quickly and accurately. He really cares about his customers. One thing I've found about hooking up serial equipment to the Clone (and real Altairs as well) is that you might need to cross the TX and RX lines (use a null modem) in order to work with modern devices. I try a straight-through cable first, then if that doesn't work, I put a null modem on the cable. One way or the other has always worked for me and it doesn't hurt anything if you get it wrong. It just won't work until you have it right.

Tom L
toml_12953
 
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Re: Getting started with a terminal

Postby alfonzo » February 12th, 2017, 5:25 am

Thanks for the tips, Tom! I'll keep the null modem in mind and should I progress to procuring my own ASR-33, I'll reach out to you :) Looking forward to getting my Altair clone!
alfonzo
 
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Joined: February 8th, 2017, 2:18 pm


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