Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby wheagy » August 26th, 2013, 8:35 pm

Has anyone mounted any kind of computer inside the Clone case...mini-ATX or otherwise. Specifically I was thinking about the utility of putting a Raspberry Pi inside the case. This could essentially make the clone a self-contained unit with all of the support package software as well as video out (composite or HDMI) accessible from inside the clone at a fairly low cost. I haven't done a great deal of research on Linux based term packages, but I imagine there is one that would allow many of the same capabilities as Tera Term and would allow you to have all of the different software packages easily accessed from a unit inside the clone. In addition, if the Pi is run from the command line instead of a window manager, you would have that classic black screen and white text look of the early machines. Add a cheap monitor, keyboard, and mouse if you like and it's pretty much self-contained. Finally, you could also use the Pi as a more current, and for $35 pretty powerful, computer if you want more than the Clone can offer.

The clone power supply can likely be adapted to run the Pi....if not, it would be easy enough to add an old Blackberry charger or similar, to the case.

This is not much of a stretch beyond using an external computer. The benefit would be to make the clone somewhat more easily configurable (without needing a notebook or desktop computer) at a low cost as well as providing a builtin terminal and video out capability. Getting a good software (term program) on the Pi (Linux) that does all the required transfer protocols may be challenging....Minicom may do it but I haven't used it. Putty and Screen are also slightly less user-friendly possibilities.

Thoughts?

Win
wheagy
 
Posts: 14
Joined: August 5th, 2013, 10:43 am

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby AltairClone » August 28th, 2013, 7:15 pm

Interesting idea regarding the Raspberry Pi! The Clone case already has holes for a micro-ATX motherboard and a hard disk, but you'd have to run without a rear panel (or build your own!), and shove a big 'ol PC power supply in. The raspberry, on the other hand, would easily fit and cables could exit through spare DB-25 holes.

I know Linux drivers exist for the USB to serial port adapters we sell, but I'm not sure they'd work with kernels that run on the Pi or not. It would be fun to play with though!

Mike
AltairClone
Site Admin
 
Posts: 337
Joined: April 5th, 2013, 10:55 am

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby Tor » August 29th, 2013, 4:27 am

AltairClone wrote:I know Linux drivers exist for the USB to serial port adapters we sell, but I'm not sure they'd work with kernels that run on the Pi or not.

Which chipset is used in the USB to serial port adapter? FTDI-based USB to serial will work on any Linux-based platform, including the Pi, and even Android devices. For other chipsets it may be necessary to compile a driver, but at least on the Pi it shouldn't be much of a problem.

-Tor
Tor
 
Posts: 12
Joined: June 20th, 2013, 5:34 pm
Location: Norway/Japan

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby wheagy » August 29th, 2013, 9:15 am

I have an RPi and a couple different USB-Serial adapters. Hoping to get some time this weekend to try some of this and see how well it works. Also, Minicom looks to have many of the features needed. Hoping to try that this weekend too.

Win
wheagy
 
Posts: 14
Joined: August 5th, 2013, 10:43 am

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby AltairClone » August 29th, 2013, 10:18 am

Assuming the Linux kernel on the Pi has the common "screen" command, you've already have a terminal emulator built in to Linux. A technique for sending files (straight binary transfer and XMODEM transfer) would still be required.

For example, at a "$" prompt, here's the command to start a "terminal emulator" through ttyS0 at 9600 baud. Of course, the virtual serial port created by the USB adapter installation would be substituted for ttyS0.

$ screen /dev/ttyS0 9600

Mike
AltairClone
Site Admin
 
Posts: 337
Joined: April 5th, 2013, 10:55 am

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby mham » August 29th, 2013, 1:26 pm

I actually just got out one of my Pi's last night to do something along the lines of this. I don't think I will install the Pi permanently in the clone, but I will use it externally with it.
The neat thing is that the RPi already has serial on the GPIO. The draw back is that it is at 3.3v, not the 12v that RS-232 uses.
This: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/449 would be useful in this case.
I'll keep you posted on my use of an RPi with the clone. What I might do is get an RS-232 level shifter and install it in the case that houses my Raspberry Pi, so there are no usb adapters used.
mham
 
Posts: 4
Joined: August 29th, 2013, 12:21 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby wheagy » August 29th, 2013, 6:15 pm

Yeah, using GPIO would free up one of the USB ports. Could maybe get by without a USB hub, Do a quick search on ebay and you'll find lots of RS232 shifters in the $4-$5 dollar range. There's lots of USB to Serial adapters in that price range too. How easy it would be to get the cheap adapters to work with the Pi is a different question.

Win
wheagy
 
Posts: 14
Joined: August 5th, 2013, 10:43 am

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby mham » August 30th, 2013, 12:45 pm

I think the Pi is pretty largely supported so I would bet there are drivers out there that support the USB adapters. It'd be neat to find an "OS" that was solely a terminal emulator, instead of having to boot to a GUI, but that's just me being picky
mham
 
Posts: 4
Joined: August 29th, 2013, 12:21 pm

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby wheagy » August 30th, 2013, 9:45 pm

Linux, therefore the RPi, doesn't force you to use the GUI. Minicom is a command line app that makes good use of a command line shell, with pop up text menus, etc. No need to start a window manager at all. I expect to run it with the clone this way most of the time.

Win
wheagy
 
Posts: 14
Joined: August 5th, 2013, 10:43 am

Re: Raspberry Pi mounted inside Clone?

Postby wheagy » August 31st, 2013, 10:42 am

I did a quick setup this morning with an RPi running Raspian, a cheap 7" composite display, a USB/Serial adapter and the Clone. Here are some pics.
http://imgur.com/VXuua6i

The first is the RPi running Minicom connected to the Clone with a short BASIC prime number program...is it using a term in the Raspian window manager. The second is the same config, but without the window manager. Both work very well. I don't have a serial adapter to try on the GPIO pins of the RPi, so I'll have to try that another time. I'm using a cheap USB hub to connect the keyboard and mouse and to power the RPi. A larger monitor will, of course, give you a better picture. Since the RPi has composite out, you could likely connect it to an old school monitor if you want a more retro look.

I have not tried Xmodem transfers with Minicom yet, but will hopefully get to that this weekend.

Win
wheagy
 
Posts: 14
Joined: August 5th, 2013, 10:43 am

Next

Return to General Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron