Looking for Teletype Substitute

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby kwiebe » March 6th, 2019, 1:30 pm

I'd like to have a real one, but due to price/availability that may not happen. So I began looking at potential substitutes. For example, there was a period of time when electronic typewriters were popular and some models were capable of bidirectional serial comms. There are lots of vintage electronic typewriters on the market. A small subset of them has unidirectional serial capability (to use as a PC printer) and an even smaller subset has bidirectional serial (what I'm interested in).

So I've been monitoring ebay and other websites hoping to find a capable unit in acceptable condition, but so far haven't found one that meets my criteria.

Does anyone here have experience or recommendations for this scenario? Favorite model to use?

Comments welcome.
-Ken
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby Twayne5 » March 6th, 2019, 7:45 pm

You might look for a portable terminal, I use a Texas Instruments silent 700 model 703 and a Panasonic KX-D4911. They both use thermal fax paper.
There are a lot of different portable terminals out there, just make sure it has a serial port.
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby kwiebe » March 7th, 2019, 11:34 am

Thanks for the tip, Twayne5. I have seen the Silent series but not the Panasonic KX-D4911.

I'm a little hesitant on the Silent because it looks like it uses a proprietary cable. Not a showstopper, but something to consider.

The Panasonic looks very interesting and looks like it would use a standard serial cable. I'll add that to my list.

-Ken
-Ken
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby kwiebe » March 29th, 2019, 11:39 am

I picked up a KX-D4911. But I'm having trouble finding a manual. If anyone runs across, please let me know.

Thanks
-Ken
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby Twayne5 » March 30th, 2019, 8:34 am

Hi,
I don't have an extra manual but if you have any questions about setting it up let me know and I will try to help.

Travis
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby kwiebe » April 4th, 2019, 10:00 pm

Twayne5 wrote:Hi,
I don't have an extra manual but if you have any questions about setting it up let me know and I will try to help.

Travis


Hi Travis,

I connected my KX-D4911 via serial and set its switch to EIA. I also pressed the 'Mode' button so 'On line' is lit.

But I don't get any data passing. Pressing RETURN key I get a beep.

Does it need a null modem adapter?

Also there is a slide switch by the EIA connector. What should that be set to?

Can you set a speed on it and parity etc.

The KX-D4911 seems to work fine in Local mode. Is there some other incantation I need to do, to get it to work serially?

Thanks!
Last edited by kwiebe on April 4th, 2019, 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-Ken
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby Twayne5 » April 4th, 2019, 11:29 pm

Hi,
Did you set up the serial parameters first? If not, use the CMD button and follow the prompts. Set switch to EIA.
After that press the MODE button to get online, if everything is good the green "carrier" light and "online" light should be lit.
You may also have a cable issue depending on what your trying to do, either a pass through or a null modem cable will be needed. If your hooking to the Altair clone then I believe you need to use a pass through.
As far as the switch by the EIA connector goes, mine is set to "out", not sure it matters in our case.

Good luck,
Travis
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby kwiebe » April 5th, 2019, 12:03 am

Twayne5 wrote:Hi,
Did you set up the serial parameters first? If not, use the CMD button and follow the prompts. Set switch to EIA.
After that press the MODE button to get online, if everything is good the green "carrier" light and "online" light should be lit.
You may also have a cable issue depending on what your trying to do, either a pass through or a null modem cable will be needed. If your hooking to the Altair clone then I believe you need to use a pass through.
As far as the switch by the EIA connector goes, mine is set to "out", not sure it matters in our case.

Good luck,
Travis


Thanks for the tip about the CMD button. If you get a chance, can you let me know what all your params are set to?

I've tried every combination I can think of with both null modem and straight-thru but I can't get the Carrier light. I think I'm really close.
-Ken
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby Twayne5 » April 5th, 2019, 3:35 pm

I hooked the KX-D4911 to my AltairClone 2SIO port 1 ( top one) with a straight through cable and I used these parameters:
1:Baud Rate=9600
2:Word Length=8 bit
3:Parity=MARK
4:YES
5:NO
6:NO
7:NO
8:NO
9:NO
10:2
11:NONE
12:LOW
13:NO

It looks like the KX-D4911 does not have the "NO PARITY" option so I used "MARK" instead and it seems to work.
Turn on the AltairClone and hold up the stop switch while toggling up the left AUX switch, you should get the AltairClone configuration screen.

Note: When you change the parameters on the KX-D4911 and you are done making changes you can hit the "BREAK" key to get out of the loop.

Travis
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Re: Looking for Teletype Substitute

Postby kwiebe » April 6th, 2019, 9:56 am

Thank you so much, Travis. I used the info you provided to get the 4911 talking to a Raspberry Pi. I needed to order a cable for the Altair connection, but now that I have the 4911 talking I am confident it will work with the Altair as well.

I really like the 4911. Thanks again!
-Ken
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