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My brand new vintage computer.

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Just finished this little guy for Pi day. Thought I'd post it.


I Have actually been working on this project for a couple months now but I had set Pi day as my target finish date. I just barely got It done. I thought I would like to show it off, offer this as a tutorial, or just offer it up for some inspiration. This I my brand new all purpose vintage computer emulation device with a real classic look!
I am very interested in vintage computing and my goal is to make this a multi computer emulation machine with kind of a classic feel. I had stumbled upon an old Ultratec teletype machine for $1.50 at a thrift store. I thought it would make a sweet little Raspberry Pi case, but there were a lot of little issues that I had too work around.
Most of these issues revolved around the keyboard. It lacks important keys, and there is no way to hook it up to the Pi. I came up with a very time consuming work around. I first took a dremel and literally hacked off the back half of the teletypes main board.
The wires you see at this point were just test leads. I then had to take a dremel bit and cut all of the circuit traces connecting the keyboard keys on both sides of the board.
On the outside of the teletype I used the area that housed the teletype screen to create a button panel out of tactile switches. There are 20 switches. Now on the Pi I plan to map each one of these keys with alternate shift functions. This will give me 40 more keys to play with. This solved the problem with the missing keys.
I bought a cheap usb keyboard and removed the circuit board.
I removed the two plastic sheets with the keyboards key matrix printed on them. I used fine point sharpies to map the key map connections of the usb keyboard.
I made lots of charts and lists of the connections.
Using this I rewired the teletype key board and my key panel into the usb key board circuit.
This required massive amounts of soldering and wire connections. I also included a wire harness between my own key panel so that I can disconnect if need be.
Every key is wired to the key that it corresponds with on the usb keyboard. This solved the problem of connecting it to the I will however still have to make a few adjustments using xmodmap.
I bought a powered usb hub and removed most of the usb ports. I carefully cut holes for usb ports on the back of the teletype.
I glued them into place with some JB weld and used wires to connect them back to the hub. I also connected the power for the usb hub to the barrel connector that was there for the teletype's power. I also used original power switch of the teletype to turn my usb hub on and off. I also have my Raspberry Pi powered with the hub so the switch turns everything on and off. I bought a 6" hdmi extension cable and mounted it where the phone connections used to be on the teletype.
The teletype I used had a battery compartment on the bottom.
I removed the battery holder. I cut a slit in one of the walls of this compartment just big enough to slide a sd card through. I mounted my Pi and my usb hub on a piece of acrylic screwed into the bottom of the teletype. I oriented my Pi so that the sd card would go through the hole I cut.
Now I have easy access to my sd card though the battery door.
Finally I found some I Home speakers that when trimmed fit perfectly into the cups for the teletypes modem. So don't be fooled by the image with the rotary phone. Thats just for show. Those cups are now speakers for my PI.
I am now mostly done with hardware mode and ready to go into software mode. I have the Pi set up with PiMAME, and I am emulating c64 that way.
I want to make individual sd cards that will boot directly into certain emulators. That way changing systems will be as easy as swapping out sd cards. I also have plans to use it as a file server to my atari computer using AspeQt. Best of all my Pi wont look out of place next to my old machines. I hope some of you found this useful. This was a huge learning experience for me and hopefully this will inspire someone else. I am planing some more modifications and features. I will post updates if there is interest.

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Wow, very impressive. And cute :)



All that point to point soldering he did on the on the keyboard took infinite patience. The photos are excellent, great post Dripfree!

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Very cool project! -- and I also like the green art glass in the second photo. :) (My other collecting hobby...)


I am surprised that you managed to find a teletype machine at a thrift shop; there is nothing but old PC hardware and VCRs around here.

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Wow, that's awesome! You should show this to the guys at Hack-A-Day, they'd love it.


Your tenacity impresses me to no end, the quality of work is very clean. Love it!

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This is really cool stuff, as I mentioned in another thread Joysticks could be implemented as well to really seal the deal :)


I actually did make a joystick but never posted it. I took one of those namco tv games joysticks and riped out the guts. I then wired another usb keyboard circuit into the joysticks directional switches. The pi just thinks its a second keyboard hooked up. The joystick triggers the keyboards arrow keys for direction and the left ctrl key for the button. To be honest the joystick sucks. I just used what I had laying around and this thing is a really crappy toy. I want to do the same mod to a gemstick. I know thats not a great stick either but it's what I used on my gramps c64 as a child, and I'm kinda trying to recreate that experience.

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