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30127Re: can a terminal damage a computer?

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  • Jeff Jonas
    Apr 7, 2013
      I defer to Ian's experience:

      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Mr Ian Primus <ian_primus@...> wrote:
      > It's going to be really rare for a terminal
      > to damage a computer... beyond possibly burning out the
      > 1488/1489 chips if there is something horribly wrong
      > with the terminal, wired wrong, etc.

      The Altair serial port blew one of those chips
      at the MARCH exhibit at the MAKER fair a few years ago.
      I'm unsure if it was damaged there, or before.
      But it sure ruined our day :-(

      > Now, there is an exception here
      > if there is bad wiring in the building.

      As you vividly demonstrated at VCF with your Prime :-/
      Perhaps I ought to demonstrate my
      fiber optic RS232 adapters.
      No metal between the systems,
      and it can reach over a km without repeaters!

      > I had one weird occurrence several years ago
      > while copying some files on an Apple IIe, however ...
      [static zap]
      > So, I'd burned out the RS232 chip in the [PC] computer.

      It's a crime not to socket those chips.

      <mild rant>
      The Univac is made up of hundreds, perhaps thousands of
      teeny PC boards because it required constant maintenance.
      Even televisions of the 70s were modular.
      But now everything's surface mount
      and so highly integrated into the motherboard
      that the mobo is considered a FRU (field replaceable unit).
      Happily, my car is not that way (yet!)

      <slightly off topic>
      Using a laptop/netbook/tablet (with software terminal emulation) with a USB to RS232 adapter sounds reasonably safe because the external adapter is the only thing at risk. Sadly, the Trenton Computer Fest's flea mkt is too small to offer them cheap as in years past :-(

      There are 2 chips inside those dongles
      - a FTDI FT232RL USB to serial adapter (or Prolific part)
      but that's 5V TTL serial
      (Adafruit's FTDI friend is just that chip
      http://www.adafruit.com/products/284 )
      - a Maxim MAX232 driver/buffer for TTL to RS232 levels
      with built in power supply so it's +5V only
      (also available as a teeny board:
      http://www.mikroe.com/add-on-boards/communication/max232/ )

      I just soldered up a RS232 to current loop adapter should MARCH need to interface to a current loop terminal.
      It's not opto-ioslated but it was good enough to be a kit!

      I'm unsure when or if I'll ever interface Bluetooth to that for wireless links to the vintage TTY.

      -- jeff jonas
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