RetroChallenge 2013

Egads, is it really July already? It’s time for Summer Retrochallenge 2013!

Actually, I’ve left it right up to the last minute this year. So sorry! I was this close to just giving it a pass, but then a project idea literally figuratively fell into my lap.

Long story short, a couple of weeks ago I bought a VT100 keyboard to complete a keyboard-less VT100 terminal I’ve been trying to get working. The keyboard just arrived at my home, but the rest of the terminal is down at my storage. I’m far too lazy to go get it, especially in this heat. Solution: a way to plug the VT100 keyboard into my Mac and use it without the terminal!

Here is my beautifully artistic sketch of the idea:

fig. 1: A VT100 to USB Converter
fig. 1: A VT100 to USB Converter

The little box will hold a Teensy development board. The VT100 keyboard will plug into the box through a standard 1/4″ TRS jack, and a USB cable will trail out the other side.

It would be nice to supply power directly from USB, but unfortunately the VT100 keyboard is a +12V device so I’ll also need a +12V power brick to feed it, and some logic external to the Teensy to interface to it. But that’s part of the challenge, right?

This should be fun!