Whitterm-220 Clever Serial Terminal



The Whitterm-220 (WT-220) is a clever terminal, in the sense that it aims to emulate the dumb terminals of the 80s but with the versatility of something produced now. The name comes from my inspiration for the project: failure to win a VT-220 on eBay. I decided it would be fun to make a homage to the VT-220, that would actually be useful – a not so dumb, or clever terminal – that would do more than simply parsing RS232 levels into Ascii characters.

Inside this laminated plywood enclosure is a Raspberry Pi 2, booting into Arch linux. Using a Raspberry Pi is what makes it a clever terminal – it has the serial I/O you’d get on a dumb terminal but running Linux enables SSH, firmware flashing, development, even a desktop shell. The screen is the official Raspberry Pi 7″ touch screen.

As a power indicator, a transparent acrylic layer is sandwiched with white LEDs at the front, which also double up as RX and TX activity indicators. In terms of IO, there are two DB9 connectors for RS232 level serial and TTL, enabling it to interface with industry kit and microcontroller projects. Both connect to the hardware UART of the Pi, providing a reliable serial connection that cannot be obtained with USB adaptors. With the 6 free pins on the TTL DB9, I have brought out GPIO from the Pi for internal/external driving of projects (including PWM and I2C) and created a breakout board with labelled silkscreen. Additionally there are two USB ports and a DC jack providing the Pi with a stable 5V on a range of input voltages – you can power via a wall adaptor 7-20V or a 5V micro USB via the breakout board.

I was not intending on selling so they will be an extremely limited run for those that are interested. Lead time will be around three weeks.


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