Friday, July 30, 2010

RetroChallenge: Oh no!

So my UPS delivery date of the router was just updated to August 3rd. I am out before I really even began. Oh well, I have some good projects in mind for next Challenge!

Monday, July 26, 2010

RetroChallenge cables

I am going to need 3 different types of cables to hook up to my future router:

  • DB9 RS422 (old classic Macs)
  • mini-DIN8 RS422 (newer classic Macs)
  • DB9 RS232 (new usb to serial converter)

The 3com documentation for a similar router has all of the pin-outs. The router uses an connector RJ-45 for the AUX serial and console ports, and a DB50(!) connector for the Serial port and the expansion card I bought.

So I went scavenging through the thrift store today to find some old serial cables. I found an old serial port adapter for a Parallel HP printer. It does not look like a real serial to parallel adapter (rather some printer-specific implementation), so I will be cutting off the nice mini-Din8 end of it to make a serial cable for my Mac SE or SE/30.

I bought some male DB9 to RJ45 modular adapters at the surplus electronics store earlier this month. I want to make sure that the pin-outs are correct on the router before I insert the pins in the adapters, because they are really hard to remove. This will connect to the 512K and 128K Macintoshes. I can just use a standard ethernet cable to connect to the router's AUX and console ports. Even though these Macs do not have TCP/IP, I hope the router has a telnet client built in. That will allow a normal serial terminal to connect to the router, then out to other machines.

The USB-serial adapter is easy, and only needs a straight through DB9 cable to connect to the AUX port adapter cable.

As for the DB50 connector, that is another story. I hope that it comes with an adapter cable!

RetroChallenge Part 2

Here is my router shipping info:
Status: In Transit - On Time  Scheduled Delivery Date: 07/30/2010
That gives me a full day to complete my experiment! With a list price of only $1,420.80, $25.00 is a pretty good deal. I paid $18.00 for the additional serial interface so I can hopefully have 6 ethernet-less Macs connected to the internet at once.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


With only one week to go, I decided to enter the RetroChallenge. The plan is to get all of my Ethernet-less Macs online without having to buy expensive hardware, and without using another computer. here is how I used to do it: Getting a Classic Mac online using a Mac OS X server. And here is what I want to try: 3com 5009 router. This is an high-end router that is readily available online for about $25 including shipping. It has 2 serial ports. The plan is to hook the Mac serial ports up to it and make the connection through PPP.