modern serial terminal

Philip Pemberton classiccmp at philpem.me.uk
Sun Nov 4 14:33:58 CST 2007


David Griffith wrote:
[snip description]
> How hard would it be to create something like this?  How much would it
> cost?

CPU: I'd use an ARM or Coldfire CPU - a Philips LPC2000 in External Memory 
mode, or a Freescale MCF5307. Give it a bit of external RAM and Flash, and a 
CPLD to handle VGA signal generation and supply the glue. Add some keyboard 
input logic to said CPLD and flash it with U-Boot and Linux. Teach Linux how 
to control the VGA (basically write a framebuffer driver) and shoehorn a 
terminal emulator onto it. Bolt on an EEPROM or cheap RTC chip for 
configuration storage. Job done.

Total parts cost: About £50 tops, excluding PCB and case. Probably about £100 
total.
Development time: Most of the OS is done already - the framebuffer driver 
would be the hard part. I haven't seen much documentation on fbdev/fbcon.

Is it worth it? Not really, IMO.
What would I do? Get a cheap laptop. A 486SX or something. Put Linux on the 
hard drive (or shove a cheap CompactFlash card and adapter in there). Voila, 
instant portable terminal.

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