Westinghouse W1642 terminal... any info?

Mr Ian Primus ian_primus at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 13 09:13:38 CDT 2008

I posted this over at comp.terminals, but I figured I'd send it out to this list too... 

I've just accquired a Westinghouse W1642 terminal, and I'm looking for
any kind of documentation I can find on it. It's clearly somewhat of a
single purpose terminal, originally used at airlines. The keyboard is
weird, and is missing many "useful" characters, like brackets,
slashes, pipe and comma. Instead, it has various weird symbols,
command keys, and such. It has no shift key, and only displays upper
case. It also appears to support multiple sessions, with keys to
switch between them, and display a split screen mode. Typing in any of
the sessions will echo to the screen, even with nothing connected.

On the back are four female DB25 connectors - LINE/PRINT, PRINT1,
PRINT2 and AUX. I've tried connecting it up to a computer and sending
text to it, at 9600 baud. Connecting an RS232 cable to AUX causes the
CTRL-DOWN indicator at the bottom of the screen to go away, but only
for the full screen session. Sending random junk to the terminal
through the serial port occasionally is able to bring up a message at
the top, something about an invalid printer, but no other garbage
displays. So far, I've only tried it at 9600 baud, I didn't have time
last night to try other speeds.

Inside the terminal seems rather conventional, I haven't dismantled it
completely, but near each port is a 75154 (quad line receiver), and it
appears that farther back on the board are other comms chips
(socketed). I was expecting to see 1488/89 pairs, but haven't seen
those in there yet. Two of the ports are on a daughter board, the
other two are on the main board. The boards are partially hidden by
the monitor chassis, and I've not pulled them out to look yet. There
are some dip switches on the main board though.

So.. basically, I know that this isn't going to be a great computer
terminal, with it's lack of important command keys, (no ESC either!).
That's too bad, since it's very well built, has a very nice keyboard,
and a very sharp, clear screen. But, I would like to be able to do
something with it, send text to it, use it as a console command
monitor, something. Does anyone have any kind of documentation or
information on this beastie? 



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