That’s an interesting modem. It looks like a first generation to add fax capability. I like how the manual is so specific about the need for a 16C450 serial chip. Thanks for posting!
Everyone should take a look at the ACMS collection which is now coming online slowly!
Great work everyone involved
Microbee setup including beemodem spotted recently at Upper Yarra Museum, Melbourne:
Here’s an unusual new entry for the list:
V-Link Model 241 Keyboard Modem
In the ebay photos you can read on the back of the device: “Manufactured by Design Two Thousand For Consultech Aust PL Melbourne”
Consultech Australia : Custom design and manufacture of the UMD Model 241 “V-Link” Viatel Keyboard Modem Terminal. This videotext system interfaced to the then Telecom’s Viatel Service and incorporated modem, keyboard and display interface. https://www.umd.com.au/information/projects.html
I’d have a guess that the modem in this terminal is 2400bps.
This one seems to be missing from the head post:
CatChat: Banksia Bit Blitzer MX-4
Just a note that the modem in this looks like it is actually 1200/75 only (or maybe 300/300 as well), since it’s only got a 7910 inside.
- Hitachi HD6303 processor (6800 instruction set, )
- EF9345 semigraphics processor
- EF7910 V.21/V.23 modem chip
- 1 27C256 EPROM (dated Feb 1987)
- 1 XLS2816A-450 EEPROM chip (2K x8)
- Some basic interface logic
- 5V Regulator (7805)
- Matrix keyboard (membrane switches, held in by plastic posts with melted ends - which broke, and why the keyboard looked wonky in the eBay ad)
Not much else to it really.
Will probably post some more pics of it at some stage.
Thanks heaps for posting those details and I look forward to seeing some pics.
I was wondering if it’d work with generic BBS’s or if it was Viatel only. What do you think?
I’ve added it to the head post on your recommendation. It is good to get an early model into the Banksia list. In future I’m not likely to add items that are in the ACMS catalogue. This list is/was more about a record for posterity before a more formal record existed. I can’t see enough value in duplicating entries here now that such a good cataloguing system is in place.
It does raise some interesting points I hadn’t considered: can the ACMS catalogue contain entries for which it does not have an item in the collection? Should it? The standard of evidence for inclusion in the catalogue, as I understand it, is currently a physical artefact in the ACMS collection. The standard of evidence for inclusion in this list of Australian modem manufacturers is much more diverse, eg eBay listing, personal collections and web references. Both have the value to preserve history.
I haven’t yet fired it up (planning to do that on the weekend, plus pics from as is to disassembled, maybe some repair work on the keyboard, etc), but I suspect that as long as the BBS was capable of 1200/75 at 8/N/1 and was straight text (all lower 7 bit), then it’d work. Only one way to find out tho!
It’d be possible to make a BBS spit out the Videotext protocol, but I doubt many ever bothered.
From a quick glance when I had it open, there’s a relay in there but no dialling circuitry, so you’d need to call the service on a phone connected to the V-Link (with the phone routed through the device) and then tell it to connect, which would disconnect the phone (ie: manual dialling but with the hook under automated control).
Edited to add:
Well I fired it up (works fine, uses about ~425mA @ 9V). It has auto dialling (seems to be pulse dial!) and it has an option for putting in details for your own services, so basically you could use this to dial an ordinary (text only) BBS.
Modem supports 300 and 1200/75 (selectable in the menus).
And the EEPROM obviously stores all the dialled numbers. You can also save screens while connected (eg: Viatel info pages), and then while offline put it in a “Carousel” mode where it cycles through the screens you saved.
Composite output seems to be mono, but that might also be the TV. Will give RF output a try at some stage.
So managed to get a connection with it. It’s very picky about the 1200/75 connection tho, and will think something in the V.22bis negotiation is a V.23 answer sequence. Had to force the answering modem to only do V.23 and then it worked.
Used the USR V.34 Everything as the answering modem here, connected to a laptop running Linux/Minicom. Unit is outside the frame of the shot (sorry!).
Still can’t get a colour display out of it (don’t have an RGB monitor I can plug it into). RF signal (analog TV) is very messy, seems to have a number of repeats over the VHF low band, and is quite low signal strength according to the TV. Found forcing the TV to expect PAL on the composite input gives the best results.
One other issue: No way to hang up except pulling the cable. I suspect the “Log Off” button might only work in Videotex mode.
Edited to add: More pics below.
Just a pic of all the connectors on the back.
Here’s what looks like inside. Main board is double sided (components on top only as was common for thru-hole), while the keyboard PCB was single sided.
In the top left corner of the keyboard, you’ll see one of the plastic pins that hold the PCB in place is missing. There’s two more (one directly down from it toward the connector, and one to the right of the first one). At least 1 of those is snapped off where the pin meets the case (the stub of the pin was floating around in the case). This is why the advertised pic had the 1 and Esc keys looking all wonky. Space bar is also cracked down the middle.
Plan is to remove the melted plastic from the end of the pins that hold in the keyboard, and see how many remaining pins are intact. Depending on how things look, I may either try and fabricate some new pins (probably painful), or replace them with threads (more likely, even if plastic, with nuts on the back of the keyboard). While I’ve got it off, also plan to glue the spacebar back together, and depending on how it’s constructed, give it some reinforcing, so the glue doesn’t have to take all the strain when the bar is depressed.
That sure is a gorgeous piece of Australian comms history. Thanks heaps for sharing!
They came as 300/300 Baud or 1200/75 Baud.
Thanks for starting the year with a new manufacturer - I’m glad to add it to the list and hopefully we’ll see a few more turn up yet.
I have this same unit, but when they became SENDATA branded. I wonder if SENDATA bought this brand or simply re-badged had Futretronics brand on their behalf?
Beware, my instructions have been partially eaten by paper lice!!
The Sendata’s were rebranded by a bunch of other companies, including Futuretronics.