Paul's WiFi232 Modem is a very small and compact piece of kit. It is a DCE (data circuit-terminating equipment) device that can be plugged into any standard RS-232C DB25 DTE (data terminal equipment) host serial port. This means it can literally be plugged into any Amiga ever made. Beyond that, it is able to be used with multiple retro computing platforms, including Atari, Tandy, Apple (IIe) and Macintosh. Check out his blog for a complete list of computers that the modem has been successfully tested on thus far (and the list is sure to grow). As of today, here are all of the current features of the WiFi232 Modem:
- Standard DB25 female RS-232C connector (DCE).
- Supports 300 to 115200 baud.
- Emulation of a Hayes modem, using standard (and non-standard) Hayes “AT” commands.
- Storage of settings and 10 speed dial addresses in flash memory.
- Accepts inbound connections on customizable TCP port (produces “RING” response).
- Automatically responds with a customizable busy message when already in a call.
- Supports Commodore PET “MCTerm” character set translation (requires custom cable, interface).
- Hardware and software flow control supported (one direction only– retro PC can pause incoming data).
- Hardware flow control is RTS or DTR selectable with solder jumpers.
- DTR + DCD and DTR + DSR loopback solder jumpers (RS-232C side only).
- Over-the-air firmware updates.
- Telnet negotiation support.
- Built-in web server, MDNS support, and WiFi access point for easy configuration.
- Powered by a USB mini jack or solder terminals for your own power source.
- A PDF manual.
As mentioned above, the WiFi232 is powered via a built-in mini USB jack. Simply plug in a standard USB A to mini-B cable into any USB power jack that is capable of providing 100mA of power at 5v DC. I got a 6-foot long cable and plugged it into one of the many loose Apple iPhone USB power plugs I have floating around the house. This might be one of the only drawbacks one could possibly find with the modem - it's lack of using a computer's built-in power supply. However an alternate way to power the modem is to use the “PWR IN” solder terminals on
the board. For me, I just the USB jack and remind myself to unplug it from power whenever my online session is over. No biggie. With the computer powered off, you carefully plug the modem into your computer's serial port. At the time of this writing, there is no case/enclosure available for purchase, although a few in the community have told Paul they would design one and put it on Shapeways in the near future. Once it is firmly seated in the serial port, you can plug the USB into your power strip. A blue or red light should turn on on the modem (mine is blue). After that, it's time to turn on your computer and launch a terminal program. My personal choice is A-Talk III. I love it for its being so user friendly and intuitive. It is very customizable and easy to modify. The first step once you launch it is to set your baud rate to 1200. Next, you simply follow the step-by-step commands Paul provides in a PDF file he offers you after you buy the modem.
You save your SSID and Password to the modem so the next time you use it, everything is ready to go. After that, you're ready to connect to your favorite BBSes - it's that simple! It took me all of three minutes to set this modem up and get online.
Since all of the boards I currently connect to are PETSCII enhanced, I will need to fire up Color64. A-Talk doesn't play 100% nice with the text on-screen with a 4-color readout.
But luckily I can modify its colors very easily and make it so the majority of text is very easy to consume. In terms of being dummy proof and user friendly, this modem freaking rocks! The fact that it can work with a variety of retro-computer platforms makes it even that much more valuable. For less than $50 USD, this is one seriously fantastic piece of kit.
I spoke with Paul online to get a handle on how many of these are available.
In case that wasn't clear, this modem a special limited run, and when supplies run out that's probably going to be it.Honestly I have a day job and this was originally a project to suit my needs first but a few people asked if I was going to make them for sale-- so I did. I have enough for 100 and that's probably it for me.
I can sell many kits at the moment but assembled is where the bottle neck is. It's so time consuming.
The product page is supposed to have a limit to the number it can sell then it will stop taking orders so it's fine.
The pricing is extremely fair: available as a kit for $30 or fully assembled for $45 USD. USPS First Class shipping to USA is $3 tracked (non-insured). USPS First Class International everywhere else for $15 tracked (non-insured).
Can't blame him there! So get one while you can, folks. Highly recommended.I don't want to spend the rest of my life over a soldering iron lol