Retrofitting ancient computers for network glory

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Do you have an ancient Commodore 64, Apple, Amiga or PC lying around your basement, garage or attic? Ever thought about hooking up that old silicon to your home network and the Internet rather than an a BBS (Wildcat or Renegade, your choice) of yore?

Well, a modder named Stian had the very same thought and decided to do something about it. As his Amiga A500 wasn't expandable, he built an adapter to give the stalwart machine rudimentary network capabilities.

How, you ask? Well, all it took was a Raspberry Pi, a null modem cable and some good old software elbow grease.

As the folks at Hack a Day explain, Stian made a small serial converter board for his Raspi that basically breaks out the Tx and Rx pins on the Pi to a 9-pin serial port.

Once the physical connection to the Pi was made, Stian organized some software for the old machine: AmiTCP and PPP. There are obviously faster network connections, but at least the above-mentioned build allowed the modder to connect his ancient hardware to WiFi networks.

Fortunately, Stian's build appears to be completely transferable to other ancient machines with a serial port that supports PPP. Frankly, all of this kind of makes me regret selling my old Pentium with an old Monster 3DFX card. It may be old, but there was nothing like playing a good game of Quake OpenGL with Nine Inch Nails playing in the background. Oh, well.