Teletype Twitter frontend

The folks from NYC Resistor got their hands on a teletype machine and hacked it to monitor Twitter. This eighty-year-old beast bangs out messages that it receives at 45.45 baud. This isn’t a project that turns something into a teletype, but rather finds a different way to feed the machine data. In this case, a python script parses Twitter and sends the data it finds to an Arduino board. The Arduino in turn formats the message into the serial format necessary to communicate with the device. To the left you can see a trend plotter, learn more about both in the video after the break.

[Thanks James]

Comments

  1. nave.notnilc says:

    or you could just use a USB to RS232 adapter and skip the arduino

  2. Mic says:

    Tele-Twit?

  3. Alan says:

    Except that this teletype doesn’t use RS232

  4. Chris says:

    Don’t most teletype machines use 5 bit RTTY? Why not just use a sound card to feed the data to the machine…

  5. brian4120 says:

    Remember, Serial != RS232

  6. Macpod says:

    They should modify the teletype to print onto toilet paper.

  7. PocketBrain says:

    @Mic:
    Tele-Tweet.

  8. YaBa says:

    How about Bus Pirate to do the thing and a script in python or other?!
    just kidding.

  9. osgeld says:

    nothing preserves a 80 something like shoving a blue led into it

    thank god we didnt do this back in the 80’s, everything would be neon pink and green with “hair forever” painted on the side

  10. phooky says:

    It’s running the old 5-bit baudot code (USTTY). Here’s the source:

    http://svn.nycresistor.com/projects/teletype15/arduino/

    This was the quick hacked-up arduino version, so it doesn’t do case switching without explicitly sending the case code.

  11. vonskippy says:

    Twitter and Steampunk – two things that can’t die fast enough.

  12. elohttub says:

    “Twitter and Steampunk – two things that can’t die fast enough.”

    This.

  13. Drone says:

    When I read they used an Arduino to interface a 60mA current loop I just shook my head in disbelief. If you wonder why the Arduino is bad, this is a perfect example. Its like opening a boiled egg with a sledge-hammer just because the sledge-hammer is handy and you are too lazy to care about the best way to do it.

    All NYC Resistor had to do is ask Google and/or root around in rtty.com for an elegant solution. Instead they picked up a sledge-hammer. What kind of example is this for upcoming generations of hackers?

  14. cf says:

    1) There’s not actually a blue LED on it, just a reflective NYCR logo that has a blue-ish tint in the photo.

    2) It’s not steampunk, it’s just really old. Steampunk by Hackaday’s standards would be if we took a modern printer and put it in a crappy wooden box and glued some brass fittings and a piece of pipe to it.

  15. nv says:

    @Drone

    Not sure why you find it offensive to use the tools at hand to solve a problem. I don’t know what you think the most elegant solution is to produce a 45.45 baud BAUDOT serial stream at 100v 60ma DC. Having the micro-controller in the middle sure makes shifting the speed of the serial stream easier. The arduino bootloader and IDE makes developing the firmware painless.

    I agree that the atmega168 or atmega328 is overkill. But then again, this project wasn’t to make the most technically perfect interface for the teletype. It was to repair the teletype and hack together an interface. Then make it do something somewhat interesting.

  16. osgeld says:

    “1) There’s not actually a blue LED on it, just a reflective NYCR logo that has a blue-ish tint in the photo.”

    fair enough, and LOL @ #2

  17. osgeld says:

    @ nv, I agree, what is this elegant solution, and yes while they used a bigger than really needed mcu its just extra pins and ram

    If someone has a better way of doing it, write a blog or something and link to it, till then its just pixie dust and unicorn farts

  18. D- says:

    @Macpod. In desperate times the paper being by the machine is toilet paper.

    @elohttub; Steampunk is stuff masquerading as the real deal by by fashion mostly. This teleprinter is the real deal, not steampunk.

    @brian4120 RS232 is a standard. This teleprinter is still a serial device that use a communications standard other than rs232.

    • John Duggan (KG6EOT) says:

      A little off topic but steampunk sucks in any form or definition because these “artists” destroy rare and serviceable stuff. second, there is little info on converting ASCII to Baudot, my first thought was Arduino, it takes some processor power to convert a 7-8 bit code to a 5 bit code. “serial is more than RS232, there must be 50 serial protocols

  19. Geoff says:

    Any details of the circuitry used? I’ve been trying to do something similar with a model 32 teletype. It seems to be very finicky about the waveform you feed the coil.

    • John Duggan (KG6EOT) says:

      Yes, rise time is critical, you need at least 1ms. a model 32 is a 5 bit (Baudot) A model 33 is 7 bit (ASCII) they look the same like the 28 (Baudot) and 35 (ASCII).

  20. Alex says:

    @osgeld

    Try this: http://rtty.com/wa2hwj.jpg

  21. osgeld says:

    ok thats wonderful, but again this is not rs232 and how does one get a 232 urart to do 45 baud?

  22. vaporland says:

    I have a Teletype Model ASR35 and use this device:

    http://www.telebyteusa.com/catalog/products/65a.htm

    to connect to a PC so I can play Star Trek and Blackjack just like I did in high school…

  23. Alex says:

    osgeld:

    Should be pretty trivial to write a routine to bit-bang the handshaking lines to output 45 baud.

  24. deyjavont says:

    I saw this on Make tv about half a year ago (at least) when they *just* started working on it. I don’t think this was a ‘quick hacked up version’. Considering this, if it takes you half a year to write a couple pages of code and wire up an arduino..i dunno. At least they KNOW about teletypes. That is better than most people these days.

  25. fx says:

    I’ve done some research into this, as we have both an RS-232 Twitter teletype at our lab (http://twitter.com/tweletype), and an older Baudot machine that is not yet on twitter.

    By tweaking certain serial port parameters with setserial in Linux, you can generate custom baud rates. Look at the spd_cust option here: http://linux.die.net/man/8/setserial

    Then you use stty to set the terminal to 5 data bits, two stop bits (which is close enough to the 1.5 stop bits normally required).

    Then you just have your Python script convert ASCII to Baudot and send it to the serial port as normal. No Arduino required.

    I’ll be implementing this shortly. I’m a little pissed NYCR got there first, but I’ll be doing it without the Arduino. ;)

  26. John Nagle says:

    Our Aetheric Message Machine is a Teletype Model 15 underneath. Our web site has all the information on interfacing these devices. Look under “Connecting”.

    A Windows desktop PC with a standard serial port will operate at 45 baud, 5 bits, no parity, 1.5 stop bits if asked. It’s more difficult with Linux, because Linux uses an ancient UNIX serial port interface with the 16 speeds supported on DEC PDP-11 machines.

    We now use a USB to serial converter with the baud rate tables modified to support 45 baud, so we can use a subnotebook with no serial port.
    This is all documented on our web site.

    Driving the selector magnet requires a drive circuit capable of a 1ms rise time into a 4H inductance. Details are on the web site.

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