Do you remember the screeching of a dial-up modem as it connected to the internet? Do you miss it? Probably not, but [Erick Truter] — inspired by a forum post and a few suggestions later — turned a classic modem into a 3G Wi-Fi hotspot with the ubiquitous Raspberry Pi Zero.
Sourcing an old USRobotics USB modem — allegedly in ‘working’ condition — he proceeded to strip the modem board of many of its components to make room for the new electronic guts. [Truter] found that for him the Raspberry Pi Zero W struggled to maintain a reliable network, and so went with a standard Pi Zero and a USB Wi-Fi dongle dongle. He also dismantled a USB hub to compensate for the Zero’s single port. Now, to rebuild the modem — better, faster, and for the 21st century.
He was able to — with some difficulty — tap the original LEDs to act as a boot status display; additionally, the transmit and receive LEDs flash according to the traffic and the more data it’s handling, the brighter the LED glows. Setting up the Wi-Fi hotspot proved to be easier than anticipated — likewise for adding the 3G dongle and its functionality. Adding the sound was almost too much — there wasn’t enough space for a USB sound card. Instead, [Truter] whipped up a small board that channeled audio though a GPIO pin which would then connect to a speaker — good enough to emulate a modem’s banshee shrieking.
In the same vein, we recently featured a calculator that is more than meets the eye.