It’s attainable that you should have lived your life with out ever coming into contact with a Motorola MDT9100-T. The info terminal of alternative to be used in police vehicles throughout the globe was a pc with a full-sized QWERTY keyboard, a small CRT show, a mainboard sporting an Intel 386SX processor, and a customized model of Home windows 3.1. [Trammell Hudson] and a few associates from NYC Resistor scored some MDT9100s in a web based public sale and discovered them to be simply too good a possibility to not crack them open and see what might be achieved.
The customized Home windows set up might be bypassed with a DOS immediate for some interval demoscene motion, however [Trammell] wished extra. The 386SX wasn’t even fast when it was new, and this pc deserved the facility of a BeagleBone! A customized cape was created on a prototyping cape to interface with the MDT9100 header carrying each keyboard and video. A little bit of detective work revealed the show to be a 640×480 pixel mono VGA. The ‘Bone’s LVDS output can drive VGA by means of a resistor ladder DAC with assistance from an acceptable gadget tree overlay. The keyboard was then taken care of with a Teensy working as a USB gadget, leading to a working Linux pc within the shell of an MDT9100.
It’s at all times good to see outdated know-how introduced updated. Amusingly a few years in the past we reported on the demise of VGA, however retro initiatives like this one imply it’ll be a very long time earlier than we’ve heard the final of it.