Minitel as serial console

2 posts
by merill » Fri May 24, 2013 10:55 pm

It's almost a year since the minitel network has been shut down.
So give it a pi to resurrect it!

1) What you need:
  • A minitel
    You need at least a minitel at least in revision 1b (with the funct key) to have a serial din interface.
  • A raspberry pi
  • A logic converter board
    To convert logical signal from 5V to 3V3 and vice versa. Because raspberry work at 3V3 and minitel at 5V.
    I use a sparkfun logic converter
  • some wires
    You can bring a 5-way din wire to make a clean test, like this

2)How to make it, the hardware part
  • cut the din wire to access ground (pin 2), pin 1 and 3 (cf spec)
    Test each wire to "number" them.
  • wire raspberry pi gpoi pin 1(3V3), 2(or 3, for the 5V), 6(or an other ground), 8(TXD) and 10(RXD).
  • connect ll these wire to your logic converter, like this:
    schema.png (42 KiB) Viewed 2449 times

    don't forget to connect all grounds together : raspberry ground, converter ground and minitel ground (pin2, the one in the middle).
  • connect the Din wire to the minitel.
bazar.JPG (60.28 KiB) Viewed 2449 times

3)How to make it, the software part
connect your raspberry pi with a screen and a keyboard to configure
  • Remove startup serial console
    On your raspberry pi, edit (with sudo) the /boot/cmdline.txt file : remove the bold part
    Code: Select all
    dwc_otg.lpm_enable=0 [b]console=ttyAMA0,115200 kgdboc=ttyAMA0,115200[/b] console=tty1 root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait

    It may be possible to keep it with 4800 instead of 115200, i didn't try it.
  • Configure your minitel
    power on the minitel
    then type:
    Code: Select all
    funct+T A
    funct+T E
    funct+P 4

    You will have to do this at each power on.
    some modes:
    Code: Select all
        T then I : memory reset
        T then V : Standard Téletél mode Vidéotext (40 colonnes)
        T then A : Standard "téléinformatique" ASCII US (80 colonnes)
        T then F : Standard "téléinformatique" ASCII FR (80 colonnes)
        T then E : Echo local (On/Off)
        C then E : Enable extended keyboard (ctrl, esc, arrows)
        C then V : Disabled extended keyboard
        P then 4 : 4800 bauds
  • Test your connection with minicom (if you want)
    • install:
      Code: Select all
      sudo apt-get install minicom
    • configure:
      Code: Select all
      sudo minicom -s

      Edit the serial conection : speed to 4800, no parity, 1 stop bit. Then save, and exit.
    • try
      Code: Select all
      sudo minicom -o

      Type some letters on your raspberry pi, it should appear on your minitel.
      Type some letters on your minitel keyboard, it should appear on your raspberry pi.
  • Create your getty configuration
    • open the /etc/inittab with sudo
    • go to the end and add this line:
      Code: Select all
      T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyAMA0 4800 minitel1b-80

      If you have an other model of minitel, search your into folder /usr/share/terminfo/m/
    • restart your raspberry or type "init q"
    Now you should see some weird characters, type your user then "entrée". Type your password then "entrée".
    You should see a login message and the command prompt, you're connected!

I installed Lynx to use my minitel as an internet browser ([troll] internet = minitel 2.0 [/troll])
google.JPG (52.7 KiB) Viewed 2449 times

next step : put the pi inside (i check, there are plenty of room) with a wi-fi dongle : the wifi minitel
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 6:06 pm
by tuxun » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:23 pm
Very NICE dude! I'm French, I'll try with my computer and a USB->Serial adapter, then with my rpi but I've to reinstall it before.

Glad to see minitel as passed frontier, personally I'm too young to knew them but It still a cool retro hack!!! :)

EDIT to remove password on a Phillips minitel 2, plug it, but do not switch on it.
Press FCTN+T while 5 second. then release, and press "I" (as initialise^^), it will reset de password.

French manuals of differents versions of Minitel: ... r-4215.php
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:30 pm