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Soroc serial terminal recreated - Part 1


Veteran Member
Apr 24, 2009
Canberra, Australia
More than 30 years ago, I bought a Soroc IQ35 serial terminal as user interface to my S100 IMS 5000SX system. It saw heavy use in tough conditions for about ten years, mainly WordStar, and CP/M database and financial utilities written in Basic or Assembler. By the time the terminal developed a video fault, it was more economic for me to replace it with a good second-hand VT100 than to get it repaired. It went shedwards for the next twenty years.

Next time I looked, the CRT had gone crazy and leaked corrosive gunk all over the system board. In a panic, I ripped out the CRT and junked it. Then I started learning about restoring vintage equipment and regretted my haste. It took me a couple of years to get the IMS and the VT100 into working condition, then I turned back to the Soroc.

A full restoration would require replacement of the 12" CRT plus yoke, and complete checkout of the system board, PSU and video driver unit.

Finding replacement CRT would be incredibly lucky or incredibly expensive. The only new units are priced for military and industrial customers. My skills don't run to building my own analog display or adapter. I decided on a functional re-creation rather than a faithful restoration of the original technology.

The re-created terminal would be:

- original monocoque cabinet
- original keyboard
- VGA 12" display
- PC integrated system board
- ANSI terminal software
- WordStar configuration

A long search for 12" VGA CRT was also fruitless. I tried using a 12" B/W TV fed by composite signal, but this could not be made to fit within the Soroc cabinet and had a crappy image anyway. I turned reluctantly to LCD flatscreens. The choices were to re-structure a 12" laptop with native screen, or find an external 12" VGA LCD to mate with the works of a disposable laptop.

My guiding principal for vintage restoration is: if possible, use components that would otherwise be junk, even if there are more efficient alternatives. Efficiency is a secondary consideration in vintage computing.

Each stage threw up different problems and learning experiences. These are described in the linked posts.

This is the functional recreation as completed, showing [invented] boot splash and CP/M directory running on the S100 host.

View attachment 11732

and here is what ended up inside the cabinet. The laptop chassis performs better with the keyboard attached, because this forms part of the heatsink for the motherboard chips.

View attachment 11733