[NTLK] MP 2100 connection options

Boyer Jason jasonandrewboyer at gmail.com
Mon Nov 16 22:21:03 EST 2009

	I'm sure this has been beaten around for a long time.  I'm new to the scene and was hoping for some feedback on what I've learned so far.

	I picked up a MP 2100 and keyboard off ebay, only to discover in my ignorance upon receipt I couldn't actually connect the keyboard to the Newton.  The serial interconnect appears to have been lost.  That said, I began researching my options for connecting to my Mac and the keyboard.  Here's what I found.

1.  Find a new source for that serial interconnect dongle.  I've located several Newton sites like "Newton Sales", "GEM Enterprises", and "J&K Sales", but no one appears to sell this piece.  Ebay is empty too.  Does anyone know of another source?

2.  Buy an interconnect to 8 or 9 pin serial cable (mac or PC), which are widely available.  This solution isn't ideal because while I could connect to my mac, I still couldn't use the keyboard.  Prices for these cables seem high but not astronomical.

3.  Purchase the SER-001 board that adds native 8 pin serial connectivity.  I've only found once source at Newton Sales, and while the solution is elegant, the price is astronomical.

4.  Wire my own 8 pin serial connector by soldering directly to the motherboard leads according to several tutorials I've seen online.  Very cheap, but risky.  It makes me very nervous with a multilayer board.  Has anyone here had personal experience with this?

5.  IRDA communication.  Newton Connection Utilities doesn't officially support this, but someone wrote a program for OS 9.2.2 that gives the ability to transfer packages, however I haven't been able to get it to work.  Also, no keyboard connectivity.  Has anyone had better luck with either that program or other connectivity using IRDA?

6.  Ethernet (wireless or wired).  People seem to have good success here, but I've only seen it used to access the internet on the Newton.  Can a Newton Connection Utility transfer be utilized over ethernet?  The only caveat is that it appears drivers need to be loaded before it works, which presents a chicken or the egg scenario.  Plus, I can't use this method to communicate with the keyboard.  Compatible ethernet cards do appear to be cheap and plentiful.

	Have I missed something obvious?  Are there other cheaper sources for the SER-001 board, for example?  Or perhaps a vendor for the interconnect dongle?

	Any advice is appreciated.  Cheers.


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