Login terminal over USB/serial link to Jornada 680

The aim

To operate the Raspberry Pi using a Jornada 680 (pictured, left) as a dumb terminal.

The solution

The Jornada 680 has a cable for sync-ing to Windows, the end of which terminates with a serial connector. Now, as we know, the Pi does not have a serial port exactly (although, you can create one by using a GPIO to USB cable and then a bespoke connnector) but it does have USB ports, of course. Having briefly toyed with the idea of building the connector, I decided eventually that a serial-to-usb cable from Maplin would be the easiest (if not the most fun) solution.


So, I now had the following:

Jornada 680
Jornada sync cable
Serial-to-USB cable
Raspberry Pi.

The next step was to get the Pi to present a TTY session (Terminal session, login prompt, whatever you like to call it) on the USB port. Remember, we want it on the USB port not any serial port. As far as the Pi is concerned, it’s communicating with the Jornada over USB.

I looked at using Minicom to set this up before eventually finding information on just setting up ‘getty’ to give a terminal on a particular device.

To do this, you just need to run the following command on the Pi:

/sbin/getty -L ttyUSB0 115200 vt100

I put this into a script called usb_tty_start.sh. Now, we want this run automatically. You can’t add it to /etc/inittab (which is where one would want to put it as this is what configures ttys and login prompts etc) as the USB port isn’t ‘up’ before this is run. So, we add it as a command to /etc/rc.local which is run after the USB is ready.

Now to find software to use on the Jornada 680. This device uses the SH3 processor so we need to find software that will run on it.

So, options…

  • PockeTTY – it works but is limited to 5 minutes. Very annoying that companies don’t just allow their very very old software to be free!
  • zterm also works, but same problem as PockeTTY in that it’s still a paid product.
  • vxHpc exactly the same problem, although it is a very nice program.
  • Pocket Tera Term works brilliantly and is free.

So, there we have it. Connect it all up, start the tty on USB on the Pi, then run the Terminal emulator on the Jornada 680. Sometimes you have to hit enter a couple of times to get the login prompt up.

I’ll probably add some photos of the set-up later.


4 comments for “Login terminal over USB/serial link to Jornada 680

  1. I have a number of Casio devices that I may try to connect to, using your method. Just have to order the USB to Serial cable, or I may have some old cables I can use to make one.

    • Hi Peter. I _believe_ that the cable I have from Maplin has some circuitry inside the adapter to make it work, so it may not be a simple cut-and-solder operation. Let me know how you get on – I love the idea that we can re-use these old devices rather than consign them to the scrap heap. What devices (what model) are they that you’re trying to connect, out of interest?

      • I have Casio A10 or A11, some E series and about 12 EG-800. These were purchased from Ebay and I have cables that were used to connect them to a GPS system on a tractor. I also have Compact Flash Wifi for them. I have miscellaneous other PDAs and early tablets. The EG-800 is colour. I wondered whether the USB to Serial had some electronics. As I work full time I can only “play” on weekends. I’ve got to find all the bits and pieces. I’ll keep you informed.

        • Oh, I’m in the same boat. I have to fit my playing in with full-time work plus working on various websites for friends’ new businesses. Looking at those devices quickly through Google, I reckon you’ll have success with them providing you can find a decent terminal emulator app to run on them. I think the A10 is a Windows CE, so Tera Term is probably a good bet. It looks like the others probably are too, which is great. I had no idea they did a ruggedized Cassiopeia! Love those little devices. I’ve got a Jornada 820 (which is about the size of a hardback book with a full-sized keyboard) which I’ll probably try eventually, I just like the Jornada 680’s size. I’ve ended up with two of the bloody things, though, so off to eBay one of them goes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.