Jim Brain’s telnet cable, downgrading to Supra 4.5

So I upgraded the site to Supra 4.6 thanks to WD Stewart sharing the code with me. It’s super solid and has some amazing features I am dying to try out but there is a problem: all of those Swiftlink enhancements conflict with BBS Telnet Server.

I spent a good portion of my weekend trying to force BBS Telnet Server to work over different cable configurations, none of which worked. So I ordered a solder-lessDB9 and DB25 adapter to try some wiring between them. I used the schematic recommended by Jim Brain from this rather old but still relevant PDF that I am mirroring here as much for my reference as well as for sharing.

I have followed this schematic:

I followed this to. the. letter. Pin-to-pin. And verified it all.


First I ran the wires from a DB9 connected to the Windows machine’s serial port and wired it up with a Commodore user port interface. It didn’t work because I got garbage all the time. I assume because it sends a 5V current to the user port which the Commodore can’t handle.

Next, I ran the pins from the DB9 to a DB25 (links to the exact ones I purchased). I don’t have a problem with soldering anything but soldering and unsoldering was becoming a pain in the ass so this was a bit easier.

Here are the photos because everybody loves pictures:

Yeah, I too thought it looks like a little 9-cylinder engine. Those cylinders are actually screws which hold the wires in place.

Look at this beast. Even comes with a cable hold-down. Slick.


Again, following Jim’s schematic I got zip, zero, nada. Perhaps I’m screwing the wires in wrong? I doubt it.

I figured this cable would be better for my purposes because it plugs into the back of my VIC-1011A RS-232 cartridge which has a 25-pin female connector. I plugged it and got nothing. Not a thing. I’m going to try it again in a few weeks after a business trip. I have an ethernet cable I’m going to sacrifice for this purpose. At least inside it I have enough wire pairs I don’t have to use two 4-cable lines like I did for the most recent Frankencable. However I am beginning to think it won’t work at all on the user port but will on the cartridge port, since that’s where the Swiftlink cartridge connects. I already have the Lt. Kernal host adapter plugged in there.

So, about Supra 4.6…

I am super excited about the features it brings: true Network technology, fidonet capability, Color 64 message integration. But my biggest problem is it crashes when a call comes in, when a call drops, when a call disconnects, when the waiting for call screen loads. I get those awful CP/M mode breaks. It’s too much to deal with so I rolled back to 4.5. I’m too lazy to change it on the welcome/info screens on the BBS so it will have to wait.

So that’s where we are now. I thought I would update everyone who is reading/cares. I still find it fun. Frustrating but fun.

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