Give Your Beloved Retro Computer the Gift of Wifi

On a recent Electromaker show, we looked at a fascinating product that will appeal to both retro computing enthusiasts and DIY electronics hobbyists alike - a multi-function Serial to Wifi converter. The RS232 Serial Wifi Modem for Vintage Computers V4, which allows you to add Wi-Fi connectivity to your vintage computers, is not only an incredibly useful tool for anyone looking to extend the capabilities of their old machines, but it's also a great example of the amazing products you can find on Tindie, a site we've not covered an awful lot on the Electromaker Show so far.

Before we look at the modem, a quick word about Tindie. As a platform, Tindie has gained significant popularity among makers and tinkerers over the years. It's a hub for creative people who build cool products and want to share them with others.


While I've never listed anything on Tindie myself, it does give me a similar vibe to sites like Etsy and Bandcamp. I find it hard to believe that in all the time we've been doing the show, we've barely covered it, but in our defense, the Electromaker Show section devoted to grassroots products is called "Funding Website Things," and as such we've stuck to sites like Kickstarter and Crowdsupply.

This will likely be changing going forward however. There's a bunch of amazing stuff from a variety of creators, and you can find everything from smart home gadgets, DIY wearable tech, synthesizer modules, and plenty more. And the best part is, you're supporting independent makers who are passionate about what they do.

Now, let's take a closer look at the RS232 serial Wi-Fi modem. This device is a 35-dollar add-on that allows you to connect virtually any retro computer to a modern Wi-Fi network. It may seem like a straightforward idea, but there's actually quite a bit of complexity involved in getting it to work. Luckily, the team behind the RS232 serial Wi-Fi modem has put in a lot of effort to make this process as straightforward as possible.

One thing that caught my attention is the fact that it has had four iterations, and the latest version has undergone a massive firmware update. The update adds a file system, a file manager, and even over-the-air firmware updates. These changes significantly enhance the functionality of the device and make it an even more worthwhile investment for anyone looking to add Wi-Fi to their vintage computer. And the best part is that this device is incredibly affordable, at just 35 dollars. Are there cheaper ways to do this? Yes. Are they are easy to use and refined? Probably not.

If you're interested in seeing the RS232 serial Wi-Fi modem in action, I recommend checking out the page on Tindie. You can also find a great video on the device from the YouTube channel Action Retro. If you haven't checked out Action Retro before, I highly recommend it. They have fantastic content, including videos on everything from getting Minecraft to run on an ancient Apple computer to in-depth reviews of retro computing hardware. Just be warned, once you start watching their videos, you might be there for quite some time!

I love the idea of being able to connect my old retro computers to a Wi-Fi network, and I'm sure many of you share this sentiment. I still have my old BBC Micro and Acorn computer, as well as an old 486 DX machine that I would love to revive. And with the RS232 serial Wi-Fi modem, it's now more accessible than ever before.

If you like stories like these, you'll love the Electromaker Show, our weekly round-up of all things Maker and Embedded. Join us on YouTube or on all major podcast services.

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