US Robotics Modem Revived with Raspberry Pi
Depending on how old you are, your first experience going online was likely via a landline phone, using a modem connect to a dial-up ISP, or through services such as AOL or even BBSes. Times have changed, and we can literally get the Internet in the palm of our hands at a moment’s notice. For those that did experience phone service modulator-demodulators, the terrible screeching noises that they made now brings about a feeling of nostalgia, and perhaps wonder at why you didn’t just figure out a way to turn it off.
While he didn’t go so far as to plug it into a phone jack and attempt to connect to unknown realms, Erick Truter decided to revive a US Robotics modem as a 3G hotspot, placing a Raspberry Pi Zero inside, along with a 3G and Wi-Fi dongle. He chose to use the Zero and dongle instead of a Zero W, as that configuration had a tough time maintaining a hotspot.
To maintain the audio-visual component of the modem, he added a custom board that allows it to pump audio signals out via a GPIO port. This custom audio board was important to save space, and sounded enough to emulate modem-screeching. He also hooked up the original LEDs to indicate modem stats, and the transmit and receive lights vary in intensity depending on the amount of data flow. Be sure to check it out in action in the video below for a trip down memory lane!