VT100.net Terminals and Printers Handbook 1983-84

Chapter 1


Terminals and printers. Many times, these are the only part of the computer system you see. And what you see is actually the direct link that taps into the power and intelligence of your system.

Here at Digital Equipment Corporation, the world's second largest manufacturer of computers, we know just how important choosing a terminal or printer is to you. Communicating easily with your system is imperative because it means that you have at your disposal the full capabilities of that system. That is why you invested in the best system for your application and why you need the best terminal and printer possible.

Digital offers a wide range of terminals and printers. If you need an interactive device, you can choose between video terminals or printing terminals. Either one lets you tap into the system, and lets the system communicate with you. If you want to print, whether a character, a line, or a page at a time, you need a printer that you can rely on.

This handbook discusses Digital's terminals, both video and printing, and Digital's printers. Written with both evaluators and users in mind, this handbook will help you choose the terminals and printers that are best for your application. It will also help you use them more efficiently.

Video Terminals

Digital's newest family of video terminals, the VT220, VT240, and VT241, advance the standards set by Digital's VT100 family. We've incorporated all the often desired and leading features into a single new terminal design.

Now, you can get it all. A terminal that is exceptionally easy to use, with a menu-driven set-up, making the need for mysterious codes unnecessary. Even first time users find using the VT200 family a breeze – in English, French, and German. Frequently used functions are easily activated. The VT200s have 15 programmable function keys that store 256 bytes, allowing one keystroke to do the work of many. And they offer either 7- or 8-bit character support, for adaptability to many languages, while keyboards are available in at least 15 different languages.

Extremely easy to use, the VT200s feature modular design and personal computer styling. Our ergonomic features include a low profile keyboard with sculptured keys, a tiltable monitor, and a 12-inch, non-glare screen conforming to both U.S. and European standards.

And look at what else is standard. A 20mA interface to support communications beyond 50 feet, a printer port, local echo, and advanced video capabilities such as bold, blink, underline, reverse video, and 132-character condensed readout.

The first in the series is the highly reliable, user-friendly, VT220 text-only, conversational terminal. The other series members are the VT240 and VT241, which add powerful graphics features. The VT240 offers monochrome graphics; the VT241, full color graphics.

Both the VT240 and the VT241 generate full bit-map graphics in both ReGIS and Tektronix™ 4010/4014 emulation, supporting industry standards. The Tektronix 4010/4014 protocols will support a wide range of graphics software available on both Digital's systems as well as others, such as Tektronix PLOT-10 software. With these capabilities, you can generate vectors and curves simply and automatically, quickly transforming complex data into easily understood diagrams, charts, and graphs.

Ever since their introduction, Digital's VT100 terminals were considered the industry standard for ASCII asynchronous video terminals. Since they set the standards, it's only natural that Digital's VT200 family advanced them.

The compact, desktop, versatile VT100 terminal has proven to be one of the most popular and most imitated video terminals ever offered. Its versatile features and sound reliability paved the way for an entire family of terminals – the VT101, VT102, VT131, and VT125. And these terminals all provide the functionality of the VT100.

The VT101 adds local echo but still gives you substantial savings when there is no need for expansion capabilities. Built right into the VT102 and the VT131 are a printer port and advanced video options. Packaged along with the communications features offered on the VT102, the VT131 gives you local editing and block mode transmission, making it ideal for use with data entry applications and non-Digital systems.

The VT125 features full VT100 functionality plus bit-mapped graphics capabilities for use in business graphics applications such as financial analysis or data plotting – trend lines, pie charts, bar graphs. It can also be used in engineering or laboratory applications.

For environments like factories, warehouses, laboratories, and field sites where conventional terminals are impractical, Digital offers you a choice of three VT100-based ruggedized video terminals. The RT100 gives you all the standard VT100 features, while the RT102 is a ruggedized VT102. If you need to use a light pen for bar code data collection, there's the RT137.

Printing Terminals

Printing terminals are interactive devices that let you and your computer communicate with each other and give you hardcopy output too. Digital offers you three models to choose from.

The DECwriter III is one of Digital's most popular terminals. It has an enviable reliability record, and it has some of the most versatile features. Features like 180 character per second printing and 45 set-up features that you can select from the keyboard.

The compact, versatile DECwriter Correspondent not only prints on cutsheet, roll, and fanfold paper, but prints at a speed of 150 characters per second. In addition to graphics capabilities, the DECwriter Correspondent includes a modem or an acoustic coupler for use at a remote location.

The Letterwriter 100 gives you three printers in one. When you need to get your work out fast, the Letterwriter 100 can print text at the rate of 240 characters per second. The optional memo-quality speed is 80 characters per second, and if you need letter-quality print, there's printing at 30 characters per second. If printing in different typefaces is needed, just plug in a font cartridge. It's that easy.


Digital offers you a range of dependable printers because we know that different applications have different print requirements.

The Letterprinter 100 gives you speed and versatility. It produces drafts at a rate of 240 characters per second and also delivers letter-quality printing at a rate of 30 characters per second. Not only does the Letterprinter 100 let you choose between different text print modes, but it can also handle your graphics printing. Versatility comes with the five different fonts that can be electronically selected. There are even special plug-in cartridges that give you access to many different fonts and special character sets. You can use either fanfold or cutsheet paper, and the multinational character set lets you print in 11 languages.

With the LQP02 letter-quality printer you are assured of premium print quality each and every time. The daisywheel print mechanism provides a reliable print speed of 32 characters per second. And you can choose from a variety of different type styles and special purpose fonts.

The LA50 Personal Printer gives you more for your money. This compact printer prints draft- and memo-quality documents, at 100 and 50 characters per second, respectively, as well as graphics. You can use either fanfold or cutsheet paper, and the multinational character set lets you print in 11 languages.

When your operations demand large volumes of output, high-speed graphics, or extremely high quality, Digital's system printers are the solution.

The top-of-the-line LN01 laser printer combines premium quality printing and extremely quiet operation. An electrophotographic process, which uses a print density of 300-by-300 dots per square inch, makes exceptional print-quality possible. Using cutsheet paper, the LN01 can whip out 12 pages per minute.

If high-speed graphics are important, you can choose between out 300-line-per-minute LXY12 graphics lineprinter or the faster 600-line-per-minute LXY22. If reliable, large-volume printing is demanded, there's the LP25, which prints up to 300 lines per minute. The LP26 prints up to 600 lines per minute, while the heavy-duty LP27 can deliver high volumes of data at speeds up to 1,200 lines per minute.

Supporting Products

In order to transfer information between parts of your system or network – CPU to CPU, CPU to terminal, or CPU to printer – you need data communications equipment. Chapter 18, Modems and Intelligent Communications Processors, describes the Digital products that make communications possible.

CPUs, terminals, and printers need the right cables in order to work together. Chapter 19, Cables, tells you what cable you need to connect your terminal or printer to the CPU, terminal or printer to a modem, and terminal to printer.


It is not the intention of this handbook to provide every detail about Digital's terminals and printers, but rather to provide enough information for you to evaluate them. This handbook also contains the information most often requested by our readers.

Each product chapter contains the following major divisions:

Outlines terminal's or printer's general capabilities and uses.
Major Features
Highlights the key features and their importance.
Screen Attributes or Printing Features
Outlines video display terminal characteristics and different print qualities and their characteristics, including graphics.
Character Sets
Lists the multinational and special character sets supported.
Lists the type of paper and dimensions that the printer can accommodate.
Lists the major options for the product and their order numbers.
Accessories and Supplies
Lists the major accessories and supplies for the product and their order numbers.
Operator Features
Explains the meaning and function of controls and indicators and describes the role of set-up features and configuration switches.
Programming Information
References often-requested programming information.
Tells you how to run self-tests and gives you a troubleshooting checklist, enabling you to pinpoint and correct commonly encountered problems.
Additional Documentation
Lists other documents available, including a brief description of the contents and the order number.
Describes detailed technical specifications.

Supplemental Information

If you can't find all the information you need in this handbook, here are some other documents you can ask your sales representative about.

This list outlines more technical documents you can request about your terminal or printer.

User Guide
Provided with terminal or printer at time of purchase. Details installation, operation, and programming information.
Installation Guide
Provided with terminal or printer at time of purchase and tells you how to install it.
Mini Maintenance Manual
Describes procedures to troubleshoot and repair video terminals.
Technical Manual
Describes video terminals to details block level.
Illustrated Parts Breakdown
Provides a detailed parts breakdown of the printer's and video terminal's field-replaceable units. Does not contain part numbers for components on the printed circuit boards.
Print Set
Provides a complete set of electrical and mechanical schematic diagrams for the video terminal and printer.
Programming Reference Guide
Provides programming information for printers.
Programming Reference Card
Provides a summary of escape and control sequences for video terminals or printers on a pocket-sized reference card.

If you need catalogs to order systems, accessories, and supplies, you can ask for:

PDP-11 Systems and Options Catalog
Provides you with the most accurate and up-to-date information on currently available PDP-11 systems, options, and software products. This customer document is designed to help you select the right Digital product for your needs. A European version is also available. (Quarterly publication)
VAX Systems and Options Catalogs
Provides you with the most accurate and up-to-date information on currently available VAX systems, options, and software products. This customer document is designed to help you select the right Digital product for your needs. A European version is also available. (Quarterly publication)
Office Information Systems Catalog
Contains the most comprehensive set of Office Information Systems and products currently available from Digital. The catalog lists order numbers and descriptions of everything from ALL-N-1 systems to cables.
DECdirect Catalog
Accessories and supplies for Digital computer systems and peripherals. This quarterly publication is supplied by Digital's Installed-Base Group (formerly Accessories and Supplies Group).

If general reference information is what you need, consider:

Guide to Office Information Systems
Presents a simple, clear picture of office automation systems – what they are, how they work for you, and how Digital integrates them to help improve personal, departmental, and organizational productivity.
DECmate II Handbook
A complete description of DECmate II hardware, software, options, applications, accessories, and supplies. Can be used as a reference tool for existing DECmate II users.
Guide to Personal Computing
An introduction to Digital's personal computers, their peripherals, and software.
Supporting Products Guide
Accessories and supplies for Digital computer systems. This yearly publication is produced by Digital's Installed-Base Group (formerly Accessories and Supplies Group).
Software Product Descriptions (SPDs)
Descriptions of Digital's software products. (Monthly)
Documentation Products Directory
Description of Digital's software products, published by Digital's Installed-Base Group (formerly Accessories and Supplies Group).
Digital Reference Service (DRS)
Comprehensive guide to Digital. Contains the full spectrum of Digital's products, application, and service offerings. The DRS is available on an annual subscription basis with quarterly updates and newsletters.