Is there ANYTHING I can use old dial up modems for (other then dialing up the internet)?

Any old, or unique ideas on what I can do with them?  I have one that is fairly fast (an old cable modem) one that is medium fast (an old DSL modem) and one 56k plain vanilla dial up.

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txoof5 years ago
Most obviously, AWESOME project enclosures! Gut them and take advantage of all the engineered openings and light apertures. Instead of buying one of those chintzy HDPE project boxes and hacking out power supply openings and trying to align holes for LEDs, use the ones already there! The kind engineers of USR have already done the dirty work for you!
Goodhart (author)  txoof5 years ago
Thank you. I will keep that in mind also.
Zenock5 years ago
I keep a 56K fax modem around for sending and receiving faxes.
Goodhart (author)  Zenock5 years ago
I was thinking about that too, If one has DSL, do they still need a fax modem though?
Zenock Goodhart5 years ago
If they want to send and receive faxes from their computer rather than using a service. I use to have DSL and I would have my phone line go to a splitter one side going into my DSL Modem and the other side going into a filter going into my modem for faxes. Worked great.
Goodhart (author)  Zenock5 years ago
It took me awhile, but I think I know what you mean now -- -- Thanks !
gmoon5 years ago
Packet radio, for one. For the the dial ups, anyway. A normal dialup modem isn't optimized for radio, but it can work (slowly).

Cable modems can sometimes be hacked--not in an "underhanded" way (such as to get free internet). Rather to explore, modify and use the built-in web server / DHCP server, etc.

Might take some serious hacking, it it's not a well-documented modem.

One possible hack would be connecting the modem to a microcontroller and accessing the internet, for instance.

(I have a DIGI portserver someone sent me, which is essentially an ethernet <-> RS-232 connection.)
Goodhart (author)  gmoon5 years ago
I was wondering if it could be modified for short haul, like from room to room periphrial support.
.  You can do that with telephone modems, but a null modem cable works better. You can use a null modem cable, but Ethernet is faster. Most computers have E'net built-in, but, if you need a card, they can be found for < $20.
Goodhart (author)  NachoMahma5 years ago
Well, I suppose it is "instructions" then, or at least, being pointed in the right direction for the proper instructions, since I am working blind on this one.

I mean, I have a tiny inkling of how the whole ethernet thing works where I am employed, but that is a bit more "over the top" then I need.
line simulator (modem to modem)
null modem (serial port to serial port)

Ethernet is pretty much the RS-232 of today (right behind USB). If you could install a serial printer back in The Good Old Days, you should be able to handle TCP/IP.
.  Much like you don't have to be able to rebuild a motor in order to drive a car, you don't have to know a lot about E'net/TCP/IP to get a small network to work - if you have setup a router at home, you probably already know just about everything you need to know.
Goodhart (author)  NachoMahma5 years ago
if you have setup a router at home, you probably already know just about everything you need to know...

I haven't  :-)
gmoon Goodhart5 years ago
AFAIK, you can connect modems without using the telephone lines. Google "modem to modem direct connection".

But maybe you want more than a computer<->computer connection, and more like a printer server. If it's a USB peripheral, then you'd really have to know embedded systems.

Otherwise, for an old-school RS-232 peripheral, it might just work. Or controlling UCs (micro cont). Most can speak simple serial protocols.

Of course, a simple null-modem cable would work, too. ;-)

Current-loop serial interfaces are good over long distances as well, if that's what you need. Research the old teletype lines (and MIDI interfaces use current loop, too).
Goodhart (author)  gmoon5 years ago

Of course, a simple null-modem cable would work, too. ;-)

Yeah, but I don't have that....would need to buy it. :-)

Thanks for all the info...
gmoon Goodhart5 years ago
Yeah, and might not work as far as the next room.

Anyway, good luck.
Goodhart (author)  gmoon5 years ago
Well, I will certainly give it the "ole college try" ;-)
NachoMahma5 years ago
. Here's a couple of links that may inspire.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DTMF (there should be a generator to handle ATDT commands in the 56K)
.  I have no idea how DSL and cable modems work other than they usually have an Ethernet port. :(
Goodhart (author)  NachoMahma5 years ago
thanks...I had come to kind of a dead end with my searches
Light_Lab5 years ago
I hope this is not a repeat of someone else's contribution but you can use many of the later dial up modems as an answering machine; auto-dialer and even a phone call redirecting system. I was using my old Netcomm for this up until recently. I wrote code in "good-ole" Basic and I believe I could have made many more things happen.
There was an application that logged calls and another that allowed you to silently dial up and bug a room. Coupled with a sensitive microhone I used this for a while to check if there were intruders in my house when I was away.
Goodhart (author)  Light_Lab5 years ago
Thank you. I will have to look into each of these.
You could make a bracelet or a set of earings for Mrs. Goodhart
Goodhart (author)  The Ideanator5 years ago
Oh my everything but geeky wife would not appreciate that much I am afraid. :-) But thanks for the suggestion.
account3r25 years ago
lol, my cpu uses 56k dial-up interwebz. (it runs at 45 Kbps)
Goodhart (author)  account3r25 years ago
Wow, how does your firewall update at that rate? On DSL, mine can take up to 20 minutes sometimes....
magic... i use arczip... google can sometimes take up to 10 seconds to load. the instructables home takes ~ 2 min 20 sec to load with all the pictures.
Goodhart (author)  account3r25 years ago
the firewall and other programs (like the OS) are best "auto updated" so they don't go unpretected long....but man can they take the time to download an install sometimes.
hammer98765 years ago
There is the ever popular door stopper. Or maybe it isn't heavy enough?
Goodhart (author)  hammer98765 years ago
Nah, wouldn't hold a cabinet door open :-)