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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Keyboard Spotting

Videoton VDN-52500 terminal

My latest acquisition is this quite rare Videoton terminal made in Hungary in the early '80s.

Tamas Dovenyi
Published January 16, 2022

Now you know what I spend your donations on. :D Battered, bruised, dirty, slightly yellowed, but it's mine. [Gollum SFX]

This model deserved a much more detailed write-up but here is a quick post with some photos, at least for now.

The VDN-52500 was the successor of the VDN-52100 I was eyeing with earlier (BTC #46).

The main development goal with this model of the Videoton terminal family was the improvement of ergonomics and cost-effectiveness. Considering the two designs the first goal was definitely achieved.

Cost-effectiveness? I'm not sure about that. Both the display unit and the keyboard are very heavy with thick plastic shells and lots of metal parts inside.

I'm not really sure how the CoCom list affected these developments but apparently Eastern countries were able to manufacture most electronic components by this time.

Some specs (source):

  • produced: 1983-1990
  • total items manufactured: 5000
  • display: 24 row; 80 chars/row; 10x7 raster
  • charset: latin/cyrillic
  • interface: 20 mA; V24
  • circuits: TTL
  • processor: Zilog Z80A

Development began in cooperation with the Bull company in 1979 but the French partners quit and the product development was finished by the display department of Videoton.

The display tilts and rotates, the keyboard is relatively low profile – according to the international standards.

In the picture below, the Videoton VDN-52500 is featured on the cover of Mikroszámítógép Magazin (Microcomputer Magazine) in 1985. This is the assembly line at Videoton factory, Székesfehérvár, Hungary. Unfortunately, there isn't any info in the magazine issue on the specific product itself, just the cover photo.

(Source)

The Videoton terminal in an advertisement – yeah, we are in the age of the wardrobe-sized computers:

And the terminal in use:

Btw, source of this picture is holdcomputers.com, a site dedicated to a personal collection in my hometown. Check it if you like Eastern technology from this era.

The VDT-52500 was one of the last terminals with a cool high-pro keyboard before all the boards became DIN-compliant... and practically the same-looking. Its successor, the VDX-52600 was shipped with a meh keyboard.

FYI, Videoton (the company) was privatized in 1991 and is still around: https://www.videoton.hu/?lang=en.

Published on Sun 16th Jan 2022. Featured in KBD #61.


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